Disclaimer: I do not own the footage, nor am I affiliated with the NFL, nor am I being paid to promote this or sponsored in any way. I just want to direct people to the NFL's clip on YouTube to provide easier access for viewing.
It's the biggest sporting event of the year in America and even the non-athletically inclined, like myself were watching. For those of us who don't really enjoy watching sports on television, the Super Bowl Halftime Show can be the most exciting part. This year's halftime show was a performance by The Weekend.
Surprisingly, the show didn't start out with The Weekend singing. It started out by showing an extreme wide shot of him on an elaborate set: a Las Vegas themed light display followed by a chorus of singer-dancers harmonizing beautifully in their white robes and cyborg face masks that had glowing red eyes. These singers were perched, and sufficiently spread out might I add, on a set of risers decorated with cutouts of skyscrapers with another elaborate set of lights around their outlines. When The Weekend transitions over to the cityscape set from the Vegas style set, one of the masked singer-dancers descends from above, the risers with the chorus separate to reveal a tunnel of golden light from which the headliner appears.
When the Weekend walks out, we see he is wearing a red sequined blazer and thick leather gloves. For the first two songs, he remains onstage, but for the third, he goes back into the tunnel of golden light. The golden tunnel looks like a funhouse maze, especially when the camera follows the singer in shaky movements and using a fisheye effect as if The Weekend himself is holding it. The backup dancers then join the singer for the chorus of "I Can't Feel My Face". The dancers now sport red blazers with a black shirt and tie to match the singer along with masks that look like full-face casts or medical wraps, moving around numbly to match the lyrics while The Weekend walks to a new part of the set.
For the next song, the singer stands alone at the balcony of the stadium, singing "I Feel It Coming". He moves slightly below to the top riser for the following song, now next to a socially-distanced guitarist wearing a stiff, plaster or papier-mâché mask covered in some sort of silvery glitter, rhinestones or sequins.
The Weekend returns to the main stage for the next song, an unmasked but socially distanced string section and singer-dancers now line the risers.
For the next portion, the face-cast adorned, blazer wearing dancers line the field. They start by marching in a military or robotic fashion, spread across the entire field. Once the Weekend joins them and the instrumental for "Blinded By The Light" comes in, they erupt into a much more freeform, almost freestyle, non synchronized dance break. This is followed by a more modern, flowing style of dance for the remainder of the song. They even dance in a circle around The Weekend before the song ends. Some moments during the performance, especially the end, are punctuated by fireworks.
Now I think this performance was SUPER Crispy because of all the hard work put into this. The following are some of the thoughts that were brewing in my head while watching.
HOW In The World Did They Get The Stage Set Up So Fast?!
This was one of the first things that popped in my head as soon as the Halftime Show started. After a short break for probably at most about 5 minutes of sports anchors discussing the game, this elaborate light show - and even that doesn't do it justice - was entirely and flawlessly set up! I was in shock! There were players on that field less than 10 minutes ago and now they have an entire stage, set, and lighting up?! How many people did that take?! They must've hired some Crispy mofos to make it all happen!
Those Are Really Clever Ways To Incorporate Masks!
In a world where COVID-19 is still running rampant, it is important to wear masks and social distance. This performance did just that, and in creative ways, too! The use of full-face masks on singers and dancers for a good chunk of performance in creative ways to give them character, like cyborgs or medical patients, was incredibly clever! When the singers and instrumentalists weren't wearing masks, and even when they were, they were standing at a decent distance from each other in an attempt to comply with COVID-19 guidelines and recommendations. Now THAT'S Crispy!
What Was Up With The Camera Angle during "I Can't Feel My Face"?
I don't know how to feel - pun intended - about the camera angles and movements during "I Can't Feel My Face". It was clear that the proximity, shakiness, and dollying in and out on The Weekend's face was meant to look like the singer was holding the camera, but why? It doesn't make sense that the camera could be getting medium and wide shots of The Weekend one second, then for him to be holding it and moving it toward and away from his face the next, and then for him to let go and the camera dolly quickly back without him touching it the next. Maybe it was on a track, maybe there was someone controlling it from afar and it was on a suspension chord? As a digital media major that is particularly interested in film and television, these are the things I think about. It was definitely a creative decision, I'm just not sure if it was the right one. To each their own, I guess. Don't get me wrong, the rest of the Halftime Show incorporated phenomenal camera work! This section just stood out to me for the wrong reasons, I guess.
As I mentioned before, the show opened with an impressive Vegas set. I can't do it justice by describing it, so I will include screenshots from the performance. If you have not already seen it in its entirety you can do so by clicking here.
All I can say is WOW! These sets are amazing, detailed and complicated!
Overall, I thought this was an excellent performance by The Weekend and his backup dancers, singers, and instrumentalists as well as the camera crew and anyone else involved. I would give the Super Bowl LV Halftime Show 4.5/5 Crispy Chicken Wings. It took an incredible amount of effort and talent to pull this off live to air!