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

A man suspected of stealing electric grooming products from a store. (Langley RCMP/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Excavator, perfume, generator among items stolen in Langley

Langley RCMP are looking for suspects in recent crimes

A memorial to Hudson Brooks outside the South Surrey RCMP detachment. (File photo)
Officer who fatally shot Hudson Brooks recounts ‘absolutely terrifying’ incident

Const. Elizabeth Cucheran testified at coroner’s inquest Tuesday morning

Stephen Gregorig, co-owner of Smugglers’ Trail Caskworks, holds a soon-to-be-filled can of Orion 1-1. Smugglers’ Trail is launching the beer in an effort to raise funds and awareness for Honour House—a home that supports soldiers, veterans, first responders, and their families. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
‘It’s a tip of the cap,’ Smugglers’ Trail Caskworks launches new beer to help support B.C. charity

Sales of Orion 1-1, a poppy-seed IPA, will help raise funds for Honour House

Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or in writing.
LETTER: Langley reader says Portugal solved overdose crisis

Others should follow the example to deal with the other epidemic taking place, letter writer argues

(Black Press Media files)
B.C. teacher transferred then suspended after students report feeling ‘scared, nervous’

Authorities found that teacher did not create inviting, respectful environment for students

Victoria’s Swartz Bay terminal. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries offers cheaper, prepaid fare options

Ferry service preparing for busy terminals when travel restrictions are lifted

FILE - Dolly Parton arrives at the 61st annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 10, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Grammy-winning singer, actor and humanitarian posted a video on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, of her singing just before getting her COVID-19 vaccine shot. Parton donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee for coronavirus research. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)
‘Vaccine, vaccine’: Dolly sings ‘Jolene’ rewrite before shot

The Grammy-winning legend turned 75 this year

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

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland speaks about the Fiscal update during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday November 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
COVID-19: Wage and rent subsidies, lockdown support to be extended until June

Chrystia Freeland says now is not time to lower levels of support

The area on Cordova Bay Road where ancestral human remains were discovered Feb. 22. (Submitted photo)
Human remains discovery a reminder of B.C. Indigenous culture dug up and displaced

‘These are the people who inspired and birthed the generations that we now have here’

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

Most Read