The Weeknd Photograph:( Twitter )
It seems there won’t be anyone like Beyonce, Travis Scott, Bruno Mars, Missy Elliott, M.I.A. or any other Super Bowl halftime special guests from recent years — or past collaborators like Daft Punk, Ariana Grande, Lana Del Rey, Rosalia or Doja Cat — joining him in the narrative he is going to present.
The Weeknd’s halftime performance at the Super Bowl 2021 will be unique owing to the ongoing pandemic. In a brief interview for the NFL Network, he revealed another break with tradition: there will be no special guest.
When asked who he'd be bringing along with him, he laughed and said, “I’ve been reading a lot of rumors… I wouldn’t bet on it. There wasn’t any room to fit it in the narrative, in the story I was telling in the performance. So yeah. There are no special guests.”
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So, it seems there won’t be anyone like Beyonce, Travis Scott, Bruno Mars, Missy Elliott, M.I.A. or any other Super Bowl halftime special guests from recent years — or past collaborators like Daft Punk, Ariana Grande, Lana Del Rey, Rosalia or Doja Cat — joining him in the narrative he’s referring to, which is the long and complex bad-night-in-Vegas storyline that has played out in videos, photos and television appearances around his “After Hours” album.
It involves the red-jacketed, busted-nose character featured in the album artwork and began back in November of 2019 with a pair of songs — the smash singles and videos “Blinding Lights” and “Heartless.” While It starts off with a few too many drinks and a fight, but then the story becomes more surreal, apparently involving possession by an evil spirit, decapitation, and more.
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While the Weeknd addressed the bandages in an exclusive interview with Variety earlier this week — essentially saying that they’re a commentary about the vanity surrounding celebrities — he didn’t provide much insight as to what the story itself means or where it’s going. He spoke with Variety about it s in our cover story back in April, but didn’t reveal much: “This character is having a really bad night, and you can come up with your own interpretation of what it is.”
According to Variety, during a press conference on Thursday, he did reveal that the performance will be more “PG” (-rated) than his often gory or disturbing videos; that the performance will take place in the stands as well as on the field (“We kind of built the stage within the stadium”); and confirmed that the performance will “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.”