It's that time of the year again, the Super Bowl halftime show is right around the corner and while things are a little different this year, it's time to plan how you'll be watching.
As the biggest US sports event on the annual calendar, Super Bowl usually calls for a huge celebratory viewing party. However, the pandemic has meant that much like many other social gatherings, most of us will have to reduce the guest list to household members or go virtual. Of course, we can still make the most of it - especially the huge halftime show the NFL puts on every year.
The countdown for Super Bowl LV is officially on and this year, it's taking place on Sunday 7 February at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Florida.
Rumour has it that last year's winner's - the Kansas City Chiefs - who'll go head to head with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their home stadium, are tipped for a repeat victory. But anything can happen on the big night. The event also marks the first time a team has played in their own stadium at the Super Bowl.
The Weeknd: 2021 Super Bowl halftime show
We'd be lying if we said what we're most excited about for Super Bowl 2021 isn't the entertainment. The NFL event has become notorious for its legendary halftime musical performances, with the likes of Beyoncé and Prince among many stars to grace the stage.
This year, none other than The Weeknd will take the honors as the Super Bowl halftime performer. While no details regarding his performance have been revealed yet, something tells us he'll show up with a bruised face, like he's done recently - all in the name of art.
The Canadian pop star, who has three Grammys under his belt, will most likely be performing hits from his latest critically-acclaimed album, After Hours (including TikTok's favorite, Blinding Lights). The theme of the song is drunk-driving, with The Weeknd sending a positive message warning against it, hence the fake injuries he's sported during performances and on his album cover.
We're also hoping for some of his old chart-toppers, showcased on his new compilation album, The Highlights. While he's now confirmed there will be no special guests, we're sure to get a good dose of The Weeknd's top songs.
Super Bowl Sunday: what's on, when?
- Super Bowl LV Game Day Sunday 7 Feb 2021
- TikTok Tailgate ft Miley Cyrus starts 2.30pm ET / 11.30am PT
- Super Bowl pregame show ft. Amanda Gorman starts 6pm ET/ 3pm PT / 11pm GMT
- Kick off is 6.30pm ET / 3.30pm PT / 11.30pm GMT
- Super Bowl halftime show ft. The Weeknd starts 8pm ET / 5pm PT / 1am GMT
- US TV channel: CBS
- FREE Super Bowl live stream (US-only): CBS Sports
- FREE Super Bowl live stream (UK-only): BBC iPlayer
- Watch Super Bowl online (anywhere): use ExpressVPN to access your home broadcaster's live stream
Super Bowl 2021: how to watch in the US
If you're in the US then watching the Super Bowl 2021 will be easy. All the coverage is live on CBS so, if you have the channel as part of your cable service, then you're good to go - with kick-off on Sunday at 6.30pm ET / 3.30pm PT. Watch it live on TV or on the CBS website.
CBS also has its very own streaming service, CBS All Access, with a monthly subscription of just $5.99US a month. Plus, there's a free trial for new customers, which means you could sign up and watch the Super Bowl for free.
Super Bowl streaming services are also available through fuboTV
we’re so close. #SuperBowlWeeknd pic.twitter.com/u24dMXhb6UFebruary 2, 2021
Super Bowl 2021: how to watch online in the UK
If you're an American football fan in the UK, then you're in luck as the BBC will be broadcasting Super Bowl LV live! You can stream all the action on BBC iPlayer for free.
The game kicks off at 11.30pm GMT and is scheduled to finish around 3am GMT.
Outside the UK? Watch the show just as you would at home with a good quality VPN
Super Bowl 2021: how to watch outside your country
If you're not in your home country and can't access your normal service, then the best way to watch the Super Bowl is using a VPN that'll work no matter where you are.
Borders are no barrier if you have a VPN - a simple service which changes your IP address on your computer, or smart device, allowing you to continue to keep up with your favorite shows when you're away from home.
The VPN we like is ExpressVPN - rated as the best in the world by our colleagues at TechRadar. It's simple to use, it's super secure, there's a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee and you can get an extra 3 months absolutely free if you sign up for an annual plan.
Super Bowl 2021: how to watch online in Australia
For Australians there's an easy way to watch Super Bowl 2021 and it's free! Seven Network is showing the big game and, more specifically, the halftime show on its 7mate channel. You can watch the 7mate channel on TV or online, without having to sign up or register.
Outside Australia? Watch the show just as you would at home with a good quality VPN
Super Bowl 55 pregame shows
The Weeknd isn't the only Super Bowl show in town.
First up is Miley Cyrus, who'll headline the Super Bowl pre, pregame show - TikTok Tailgate. Featuring NFL guests, TikTok creators and the lively Ms Cyrus, it will be livestreamed on the NFL's TikTok channel, from 2.30pm ET / 11.30am PT.
Next, at the pregame show, singers Jazmine Sullivan and Eric Church team up to sing the national anthem, with R&B artist H.E.R taking on America the Beautiful and deaf rapper, Warren “WAWA” Snipe, performing both songs in American Sign Language.
The NFL has also announced that poet Amanda Gorman, who blew the world away with her Inauguration poem, will perform during the pre-game show - becoming the first poet to take to the Super Bowl stage.
Gorman will be reciting a new poem in honor of three essential workers who have served during the pandemic. NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, announced the trio are: educator Trimaine Davis, nurse manager Suzie Dorner and Marine veteran James Marti - all of whom will also be participating in the coin toss on Super Bowl Sunday.
'These heroes are symbolic of the thousands of healthcare professionals, educators, and veterans throughout our country who continue to care for, heal and support those in need during this pandemic,' Goodell said in a statement.
Super Bowl halftime shows: a look back
As we know from previous Super Bowl halftime shows, the artists tend to either use the platform to convey powerful messages through their shows, pay tribute to the legends before them or simply showcase just how talented they are.
At last year's event, we saw Jennifer Lopez and Shakira team up for a show-stopping Latin-themed performance including multiple costume changes and guest appearances by Bad Bunny, J Balvin, and J.Lo's daughter, Emme Muñiz.
For Beyoncé's Super Bowl halftime show (2016), with special guests Coldplay and Bruno Mars, she put on an unforgettable performance celebrating Black culture, highlighting racial injustice in America and dropping her (then) brand-new, super-political track, Formation
Similarly, Lady Gaga blew us all away in 2017 with a patriotic and incredibly Lady Gaga-esque show.
Then there was of course, Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake's infamous 'wardrobe malfunction' moment in 2004 - that'll remain in pop culture history forever. For those who need a refresher, as the two performed together Justin "accidentally" exposed Janet's boob, flashing the world live on TV (#JusticeforJanet).
We have no doubt The Weeknd's performance will be an extravagant tour of his greatest hits on his biggest stage yet. Especially if he throws in a few nods to his idol, Prince. The singer praised the late star during an acceptance speech at the AMAs last year, saying: "Last time I received this award, it was given to me by the late, great Prince," he reminisced. "And you know, he’s the reason I get to constantly challenge the genre of R&B, and I’d like to dedicate this award to him. Thank you."
Who knows, he might even incorporate a little Prince tribute to his set. We've definitely got our fingers crossed for it!
Sagal is a journalist, specialising in lifestyle, pop culture, fashion and beauty. She has written for a number of publications including Vogue, Glamour, Stylist, Evening Standard, Bustle, You Magazine, Dazed and Wonderland to name a few.
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