Star splashes $9m on Super Bowl stage
Canadian musician The Weeknd has some big shoes to fill after last year's iconic JLo and Shakira Super Bowl spectacle.
It seems the 30-year-old Blinding Lights singer, real name Abel Tesfaye, is aware of the high expectations, having splashed a whopping $9 million of his own cash to perfect the stage ahead of the gig.
Kicking off from 10.30am AEDT, the Super Bowl 55 will see the Kansas City Chiefs taking on Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with the three-time Grammy winner The Weeknd providing the entertainment midway through.
Last month, The Weeknd confirmed he's poured his own money into getting the Super Bowl sets he wants. Although game organisers usually cover production costs, the singer put up $9.1 million to "make this halftime show be what he envisioned," Billboard reported.
According to the publication, he is hoping to make his show a more "cinematic experience".
In addition, the performance will last a whopping 24 minutes, a pivot from the usual 13-minute special, according to Billboard.
Elsewhere he revealed the performance, which usually takes place in the centre of the field, may look a little different this year.
"Due to COVID and for the safety of the players and the workers, we built the stage within the stadium … I'm not going to tell you anything else because you'll have to watch on Sunday," The Weeknd teased.
While he remained mum on what exactly the money will be spent on, or the setlist he expects to perform, a teaser for the show features a montage of fans enjoying hit track Blinding Lights, including a grocery store worker and a pool cleaner dancing to his tune like no one's watching.
While previous Super Bowl performers have included special guests in their show, The Weeknd said he won't have any other artists join him due to COVID restrictions.
WHO IS THE WEEKND
The Weeknd's career kicked off on YouTube back in 2010.
His major break into mainstream radio came withStarboy, a track from his third studio album in 2016.
According to Grammy.com, the singer chose his stage name after dropping out of high school and leaving "one weekend and never (came) back home".
He later revealed he cut out the third "e" because there was already a Canadian band known as The Weekend.
Since bursting onto the music scene online, he's won three Grammys, eight Billboard Music Awards, five American Music Awards, two MTV Video Music Awards and nine Juno Awards, and has appeared as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live three times.
During his last SNL performance in March 2020, he startled audiences with his bandaged face.
"The significance of the entire head bandages is reflecting on the absurd culture of Hollywood celebrity and people manipulating themselves for superficial reasons to please and be validated," he told Variety.
The singer is also known for his on-off relationship with supermodel Bella Hadid, which lasted from 2015 until 2019. He also briefly dated Selena Gomez in 2017.
You can watch today's game - and The Weeknd's halftime show - live with ESPN on Kayo by getting a free 14-day trial and streaming instantly.
Originally published as Star splashes $9m on Super Bowl stage