The Weeknd dedicated his entire 2020 to three things: a red suit, a Fourth of July’s worth of fireworks, and a constantly mutating face. On Sunday, the singer brought his scarlet blazer, a bunch of bandages, and a truck full of fireworks to his Super Bowl LV halftime show, where he was welcomed by a ruby-eyed angel descending from the ceiling. We’re assuming Gaga would approve.
Performing in the stands, the Weeknd maxed out the physical limitations of his vertical set with a massive choir/orchestra/dance troop, moving from the front of the stage inside the neon structure, where he found … dozens of himself, all seemingly pretty psyched to be in Tampa. Later, a cadre of Weekends with bandaged faces took the field with the singer for a little bit of “Blinding Lights” choreography. Relatedly, we’d love to know what someone completely unfamiliar with the Weeknd’s whole vibe thought of the evening’s “mass facial wound” aesthetic.
The Weeknd’s performance closed out the musical portion of Sunday’s events, which kicked off with H.E.R.’s electric “America the Beautiful” and a “Star-Spangled Banner” duet from Jazmine Sullivan and Eric Church, not to mention Alicia Keys’s previously recorded rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and Miley Cyrus’s TikTok Tailgate concert for an audience of frontline health-care workers.