As the players left the field, all eyes turned to The Weeknd as he took the stage at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa for the Super Bowl halftime show. The performance was highly anticipated following the “Blinding Lights” singer’s Grammy snub and the postponement of his After Hours tour.
The Weeknd, who goes by Abel Tesfaye offstage, understands spectacle: “We live in a world where artists don’t really make the money off the music like we did in the Golden Age,” he told Forbes in 2017. ” It’s not really coming in until you hit the stage.”
Without guests, The Weeknd performed for the full 13-minute show, mixing songs from his earlieralbums Behind the Madness and Starboy with tunes from his recent hit release After Hours. At once mesmerizing and disorienting, the performance included a choir, violinists, hundreds of dancers and fireworks.
The Weeknd wasn’t paid for the gig—in fact, his manager says he contributed $7 million of his own money to put on the high-budget act—but the pay off from the show could be huge. The exposure that the halftime show provides leads to a boost in record sales and streams. Last year, streams of Jennifer Lopez and Shakira’s catalogs jumped 149% and 221%, respectively, in the days following their performances, according to Nielsen Music. The show also served as a sneak peek of his 2022 tour; in past years, StubHub traffic has jumped at least 50% for halftime acts following their performances.
The show also garners the hundreds of thousands of social media impressions each year. Through 9:20pm ET there were 747,343 tweets mentioning The Weekend, according to social analytics firm ListenFirst. There were 534,225 tweets mentioned halftime, with 11% expressing joy and 7% expressing surprise.
Here’s a look at some of the best and buzziest of Super Bowl halftime Twitter:
By Madeline Berg, Forbes Staff