The Weeknd attends the LA premiere of “Uncut Gems” at ArcLight Hollywood in Los Angeles on December 11, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Invision, Richard Shotwell

The Weeknd attends the LA premiere of “Uncut Gems” at ArcLight Hollywood in Los Angeles on December 11, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Invision, Richard Shotwell

Five things to know ahead of the Weeknd’s Super Bowl halftime show

This year’s broadcast from Tampa, Fla. will look unlike any other with the stadium limited to 25,000 screaming football fans

Super Bowl Sunday is ready for the Weeknd.

Capping off a wildly unpredictable year of pandemic twists and turns, the Toronto-raised R&B singer will take one of the world’s biggest stages to perform his trademark dystopian pop tunes.

This year’s broadcast from Tampa, Fla. will look unlike any other with the stadium limited to 25,000 screaming football fans and 30,000 cutouts to fill the vacant spaces, according to the National Football League.

And that raises the bar for the singer, born Abel Tesfaye, to turn out an unforgettable theatrical performance. He’s got plenty of firepower, though, considering his 2020 smash “Blinding Lights” recently entered an elite club of songs that have spent at least 60 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Here are five things to know ahead of the Weeknd’s performance at the Pepsi Super Bowl LV Halftime Show:

THE PRIMER: Before the big show, the Weeknd unleashes “The Highlights,” an album of selections from his career. But don’t call Friday’s release a Greatest Hits package. Even though it features megahits “I Can’t Feel My Face” and “Starboy,” his record label insists this is merely an assembly of Tesfaye’s “best and favourite” songs. They see it as “a way to present some of the Weeknd’s most notable works in one place” for newcomers.

POSSIBLE SURPRISES: If “The Highlights” isn’t a Greatest Hits, perhaps the Super Bowl starter pack offers clues to possible special guests Sunday night. Headliners often pull other big-name performers into their show, and the Weeknd’s new album includes tracks he made with superstars including Kendrick Lamar, Ariana Grande and Daft Punk. That has fans wondering if any of those names could make a splashy cameo.

HIS INVESTMENT: Whatever happens Sunday, it’s clear Tesfaye is aiming high. In a recent interview with Billboard, his management team said he invested $7 million of his own money into the halftime show performance to achieve his vision. The NFL doesn’t pay halftime artists, and having one foot part of the bill is unheard of. “We’ve been really focusing on dialling in on the fans at home and making performances a cinematic experience,” Tesfaye said.

HIS WORLD TOUR: As with everything in the pandemic, nothing is set in stone. That’s why it wasn’t surprising to see the Weeknd bump his massive concert tour from late 2021 into next year. He’ll now kick off his 104-date After Hours World Tour in Vancouver on Jan. 14, 2022. Other Canadian stops include Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto and Montreal.

CANADIAN COMPANY: The Weeknd joins an exclusive group of only two other Canadians who’ve graced the Super Bowl halftime stage. Shania Twain rocked out alongside No Doubt and Sting in 2003, while Dan Aykroyd adopted his Blues Brothers persona for a soulful revue that featured James Brown and ZZ Top in 1997.

READ MORE: ‘Don’t make the Super Bowl a super-spreading day,’ say B.C. health officials

David Friend, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

NFL

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Members of the Nelson Nordic Ski Club show off their new snowcat. Photo: Submitted
Nelson Nordic Club celebrates new snowcat

A community fundraising effort led to the purchase

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons. File photo.
Kootenay-Columbia MP supports motion condemning Uighur genocide

Rob Morrison says labelling Uighur persecution as a genocide sends a message to Chinese government

The Skinny Genes Foundation is raising awareness and funds for a rare genetic disorder that claimed both his father and uncle.
NHL players, local businesses help Kootenay man raise funds and awareness for rare genetic disease

Signed NHL jerseys and local business donations up for auction in Skinny Genes Foundation fundraiser

An architectural design proposal from June, 2020, illustrates what a re-developed Hall Street Pier might look like. Illustration: City of Nelson
Nelson receives $1M grant for Hall St. Pier project

The design and extent of the project will be decided in the next few weeks

The Columbia Basin Trust has announced grants for biodiversity initiatives. Photo: Submitted
Columbia Basin Trust announces ecosystem protection grants

Three projects are sharing a $1.35-million grant

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

An official investigation will be launched after VPD officers were recorded posing near a dead body at Third Beach on Wednesday morning, Feb. 24. (Screen grab/Zachary Ratcliff)
VIDEO: Vancouver officers under review for allegedly laughing, taking pictures next to dead body

Two officers were caught on video by a local beachgoer Wednesday morning in Stanley Park

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
‘Stay local’: Dr. Henry shoots down spring break travel for British Columbians

B.C. is reportedly working with other provincial governments to determine March break policies

“Our biggest challenge has been the amount of vaccine,” said FNHA acting chief medical officer Dr. Shannon McDonald. (First Nations Health Authority Facebook photo)
All First Nations on reserve to be vaccinated by end of March: First Nations Health Authority

Vaccinations continuing for B.C. First Nations amid shortages

(Delta Police Department photo)
B.C. youth calls 911 after accruing $7K in online gaming charges

‘Police spoke with the student about appropriate times to call 911’

Site C will go ahead, one year later and $5.3 billion more, the NDP announced Feb 26. (BC Hydro image)
B.C. NDP announces Site C will go ahead with new $16B budget

Reviews recommend more oversight, beefed up foundation stability work

The BC Prosecution Service announced last year that it was appointing lawyer Marilyn Sandford as a special prosecutor to review the case, following media inquiries about disclosure issues linked to a pathologist involved in the matter. (Black Press Media files)
Possible miscarriage of justice in B.C. woman’s conviction in toddler drowning: prosecutor

Tammy Bouvette was originally charged with second-degree murder but pleaded guilty in 2013 to the lesser charge

A kid in elementary school wearing a face mask amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Metro Creative)
Union asks why an elementary school mask rule wouldn’t work in B.C. if it does elsewhere

B.C. education minister announced expansion of mask-wearing rules in middle, high school but not elementary students

Most Read