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5 Super Bowl 50 Halftime Performers That Would Have Been Better Than Coldplay

By William Hoffman william.hoffman@musictimes.com | Feb 06, 2016 12:45 PM EST

It's yet to be seen how well Coldplay will fair as the Super Bowl 50 halftime performer, but many worry the British rock act will err on the boring side. So who would be better?

There's a certain finesse to picking the right Super Bowl halftime performer. The acts need to have fairly widespread popularity that won't be too scandalous or profanity ridden for network television and they must pair well with another performer from a different genre of music to increase the widespread appeal. The Super Bowl stage is also a hard one to fill in terms of both the size of the stadium and the audience they are performing to. Someone like Adele has a beautiful voice of course, but it might get lost in the echo of the stadium and she's not exactly a stage-filling performer.

So with that in mind here are four pairings that would have been better than Coldplay.

1. Taylor Swift with Kendrick Lamar and Chris Stapleton

The Super Bowl likes to pair pop, rock and R&B/hip-hop acts together for one massive 12-minute performance and there aren't too many trifectas as strong as this one. Fans have been calling for Taylor Swift to headline the sporting event for years and now seems like the perfect time with a slate of No. 1 singles to fall back on, not least of which is "Bad Blood" with Kendrick Lamar. The performance could serve as a bridge between Swift's pop and country sides, on one hand performing some country hits with the breakout CMA winner Chris Stapleton and then turning around to highlight her new found pop aesthetic. Plus, anything Lamar touches turns to gold so giving him a song of his own in the middle of the performance is a definite win. It's just a shame he doesn't have the widespread appeal to headline himself.

2. AC/DC with Calvin Harris and Sia

Legacy rock acts have been a fixture of The Super Bowl for years and AC/DC would fit in well with the general drunken debauchery of the event. The group headlined Coachella last year so you know they can fill a stage and when paired with Calvin Harris and Sia, there's just so many directions they could go. Imagine Calvin Harris smoothly distorting an AC/DC song into a club banger or Sia belting "Thunderstruck" right alongside Brian Johnson.

3. Rihanna with Paul McCartney and Drake

Super Bowl 50 would have been perfect timing for Rihanna to headline with Anti out this week and her own list of hit songs to fall back on. Perhaps organizers thought "Bitch Better Have My Money" would be too polarizing, but bring out Paul McCartney and we have the older audience back on track. Of course, the two have already collaborated on "Four Five Seconds" and give Rihanna a Beatles ballad to belt and she'll tear up the stage. Drake is a natural fit who could also probably headline the event one day, but with only "Hotline Bling" to show for truly mainstream songs that could tap into an older demographic, he's forced into a supporting role this time around.

4. Usher with Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran

When The Black Eyed Peas bombed the 2011 Super Bowl halftime performance, a lot of people suggested the group's supporting act, Usher, who only got a few minutes of screen time, should have been the headliner. Well now here's his chance. Bieber doesn't have the catalog depth that Usher has and pairing mentor and mentee together just makes for a perfect meld. Ed Sheeran isn't really a rock act, but if he comes on stage with a guitar maybe the old-school crowd will pay more attention. Plus, angels will sing if all three of these voices hit that perfect harmony.

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