Super Bowl 50: stop comparing Beyoncé to Coldplay

Super bowl 50

Beyoncé and Chris Martin from Coldplay closing the show. BBC image

Super Bowl is one of the most watched American sports events in the world. Over the years its half-time show has attracted top artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, and Whitney Houston. On Sunday 7th February 2016, it was Super Bowl 50, marking the 50th anniversary of the tournament. Like in previous years the half-time show was much awaited. For those of us who live outside of America and do not follow the NFL, we often wake up to half-time show news before we even find out about the game result, and this year was no different. By the way, Denver Broncos defeated the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Carolina Panthers 24–10.

This year’s line up included Coldplay, Bruno Mars, and Beyoncé. It was a grand 13 minutes performance in a beautifully designed LED stage, which displayed a tribute to past Super Bowl performances. Each one of these three artists got the crowd excited in their own way, with Coldplay’s songs opening and closing the show.

But, why is the world so obsessed with comparisons?

It seems like enjoying a beautiful performance with different artists without comparing them is no longer possible nowadays. During and following Super Bowl 50’s half-time show, many took to their social media to say how Coldplay was significantly overshadowed by Beyoncé and Bruno Mars. Even a major news outlet like the BBC jumped in and wrote an article about « how Beyoncé stole the show from Coldplay… » They have compiled a list of reasons to back their statement, which include:

  • « Beyoncé saved herself from falling over »
  •  » Coldplay were mistaken for Maroon 5 – oops »
  • « Beyoncé made a political statement »
  • « Beyoncé used the event to announce a world tour » and
  • « Beyoncé’s fierce dance moves »

This is somehow wishy washy. What were people expecting when these three artists with different music genres were put together on a stage? The whole show would have definitely been boring, had all three artists done the same thing. Fortunately, each one of them stayed on their lane. Beyoncé is known for her athletic dance moves, her group of dancers, and showmanship. That’s exactly what she did; she delivered a show to her standard. So her perfomance was not as unusual as some people would like us to think. Coldplay, on the other hand, play soft rock with no particular dance routines. Maybe the BBC and co. wanted to see Coldplay perform some dance routines for them to steal the show…? Did we really need someone to steal the show?

What made Beyoncé’s performance different from the other two artists, however, is how she used the Super Bowl 50’s platform beyond its entertainment purpose. She promoted three things: her world tour, her new single Formation released the day before Super Bowl 50, and along with it her Pro Black stance symbolised by a tribute to Black Panther and Malcom X. The first two are quite common marketing strategies for artists, so not big deal. But it is the last one that really has people talking.

Did this make her performance better than Coldplay’s? No. Did it get her song and stance in the spotlight like she probably anticipated? Definitely yes! Beyoncé’s Pro black statement, which includes her support for the #blacklivesmatter movement, was  timely and therefore bound to make headlines. It comes right after #oscarsaresowhite trend, and at a time when African Americans are questioning black celebrities’ silence on issues that affect their community. But, by no means her statement stole the whole show. Super Bowl 50’s half-time show was about entertaining the public, and both artists delivered to a high standard. Coldplay beautifully wrapped up the show with their mellow music, which captured well the historical moment (50th anniversary) and tribute to past half-time shows. This is something that Beyonce’s hipped performance could have not done.

Let’s set the record straight about this Super Bowl 50’s half-time show

Beyoncé and Coldplay have different music and performance styles, and on this Super Bowl 50 they came with different mindset too. Coldplay focused on entertaining the public whereas Beyonce entertained and promoted her latest work. Let’s not forget that not everyone is Beyoncé, Coldplay or Bruno Mars’ fan. So, finding the balance between these artists was key to Super Bowl 50’s half time show, and it was done successfully. If some think that one artist was better than the other, it’s their opinion but not a fact.

Can we now quit complaining and comparing, and move on to other things, like where do I get Beyonce’s concert tickets for my sister? 🙂




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