A Superbowl “Weeknd”

Jeremy Carcamo, Reporter

The “Dark Prince of Pop” in his infamous red and black suit ominously started the show on a stage in Las Vegas, driving a Mercedes from the late 50s. Sin City is where his music videos have taken place and to be introduced like that, continuing the story he is trying to portray throughout his album “After Hours” was completely genius. 

Abel Tesfaye, also known as “The Weeknd ” is a singer from Toronto who blew up massively in recent years thanks to his 2015 album “Beauty Behind the Madness”. He kept his momentum from there with the highly successful “After Hours” (2020) charting at number 1 for four consecutive weeks and doing it again just after the Super Bowl Halftime show. 

In the events preceding the Super Bowl, Tesfaye stated in a Billboard interview, “We’ve really been focusing on dialing in on the fans at home and making performance a cinematic experience, and we want to do that with the Super Bowl.” 

Tesfaye splashed $7 Million of his own money to “make this halftime show be what he envisioned.” Even the mayor of his hometown of Toronto stated that February 7 was going to be “The Weeknd Day ”and how they were really proud of Abel in what he has achieved hailing from the city. The city mayor John Tory tweeted, “ Proud to proclaim February 7th The Weeknd day in Toronto @TheWeeknd who is performing today at the #SuperBowl”

At 17, Tesfaye was nearly homeless in Toronto and within a decade he was performing at The Super Bowl Halftime Show. This just shows that with hard work and dedication you can achieve the impossible. 

   The bass sounding choir (deep / low voices) in the background singing one of his songs “Call Out My Name” just gives a taste of what Tesfaye has to offer at the beginning of the show. The transition into “Starboy” was smooth and the flashing lights along with it brought a spectacle that hasn’t been seen in a while. While most singers use autotune to enhance their voices in their performances Tesfaye does not; using his variety of vocals he really captures the viewer with his music. 

When Tesfaye finished  his performance of his song “The Hills” he continued by going into a tunnel of mirrors that gave off the impression of being lost in Las Vegas. This caused memes to spread like wildfire throughout the internet which made it almost impossible to not know who “The Weeknd” is.  

In the tunnels a large amount of bandaged guys that look like him came out. The meaning of these bandages had a lot of people confused and Abel cleared it by saying in another interview to Billboard, The significance of the entire head bandages is reflecting on the absurd culture of Hollywood celebrities and people manipulating themselves for superficial reasons to please and be validated.”

To move along with the performance he also sang “Can’t Feel My Face”, “I Feel it Coming”, and “Earned It” with those melodic violins at the beginning as well, to move on to the massive army of bandaged heads in “House Of Balloons” to what might have given every XO fan goosebumps with the transition to Billboard’s 2020 top song of the year, “Blinding Lights”. Many believe this transition symbolizes his progress throughout the decade. 

Even with the restrictions of Covid -19, “The Weeknd” still showed how talented he is. I would still give this performance a 10/10 knowing the potential Tesfaye has. He might have made the best performance in the show’s history if it weren’t for the challenges of COVID. However The halftime show was just incredible, from the choreography to the fireworks and the choir; it was simply outstanding.