June 14, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

Super Bowl 2021: Why the Weeknd will perform solo at halftime

The Weeknd’s Super Bowl LV halftime show will be just that — the Weeknd’s, and the Weeknd’s alone.

“There’s no special guests, no,” the “Blinding Lights” singer said in a promo for an NFL Network gameday interview. (Well, officials have been saying to enjoy the big game only with members of your own household.)

The Weeknd, real name Abel Tesfaye, said he had been hearing a lot of rumors about who is going to perform with him, a la Beyoncé, Bruno Mars and others guesting with Coldplay at the game in 2016 and Maroon 5’s guests Travis Scott and Big Boi last year.

On Friday, the Weeknd tweeted out a surreal, stylized clip promoting his upcoming performance that fairly screamed “solo act.”

“I wouldn’t bet on it,” the 30-year-old singer said of any possible guests. “There wasn’t any room to fit it in the narrative, in the story I was telling in the performance.”

So what can we expect Sunday? In recent months the Weeknd has been publicly hinting at a character from his album “After Hours” who has undergone significant plastic surgery, to the point where the “Can’t Feel My Face” singer performed at the American Music Awards in late November with black eyes and his face completely bandaged.

“The significance of the entire head bandages is reflecting on the absurd culture of Hollywood celebrity and people manipulating themselves for superficial reasons to please and be validated,” he told Variety Wednesday.

So, like Lady Gaga at the Super Bowl in 2017, the show will go on with only one star on stage. But with the Weeknd — who on Friday released a retrospective album, “The Highlights” — the “narrative” will very likely spring from the same creative place that birthed his bandaged persona.

The Weeknd’s full interview with Kay Adams airs Sunday at 6 a.m. Pacific during “NFL GameDay Morning” on NFL Network. Super Bowl LV, which kicks off at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time on CBS, pits the Tampa Bay Buccaneers against defending champions the Kansas City Chiefs.