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Before the Weeknd took the stage at Super Bowl LV in Tampa, Florida, on Sunday night, it was revealed that he spent $7 million of his own money to make sure the show lived up to his own standards. This revelation came after previous reports indicated that he chose to perform at the halftime show instead of the Grammys.
By all accounts, this performance was very important to Abel Tesfaye. Nearly ten years after releasing his debut mixtape, House of Balloons, he had an opportunity to showcase his discography under the brightest lights in the world. And, in the midst of a pandemic, CBS’ claims that this was “the biggest concert of the year” weren’t hyperbolic for once. Despite all the cardboard cutouts in the stands, this was a chance for everyone to experience a live music spectacle again, even if we had to watch it through our TVs at home.
So, how did he do? Did he live up to expectations? How will the performance be remembered in the context of past halftime shows? On the morning after the Super Bowl, Complex Music writers Eric Skelton and Jessica McKinney are joined by Complex’s resident Weeknd superfan (social media editor Waiss Aramesh) to evaluate Abel’s performance.