The Weeknd performed at the 2021 Super Bowl halftime show surrounded by dancers wearing bandages around their faces, a statement about what the artist sees as a toxic Hollywood culture.
Mara Johnson, a history major, said the halftime show is the only part of the Super Bowl she actually pays attention to, and the performance made her enjoy the overall game even more.
“I thought The Weeknd did a good job, and I especially liked how he did a medley of so many songs,” Johnson said. “He had a good stage presence and his music appeals to a wide audience, so I think he was a good choice.”
The halftime show was not the first time he has used bandages in a performance or publicized an unusual physical appearance. He posted a photo on Instagram in August 2020, posing for the MTV Video Music Awards with bruises all over his face.
In November 2020 he showed up to the American Music Awards wearing bandages covering his face, similar to his dancers at the halftime performance. It looked as if he was in recovery from having major plastic surgery.
On Jan. 5 he posted a picture on Instagram of his face, looking completely different, with defined cheekbones that looked like the result of intense plastic surgery with no caption or comment.
Eibar Romero is an HSU critical race and gender major who thought the Weeknd’s strong message was effective.
“In terms of Hollywood culture and connecting it to plastic surgery, he did do a good job because Hollywood is like the center of plastic surgery where a lot of famous YouTubers, popular social media influencers and celebrities get procedures done,” Romero said.
However, Romero was not the biggest fan of the Super Bowl’s decision to have the Weeknd perform.
“Honestly I don’t think he was a good person to choose for a Super Bowl game; he’s not a very exciting artist,” Romero said. `
At the Super Bowl, he came out alone performing his well known 2016 hit, “Starboy.” Later, he started singing “I Can’t Feel My Face” as he walked through a mirrored hallway. He was followed by a large group of dancers wearing white bandages that covered their entire faces.
Raul Barbosa, a forestry major, felt as though they could’ve chosen a better artist to perform at the halftime show.
“I thought the face bandages were weird and not too significant, but thinking back now it could have, but it just wasn’t clear enough for me to understand at the time,” Barbosa said.
Although there are mixed views on The Weeknd’s performance, his streams have increased 41% in the US since the Super Bowl, according to Billboard as of Feb 11.