The Weeknd headlined tonight’s Super Bowl Halftime Show, and the musician, who has made headlines for wearing bandages during multiple award show performances, opted not to wear them himself for his big number. But he did have dancers wear them while performing “Can’t Feel My Face” and “Blinding Lights.” They doubled as masks, keeping his dancers safe amid the coronavirus pandemic. But there was also a deeper, more symbolic meaning to them.
While The Weeknd didn’t say on stage why he opted to incorporate them into his performance, he did talk to Variety about the choice ahead of the game.
“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,” he said.
The Weeknd has been playing a character, and his changing face plays into his After Hours music videos’ bad night in Las Vegas storyline, he confirmed: “It’s all a progression and we watch The Character’s storyline hit heightened levels of danger and absurdity as his tale goes on.”
The Weeknd, by the way, confirmed ahead of the game that his performance would not feature any guest stars. “I’ve been reading a lot of rumors,” he told the NFL Network Thursday. Those rumors included speculation that Ariana Grande, who collaborated with him on “Love Me Harder,” could join him.
But that’s not the case, The Weeknd said: “There wasn’t any room to fit it in the narrative and the story I was telling in the performance. So there’s no special guests, no.”
The Weeknd added that his performance would be family-friendly, even as he explores heavy subject material. “I definitely want to be respectful to the viewers at home,” he told Variety. “I will still incorporate some of the storyline [from the videos—it’s a very cohesive story I’m telling throughout this year, so the story will continue, but we definitely will keep it PG for the families. I’ll do my best.”
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