Superbowl Halftime Show 2021: ‘The Weeknd’ or more like ‘Monday Morning’?

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I’ll admit that I don’t really watch the Superbowl; I usually root for the jersey color I like best. Come on, most of you show up for the food! HOWEVER- the Halftime Show is always a must watch, and this year was no different. When I found out that ‘The Weeknd’ was headlining, he seemed like the perfect choice with all of his recent hits. ‘I Feel It Coming’ is one of my favorite songs because it reminds me of a 90’s Michael Jackson hit like ‘PYT’. Every time I hear ‘Blinding Lights’ on the radio, I want to crack open a white claw and jump on a pool float- the overplaying of that song gave me more joy than I’d like to admit this summer. I also can’t deny- all the hype over his ‘outward appearance’ had me very intrigued. For those unaware, his last few performances, people were talking about his face more than his moves. Let me clarify: His head wrapped in bandages, his eyes bruised and black, nose bloodied, and even fake pros ethics added to his face for a music video. Most of the world (including myself) was very confused; until it was explained that he was just making a statement. “The significance of the head bandages is reflecting on the absurd culture of Hollywood Celebrity and people manipulating themselves for superficial reasons to please and be validated. It’s all a progression and we watch the characters storyline hit heightened levels of danger and absurdity as his tale goes on,” The Weeknd tells Variety.

Let’s fast forward to last night. The biggest audience that Abel Tesfaye (his real name) has played to his entire career; donning a sparkly red coat and clean face, $7mm poorer from sinking his own money into the performance… and most viewers were completely underwhelmed. What went wrong? I’m going to break it down. 

1). There was NO costume change! Seriously, the same red coat (which apparently took over 250 hours to hand-make) the whole show? You can’t do a set that long and not drastically change your outfit at least once! Face bandages don’t count.

2.) Where was Ariana Grande?! You need guests if you’re not going to have insane special effects and lavish costumes. I was waiting for Ariana to come out and belt ‘Love me Harder’ the entire time!

3.) More dancing please! The back-up dancers seemed to be doing a lot of swaying and marching- not enough choreo.

4) He spent his own money?! Maybe if I didn’t know that The Weeknd spent millions out of pocket, my expectations would have been lower. 

5) Back-up dancers rocking head bandages?! Ugh, we’re still in a pandemic. Those bandages are just depressing to look at. No thanks.

Do I still enjoy The Weeknd? Of course. Did I love him in ‘Uncut Gems’? Hell yes. He’s not Justin Timberlake, Michael Jackson or Prince, but he’s still a star. Let’s see what happens at the Grammy’s… I’m still rooting for him!

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