The NFL, Pepsi and Roc Nation announced in November 2020 that the three-time Grammy winner, 30, had been tapped to headline the 2021 halftime show at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
“We are thrilled to have The Weeknd join us in Tampa Bay on the Pepsi halftime stage,” the league’s chief media and business officer, Brian Rolapp, said in a statement at the time. “Halftime show performances have a history of excellence and creativity, and we look forward to seeing what he will bring to Super Bowl LV.”
Jay-Z, whose company Roc Nation began working with the NFL in August 2019 to produce the annual halftime show, said in a statement of his own, “The Weeknd has introduced a sound all his own. His soulful uniqueness has defined a new generation of greatness in music and artistry. 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.”
The Weeknd (real name Abel Tesfaye) joined the long list of artists who have taken the stage during past championship games, including Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Prince, Madonna, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Jennifer Lopez and Shakira.
Being asked to perform at the Super Bowl was just the latest accomplishment for the Toronto native, who had a massive year following the release of his fourth studio album, After Hours, in March 2020. In addition to becoming his most critically acclaimed release yet, After Hours had two singles reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100: “Heartless” and “Blinding Lights.” The album itself topped the Billboard 200 and has been certified platinum in addition to shattering multiple streaming records.
While fans ate up The Weeknd’s latest release, the Recording Academy came under fire in November 2020 for failing to nominate him in any category at the 2021 Grammy Awards. In response to the headline-making snub, the entertainer tweeted that the “Grammys remain corrupt.” The academy’s chair and interim president/CEO, Harvey Mason Jr., meanwhile, said in a statement that even he was “surprised” to find out that The Weeknd had received zero nods.
Ahead of Super Bowl LV, where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will take on the Kansas City Chiefs on CBS, scroll down to read everything The Weeknd has said about his halftime performance!