The Weeknd, ‘Wayne’s World’ offer diversion from overhyped Super Bowl

WTOP's Jason Fraley breaks down The Weeknd Halftime Show

It was billed as the G.O.A.T. (Tom Brady) versus the champ (Patrick Mahomes), but the game didn’t live up to the hype as the Buccaneers crushed the Chiefs 31-9.

As a result, disappointed fans turned to the halftime show for entertainment.

The pandemic limited the number of fans allowed in the stadium, so R&B and pop sensation The Weeknd sang straight to the millions watching at home.

The Canadian hitmaker opened with his No. 1 hits “Starboy” and “The Hills,” which were hard to hear between the overpowering sound mix and censored lyrics.

He next entered a neon maze of bulging closeups for “Can’t Feel My Face,” as older viewers wondered why background dancers had jock straps on their faces, while younger viewers understood they were bandages from his fake plastic surgery controversy.

The Weeknd hit his stride with “I Feel It Coming,” his voice beautifully echoing Michael Jackson, only without the dance moves, swaying side to side instead of moonwalking.

His best moment came as things slowed down for an epic wall of violins on “Earned it,” elevating his sound to a symphonic level beyond the synthesized pop beats.

He ended strong by deliriously dancing on the field with a flash mob to “Blinding Lights,” the top-selling song of 2020 and an advertising earworm in recent weeks.

Ultimately, The Weeknd’s performance wasn’t bad, nor was it great like Bruno Mars or Lady Gaga — far below the gold standards of U2 and Prince — but it was just enough to make the Grammys regret snubbing him with zero nominations next month.

As for the annual tradition of Super Bowl commercials, E-Trade knows you can’t go wrong with a little boy exercising to the “Karate Kid” theme: “You’re the best around!”

Mike Myers and Dana Carvey showed their ages, but we’re still not worthy of their “Wayne’s World” revival for Uber Eats, guest starring Cardi B urging us to “eat local.”

Believe it or not, I laughed out loud to Tide’s homage to “Seinfeld” as a couple bickers over a Jason Alexander hoodie to the theme from “The Greatest American Hero,” which of course was George Costanza’s answering machine tune.

Still, it was Jeep who won the night with Bruce Springsteen trying to heal a divided America, saying, “The middle has been hard to get to lately between red and blue.”

It was a somber commercial for a lackluster game where Brady won his seventh Super Bowl after 10 appearances with the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

At least Washington Football Team fans can now say they lost in the playoffs to the eventual champ, as an unknown Taylor Heinicke fought Brady harder than future Hall of Famers like Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes. Who knew?

WTOP's Jason Fraley breaks down his favorite Super Bowl commercials

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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