The pop sensation impresses, as he’s reminiscent of sensations like Michael Jackson while also offering a glimpse of something new. The Weeknd performs Wednesday at KeyArena.

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From the moment he stepped onto the national stage, the youthful, glossy-voiced performer Abel Tesfaye (aka The Weeknd) was a star. The pop sensation, set to perform Wednesday, April 26, at KeyArena, even declares it so on his 2016 chart topping hit “Starboy.”

Over the past two years, The Weeknd’s career has skyrocketed. Whether a prominent feature on Beyoncé’s smash “Lemonade,” or performing for shrieking fans on late-night television, The Weeknd impresses. He’s reminiscent of sensations like Michael Jackson while also offering a glimpse of something new.

That freshness is a snarling-yet-smirking attitude expressed in the voice of an angel. While he had several hits on 2015’s “Beauty Behind the Madness,” the song that cemented him as a surefire star was “The Hills,” on which the falsetto chorus rings, “I only call you when it’s half-past five.” In 2015, the song shot to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. GQ magazine called him “The king of sex pop.”

Concert preview

The Weeknd

7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 26, KeyArena, 305 Harrison St., Seattle. $35.50-$121 (206-684-7200 or

In 2016, the silky singer released “Starboy” as his latest LP. He brashly and beautifully brags in a way that somehow only makes you want to hear more — his cadence that lovely, the music that engaging. Other hits on the album include the Jackson-inspired “I Feel It Coming” and “Party Monster,” a twisted, alcohol-addled lust ballad.

The Weeknd, born outside Toronto in 1990, began recording and releasing music in his early 20s. With a little help from Toronto-native Drake and some timely press, his career soon took off. Now, you can find the 27-year-old canoodling with pop princess Selena Gomez and collaborating with musical giants like Daft Punk and Kendrick Lamar.

Beneath The Weeknd’s luxurious voice, alluring lyricism and the white-hot meteoric rise, downbeat sensibilities remain. His songs draw you into a den of heightened sonic bliss lined with inherent trepidation. “Watch me and hear me,” The Weeknd’s songs seem to always say. “But don’t be like me.” It’s a tone reminiscent of a superhero who has to drink a potion to enact his superpowers — but don’t you dare drink that same potion, mere mortal — you couldn’t handle it.

Yet fans flock to The Weeknd’s shows. And they will again on Wednesday, filling Seattle’s most famous arena.

Why? It’s simple: He’s a star.