The Weeknd Performs ‘Blinding Lights’ 1000 Ft Above Manhattan To Kick Off The 2020 VMAs With Beat Up Face

The Weeknd stepped back into that iconic red tuxedo for his 2020 VMAs performance of 'Blinding Lights.' The singer is up for six nominations at this year's show!

Fitting for the MTV Video Music Awards, The Weeknd made us feel like we were in a music video while watching his performance at the 2020 show! Instead of Las Vegas, though, The Weeknd climbed up 1000 feet above Manhattan at Hudson Yards to deliver an electrifying performance of “Blinding Lights,” which MTV aired on Aug. 30. Both the red tuxedo jacket and faux face bruises from the music video returned for The Weeknd’s sky-high performance.

The Weeknd
The Weeknd opening the MTV VMAs on Aug. 30, 2020. (MTV)

The Weeknd (real name Abel Tesfaye) gave fans a tease of his performance look when he was seen sporting bruises on his face, presumably the work of special effects makeup, while leaving his hotel in New York City on Aug. 27. The hitmaker was rocking the very same red tuxedo blazer and black formal attire that he wore in his music video for “Blinding Lights,” which he released in Jan. 2020. This led many to believe that Abel could’ve been rehearsing his performance for the VMAs before Sunday night’s show.

The Weeknd
The Weeknd’s performance at the 2020 VMAs was set on a building in Hudson Yards, 1000 feet above Manhattan! (MTV)

Abel recently explained the bruised look in the music video, telling Esquire that “Blinding Lights” is really about “how you want to see someone at night, and you’re intoxicated, and you’re driving to this person and you’re just blinded by streetlights, but nothing could stop you from trying to go see that person, because you’re so lonely.” However, Abel clarified that he never wants to “promote drunk driving,” but admitted “that’s what the dark undertone is” in the “Blinding Lights” visuals. The video sent a strong message, because it took home the VMAs’ top honor — “Video of the Year” — in addition to “Best R&B.”

The Weeknd
The Weeknd in his music video for “Blinding Lights.” (Courtesy of Youtube)

During his Esquire interview, Abel also touched on his 2018 EP My Dear Melancholy, which many fans believed was inspired by his breakup with Selena Gomez. “The reason why it was so short is like, I think I just had nothing else to say on this…whatever…It was just like this cathartic piece of art. And yeah, it was short, because that’s all I had to say on this situation,” Abel admitted to Esquire.

It was clear Abel was talking about a past lover, though, in a new collab with Calvin Harris that dropped two days before the VMAs. In the track, “Over Now,” Abel declares that he’s “never comin’ back around” to an old relationship — a vow that he especially seemed to stand by, since he sings in another verse, “Feedin’ the press, but we don’t speak / But we’re both with somebody else / So please stop calling me.” Of course, this led a few fans to wonder if Abel could be dating someone new after splitting with Bella Hadid for a second time in 2019.

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