Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY
Published 8: 52 p.m. ET Feb. 7, 2021 | Up to date 11: 57 p.m. ET Feb. 7, 2021
Who wants a Grammy?
After his appalling shutout from November’s Grammy Awards nominations, The Weeknd performed the world’s ideal stage Sunday, headlining the Gigantic Bowl 55 halftime show. With Vegas-vogue showmanship and velvety vocals, the pop/R&B movie critical particular person proved he’s larger than any normal, out-of-touch awards show – even though he did once rapidly salvage lost within the busy spectacle.
The Weeknd (precise title: Abel Tesfaye) took over Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, for a brisk 13-minute situation, working via hits together with the euphoric “Blinding Lights” and synth-pushed “Attach Your Tears” from his neon-drenched fourth album “After Hours,” released last March. He additionally dipped into his assist catalog for the hypnotic “I Can now not In truth feel My Face,” ominous “The Hills” and inviting “Earned It” from the “Fifty Shades of Grey” soundtrack.
Bucking Gigantic Bowl tradition, The Weeknd didn’t convey out any visitors, despite having an arsenal of fan-popular collaborations with Ariana Grande (“Worship Me Tougher”), Daft Punk (“Starboy”) or Kendrick Lamar (“Pray For Me”). As a replacement, he caught to a fable originated in his “After Hours” album and visuals, with a Sin Metropolis backdrop and face-bandaged backup dancers in purple suits.
If truth be told, it all felt bask in an extension of his “After Hours” promo, which is is fragment of the diagram the halftime show underwhelmed as a total. Excluding the upbeat finale, the place The Weeknd and hundreds of dancers stormed the enviornment to disclose “Blinding Lights,” the efficiency changed into once largely confined to one aspect of the stadium and never strayed from the album’s dark imagery.
Masked choir contributors with purple gentle-up eyes beget been partitioned behind cutouts of metropolis skylines. Choreography changed into once restricted to The Weeknd strolling via the stands and mugging to the digicam. And within the show’s most claustrophobic moment, he regarded in a yellow-lit hallway via a dizzying fisheye lens, singing “I Can now not In truth feel My Face” as dancers butted into every a few.
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By never taking fleshy merit of the space, the show chanced on as your average VMAs medley with a reasonably elevated value range, reasonably than a efficiency that changed into once envisioned and executed namely for a stage as stout because the Gigantic Bowl. While it be that you just may perchance also name to mind to pull off a dynamic solo halftime situation – factual discover at Girl Gaga’s in 2017 – The Weeknd customarily struggled to assign with the show’s breakneck meander, and may perchance’ve faded a guest or two to assist ease the strain.
Irrespective of the show’s disappointingly tiny in actuality feel, The Weeknd sounded wonderful and oozed enchantment when he wasn’t swallowed up by backup dancers. It changed into once a refreshingly gentle time out for the on the total brooding singer, and nowhere shut to the worst halftime shows of the past decade. (These would be Maroon 5’s messy 2019 efficiency and the Unlit Eyed Peas futuristic eyesore in 2011.)
Composed, this year’s show made us nostalgic for the unadulterated pleasure of last year’s efficiency, when Jennifer Lopez and Shakira teamed up for an athletic, dance-heavy birthday party of Latin culture. It additionally couldn’t match the breathtaking highs of Beyoncé‘s immaculate 2013 show, nor did it beget any indelible, emotional moments bask in Prince singing “Purple Rain” in a downpour in 2007.
As a replacement, it changed into once lots bask in The Weeknd’s namesake: fun, too quick and seemingly forgotten by Monday.
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