How Coldplay Allowed Beyoncé to Rule the Super Bowl Halftime Show

Gregory E. Miller
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No surprise here—Queen Bey easily stole the Super Bowl Halftime show right out from under Coldplay's noses.

The British rock band technically headlined the Pepsi Halftime Show of Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium in (the unbranded) Santa Clara, Calif, but it was Ms. Beyoncé Knowles Carter who served up the biggest impression. The superstar used her featured spot in the show to debut her new single, "Formation," which she—surprise!—dropped Saturday afternoon alongside a buzzy music video. Ferocious vocals and impossibly precise choreography made us very thankful for the DVR's rewind button.

Poor Chris Martin and his fellow band members then were essentially Beyoncé's opening act, albeit a perfectly adequate one. After briefly opening with the 2000 U.S. breakthrough single, "Yellow," the band segued into a vibrant medley of its upbeat hits "Viva La Vida," "Paradise" and "Adventure of a Lifetime." Shout out to the dancing flowers.

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Bruno Mars

Then Martin passed the baton to his first featured guest, Bruno Mars, who broke out some smooth moves with four pals for "Uptown Funk" while Mark Ronson spun. That led into Beyoncé's number before she and Ronson faced off in a bit of dance battle.

Coldplay finally returned to the stage for a mash-up of "Clocks" and "Fix You" accompanied by a short look back at Super Bowl music history—shockingly with no mention of Janet Jackson's nipple—before bringing Bey and Bruno back out to close the show with a group effort on Coldplay's "Up and Up." Fans in the stadium held up signs spelling out "Believe in Love," but really, "Believe in Beyoncé" would probably have been more appropriate.

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Coldplay