“Chris Martin is really basically just the Martin O’Malley of this halftime show,” said one of my friends on Twitter while watching the Pepsi Super Bowl 50 Halftime show a few weekends ago. That is exactly what he became when he and the rest of Coldplay were totally and utterly overshadowed by arguably the two hottest performers of the past decade.
Don’t get me wrong, both Beyoncé and Bruno Mars delivered jaw-dropping halftime performances in 2013 and 2014, respectively. That is exactly it. They had their time to shine. This was supposed to be Coldplay’s year. This was supposed to be Coldplay’s time to shine.
Coldplay has been landing hits on the radio since releasing “Yellow” in 2000. Since then, the four-person band has turned out chart topping singles like “The Scientist,” “Fix You,” “Viva la Vida,” “Paradise” and “A Sky Full of Stars.” They have exactly what is needed for a good halftime show: a set list of songs that anyone watching — regardless of age or even taste in music – can enjoy and sing along to. Are they as flashy as someone like Katy Perry? No. Are they a classic band like The Rolling Stones or Bruce Springsteen? Of course not. Nevertheless, Coldplay is a feel-good band with a few songs even your parents know. Between all of these components, they should have been a success.
Coldplay has a set list of decent songs that surely could have filled a 15-minute solo performance. Rather, they were allowed to play a few of their songs before their performance was hijacked by Bruno Mars and Beyoncé with their armies of dancers flanking them. It’s hard to compete with the flashiness of those two performers, who are just that: performers. For the next few minutes, Coldplay was nowhere to be seen. They were left to watch on, like the rest of us, as they were outdone by these two flashy mega-stars. It quickly became nothing more than the “Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show Starring Beyoncé and Bruno Mars…oh yeah, and sort of featuring Coldplay.”
In the end, the NFL was pandering to its audience by going over the top. Instead of a decent collaboration, they shoehorned two the past three year’s headliners into what could have already been a noteworthy show. Unlike special guest in the past like Missy Elliott, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Destiny’s Child, the idea to ship in the likes of Beyoncé and Bruno Mars was certainly never to compliment Coldplay’s performance. Instead, Coldplay looked more like stagehands than actual performers.
The 50th Super Bowl will be remembered for a lot of things, but certainly not for Coldplay…or whatever their name is.