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The Weeknd’s innovative Super Bowl halftime show on Sunday will be performed in the stands, Page Six has exclusively learned, as a way to put on a blockbuster live show and observe COVID-19 safety precautions.
The show will be “only in the stands and nothing in the field,” said a source. “It’s really phenomenal, different and historic.”
The stages and equipment for Super Bowl shows are usually assembled by close to 5,000 staffers in 13 minutes, including the performance, an insider said. This year, the show will be put together by a fraction of that number, we hear.
“It’s a total of 1,000 people, and they can’t touch the field,” said an insider of the behind-the-scenes production this year. “How do you pull off a show that’s not on the field and is as impactful as its ever been with same level of entertainment?”
The source added of this year’s show, “Wait till you see it, it’s beautifully done. It’s different and it’s historic.”
We hear that the team behind the show, “didn’t want to go virtual. Then it could be anywhere — it could be in Las Vegas. The whole idea of Super Bowl halftime is that you’re able to experience that.” Another source added, “The NFL didn’t want the fans in attendance not to have that [live] experience. The easy way out is to have it somewhere else, but [the live show] is part of the overall Super Bowl.”
Meantime, a source in Tampa said of the precautions in place for the game, “The amount of COVID-19 policy and safety protocols that have been set up here is unbelievable. They really have an incredible system in place. Roger Goodell and the league have done an amazing job.” The source added that Goodell was also a driving force in finding an innovative way to safely keep the show inside the stadium.
Jay Z’s Roc Nation is executive producing the show. Last year’s halftime show, starring Jennifer Lopez and Shakira, drew about 102 million viewers. For Sunday’s show, The Weeknd put $7 million into the production himself, saying, “We’ve been really focusing on dialing in on the fans at home and making performances a cinematic experience, and we want to do that with the Super Bowl.”
“Kudos to The Weeknd for being able to be creative in that way, and bringing life to that field. Even if you can’t have it on the fields, there will still be the excitement of being in a seat and being able to watch a show live,” a Super Bowl source said.
Super Bowl executive producer Jesse Collins had previously hinted to Entertainment Tonight of the halftime show, “We’re gonna use the stadium to present the show in a way that it’s never been presented before… Instead of focusing on what we can’t do [due to the pandemic], it’s like, look at what the opportunities are because of the cards we’ve been dealt.”
Reports have said that 22,000 fans will be admitted to the stadium, which is about one-third of capacity. The NFL has already invited 7,500 vaccinated health care workers to the Super Bowl for free. Miley Cyrus is playing a NFL TikTok Tailgate pre-game show exclusively for vaccinated health care workers.