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

(Black Press file photo)
Blackfalds continuing its fight for a registries office

The Town of Blackfalds has been fighting for a Registry Service outlet for roughly a decade

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said Thursday that the province may consider a regional approach to loosening COVID-19 restrictions if numbers continue to decline. (photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Province further easing health restrictions

Numbers of people hospitalized and in intensive care has dropped dramatically, says premier

Eric Rajah, co-founder of A Better World. (Photo Submitted)
Two Lacombe residents recieve award from Governor General for chairty work

Eric Rajah and Brian Leavitt co-founded A Better World, a charity which started in Lacombe in 1990

A ” Justice for Jeff” T-shirt. (Photo submitted)
Rally to be held outside courthouse for man slain in Lacombe

Sentencing for accused charged with manslaughter with a firearm set for March 4 in Red Deer

File photo
Alberta’s central zone has 670 active cases

301 new cases identified Sunday

Bookings for COVID-19 vaccines for people age 75 or older start Wednesday. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Updated: Delays for seniors booking for vaccine appointments

By 9:20 a.m. Wednesday, 4,500 seniors had booked their appointments

A locally-produced video project aims to preserve Canada’s railway history

‘Railways have been an integral part of Canadian history since 1836’

Ryan Jake Applegarth of Ponoka, 28, is scheduled to appear at Ponoka Provincial Court on March 12, 2021. (File photo)
Discussions about justice continue as Ponoka murder victim’s case proceeds

Reaction to comments Ponoka Staff Sgt. Chris Smiley made to town council last month

Dr. Stanley Read
Hometown Bashaw doctor recognized with alumni award for AIDS work

Dr. Stanley Read, born and raised in Bashaw, is considered a global health leader

A copy of the book “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” by Dr. Seuss, rests in a chair, Monday, March 1, 2021, in Walpole, Mass. Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the business that preserves and protects the author and illustrator’s legacy, announced on his birthday, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, that it would cease publication of several children’s titles including “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” and “If I Ran the Zoo,” because of insensitive and racist imagery. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
6 Dr. Seuss books won’t be published for racist images

Books affected include McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super! and The Cat’s Quizzer

AstraZeneca’s vaccine ready for use at the vaccination centre in Apolda, Germany, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michael Reichel/dpa via AP
National panel advises against using Oxford-AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine on seniors

NACI panel said vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are preferred for seniors ‘due to suggested superior efficacy’

Shipping containers are seen at the Fairview Cove Container Terminal in Halifax on Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Canadian economy contracted 5.4 per cent in 2020, worst year on record

Drop was largely due to shutdowns in the spring as COVID began to spread

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Time to check the mail: Every household to receive a Canada Post postcard this spring

Postcard can be mailed for free to any address in Canada

A cross-country skier glides along the banks of the Ottawa River in Ottawa on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. Canadians across the country can look forward to a mild spring peppered with the odd winter flashback throughout the first part of the season, according to predictions from one prominent national forecaster. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Mild spring with some wintry blasts predicted for most of Canada: Weather Network

Weather Network is forecasting a slower than average start to spring in British Columbia

Most Read