22:56 GMT04 March 2021
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    The most expensive TV adverts, the biggest American stars, and tonnes of junk food – the cornerstones of the Super Bowl remain unchanged, even during the pandemic. Something had to be reworked though, as the event’s legendary half-time performance was watched by just 25,000 socially-distanced fans (and joyful cardboard cut-outs).

    Canadian singer The Weeknd fuelled a flurry of memes after his dizzying close-camera performance at Super Bowl’s half-time show reminded viewers about losing their parents in shops and forgetting to turn the camera off during work Zooms calls. 

    The Weeknd’s performance was a highlight of the Sunday event, which could only happen under strict anti-COVID protocols, prompting the singer to stay away from the pitch as long as possible. Some nifty camera work helped him to overcome the restrictions though. 

    The Weeknd performs during the halftime show at the NFL Super Bowl 55 football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla
    © AP Photo / Charlie Riedel
    The Weeknd performs during the halftime show at the NFL Super Bowl 55 football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla

    Abel Tesfaye – the singer's real name – was bursting with energy. After performing a dramatic version of "The Hill," he disappeared before emerging backstage surrounded by dozens of masked dancers. As he performed his smash hit "Can’t Feel My Face," the camera zoomed in...a lot. So close, in fact, that it prompted jokes on Twitter. 

    According to the Weeknd’s management, he was not paid for the show. Instead, he reportedly contributed some $7 million of his own money towards the 13-minute performance. However, with so many people tuning into the Super Bowl, he can be expected to make that sum back and more as record sales and downloads usually skyrocket for the half-time performer. 

    Tags:
    performance, Abel Tesfaye (The Weeknd), Super Bowl, United States
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