Super Bowl halftime show: The Weeknd gives ‘brilliant’ performance with dancers in face bandages

The Weeknd performs with dancers in face bandages at Super Bowl 2021 halftime show

The Weeknd has earned widespread praise for his performance during the 2021 Super Bowl halftime show.

The artist, real name Abel Tesfaye, was the first Canadian to headline solo at the event. He opened his performance on Sunday with the 2016 tune “Starboy”. Shortly afterwards, viewers got a glimpse of The Weeknd with a group of dancers whose faces were wrapped in bandages – an aesthetic the artist has explored recently, which he views as a statement on celebrity.

The concert culminated when The Weeknd and a large group of bandaged dancers took over the field for a performance of “Blinding Lights” with an accompanying choreography. Viewers showered The Weeknd with praise on social media, deeming his show “brilliant” and “amazing”.

The Independent gave the performance a 4.5-star review, deeming it “a thoroughly produced, brilliantly escapist 10 minutes” that “helped a deeply divided country – however briefly – dance away the pain of this past year”.

Earlier in the evening, country star Eric Church and R&B singer Jazmine Sullivan performed the national anthem, while R&B artist HER was on hand to sing “America the Beautiful”. Their performances were also met with appreciation on social media.

Poet Amanda Gorman, who read during Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration last month, was read a poem during pre-show festivities, paying tribute to a teacher, a nurse, and a Marine Corps veteran during the coronavirus pandemic. Viewers called her performance as “phenomenal”, “uplifting”, and “inspirational”.

In the afternoon, Miley Cyrus performed in front of selected healthcare workers for a special pre-game show. She was joined onstage by Billy Idol and Joan Jett.

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You can follow the 2021 Super Bowl as it happened thanks to our live blog below.


Hello and welcome to The Independent’s liveblog for the Super Bowl halftime show!

We’ll be providing you with all the latest news, comment and video from tonight’s show, including analysis of The Weeknd’s headline performance plus updates on all the celebrities starring in the various adverts being rolled out during the evening.

The adverts that air during the Super Bowl are a pretty big deal, and despite the ongoing pandemic, this year looks to be no exception.

Earlier this afternoon, Call Me By Your Name star Timothee Chalamet announced that he would be starring as “Edgar Scissorhands” in a campaign spot for Cadillac, presumably inspired by Tim Burton’s classic film, Edward Scissorhands.

Roisin O’Connor7 February 2021 18:38


The Weeknd has been looking pretty roughed up lately. Wondering why? Here’s the explanation in his own words

Roisin O’Connor7 February 2021 19:01


You may have noticed that The Weeknd’s recent After Hours campaign has a certain cinematic quality to it. Here’s a piece I wrote earlier about his Hollywood fixation.

Roisin O’Connor7 February 2021 19:19


‘Before “I Can’t Feel My Face”, The Weeknd had established himself as a cult R&B figure thanks to his 2011 mixtapes, including House of Balloons and Echoes of Silence. There, he revelled in a hedonistic shadowland of his own making; singing in that piercing falsetto about his lack of feeling, and his inability to love or be loved. On After Hours, he still delves into a sadboy persona but there’s a tinge of remorse that runs through, in comparison to the cold and often cruel tone of earlier cuts.’

Read our full review of The Weeknd’s album After Hours here:

Roisin O’Connor7 February 2021 19:41


Hi everyone! Clémence here, assisting Roisin with this here live blog. I just tuned into the NFL’s TikTok Tailgate, a pre-game broadcast that will culminate with a Miley Cyrus concert.

Clemence Michallon7 February 2021 19:44


If, like me, you’re not exactly a TikTok wunderkind, here’s how to watch the Tailgate. You have to be located in the US or Canada in order to do so. If you’re not, fear not – we’ll watch and give you all relevant updates live as they happen. If you are in the US or Canada, open the TikTok app on your phone (not on the desktop website), pull up the NFL’s account, and hit the “live” button. And voila!

Clemence Michallon7 February 2021 19:48


Miley Cyrus shared this rather adorable throwback photo ahead of her concert for the TikTok tailgate:

Clemence Michallon7 February 2021 19:50


Judging by these Twitter photos, Miley Cyrus is READY to perform, and so is Billy Idol. The concert should start in around half an hour. Cyrus will be singing in front of 7,500 healthcare workers who have received the coronavirus vaccine and were selected by the NFL for the special event in Tampa, Florida.

Clemence Michallon7 February 2021 20:00


If you need a refresher on some of the all-time greats who have graced the Super Bowl stage in the past, here’s our ranking of the top 10

Roisin O’Connor7 February 2021 20:01


Miley Cyrus said ahead of today’s concert: “I can’t wait to put on a show for the NFL’s honoured guests before the game. Healthcare workers from Tampa and around the country!” You can read more about her comments announcing the show here:

Clemence Michallon7 February 2021 20:02


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