The Weeknd is in the final weeks of preparation for his performance during halftime of Super Bowl LV on Feb. 7, and the star is promising that his show will be "cinematic." In a new interview with Billboard, The Weeknd, real name Abel Tesfaye, opened up about what fans can expect from his 12-13 minute performance, explaining that while Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida will only be around one-third full due to the pandemic, he's focused on reaching everyone watching, whether they're present or at home.
"We've been really focusing on dialing in on the fans at home and making performances a cinematic experience, and we want to do that with the Super Bowl," Tesfaye said. Manager Wassim "Sal" Slaiby shared that as is usual with the Super Bowl halftime performance, organizers are covering all production costs, but Tesfaye put up $7 million of his own money to "make this halftime show be what he envisioned." What exactly he's envisioned is still a secret, but will likely include an appearance from the character the singer has been portraying in all of the music videos and appearances from his latest album, After Hours, a man in a red jacket whose face was first bloody, then bandaged, then altered by plastic surgery.
The Weeknd's co-manager Amir "Cash" Esmailian noted that he and the singer's team "always had the Super Bowl on our bucket list, and we've always had timelines for all of our goals. It came a few years earlier than we expected." Earlier this week, Tesfaye announced that he would be releasing the 18-track compilation album The Highlights on Feb. 5, which will contain many of the hits 30-year-old has earned so far during his career.
The Weeknd was officially announced as the halftime performer for Super Bowl LV in November. "We all grow up watching the world's biggest acts playing the Super Bowl and one can only dream of being in that position," he previously said in a statement. "I'm humbled, honored and ecstatic to be the center of that infamous stage this year."
"The Weeknd has introduced a sound all his own. His soulful uniqueness has defined a new generation of greatness in music and artistry," added JAY-Z, who advises the NFL on musical events. "This is an extraordinary moment in time and the Pepsi Super Bowl LV Halftime Show is going to be an extraordinary experience with an extraordinary performer."
"We are thrilled to have The Weeknd join us in Tampa Bay on the Pepsi Halftime Stage," Brian Rolapp, NFL Chief Media and Business Officer, said in a statement. "Halftime Show performances have a history of excellence and creativity and we look forward to seeing what he will bring to Super Bowl LV. "