The first weekend of Coachella kicked off on Friday, April 13, and so many performances are already making headlines. The most interesting thing that happened on Friday was this video of The Weekend's Coachella performance, in which he's seen growing emotional while performing the song "Call Out My Name," which is reported to be about his ex, the pop singer Selena Gomez. The Weeknd and Gomez dated in late 2016 and early 2017, maintaining a sweet, low-profile relationship.
He had famously split from model Bella Hadid in November 2016, and Gomez herself was involved in a well-publicized on-again, off-again romance with Justin Bieber. The Weeknd and Gomez's relationship as the public knows it was short, but it seemed to be serious. After all, a "Call Out My Name" includes a lyric that references Gomez's kidney transplant. Gomez has Lupus, and underwent a kidney transplant in around June 2017. The Weeknd's lyric said:
"I said I didn't feel nothing, baby, but I lied
I almost cut a piece of myself for your life
Guess I was just another pit stop
'Til you made up your mind
You just wasted my time
You're on top"
The Weeknd not publicly confirmed that "Call Out My Name" is about his time with Gomez. Even so, when you add up the hints — the lyrics, the timeline, Gomez reportedly getting reuniting with Bieber during the healing process — the answer looks a lot like the song being about Selena Gomez.
Watch The Weeknd's emotional performance at Coachella 2018 in the videos below.
The version of "Call Out My Name" The Weeknd performed at Coachella was a much more stripped-down version than fans had previously heard. He was basically unaccompanied on stage, which made his emotion all the more noticeable. One of the fan-shot videos begins right around the lyrics "Even though you don't want me, why can't you wait? Girl, why can't you wait 'til I fall out of love?" which is heartbreaking enough on its own. Paired with the close-up image of The Weeknd seemingly on the verge of tears? It's enough to stop you in your tracks.
Even if you're not super familiar with the singer's voice, you can just hear a difference in the way he performs this song. It's thinner somehow; more tremulous. It feels unintentional. It almost sounds wrong. Obviously, this is a song — and a performance — that mean a lot to him.
The lyrics to "Call Out My Name" definitely seem like they form the saga of The Weeknd and Gomez. In the song, he explores a relationship between two people that helped each other out during a difficult time — post-major breakups, perhaps. Later, he mentions things were rocky for both of them, which could indicate Gomez struggling to work due to her lupus. The lyrics walk a line between vague and specific, which means it's time to break out the oversized magnifying glasses and get to work.
The line that has most people convinced the song is about his relationship to Gomez? "I almost cut out a piece of myself for your life," which might mean he could have been willing to give her his kidney transplant. Gomez eventually received one from longtime friend and fellow actor Francia Raisa, and both have shared their journeys in the months since.
Again, The Weeknd never confirmed that he wrote the song with Gomez in mind. But it seems like the song matters a lot to him. Or he was overwhelmed by the beauty of performing in the Californian desert. No matter what, everything surrounding this particular Coachella performance is just pure emotion.
So, if you see The Weeknd out and about — at Coachella or otherwise — maybe just check in with the guy. He might need a hug — and after watching the video of his performance, you might need one, too.