"People [manipulate] themselves for superficial reasons to please and be validated," The Weeknd said

By Darlene Aderoju and Tomás Mier
Updated February 07, 2021 09:55 PM
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the weeknd
The Weeknd
| Credit: cbs

But why the bandaged faces?

The Weeknd just shocked audiences with his jaw-dropping performance at the Super Bowl halftime show — and many fans were left wondering the significance of the bandaged dancers during the performance, especially in its closing song, "Blinding Lights."

Last week, the Canadian hitmaker, 30, finally revealed the meaning behind his mysterious medical-inspired yearlong getup for his album After Hours.

Since he began promoting his album, the star (whose legal name is Abel Tesfaye) has worn an outfit complete with a red blazer, black leather gloves and, most notably, the Grammy-winner sported artificial bruising on his face to major events and red carpets. Tesfaye then kicked things up a notch when he wore a fully bandaged face to the 2020 American Music Awards.

"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 ahead of his Super Bowl performance. "It's all a progression and we watch the character's storyline hit heightened levels of danger and absurdity as his tale goes on."

One of the most memorable moments was when Tesfaye finally unmasked in January to unveil a prosthetically-enhanced version of himself that had been completely transformed after an imaginary plastic surgery.

"I suppose you could take that being attractive isn't important to me but a compelling narrative is," Tesfaye told Variety.

the weeknd
The Weeknd
| Credit: CBS

Wearing a sparkly red blazer, with black slacks and wingtip shoes, Tesfaye was backed at first by a large choir clad in white robes and lit-up face masks for Sunday's game. The choir's stands looked like a cityscape and appeared at the top of the Tampa, Florida, stadium.

He kicked off the performance with "Starboy," before segueing into his single "The Hills." At the end of the show, Tesfaye joined face-bandaged dancers standing on the NFL logo at centerfield to perform "Blinding Lights" to conclude the performance that had the crowd cheering and singing along.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs are facing off at Super Bowl LV on Sunday in Tampa. The game is airing on CBS.

Due to the airborne transmission of COVID-19 andcase spikes across the country, the CDC continuallyadvises against gatherings of large groups and recommendssix feet of distance and face coverings at all times.