Beyonce, Bruno Mars heat up Coldplay's Super Bowl halftime show

Sun Feb 7, 2016 10:50pm EST
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By Deborah M. Todd and Rory Carroll

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (Reuters) - Coldplay headlined at Sunday's Super Bowl halftime show, but it was R&B super stars Beyonce and Bruno Mars who delivered the sizzle with a lively, upbeat production that paid homage to previous halftime performers.

Known mainly for mellow hits, British alt-rockers Coldplay amped up the energy, staging "Viva La Vida" on a colorfully illuminated floor surrounded by dancing violinists.

After Coldplay crowd-pleasers "Paradise" and "Adventure of a Lifetime," a black-leather-clad Mars, who headlined the halftime show in 2014, bounced through "Uptown Funk!," with producer Mark Ronson on DJ decks on stage.

But all eyes were on Beyonce, who gyrated her way through her latest single "Formation" - a power anthem to race and feminism that made a surprise debut on Saturday.

The music video features powerful images of a flooded New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It also depicts graffiti that reads "stop shooting us," suggestive of the Black Lives Matter movement, which emerged in the wake of killings of unarmed black men, several at the hands of police.

Prior to the game, some fans speculated on social media that Beyonce would deliver a politically charged performance.

But, partnered with Mars on the football field, the tone of the performance was lighter than the video. They subtly conveyed the themes of "Formation" with female dancers dressed in black shorts, crop tops and berets, in what was perceived as an homage to the black nationalist Black Panther Party movement of the 1960s and 70s.

Cedric Betts of Millbrae, California, who saw the performance live at the game, said Beyonce's message was clear. "As black people we have to embrace these moments because it's not often we get them," he said.   Continued...

Beyonce (L), Chris Martin (C) and Bruno Mars perform during the half-time show at the NFL's Super Bowl 50 between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos in Santa Clara, California February 7, 2016.       REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson