The Weeknd has finally graced the Super Bowl stage and it’s a stage like no other.
Music fans have been patiently awaiting the halftime show, which promised to be an extravagant affair after the Grammy-winner splashed $9 million of his own money to perfect the setting.
It comes after some were confused by the choice of performer given the star’s X-rated song lyrics.
In terms of aesthetics, his performance which will last double the usual time span at 24 minutes and is intended to be more of a “cinematic experience” certainly didn’t disappoint.
Opening to an epic Vegas-inspired neon set, the star, draped over a sports car, stunned fans as the stage parted and he launched into megahit Star Boy.
It’s clear the singer spared no expense on special effects as fans were treated to a tantalising visual display including pyrotechnics and a spectacularly opulent (and slightly dizzying) all-gold moment.
Behind him, an ensemble of sequined violinists and dancers accompany him.
Cdc: dancers must wear face masks
the weeknd: say no more #PepsiHalftimepic.twitter.com/WWaxMqThVC
— Amymarie (@amymarieg) February 8, 2021
Elsewhere in the performance, a number of masked dancers in red blazers took to the field for a wild rendition of upbeat banger Blinding Lights.
Over on Twitter, fans praised the opulent display:
The Weeknd with maybe the best halftime performance Ive ever heard and seen. Wow! #SuperBowl
— Mikey Vaccaro (@MikeyVaccaro) February 8, 2021
Ive never had such a fun time watching a halftime show in my lifeeeeee. Thank you @theweeknd
— (@avarxo_) February 8, 2021
Others mocked some of the stylistic choices, with a new meme emerging from the show:
How Dads take selfies pic.twitter.com/yLsLbgF3jh
— Jeff Eisenband (@JeffEisenband) February 8, 2021
When your parents try to talk to you on FaceTime pic.twitter.com/gXMpjOKe6L
— Matt Harmon (@MattHarmon_BYB) February 8, 2021
Queer Eye’s Karamo Brown was clearly not a fan tweeting a scathing criticism of the performance.
“Just like every #Weekend in 2020 we all prayed it would be fun & exciting but we were all left in our house’s feeling disappointed and unfulfilled. #Justsayin,” he wrote.
Ouch.
Just like every #Weekend in 2020 we all prayed it would be fun & exciting but we were all left in our houses feeling disappointed and unfulfilled. #Justsayin
— Karamo (@Karamo) February 8, 2021
Super Bowl fans sparked super spreader fears early at today’s momentous event, pulling their face masks down to sing along with the pre-show entertainment.
The event, held at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, saw before kick-off performances by Grammy-winning singer H.E.R, who sang America The Beautiful, as well as the national anthem performed by Eric Church and Jazmine Sullivan.
Both performances saw passionate sports fans leap to their feet and momentarily ditch their masks, amid fears the event will be a source of mass coronavirus spread.