The Real Reason The Weeknd's Face Is Still Bloody And Bruised

The Weeknd is an artist like no other, for better or worse. Born Abel Tesfaye, per Esquire, the brooding Canadian singer gained attention from critics (and from Drake) for his trio of mixtapes, which he re-released in 2012 as Trilogy. Then, in 2015, he broke into the mainstream like a gust of risqué wind with the BDSM-tinged single, "Earned It." Though written for Fifty Shades of Grey, the song perhaps outshined the film, spending 29 weeks on the music charts and tying down an Oscar nomination. From there, the smooth-voiced Tesfaye kept the momentum rolling with mega-hits like "Can't Feel My Face" and "The Hills." 

But The Weeknd is as adept at hit-making as he is keeping fans on his toes. "I just love hanging with my friends and making jokes. The jokes don't stop — literally, all day," he told Vanity Fair in 2015. Indeed — he released a surprise collaboration with the comparatively upbeat Daft Punk in 2016, starred in 2019's Uncut Gems, and in 2020, pulled perhaps his most unexpected move.

For his fourth album, After Hours, which got released in March 2020, The Weeknd emerged looking, ahem, different. Namely, wearing bloody makeup, nose bandages, and bruises for the album art, short film, and many of his live appearancesYowza. "The Weeknd has been walking around with blood on his face for like 3 months now lol," one fan tweeted

What's truly strange about this situation? On Aug. 26, 2020, The Weeknd was spotted in bandages again, per the Daily MailSo what gives? We reveal the truth below.

The Weeknd's bruised look was a hint at his VMAs performance

For The Weeknd, who was spotted still in bandages while in NYC in late August 2020, the joke (or performance art) is not getting old. In fact, outlets and fans correctly guessed that the artist was planning to don the bruised, red suit-and-gloved look for the MTV Video Music Awards on Aug. 30, 2020! Ahead of the ceremony, Just Jared predicted he'd been spotted out and about in the look because he'd been prepping his performance. He seemingly hadn't gone outside without the signature outfit during his NYC stay. Up for a total of six awards, it was a big night for The Weeknd, who ultimately took home two trophies, including Video of the Year.

In an August 2020 interview with Esquire, The Weeknd said that his song "Blinding Lights," the lead single from After Hours, touches on drunk driving, which might explain why he looks so battered. It also reminds us of Michael Jackson's iconic "Thriller" look. Elaborating on the theme, the singer explained to Esquire, "'Blinding Lights' [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. 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." 

Motives for the look aside, The Weeknd's performance definitely delivered. Keep reading to see for yourself.

The Weeknd lit up the stage at the MTV VMAs — literally

Indeed, The Weeknd stayed true to his new bruised persona as he ignited the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards. Tesfaye kicked off this year's award show, according to the New York Post, singing his hit single "Blinding Lights" live from the observation deck at Hudson Yards in New York City. And it was quite the spectacle.

According to People, while the performance started with the mysterious singer shrouded in darkness, seemingly "passed out," he quickly rose up and delivered an electrifying rendition of his single. It culminated in, may we say, "Blinding Lights"... in the form of fireworks! Yes, a massive pyrotechnics display went off as the singer hit some final high notes, with a helicopter following him around the top of the building. According to Page Six, the singer was indeed pre-taping parts of the performance in New York City all week. And with such a great performance, his dedication to his eye-grabbing look, while jarring, was worth it!

"VMAs in 20 minutes," the singer posted on Instagram ahead of the show. Per Us Weekly, The Weeknd last performed at the VMAs in 2015, when he debuted his hit, "Can't Feel My Face" and even brought Kanye West to his feet from the stands. The mag reported The Weeknd was also supposed to perform at the 2017 ceremony, but ended up not showing up due to touring fatigue.

We're glad he made it this year, as his performance — and shocking bloody look — will not soon be forgotten.