The Weeknd showed up on Saturday Night Live with a bloody face. The Canadian singer-songwriter and former boyfriend of Bella Hadid took the stage as the musical guest at Studio 8H with a blood-streaked, bandaged face, leaving some viewers that were unfamiliar with his work very confused.
The Weeknd, whose real name is Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, performed his song “Blinding Lights” on the SNL episode that featured actor Daniel Craig as host. The 30-year-old singer looked dapper in a red suit jacket and bright white sneakers, but it was his face that had some viewers doing a double-take.
Later in the show, The Weeknd did not follow the pattern of most SNL musical guests with a costume change. Instead, he returned to the stage in the same outfit and bloodied-up look as he performed the new song “Scared to Live.”
In comments to Saturday Night Live’s Instagram post featuring the singer’s performance, many viewers hit the comments to ask what the deal was with the band-aid and the blood. Others were worried about what happened to The Weeknd before he took the stage.
“Is nobody concerned that he got beat tf up?” one viewer wrote.
“Is it supposed to represent him being beaten up or in an accident, etc?” another person asked.
“I love various art forms even if I don’t always understand their meaning,” a third SNL fan wrote. “I am afraid I don’t understand what the message or statement of The Weeknd’s battered face was.”
While it certainly looked like he was in a street fight, another fan offered a sweet explanation for The Weeknd’s battered appearance.
“His face is all messed up cus he’s a fallen angel duuhhhhh,” the supporter chimed in.
Of course, longtime fans of The Weeknd know that the look is part of the storyline to his new short film and upcoming album, After Hours. The singer wears the same red suit, bloody makeup and bandage in the After Hours short film, which dropped March 4.
Saturday Night Live viewers did get the chance to see a clean-faced Weeknd, however. The singer appeared in a pre-taped music video spoof, “On the Couch,” as well as a brief “Weeknd Update” clip with no blood or bandages in sight.
This was the third time The Weeknd appeared as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live, per IMDb. In 2015, he did the honors when Amy Schumer was host, and in 2016, he was Margot Robbie’s musical guest.