Was Chris Martin just upstaged by Beyoncé and Bruno Mars? The general consensus seems to be yes. The Coldplay frontman delivered a colorful performance of his band’s biggest songs at the Super Bowl 50 Pepsi Halftime Show, but supporting acts Beyoncé and Bruno Mars simply stole the show.
While the Carolina Panthers lost the actual football game on Sunday, it was Chris Martin and Coldplay who were deemed the biggest losers of the night, at least on social media. Indeed, the Twitter backlash was fast and furious as Martin seemed like a third wheel in his own halftime show. At some points, the rocker even tried to force his head into the camera shots as Beyoncé and Mars took total command of the stage.
When you're trying to have a party and then Chris Martin shows up pic.twitter.com/Pb28Ot4Jfy
— Ray Rahman (@RayRahman) February 8, 2016
Beyonce with her hand on Chris Martin’s shoulder like ‘it’s ok you can walk with us”
— Jon Caramanica (@joncaramanica) February 8, 2016
Chris Martin is third wheeling pretty hard. #PepsiHalftime
— Jill Biden (@JillBidenVeep) February 8, 2016
Of course, it’s not entirely Chris Martin’s fault. The singer tried his hardest to wow the California crowd with Coldplay staples like “Viva la Vida,” “Adventure of a Lifetime,” and “Fix You,” and viewers did seem to be mesmerized by his outfit, which included custom multicolored Jordan Spizikes, which the singer revealed were designed by his son. But colorful flowers and cool sneaks aside, Martin just didn’t stand a chance up against seasoned Super Bowl vets Beyoncé and Mars. And the upstaging was even self-induced, because it turns out Chris Martin and Co. actually Queen Bey to join them for the big show.
— Coldplay (@coldplay) February 8, 2016
Billboard posted video of Chris Martin’s pre-halftime show press conference, in which the Coldplay singer said his band invited Beyoncé to perform with them after the NFL requested that they honor Super Bowls of the past, present, and future with their 2016 halftime show performance.
“The way we’re sort of honoring the past is by asking some of the people whose halftime shows we’ve really loved, and Beyonce’s of course is right up there, I think most people would agree. And so we just felt like asking her would be appropriate.”
Chris Martin was also the man behind Beyoncé and Bruno’s headline-making entrances on onstage. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Martin said he carefully plotted how the pop superstars would play their roles during the performance, fully expecting the hit-making duo’s cameos to be “the climax of everything.”
While they collaborated for Super Bowl 50, Chris Martin says Beyoncé actually turned him down for a previous collaboration. In the Rolling Stone interview, Martin revealed that he played a song called “Hook Up” for Bey and her record producer, Stargate, but the “Single Ladies” superstar turned him down flat, telling him that while she really liked him, his song was “awful.”
Chris Martin knew going into the Super Bowl show that his band is not for everyone. Of course, this could be said for any Super Bowl performer, not just Coldplay, but it still can’t feel good. Still, for Martin, the feeling has been around for more than 10 years as his alt rock band has routinely been the butt of jokes.
“I had a couple of years in the mid-2000s where it was really confusing to me. I was like, ‘Why is our band sometimes a punch line?’ “
Of course, Chris Martin can laugh all the way to the bank. Whether you liked his band’s performance or not, it is a huge honor to be picked to play the Super Bowl halftime show, especially one as iconic as Super Bowl 50. In the history of the Super Bowl, only a few dozen acts—and, OK, maybe a left shark—have ever been given this high-profile headlining gig.
Take a look at the video to see Chris Martin and Coldplay’s full performance with Beyonce and Bruno Mars.
[Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images]