Abel, is that you? The Weeknd kicked off 2021 by stunning fans with his brand new look.
The 30-year-old Grammy winner, born Abel Tesfaye, debuted his drastically altered face in his “Save Your Tears” music video on Tuesday, January 5. While the Daily Mail reported that he’s simply wearing prosthetics, the singer had a bloated face and lips. In addition to a crooked nose, he had what appeared to be surgery scars across his cheeks.
The “Blinding Lights” crooner’s dramatic new look led to him trending on Twitter. One fan questioned “wtf happened” to The Weeknd, while a second person said that his fanbase will “love” him “no matter what.” As a third individual argued that “no other male artist can reinvent themselves like The Weeknd does,” another user joked that he looked like Lil’ Kim.
Some people compared the acclaimed musician’s appearance to fictional TV characters, including Spongebob Squarepants’ Squidward Tentacles. “Not The Weeknd giving very much handsome squidward in the save your tears mv,” one fan tweeted, as another wrote, “The Weeknd saw that handsome squidward insta filter and said ‘bro hold my coke.’”
In November 2020, The Weeknd made headlines for covering his face in bandages when he attended the American Music Awards. Throughout the night, he accepted awards and performed alongside Kenny G while sporting the look.
The Canadian singer has been partially covering his face since early 2020 following the release of his fourth studio album, After Hours. He had a bloodied face in his “Blinding Lights” music video, later carrying over that theme to his Saturday Night Live performance in March 2020. During his appearance on the NBC sketch series, he was also wearing a nose bandage.
The Weeknd previously told Variety that he aimed to be more emotional on his latest album. “You could hear the vulnerability in the music before, but there was such a shield, such a f–k-you to the world,” he told the news outlet in April 2020. “And now, I’m very comfortable with letting the world know that I can be that way.”
The “In Your Eyes” artist also commented on how he’s carried the album’s theme visually through his unusual costume and makeup, adding, “I forget that I have it on sometimes.”