If you don’t follow sport, or even if you do but your team isn’t playing, it’s always worth tuning into the Super Bowl for the star studded commercials and epic halftime performances.
In 2020 we were treated to the revelation that Jennifer Lopez and Shakira just do not age, in 2004 we were treated to the sight of Janet Jackons’s nipple courtesy of Justin Timberlake and in 2021 we were treated to The Weeknd spending $9 million of his own hard earned cash to take on the coveted job of halftime performer.
Opening with his smash hit single Starboy, The Weeknd was accompanied by fireworks in the sky and an eerie “alien choir” behind him on the multi-level set.
The Canadian Grammy-winner put on a performance that engaged viewers both at home and in attendance at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium, at one point running into a visually stunning gold mirrored maze surrounded by performers dressed like him, albeit donning white bandage masks — replicating his Heartless and Blinding Light’s video clips.
As he sang Can’t Feel My Face, the performers swirled around him, creating almost a dreamlike sequence, before the singer popped back up on the stage — now designed to look like a cityscape with his background performers turning into an orchestra to accompany him as he worked his way through his biggest hits.
Descending upon the football field to close out his performance with Blinding Lights — the song which inspired that TikTok challenge — with hundreds of mask and red-jacket clad backup dancers, the scene was startling reminiscent of a scene from The Handmaid’s Tale (now with jazz hands!) although props to the performers for being COVID-safe.
Story continued beneath video…
While The Weeknd, whose real name is Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, is usually an intoxicating artist to watch, his performance at Super Bowl LV fell a little short. The singer has often been compared to the late Michael Jackson for his style of music, vocal range and footwork but at Super Bowl LV he seemed to only invoke the Thriller singer through his choice of outfit.
Still, his loyal fans were positively thrilled with the performance with many taking to social media to praise the singer.
The Weeknd with maybe the best halftime performance I’ve ever heard and seen. Wow! #SuperBowl
— Mikey Vaccaro (@MikeyVaccaro) February 8, 2021
Other performers to grace the stage during the showdown between last year’s victors the Kansas City Chiefs and this years winners the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, were Grammy-winning artist H.E.R. who performed America the Beautiful and Eric Church and Jazmine Sullivan who sang Star Spangled Banner.
Poet Amanda Gorman, who stunned the world with her incredible original poem The Hill We Climb at the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, was the first-ever poet to perform at a Super Bowl.
Gorman recited a poem titled Chorus of the Captains, which was written to honour educator Trimaine Davis, nurse manager Suzie Dorner and Marine veteran James Martin for their contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Oscar-nominee Timothée Chalamet also made an appearance during the annual sporting event, showing up in a commercial for Cadillac as Edgar— the son of Edward Scissorhands and Kim, who was played by Stranger Things star Winona Ryder in the original Tim Burton film.
Ryder also appeared in the expensive commercial, gifting her son with a Cadillac Lyriq, which has a self-driving mode so that he doesn’t have to use his troublesome scissor hands.