The Weeknd rocked the halftime show at Super Bowl LV on Sunday (Feb. 7), with a dazzling performance that included an all Black symphony.
The Canadian artist, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, kicked off his show with a choir backing him up, and performed a medley of his biggest hits. Visual highlights included a portion of the set performed in a funhouse mirror-style side stage, and — as predicted — the appearance of Weeknd’s notorious face bandages. Though this time, Abel kept his face visible throughout the show: it was a sea of backup dancers that donned the Covid-approved headgear.
The performance, of course, had to be put together with certain restrictions due to COVID-19 safety requirements. As such, it began in the stands for the first time ever. Pandemic protocols required the show to limit contact with the players and coaches, according to The New York Times. It then moved to the fields where the magic continued.
Weeknd, who has three Grammys and five American Music Awards on his resume, told Billboard that he wanted a “cinematic experience,” adding that he put up $7 million of his own money to “make this halftime show be what he envisioned.”
He took inspiration from Diana Ross’ 1996 half-time show, he told NBC, which he thought was the greatest Super Bowl performance ever.
“I watched her over and over again. I loved Prince’s obviously, Michael Jackson, Beyonce —they’re all amazing, but Diana is definitely my favorite,” he said.