The Weeknd spent $7 million of his own money on his Super Bowl LV halftime performance.
As Yahoo! reports, the NFL does not compensate musical performers, but they do “help cover production costs” up to an unknown number. But that number fell $7 million short of what The Weeknd needed, so he ponied it up himself. (His manager confirmed this in interview with Billboard.) Perhaps he was thinking a good performance would help his numbers in other areas, and he’d make up the cash in no time. It’s worked before! Previous halftime performers have seen an increase in album sales or streams. As of publish time on February 8, The Weeknd occupied seven of the top 10 spots on the iTunes chart.
His performance was bright, fun, and very meme-able. As he wandered through a lit-up funhouse, The Weeknd’s “looking around” expression became a huge joke on Twitter. And his dancers had their faces covered in bandages, which is…one way to incorporate a face mask into a costume! (But real talk, there’s a reason behind the look.)
As the Yahoo! article notes, the artist’s performance comes a week before the Grammys were supposed to happen (the awards have since been pushed to March). There are rumors The Weeknd’s lack of nominations is why he isn’t performing at the awards show, but Team Grammys insists there’s no beef. That being said, The Weeknd did tweet this:
In a way, The Weeknd’s Super Bowl halftime show was a multimillion-dollar preview of the upcoming After Hours Tour. In 2022, The Weeknd will finally be able to take his album on the road (coronavirus guidelines willing). Tickets go on sale literally today, February 8, one day after the Super Bowl. Very sneaky, Mr. Tesfaye. We see you.
Watch his full halftime show, below: