The “Blinding Lights” singer took his ongoing face bandages saga to the next level with explosive visuals and a litany of hits — that still managed to leave many underwhelmed.
Blame the pandemic, blame high expectations set by previous performers, but it can never be a good sign when some of those performers start trending during your Super Bowl Halftime Show.
But that’s what happened to The Weeknd, when Twitter suddenly lit up with names like Bruno Mars and Michael Jackson, two artists The Weeknd has often been compared with. Those comparisons were happening again, but not in a good way.
Many modern fans consider Mars to have had one of the most riveting and exciting Halftime Shows in recent memory with Beyoncé (who also got plenty of love Sunday night) while Jackson’s 1993 turn became an almost instant classic and gold standard for how to take a Halftime Show to the next level.
The Weeknd certainly created some bold visuals, taking advantage of Covid-era restrictions to actually kick off his set from the stands. Since the game can’t be sold out for safety reasons, he took over a whole section for a very intricate cityscape setting for a choreographed choir to back him.
At one point, he took us behind those stands (which were honestly built just for this) into a gold-tinged nightmare of visual nausea as he and the camera battled it out to see who could make viewers seasick first.
But it was here that his infamous bandaged look made a return, but not on his face. The Weeknd was clean, untarnished and beautiful — looking like himself throughout the performance. But he had a veritable army of dancers in those bandages he only recently explained.
So is he closing the chapter on this story, or only moving it to the next level? Only time will tell. In the meantime, fans were left both impressed with his deep catalog of hits and incredible music — he even took it back to his “House of Balloons” mixtape days — and how underwhelmed they were by this performance.
He has all the talent in the world, in many ways as talented a musician and performer as Bruno Mars, Michael Jackson (or nearly so) and yet so often his live sets just leave so many feeling … meh.
Don’t get us wrong, he has plenty of fans and supporters who were loving everything he did out there. But they weren’t the ones getting other artists trending. And it’s the fact that those artists did trend so high during and after his performance that stands out.