The Weeknd already said that he doesn’t plan to have any special guests for his Super Bowl halftime performance later today — but that didn’t stop James Corden from popping by rehearsals for some unexpected assistance with the show.
In this comic skit, Corden turns up at rehearsals not only in the same red-jacketed outfit that the Weeknd has worn through the entire storyline around his “After Hours” album — but wearing the same full head of bandages that have confused fans ever since he rolled them out in November (the Weeknd explained the motivation behind the bandages in an exclusive interview with Variety last week). Despite the Weeknd’s insistence that he doesn’t need any help, Corden runs him through the paces — singing, working out, trying to perform while Corden throws footballs at him (which is actually reminiscent of Eric Andre’s hilarious “Rap Ninja Warriors” skit of a few years ago).
Eventually, the Weeknd realizes that the best approach is just to play along, and after the two deliver a rendition of “Blinding Lights,” Corden declares, “My work here is done!” and make his exit. The Weeknd thanks him… and once he’s out the door, calls on everyone to “forget everything we just did!”
More seriously, the Weeknd has said that the narrative that Corden was spoofing will continue in the halftime performance. It’s a long and complex bad-night-in-Vegas storyline that has played out in videos, photos and television appearances around his “After Hours” album, involving the red-jacketed, busted-nose character featured in the album artwork and began back in November of 2019 with a pair of songs — the smash singles and videos “Blinding Lights” (which was Variety‘s Hitmakers Record of the Year) and “Heartless.” While It starts off with a few too many drinks and a fight, but then the story becomes more surreal, apparently involving possession by an evil spirit, decapitation and more.
The Weeknd’s actual halftime performance is taking place tonight — the game airs on CBS and coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. ET.