The Weeknd is coming off a huge 2020 highlighted by his Billboard 200 No. 1 album After Hours and its breakout single, "Blinding Lights," which became the Canadian pop star’s fifth No. 1 single on the Hot 100 and set several chart records, including most weeks at No. 1 on Hot R&B Songs (34), most weeks in the top five of the Hot 100 (32, with four weeks at No. 1), most weeks at No. 1 on Radio Songs (26), most weeks at No. 1 on Adult Pop Songs for a song by a lead soloist (20) and most weeks on the Pop Songs chart (47).
“The Weeknd has introduced a sound all his own," Roc Nation founder Shawn "JAY-Z" Carter said in a statement. "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 Super Bowl Halftime Show is generally a star-studded affair with plenty of special guests, though none have been announced as of yet. Last year, J.Lo and Shakira brought out Bad Bunny and J Balvin, while prior years have seen Maroon 5 (with Big Boi and Travis Scott as guests), Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Coldplay, Beyoncé (with Destiny’s Child), Bruno Mars, Katy Perry (with Lenny Kravitz, Missy Elliott and the Left Shark) and more take the stage.
"We are thrilled to have The Weeknd join us in Tampa Bay on the Pepsi Halftime Stage," the NFL’s chief media and business officer Brian Rolapp 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."
Of course, there are other issues that could complicate the specifics surrounding the Halftime Show, and the Super Bowl as a whole, stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, the NFL is playing out its season with some stadiums, where local regulations allow, inviting in fans at reduced capacities, while others are playing to empty stadiums. And while nothing has been announced regarding the Super Bowl or fan attendance at the event, infections have been surging around the country in the past several weeks as more people spend more time indoors due to colder weather.
Currently, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers do allow fans in their stadium for home games at a reduced capacity, capped at around 16,000 fans; on Oct. 28, the Tampa Bay Times reported the NFL is considering a plan that would allow the stadium to hold fans at 20% capacity, though that could change as the rest of the situation unfolds in the coming months.
"The Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show is one of the most anticipated performances of the year and we are thrilled to welcome The Weeknd to the stage," said Pepsi vp marketing Todd Kaplan in a statement. "After a year that’s largely been void of live music, we can’t wait to watch The Weeknd transform the world’s biggest stage with his limitless talent and creativity, delivering what will most certainly be an unforgettable performance that will be remembered for years to come."