A ‘blinding’ halftime for The Weeknd


Ashley Landis

The Weeknd performs during the halftime show of the NFL Super Bowl 55 football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla.

Emma Johnson, Staff Writer

The Super Bowl is a highly anticipated event that fans all around the country look forward to. From the excitement of the game, to the widespread buffets and the hilarious commercials, it is an event that everyone tunes in to watch. 

Year after year, the halftime shows threaten to outdo each other with elaborate performances that will leave viewers talking about it for weeks after. This year, Pepsi chose Toronto-based R&B star, The Weeknd, to play on the iconic stage. After his wildly successful year in 2020, The Weeknd put on a 14-minute performance that left fans moved. 

As the saying goes, “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” When The Weeknd dropped out of his convertible surrounded by neon signs resplendent of the famous strip, Sin City could not contain its king. A blue heavenly figure descended. A choir harmonized. The doors split in half and The Weeknd came out, jumping right into his famed 2016 song, “Starboy.” Alarms pounded as the bass of “The Hills” rolled in. While it calmed the anticipation, it left fans drawn into the spectacle.

Disappearing into a hall of mirrors packed with vanity lights, The Weeknd transitioned into one of his original tunes that brought him fame, “Can’t Feel My Face.” As the song approached the chorus, dancers dressed in his signature attire for the “After Hours” album appeared. Once he escaped the madness, The Weeknd found himself on the rooftop of a building. The skyline glistened as a full moon rose, creating the perfect atmosphere for the sultry song, “I Feel It Coming.” 

Picking up the energy, “Save Your Tears” brought the spunky pop that electrified the crowd and gave listeners a taste of The Weeknd’s latest album. As the song ended, hundreds of violin players serenaded The Weeknd as he crooned the song “Earned It” from the “Fifty Shades of Grey” soundtrack. Most singers maintain a high energy level throughout their performances, but The Weeknd’s ability to fluctuate his songs to keep viewers entertained is unlike other halftime shows of the past.

Donning bandages and the ruby red coat, hundreds of dancers flooded the field to march to an interlude of The Weeknd’s 2011 hit, “House of Balloons.” With blue strobe lights flashing in a rhythmic pattern, the beat faded out and the entrance of the synth-filled basses of the song of the year, “Blinding Lights” began. Belting a shoutout to Tampa Bay, the monotony was broken and the dancers ran every which way, leaving the singer in the midst of the chaos. Delivering a powerhouse finish, fireworks erupted to leave an indelible mark on those who watched. 

Despite being snubbed from receiving any Grammys this year, The Weeknd proved that he is more than any award show. From ensuring his more recent glitzy songs are here to stay and combining them with tastes of his origins of fame, The Weeknd dazzled audiences with a show that will be one of the most memorable performances of all time.