With a No. 1 album and single in 2020, it’s been a huge year for The Weeknd. An awards show this year wouldn’t be complete without his presence, so thankfully, he led a stacked roster of artists performing at this year’s MTV VMAs.
For the show, he performed his aforementioned No. 1 single, “Blinding Lights.” Like previous performances of the track, it was cinematic in its presentation. Wearing his classic After Hours-era get-up, the camera stayed tight on his face before switching angles to reveal the 1000-foot-high Manhattan roof he was on. The performance literally ended with a bang, via a fleet of fireworks behind him.
— MTV (@MTV) August 31, 2020
The Weeknd is one of the top nominees at this year’s show, as he and Billie Eilish both sit in second place with six nods each. The Weeknd is up for Artist Of The Year, and his “Blinding Lights” video is nominated for Video Of The Year, Best R&B, Best Direction, Best Cinematography, and Best Editing.
The After Hours promotional cycle has hinged on creative TV performances from The Weeknd. He brought “Heartless” to The Late Show late last year, and instead of taking the stage in the traditional way, he instead navigated the bowels of the backstage area, finding himself in surreal environments that made for a unique visual experience. He continued to extend the cinematic universe of After Hours with a Jimmy Kimmel Live! performance of “Blinding Lights” the next month, in which he was beat up and bandaged, much like he was for the album’s visuals.
Watch the performance above, and find the full list of this year’s VMAs winners here.