50 (2016) LI (2017)
Venue Levi's Stadium
|Producer Ricky Kirshner|
Date 7 February 2016
Director Hamish Hamilton
|Special guests Beyoncé, Bruno Mars with Mark Ronson, Gustavo Dudamel, Youth Orchestra L.A, University of California Marching Band|
Location Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, California, United States
The Super Bowl 50 halftime show took place on February 7, 2016, at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California as part of Super Bowl 50. It was headlined by the British rock group Coldplay with special guest performers Beyoncé and Bruno Mars, who previously had headlined the Super Bowl XLVII and Super Bowl XLVIII halftime shows, respectively.
Coldplay, Rihanna, and Katy Perry were considered as potential acts for the Super Bowl XLIX halftime show in 2015. Perry was soon confirmed as the headliner of the halftime show in October 2014. In late November, 2015, reports surfaced stating that multiple acts would perform during the halftime show. Coldplay was confirmed as the lead half time performer for Super Bowl 50 on December 3, 2015, one day before the release of their seventh studio album A Head Full of Dreams. It was confirmed that Drake and Bruno Mars would join Coldplay as special guests. Chris Martin called Mars to ask him to perform with Coldplay; however, Mars declined the offer. Nevertheless, the singer of Coldplay invited Mars to his studio in Malibu where he was working. There, Martin revealed to Mars that he wanted for him to perform "Uptown Funk" with Beyonce. Despite this, Mars still didn't think it was a good idea and asked the former to talk to Beyonce to see what was her opinion on that. Martin videotaped him and Mars, while the former sang a song to Beyoncé so that she would come to do the Super Bowl with both of them. Beyonce response was receptive to the idea.
At that time, Mars and Beyoncé were both doing a diet and stressing out. One day before the performance they were "watching playback backstage", while Beyonce ate a bag of Cheetos. Mars asked her "That's what you're doing?", to which she replied "There's nothing more we can do these last two days. It's gonna be what it's gonna be. So I'm gonna enjoy this bag of Cheetos." Mars strongly believes that Beyoncé is "coming for you every single time. So you better bring your A-game every time."
The show opened with Chris Martin singing the opening chorus from "Yellow". He was then joined by the remaining band members of Coldplay to perform "Viva la Vida", "Paradise", and "Adventure of a Lifetime" with the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles conducted by Gustavo Dudamel and the University of California Marching Band. Bruno Mars, Mark Ronson, and a troupe of backing dancers (dressed in the style of Michael Jackson) then performed "Uptown Funk". Beyoncé, also in a Jackson-inspired outfit and appearing with a set of backing dancers dressed as Black Panthers, then performed her new single "Formation" in a mass choreographed dance number before joining Mars onstage for a verse of "Uptown Funk". Coldplay played a snippet of "Clocks" during a video montage of past Super Bowl halftime and national anthem performances, including those by Bruce Springsteen, Missy Elliott, Katy Perry, The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, James Brown, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, The Black Eyed Peas, U2, Prince, Beyoncé and Mars. The show concluded with the band performing "Fix You" and "Up&Up" with Beyoncé, Mars and everyone taking part in the show. At the end of the performance, the audience participated in a card-stunt creating a rainbow and the phrase, "Believe in love", the closing lyrics to Coldplay's A Head Full of Dreams.
The performance received generally mixed review from critics, who complimented Beyoncé and Mars' part of the performance but were critical of Coldplay. Jon Caramanica of The New York Times stated that Coldplay "acted more as a stagehand than an actual performer" while Beyoncé's section of the performance was "the night's true event". Caramanica also noted that Beyoncé and Mars "outsang" Martin during the closing part of the performance. Andrew Barker of Variety similarly noted that "Coldplay seemed resigned to politely allowing themselves to be played right off their own stage" by the "far flashier" Mars and Beyoncé. In a review for Fox Sports, Chris Chase panned Coldplay's performance, calling it "inexplicable, indecipherable, and unnecessary" and a "musical snooze". Chase complimented Beyoncé's and Mars' appearances but described the performance as "boring". Alex Needham of The Guardian gave the performance four stars, saying that "Queen Bey at the height of her powers effortlessly overwhelmed Coldplay's widescreen anthems in a show that seemed lightweight until she showed up".
Robert Bianco of USA Today stated that Martin "seemed overwhelmed" by the size of the event, and that despite being a "personable and energetic performer", an "awful lot" of Martin's energy "went into jumping". Bianco praised Beyoncé's appearance and stated that she "stole the show". Wendy Geller of Yahoo! also complimented Beyoncé's and Mars' appearances, but criticized the montage of previous halftime performances, describing it as "confusing rather than touching" and stating that the performance was "definitely a cold play".
Following the performance, Beyoncé was criticized for performing a song that they considered to be "anti-police" during the halftime show and for appearing to align herself with the Black Lives Matter movement. Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani accused the performance of being anti-police and also criticized Beyoncé's use of Black Power and Black Panther Party symbolism in her dance routine. "This is football, not Hollywood, and I thought it was really outrageous that she used it as a platform to attack police officers who are the people who protect her and protect us, and keep us alive," he said. The controversy caused a "#BoycottBeyonce" hashtag on Twitter and protesters announced plans for an "anti-Beyoncé" rally on the morning of February 16 outside of the NFL's headquarters in New York City, but no one showed up for such a rally. CNN political commentator Sally Kohn stated that "too many police continue to show themselves to be far more interested in reactionary defensiveness and preserving the abusive status quo." Black Lives Matter activist Melina Abdullah praised Beyoncé and other artists who "are willing to raise social consciousness and use their artistry to advance social justice."
The halftime show became the fourth highest ever watched show in the United States, with total viewership of 115.5 million.
- "Viva la Vida"
- "Adventure of a Lifetime"
- "Uptown Funk" (Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars) (contains elements of "U Can't Touch This")
- "Formation" (Beyoncé) (contains elements of "Crazy in Love" & "Bet You Can't Do It Like Me")
- "Fix You" / "Up&Up" (featuring Mars and Beyoncé) (contains elements of "Clocks", "Midnight", " Independent Women, Pt 1", "Just the Way You Are", "Purple Rain" and "Beautiful Day")
Setlist obtained from Billboard.