In the run-up to Sunday’s (Feb. 7) big game, The Weeknd revealed on Thursday night that he plans to buck recent tradition and go it alone during his 2021 Pepsi Super Bowl LV halftime performance. “I’ve been reading a lot of rumors,” the singer told the NFL Network while discussing whether he’ll have any special guests on stage. “There wasn’t any room to fit it in the narrative and the story I was telling in the performance. So, there’s no special guests, no.”
Recent halftime shows have featured a number of special guests, with Jennifer Lopez and Shakira inviting Bad Bunny and J Balvin to the game last year, Maroon 5 joined by Travis Scott and Big Boi in 2019, Coldplay sharing the stage with Beyoncé, Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson in 2016 and Katy Perry making room for Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliott in 2015.
He’s not alone, though, as Lady Gaga needed no back-up in 2017 — in the first halftime show since 2010 with no other artists — and Justin Timberlake had just his band and the Univ. of Minnesota Marching Band for his 2018 gig at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. And while The Weeknd has been stingy with details about what fans will see at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, he assured everyone that he will tone down the sometimes bloody, yearlong storyline featuring his bandaged-faced character for the biggest gig of his career.
“I definitely want to be respectful to the viewers at home,” The Weeknd said of his capper to a weekend of music surrounding the showdown between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs. “I will still incorporate some of the story line [from the videos] — it’s a very cohesive story I’m telling throughout this year, so the story will continue, but we definitely will keep it PG-[rated] for the families. I’ll try my best.” His manager Wassim “Sal” Slaiby said in Billboard‘s latest cover story interview that The Weeknd fronted $7 million of his own money to “make this halftime show be what he envisioned.”
Watch The Weeknd talk about his halftime show below.