The Weeknd hailed for stunning Super Bowl LV half-time show as Buccaneers take victory

8 February 2021, 08:37

Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

The Weeknd has been commended for delivering a stunning Super Bowl LV half-time show as Tom Brady led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to their first championship victory in 18 years.

Canadian singer-songwriter The Weeknd enlisted a small army of lookalikes during his extravagant Super Bowl half-time show packed with hits, including the 2020 number one Blinding Lights.

The performance came during the 55th instalment of the NFL's showpiece event, which took place amid coronavirus restrictions in Tampa, Florida, as Brady's Buccaneers overcame Patrick Mahomes' Kansas City Chiefs 31-9.

Around 25,000 fans were allowed inside Tampa's 65,890-seat Raymond James Stadium, of which 7,500 were vaccinated healthcare workers. The rest of the seats were filled by cut-outs.

The Weeknd capped an impressive year of success in the charts by performing his blockbuster hits during the coveted half-time slot.

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The Weeknd capped an impressive year with a stunning half-time show
The Weeknd capped an impressive year with a stunning half-time show. Picture: PA
Masked lookalikes joined The Weeknd for his extravagant performance
Masked lookalikes joined The Weeknd for his extravagant performance. Picture: PA

His show began with the musician seated in a classic sports car against the backdrop of the Las Vegas skyline, which was populated by backing dancers dressed as gospel singers before he launched into his opening track, 2016 hit Starboy, followed by The Hills.

The musician brought fans inside a brightly lit corridor for Can't Feel My Face, while unsteadily holding the camera up to his own face - a move which has inspired a number of memes online.

A full moon rose above the stage while The Weeknd sang I Feel It Coming and fireworks erupted in the Florida sky.

Following a rendition of Save Your Tears, the Canadian performed his Fifty Shades Of Grey song Earned It.

The 30-year-old joined a small army of backing dancers - all wearing the same red jacket as him but with bandages on their faces in line with the aesthetic for his After Hours album - on the field to perform Blinding Lights.

As the lookalikes lay down, The Weeknd - who prior to the performance revealed he spent $7 million (around £5 million) of his own money on the show - stood beneath a firework-filled sky.

The Super Bowl, one of the year's biggest cultural events in the US, featured the usual Hollywood star power, with blockbuster film trailers and celebrity-filled adverts appearing during the many commercial breaks.

A 30-second slot reportedly cost about $5.5 million (£4 million).

Matthew McConaughey appeared as a flat version of himself in an ad for Doritos 3D while Will Ferrell, Awkwafina and Kenan Thompson promoted car maker General Motors.

Post Malone joined Cedric The Entertainer for a Bud Light promotion while Drake and Paul Rudd starred in an advert for State Farm insurance.

About 25,000 fans were allowed inside the Raymond James Stadium
About 25,000 fans were allowed inside the Raymond James Stadium. Picture: PA
The Weeknd was hailed for his Super Bowl half-time show
The Weeknd was hailed for his Super Bowl half-time show. Picture: PA

Brad Pitt voiced a teaser building up a game that had been billed as Brady - the most decorated American footballer ever - against the league's current leading star Mahomes.

In Brady's first season with the Bucs - and following a glittering 20-year spell with the New England Patriots - he extended his record for Super Bowl wins to seven by beating last season's champions, becoming the first team to win the championship in their home stadium.

Before kick-off, singer-songwriter H.E.R. performed America The Beautiful while country music star Eric Church was joined by singer Jazmine Sullivan for the US national anthem.

Amanda Gorman, the 22-year-old poet who garnered worldwide attention after starring in last month's presidential inauguration, also performed before the game started.