Blinded by the…Superbowl?

Connor Bernier, Reporter

The Weeknd took the world by storm on February 7, performing at the Superbowl LV halftime show. Receiving mixed reviews, some viewers are still unsure of how they feel about his performance. However, on the flip-side, some think due to the situation at hand with the many COVID-19 restrictions, he delivered an amazing performance. 

Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd, is a Canadian singer-songwriter who quickly rose to fame back in 2012 with his 3X platinum album Trilogy. Now grossing over 68 million monthly listeners on Spotify, he is taking over the pop music scene. He has gone on world tours and sold-out shows all across the country. He recently had risen in the media after his outspoken dislike on the music award show, The Grammys, after not receiving any nominations and not being recognized for his record-setting year. Now starring in the Superbowl halftime show, The Weeknd has been a breakthrough artist for the past few years. 

The halftime show is a big opportunity for any artist, being seen by the whole country and providing entertainment for one of the biggest sporting events in the world. When the Canadian singer was announced to perform at the show, it was met with mixed reviews, with some saying they have never heard of him and others ecstatic at the idea of their favorite artist getting the chance to perform at the Superbowl. Before his performance, The Weeknd spent over $7 million of his own money to put on a memorable show for his fans. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he was unable to do common things such as have a stage or a live audience on the field. 

The Weeknd’s performance was definitely one to remember, whether you loved it or hated it. He took a more personal approach with solos and closeup shots of him running through the stadium, ending with a big finale on the field filled with backup dancers spreading across the entire field. The backup dancers had their faces covered in bandages for the entire performance to symbolize the fakeness in the music industry and plastic surgery in a more literal form. As he performed his hit single “Can’t Feel My Face,” he ran underneath the stadium in a maze-like area carrying the camera and providing closeup shots and dizziness-inducing angles. The dancers came out pretending to not be able to see, bumping around and causing chaos while the singer belted his song. This scene specifically left people perplexed by the meaning. Due to the wide age range of audience members, it took longer for some to understand its meaning and significance.

Some media sources called the show a “bore,” while others called it “inspirational and groundbreaking.” The Weeknd was pretty outspoken on the hurdles he had to jump through to deliver a show during a pandemic. With the limitations in place and a smaller crowd, the energy felt “off” to some viewers. Another reason why is because The Weeknd decided to rise solo for this performance, something that has not been done for quite a while because usually a guest is revealed to bring in some more energy to the show. The Weeknd’s music is not for all, especially since most of his songs are more ballad-like with deeper meanings, which is not a great recipe for a high energy show. 

Superbowl LV will definitely be one for the books: with a pandemic and cardboard cutouts as fans, it has definitely been one interesting year. The Weeknd tried to bring some more energy to the stadium and provide entertainment for Americans watching around the world, and whether they thought it was subpar or a knockout performance, it will for sure be one to remember.