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Halftime show review: Mars, Beyonce can’t save Coldplay misplay

After review, the ruling on the field stands: Bruno Mars hit Coldplay, causing the band to fumble the ball, at which point, Beyonce recovered, though she tripped on her own ego just shy of the end zone.

What happened there, people? What exactly was that?

I was under the impression that the NFL invited Coldplay to perform at the halftime show. Apparently, the British pop-alternative band was not deemed up to the task all on their lonesome. The NFL and CBS decided that the band’s 12 minutes of “Oh my god, everyone with a television is watching us right now” needed to be shared with a pair of artists who have already performed at the Super Bowl – namely, Beyonce and Bruno Mars, performers as simpatico with Coldplay as Bernie Sanders is with Donald Trump.

What a train wreck.

Let’s be honest with each other. Coldplay was not the strongest choice for the halftime gig in the first place. The group has not released an album that might reasonably be described as great since “Viva la Vida,” in 2008. The time since has been spent on attempting U2 impersonations with diminishing returns, as the Chris Martin-fronted band grabbed all of the arena-sized grandiosity of their Irish forebears, without bothering to write tunes that warranted such a treatment.

In 2016, Coldplay is harmless. Coldplay is also incredibly boring, middle of the road, as exciting as a loaf of Wonder bread.

There are worse sins than Coldplay has committed day in and day out in the world of pop music, but few of the offenders have been forced to endure the indignity suffered by this band on Sunday.

After starting with a typically silly and overwrought intro that found singer Martin crouching on the field as fans rushed toward the stage, and then segueing directly into the anthemic “Viva la Vida” – complete with a string section that did not appear to be coming through the PA – Coldplay launched into “Paradise,” and seemed to be finding their super-nerdy and square, but still, fun, groove with “Adventure of a Lifetime.”

That’s when it all went south.

The camera cut to Mark Ronson, who wrote the Mars-sung “Uptown Funk.” (“Wrote” might be a stretch. “Assembled” might be the better way to describe what Ronson did in this case. Regardless, it’s a super catchy tune, even if we’ve all heard it before, with a different title.) Then Mars and his crew hit the stage, and immediately, Coldplay’s Euro-pop sounded hopelessly un-hip and decidedly nonfunky. Mars was on point, even if he really wasn’t doing much other than dancing.

The loose ball was then picked up by Beyonce, flanked by what looked like an army of similarly – meaning, barely – dressed cohorts. Beyonce made her way through the new “Formation,” and drove another nail into Coldplay’s Caucasian coffin. It’s not a great song, and she didn’t appear to be actually singing it, but it was funky, and it made sense with the Mars/Ronson tune.

By this point, Coldplay just looked foolish. Like the guy who thought he was taking the hot girl to the prom, but realized too late that he was actually only giving her a ride to the venue, there to sit watching while she promptly runs off to hook up with a way better-looking dude.

A sort of medley that found Martin singing bits of tunes by other artists who’ve tackled the halftime show in the past – followed by a “Let’s all hug and pretend we didn’t just make you look stupid in front of the whole world” moment with Beyonce, Mars and Martin, to the tune of Coldplay’s “Up&Up” – did nothing to ease the humiliation.

Hey, NFL – If you didn’t think Coldplay could handle the gig, why did you invite them? What a joke.

Immediately following the halftime show, an ad announced Beyonce’s coming “Formation” tour. Wow. What a remarkable coincidence.

I think it might be time to bring back “Up With People.”


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