Toronto’s own The Weeknd is on a roll. He recently released his single “Heartless” from his upcoming fourth studio album and the music video was a trip. In it we saw The Weeknd (born Abel Tesfaye) lick a toad and go on a drug-induced hallucination in Las Vegas. And it seems like he wanted to one-up himself Thursday night for his performance of the hit single on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, because at one point, he literally had a stage-hand hold his drink.
We all know the trusted and true format of late-night TV musical performances: host stands to the side of the stage, introduces the act, they perform with a bunch of flashing spotlights, audience claps, badda bing badda boom, they’re outta there. But The Weeknd decided to take that format three times around the dancefloor until the dancefloor was literally moving out from underneath him. Stephen Colbert introduced his musical act as per usual, but there was no Abel to be seen. So as Colbert wanders offstage to have a look, the camera suddenly zips down a side corridor until we see the man himself leaning up against a wall in the shadows. He emerges in a fire-engine-red suit and zips down the stairs to the basement of the Ed Sullivan Theatre where things really take a turn for the trippy.
The lights in the hallway flicker, the floor starts to move, and as The Weeknd belts out his ‘woah woahs’ into the red-tipped microphone, and dances with a hint of Michael Jackson, suddenly the walls are backing away and all we can see in the background are floating sections of wall where Late Show staffers are milling about during the mind-blowing performance. We’ve never seen a musical performance on TV like this before. Oh did we forget to mention, this was all (theoretically) done IN ONE TAKE?
“Heartless” is rumoured to be about his love affairs with exes Bella Hadid and Selena Gomez, so if they were watching last night, they probably have a lot of thoughts about the floor-rip motif.
In the past, The Weeknd has famously stated that he’s shy and has a hard time overcoming stage fright, but there was no hint of any timidness during his jaw-dropping performance and clearly his fans felt the same way. As he was leaving the Ed Sullivan Theatre, he was unexpectedly mobbed by crowd of screaming fans on the streets of NYC. As he stepped outside to sign some autographs and leave via his waiting SUV, the fans broke through the barricades and swarmed around, forcing security to push their way through before getting him safely to his vehicle.
If this is what happens after he performs one single, wonder how fans will react when he drops the entire album?