The Weeknd, “Save Your Tears”

New year, new The Weeknd. The singer surprised fans in early 2021 while showing off a drastically altered face in the music video for his single, “Save Your Tears,” from his 2020 album, After Hours.

The four-minute video follows the Canada-born star — whose real name is Abel Makkonen Tesfaye — as he dances around a masquerade-themed ballroom while looking nearly unrecognizable, donning a plastic surgery-like look that includes fully-filled lips, a crooked nose and surgery scars on his plumped cheeks and face.

While fans speculated about The Weeknd’s shocking transformation, Mike Marino of Prosthetic Renaissance confirmed on Instagram that the look is actually (seriously impressive!) prosthetics.

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Lady Gaga, “Yoü and I”

Gaga played her own leading man in her 2011 masterpiece music video. Known as Jo Calderone, Gaga’s male alter-ego is the creation of the pop icon and her stylist Nicola Formichetti.  

As for the inspiration behind the look, Gaga explained via Twitter back in 2011: “You will never find what you are looking for in love, if you don’t love yourself. #You&ISingleCover.”

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One Direction, “Best Song Ever”

We can’t talk about music video transformations without talking about this video — nay, short film — from the band in 2013.

In addition to starring as themselves, the boys each took on a new persona. Harry Styles plays the nerdy “marketing man” Marcel, while Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson play snooty, big-time studio execs (pictured). In drag, Zayn Malik plays a female assistant, who the rest of the boys not-so-subtly check out. And finally, Liam Payne as the team’s eager choreographer.

The band members even put on American accents while in character. Commitment.

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Katy Perry, “Birthday”

In her 2014 video for the party-soundtrack hit, Perry goes incognito as a number of “birthday party performers” — an elderly burlesque dancer named Goldie, boozy clown Kriss, Jewish party entertainer Yosef Shulem, Ace the worn-out Animal Trainer and the social media-obsessed Princess Mandee who does children’s face paint and constantly tweets.

The star attended actual birthday parties in her costumes, which were so impressive, the attendants had no idea she was actually a pop superstar in disguise.

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Tones and I, “Dance Monkey”

The radio smash hit had to have a music video that was just as unique and high-energy. So of course, the Australian singer dressed as “Old Tones,” an elderly man having a golf course dance party with his senior citizen friends, as one does.

The video has been viewed more than 1 billion times on YouTube.

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Taylor Swift, “The Man”

After a long career of running as fast as she can, wonderin’ if she’d get there quicker if she were a man, Swift decided to enlist prosthetics to find out.

Enter Tyler Swift, “The Man” who gets to move through the world in ways women can’t.

A week after she premiered the music video for her feminist anthem, the singer released a behind-the-scenes clip that gave fans a closer look at how she transformed into the misogynistic and disrespectful titular character she played in the video.

Taking on the role meant that Swift had to spend a significant time in the glam chair, at the hands of makeup artist Bill Corso, who also turned her into a zombie for the “Look What You Made Me Do” video.

As Swift explained, the process “took five hours every morning” — with Corso and his team using prosthetics, wigs and makeup to turn her into the brunette, bearded man. She even wore muscle suits under her clothes in order to fill out her manly physique.

“I had no idea what they do to your body to make it look different, I have muscle suits on underneath things,” she explained. “I don’t even want to talk to what else, I don’t even want to tell you about it, this is a family show.”

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Drake, “Energy”

The rapper is a man of many talents — and many identities in his 2015 “Energy” music video.

In it, Drake’s face is superimposed on a slew of different celebrities and musical figures  — from Oprah Winfrey during the infamous Tom Cruise couch-jumping incident, to Kanye West in the “Bound 2” music video featuring Kim Kardashian West.

The star even face swaps with a Ken doll and a Calvin Klein-clad Justin Bieber, plus some hard-news makers, like a Bronco-driving O.J. Simpson and former president Barack Obama (right).

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Justin Bieber, “Anyone”

Bieber without tattoos? We never thought we’d see the day.

For the singer’s latest music video, in which he plays a boxer training for a match, coming back after a knockout to win and kissing his on-screen love interest Zoey Deutch, he covered up all of his ink.

On Instagram, Bieber shared footage of his makeup team working diligently to transform him for the video.

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Aminé, “Redmercedes”

Back in 2017, the rapper used his music video to illustrate the racism he has experienced as a Black man in America. Aminé told the Los Angeles Times about his decision to be in whiteface for the video, which takes place in a car dealership where Black employees skeptically serve the white customers.

“I actually have a red Mercedes,” he said. “[But] when I step onto a dealership — or anywhere nice — and I have some change in my pocket and I’m able to spend money … to me, I’m just ‘successful’ with quotation marks.”

He continued, “My favorite Kanye [West] lyric is, ‘Even if you in a Benz, you still a … in a coup,’ which is very true. And that’s what I wanted to convey with ‘Red Mercedes,’ but making the opposite race feel the same way I feel.”

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