The Weeknd’s Super Bowl LV Performance: Unveiling his perception on celebrity plastic surgery

Advertisement for the Super Bowl LV and The Weeknd’s show during halftime. The artist poses in a costume to promote his performance.


Advertisement for the Super Bowl LV and The Weeknd’s show during halftime. The artist poses in a costume to promote his performance.

Ella Litchfield, Photo Manager

The Weeknd’s half-time performance for Super Bowl LV on Feb. 7 has given clarity to those who have been following his antics within the past few months. 

This singer, also known as Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, has been wearing bandages on his face during award shows, on social media and in music videos. 

Tesfaye appeared in the music videos for his album, “After Hours,” as a character with makeup and prosthetics to achieve the look of botched plastic surgery. Fans were creating possible messages and themes behind the artist’s actions until he revealed the meaning in a Variety interview on Feb. 3.

Prior to the Super Bowl, Tesfaye spoke on the excessive use of plastic surgery by celebrities. “The significance of the entire head bandages is reflecting on the absurd culture of Hollywood celebrities,” he explained.

These critiques of today’s celebrities have evolved over the past decade and have been viewed by many young people. The influence of these famous people changing their faces has redefined the standard of beauty within society.

Senior Emerson Peters shared her view on the development of plastic surgery from the perspective of someone who has seen it growing up.

“I’m all for people changing things about them to feel more confident, but it isn’t good when people start comparing themselves to others,” she explained. “It becomes a huge problem when plastic surgery is more attainable to wealthy people, while the audience of these celebrities compares their own beauty to those who have had surgery as if it is natural.” 

Much like Peters, Tesfaye has shown that he believes that plastic surgery can only be attained by wealth, and ultimately attract more wealth, status and fame. He explains his reasoning for his drastic representation of these celebrities.

“People manipulate themselves for superficial reasons to please and be validated.” Tesfaye used his botched face makeup to draw attention to this message and show how drastic changes to a face can lure viewers to focus on that person. Fame can come from a negative or positive place and plastic surgery is sometimes used to this advantage. 

The final performance at the Super Bowl LV unveiled this message, which Tesfaye further explained in his Variety interview. Opinions regarding the show circulated between viewers,  analyzing his method of delivery as well as his overall performance. 

Senior Ani Pradeep watched the show and commented on the artist’s approach in relation to the theme of his album. “The Weeknd showed a very drastic switch between the botched makeup and his regular face. His method stood out to the audience, connecting to many celebrities changing their appearance to draw attention to themselves through surgery,” he shared. “I agreed with how he delivered this message and thought it came across very well in his performance.”

Like many artists, Tesfaye uses intricate details in his music to relate back to an overall theme. Every album advances in the importance of drawing attention to the faults of celebrity culture and what can be changed to better the future of the industry.