Super Bowl fans watching The Weeknd’s halftime performance at home grumbled that the show made them feel dizzy. The 30-year-old sang his heart out while cameras flitted between him and scores of male dancers wearing red suits and bandage-style masks around their face. But for many people at home, the effect left them feeling a tad queasy.
“The weekend [sic] making me dizzy af. Had to close my eyes to regroup,” one fan tweeted during the show. “Can we bring back Jlo, Shakira and the pole dancing bc the weeknd is making me dizzy in this gold room,” another viewer wrote, referring to last year’s halftime performers Jennifer Lopez and Shakira.
— 7/7 (@DreyonaB) February 8, 2021
The gold room is also a reference to the early part of The Weeknd’s performance at the Raymond James Stadium in Florida, which saw the artist searching within a maze of gold walls. He kept on bouncing into the red-suited dancers as cameras narrowly avoided hitting them in the face. Cue the memes and gifs, with one fan tweeting, “Me trying to follow the hostess to my table at the Cheesecake Factory.”
me trying to follow the hostess to my table at the Cheesecake Factory pic.twitter.com/mhB6LKCIiF
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) February 8, 2021
Comedian Michelle Collins also took to Twitter to complain. “If this #PepsiHalftime is a subliminal attempt to get me to drink soda because of how nauseous I feel… well then genius.”
Others dragged the show for its weak audio. “TURN THE MIC UP,” actress Valerie Bertinelli tweeted, before adding, “Somebody turn @theweeknd’s mic up, can barely hear him.” Maria Shriver also complained about the sound. “I can’t hear @theweeknd either and my volume is up.”
— Valerie Bertinelli (@Wolfiesmom) February 8, 2021
It’s a disappointing result for a show that many Weeknd fans had been anticipating for months. The countdown to Super Bowl LV’s halftime show began weeks ago, with speculation mounting over whether or not the Canadian crooner had any surprise guest performers in store. But The Weeknd put those hopes to bed on Feb. 4. “I’ve been reading a lot of rumors. There wasn’t any room to fit in the narrative and the story I was telling in the performance,” he told the NFL Network days before the big game. “So, there’s no special guests. No.”
The Weeknd could be forgiven for feeling nervous before his performance. He had some hard – and legendary – acts to follow; artists who have made pop culture history with their halftime show. From Miss Diana Ross exiting her epic performance on a helicopter in 1996, to Prince bringing the house down with his chilling rendition of “Purple Rain” while being drenched in a downpour 11 years later.
Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic The Weeknd was somewhat limited in what he could do anyway. Nevertheless, at least one celeb fan was pleased with the pop star’s performance. The legendary Dionne Warwick praised the singer moments after his set finished.
— Dionne Warwick (@dionnewarwick) February 8, 2021
“Well done @theweeknd,” she wrote. “Loved the set and pyros. You looked and sounded great! A Big Hug and Loud Applause!! #SuperBowl.” When one follower asked if she was “kidding,” the “Walk On By” singer tweeted, “No. I am serious, Jesse. I’ll let you know when I tell a joke.”