For once, it’s not The Weeknd’s face we’re freaking out over. His Super Bowl 2021 face was blood-free, bruise-free, bandage-free, plastic-surgery free — in short: almost shockingly normal. Then again, the secret’s out. In the lead up to his outrageously expensive halftime show performance, Abel Tesfaye, himself, told us what his bandages really meant. As he finally admitted to Variety, they’re a reflection of “the absurd culture of Hollywood celebrity and people manipulating themselves for superficial reasons to please and be validated.” Get it? Got it? Good, because The Weeknd’s moved on.
The new performance piece Tesfaye’s got everybody whispering about has nothing to do with his face, and everything to do with his Super Bowl backup dancers. As one impressed viewer pointed out, “The Weeknd seems to have hired enough dancers for his show to fill Tampa Bay’s Raymond James Stadium.” And (shocker?), they’re all his clones. Tesfaye’s Super Bowl look: dressed in black, accented by a signature red blazer, and any facial dissimilarities covered up with mummy-like bandages. They’re captivating, terrifying, and oddly comical all at the same time.
Fan theories about The Weeknd's Super Bowl backup dancers
Were The Weeknd’s halftime backup dancers a spoof on Staples security guards?, joked one Super Bowl halftime show watcher. Were they blatant reminders of social distancing and our collective, face mask-wearing obligation? asked another. Or, perhaps, was The Weeknd paying tribute to a character (Pluto) in Jordan Peele’s movie, US when he created the look for his backup dancers? posited a third.
If that were his intention (and The Weeknd, as Vice will tell you, is known for borrowing a page or two from his favorite horror movies), then his masked and bandaged commentary runs deeper than a 13-minute Super Bowl halftime performance would let you properly explore. As Peele once explained to NPR, “Whatever your ‘us’ is, we turn ‘them’ into the enemy, and maybe ‘we’ are our own worst enemy.” Which, in our estimation, would make The Weeknd’s bandaged backup dancers “us” or “them” or “we”, or “us” and “them” and “we” all at once.
Or, if you prefer a simpler version, to borrow the words of one impressed fan, “emotionally I am one of the Weeknd’s backup dancers, just vibing, spinning, looking like an alien, not really sure why I am there 100% but there anyway.”
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