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

RCMP were on scene under the Menzies Street bridge in Chilliwack on Thursday, March 4, 2021 where a body was found. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
BREAKING: Body recovery underway at Menzies bridge in Chilliwack

No details on age or gender as RCMP officers were on scene Thursday morning

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
COVID-19 variant exposure at Mountain Elementary in Abbotsford

Someone with new COVID-19 variant exposed school for 5 consecutive days in late February

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

Okanagan high school girls volleyball players Georgia MacLean of Lake Country’s George Elliot Secondary (from left), Olivia Pederson of Vernon Christian School, Kassidy Schaper-Kotter of Vernon Secondary and Makenna Lane from W.L. Seaton Secondary have signed to play college volleyball with Abbotsford’s Columbia Bible College. (File photos)
Fraser Valley college inks quartet of Okanagan recruits

Columbia Bible College Bearcats in Abbotsford sign four players to women’s volleyball squad

Items seized by Chilliwack RCMP and Abbotsford Police during a Feb. 23 traffic stop. (RCMP photo)
Police from Chilliwack and Abbotsford seize drugs in traffic stop

Chilliwack RCMP worked with the Abbotsford PD to seize four kilograms of suspected fentanyl

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

A bus rider uses a support bar with an anti-microbial copper coating, newly implemented as part of a TransLink pilot program. (TransLink)
‘Self-disinfecting’ copper coming to more of TransLink’s fleet to fight against COVID-19

The transit authority says tests showed the surface was 99.9% effective in killing all bacteria

B.C. research reveals how pandemic has changed attitudes towards sex, health services

CDC survey shows that 35 per cent of people were worried about being judged

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon speaks in the B.C. legislature, describing work underway to make a small business and tourism aid package less restrictive, Dec. 10, 2020. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends deadline for tourism, small business COVID-19 grants

Business owners expect months more of lost revenues

Anti-pipeline protests continue in Greater Vancouver, with the latest happening Thursday, March 4 at a Trans Mountain construction site in Burnaby. (Facebook/Laurel Dykstra)
A dozen faith-based protestors blockade Burnaby Trans Mountain site in prayer

The group arrived early Thursday, planning to ‘block any further work’

Mid day at the Vancouver Port Intersection blockade on March 3, organized by the Braided Warriors. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
Anti-pipeline blockade at Vancouver intersection broken up by police

Demonstraters were demanding the release of a fellow anti-TMX protester

(Government of B.C.)
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

Backcountry skiers are dwarfed by the mountains as they make their way along a mountain ridge near McGillivray Pass Lodge located in the southern Chilcotin Mountains of British Columbia, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012. Avalanche Canada has issued a special warning to people who use the backcountry in the mountains of western Alberta and eastern British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Avalanche Canada special warning for mountains in western Alberta, eastern B.C.

Avalanche Canada also says everyone in a backcountry party needs essential rescue gear

Most Read