Ahead of the Super Bowl tonight, fans and media alike speculated that The Weeknd may be joined by Ariana Grande for his halftime performance in Tampa, Florida, especially as many past halftime show performances have brought special guests on stage. The Weeknd made it very clear ahead of the game, though: Don’t expect Grande to be there or anyone else.
The Weeknd told the NFL Network that he was aware of the guest star talk. “I’ve been reading a lot of rumors,” he said. “There wasn’t any room to fit it in the narrative and the story I was telling in the performance. So there’s no special guests, no.”
Is it possible that Grande or someone else could make a surprise virtual appearance? Sure, it’s not impossible. But based off Grande’s Instagram Story, she truly isn’t rehearsing in Tampa. She was out with friends earlier today and shared shots of her pets, who live with her in Los Angeles. She did post a tribute to the game, showing support from afar:
In April 2020, The Weeknd spoke to Variety about how his 2014 collaboration with Grande, “Love Me Harder,” really opened doors for him in his career. “Ariana was kinda my foot in the door with Max [Martin, a songwriter he would go on to collaborate with on “Can’t Feel My Face,” “In the Night,” and more], my chance to show him ‘I can play this game,’ y’know?” he recalls. “But when we got in the room together, we didn’t really connect as much. Then someone invited him to a show I did at the Hollywood Bowl, and he saw 15,000 people singing along, and I think he was like, ‘OK, there’s something I’m not getting.’ So we sat down again, and the first song we created was ‘In the Night.’”
“Max and I have become literally the best of friends, but I don’t do that with many people,” The Weeknd added. “It’s not that I can’t, but a collaboration is a relationship, it’s like a marriage, you’ve gotta build up to it.”
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