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The Weeknd
Source: YouTube

What Happened to The Weeknd's Face? The Meaning Behind His New Look Explained

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Feb. 17 2021, Updated 10:45 a.m. ET

Is The Weeknd OK? The singer (real name: Abel Tesfaye) startled audiences when he showed up with a bloody and wrapped face to the 2020 American Music Awards, and he recently debuted another new look. Let's just say it had previously looked like he was on the losing end of a serious fight, and now it looks like he's undergone an operation or two.

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So what happened to The Weeknd's face? And will he sport a similar look during his performance at the Super Bowl LV halftime show? Keep reading while we get into why the "Starboy" singer is looking so rough, and to learn the meaning behind this shocking new look.

what happened to weeknd face
Source: Getty Images

The Weeknd at the MTV VMAs in August of 2020.

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What happened to The Weeknd's face?

Singing onstage with a bloodied and bandaged face like nothing is wrong is a pretty bold move for any performer — but that's exactly what he's done multiple times over the past year or so. While accepting multiple awards at the VMAs in August 2020, The Weeknd also startled viewers with his cuts and bruises. People were understandably all like, "WTF, is he OK?!"

As it turns out, The Weeknd's bloodied and bandaged face is actually a reference to his short film, After Hours, and his music video for "Blinding Lights." We suppose it could be interpreted as extremely obscure and jarring marketing. 

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weeknd face snl
Source: Will Heath/NBC

The Weeknd on 'SNL' on March 7, 2020.

One fan took to Twitter back in March 2020, following his SNL performance where he sported the same makeup, to clarify the situation: 

"For everyone who's wondering, The Weeknd's face looks bloody & messed up on SNL because he's promoting his new short film After Hours which precedes his new album of the same name," they wrote. 

"He wears the same bloody makeup & bandage in the After Hours clip." (Suddenly, it all makes sense!)

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What's the significance of The Weeknd's bloody face in his music video?

The music video for The Weeknd's project begins with the singer laughing maniacally — or perhaps crying — while bent over and bleeding from his face. He also appears injured later in the video when he's not speeding around on empty streets in his car.

In an interview with Esquire earlier this summer, the singer revealed that his song is about "how you want to see someone at night, and you're intoxicated, and you're driving to this person and you're just blinded by streetlights." 

Source: YouTube
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He continued, "But nothing could stop you from trying to go see that person, because you're so lonely. I don't want to ever promote drunk driving, but that's what the dark undertone is."

Those who have watched the short After Hours video will know that it is, in essence, meant to discourage viewers from driving drunk. The bandages and facial injuries are meant to showcase what can potentially happen to someone who gets into a car accident when someone is driving while intoxicated.

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While his look at the AMAs was slightly different from the VMAs, the message remained the same. When the singer switches up the appearance of the wounds, it appears as if he's trying to demonstrate the wide range of potential traumas that can occur following a car catastrophe.

Source: The Weeknd/YouTube
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The Weeknd sported yet another new look in his music video for "Save Your Tears."

The Weeknd shocked fans once again in his music video for "Save Your Tears," which dropped on Jan. 5, 2021. In the video, his face looked very different — his cheeks are sunken in, his cheekbones are incredibly prominent, and he appears to have scarring around the edge of his face (as well as very, very white and straight teeth). So what's the deal? Did The Weeknd get major plastic surgery?

Knowing what we do of the singer's penchant for changing the look of his face in order to promote his work (and given just how exaggerated the "Save Your Tears" look is), we're pretty confident saying that no, he did not really get major surgery. That being said, The Weeknd caused even more of an uproar when he uploaded this selfie to Instagram.

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Source: Instagram

Several people have compared his new look to Handsome Squidward and, well, they're not wrong. Just know that if he shows up at the Super Bowl LV halftime show on Feb. 7 looking the same, that nothing necessarily "happened" to The Weeknd's face; it's all in the name of art.

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