At the Super Bowl, many people were anticipating what the legendary halftime show would be like this year. It was none other than the 30-year-old Abel Tesfaye, with his iconic stage name “The Weeknd,” who took the helm. He performed a melody of his greatest hits and collaborated with Pepsi to create a spectacle of a show featuring dancers, a full custom-built set, and a large choir in Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium.
Although there were tons of memorable moments on stage, there was a lot that took place behind the scenes.
Super Bowl Head Bandages
For instance, people highlighted the head bandages that the dancers used, which apparently had KN95 masks built into them to raise awareness about being COVID safe.
“The significance of the entire head bandages is reflecting on the absurd culture of Hollywood celebrity and people manipulating themselves for superficial reasons to please and be validated,” The Weeknd told Variety.
Sparkly Givenchy jacket form
What people also took note of was the attire that The Weeknd displayed. Most notable was the sparkly Givenchy jacket that was hand-embroidered. According to Jesse Collins, executive producer of the halftime show, it weighed almost 40 pounds. A huge reason it weighed so much was that it was made with real rubies.
“Just to wear that thing, running around, up and down, singing live and dancing, it was really unbelievable how he was able to pull that off,” Collins told ET.
For however much the jacket cost, The Weeknd put more into his own show. He reportedly spent over $7 million of his own money on top of the $10 million budget set by the NFL for production.
However, that investment could very well pay off, as the halftime show reaches nearly 100 million people every year. For instance, after Jennifer Lopez’s show with Shakira last year, she gained more than 2 million new followers on social media.
Beyond the money The Weeknd spent on a sensational show, he also indirectly produced a hit meme that circulated widely across social media. When he performed his hit song “I Can’t Feel My Face,” his face whirled in and out of the camera, producing a dizzying effect for a lot of his viewers.
The Weeknd’s Memefestival
Mostly, people were wondering if a cameraman was behind the unique camerawork. However, Collins dispelled the rumors, confirming that it was The Weeknd who had total control. He apparently grabbed the camera on his own for the purpose of making his show “feel different.” It wasn’t spontaneous, as well. According to Collins, the artist worked it out beforehand with the director, Hamish Hamilton. Whatever the intension, it still sparked some a Memefestival:
“Just like, ‘Let’s do something different. Let’s put a special lens on it, give it a fish-eye feel,’” Collin said. “Abel grabs it so it becomes theatrical, you know? It just felt like something completely different.”
After the performance was over, celebration ensued, with The Weeknd and his crew jumping up and down in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers pirate ship.
Later on, The Weeknd was in a state of surreal and shock.
“I found him in the trailer after and he said he just, like, blacked out,” Collins said. “He said it was just like before he knew it, he was on the field and he was like, ‘Oh my god, this is almost over,’ and then there was no time to think about it because that was it.”
All in all, it was a fitting end to a legendary Super Bowl halftime performance.