Jay Styles

The Weeknd scores victory with socially distanced, hit-filled halftime show

Pepsi Super Bowl LV Halftime Show
TAMPA, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 07: The Weeknd performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl LV Halftime Show at Raymond James Stadium on February 07, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The Weeknd took the stage during the halftime show at the 2021 Super Bowl in Tampa Bay on Sunday and his performance, as promised, didn’t include any surprise guests.

The performance began with the artist, born Abel Tesfaye, emerging from a fancy sports car in front of a mockup of the Tampa Bay skyline — sporting the red jacket, minus the bandages he’d been seen wearing on his face in previous appearances over the past year.  Instead, a group of dancers joined him onstage and on the football field, dressed in the same red jacket, wore the bandages, which also appeared to double as PPE, in keeping with COVID-19 protocols.

“The significance of the head bandages,” he explained last week, was to reflect on “the absurd culture of Hollywood celebrity and people manipulating themselves for superficial reasons to please and be validated.”

He was also backed by a choir dressed in white robes, unmasked, but positioned six feet apart from each other.

The singer’s show featured a medley of hits that included “Starboy” and “I Feel It Coming” — both recorded with Daft Punk.

Also included were “The Hills, “Can’t Feel My Face” — the latter of which he performed amid a hall-of mirrors setting — along with “Save Your Tears” and “Earned it.”

The Weeknd finished his set by joining the dancers on the field for a version of his latest hit, “Blinding Lights,” along with a dazzling fireworks display.

As for the game itself, Patrick Mahomes and his Kansas City Chiefs were no match for veteran Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who won handily by a score of 31-9.  The victory marked the seventh title for 43-year-old quarterback and the second for Tampa Bay.

By George Costantino
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