23 June 2024
0 14 mins 2 mths

Surprise cameos, platinum wigs, broken bones and a small earthquake. Another year of Coachella brought a whirlwind of colorful, chaotic energy to the vibrant desert music festival over two weekends in Indio, Calif.

Thousands of music fans, influencers and young Hollywood stars converged to hear headlining acts, like Lana Del Rey; Doja Cat and Tyler, the Creator, alongside skyrocketing stars like Reneé Rapp, Ice Spice and Sabrina Carpenter.

The rest of us at home soaked up the revelry and vibrations on social media — enough to compile a list of Coachella’s winners and losers. So without further ado:

Shakira showing up as a surprise and announcing a world tour

Shakira trekked to the desert for a surprise cameo and big news for Latin music fans.

Bizarrap was kicking off his Coachella debut on the Sahara Stage on April 12 when “La loba se viene” — translated to “The wolf is coming” — flashed across the screen behind him.

Within seconds, the she wolf herself appeared onstage in a fiery ensemble to crash the Argentine DJ’s set, performing “La Fuerte,” from her album that dropped last month.

But that wasn’t all. “We’re going on tour!” she said, to roaring cheers. “Starting here this November, this year, in this city! Can’t wait!”

That’s right: the international superstar’s “Las Mujeres Ya No Lloran” World Tour is happening, and its first stop will be Indio.

Shakira and Bizarrap then launched into their world record-breaking Latin diss track “Shakira: Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53.”

Tyler, the Creator’s ‘Earfquake’

The rapper lived up to his top billing on both weekends, sparing little in terms of visuals and guest appearances.

Tyler prowled, danced and soared through a desert canyon-themed stage — at one point bursting through an RV clad in full sheriff regalia. On both weekends, the khaki-clad musician and fashion designer delivered high-octane performances complemented by a charismatic cast of supporting characters. A$AP Rocky whooping and hollering under a frisbee-shaped UFO on “Who Dat Boy.” Childish Gambino in a grandpa cardigan and bucket hat crooning the chorus on “Running Out of Time.” Charlie Wilson, a.k.a “Uncle Charlie,” sidling up to Tyler at a white piano for a rousing rendition of “Earfquake.” (By the way, Coachella was gently rocked by another earthquake that day. A 3.8 magnitude quake was reported near Ontario — about 20 miles southeast of the festival grounds.)

Many a music fan has moaned that Coachella’s best days are far behind it. That the festival, rife with influencers and cool corporate types, now sags under the weight of its own success. Tyler’s fiery shows served as a serviceable counterargument: There’s still plenty of life in Coachella Valley.

We are in the midst of the great T-Painaissance. Best known for his feel-good, heavily auto-tuned ditties of the aughts — “Buy U a Drank,” “I’m Sprung” and “In Love With a Stripper” to name just a few — the Grammy-award winning singer, songwriter and record producer has been winning new audiences in recent years thanks to his affable online presence and legit vocal chops.

T-Pain ran through his extensive catalogue of hits for his show — his first at the famed musical festival. Fans attempted to slink past barricades, slip into VIP entourages and duck through emergency exit gates to catch a glimpse of the hitmaker’s set at Heineken House, according to Rolling Stone.

“Imma tell you why this is extra special,” T-Pain told the crowd. Not only was this his first time to perform at Coachella, he was doing so with the blessing of his wife, whose birthday it was. He then beckoned the audience to sing “Happy Birthday” to her — a favor they happily obliged.

Olivia Rodrigo channels No Doubt

No Doubt reunited for performances on both weekends of the sprawling music festival, fronted by a 54-year-old Gwen Stefani who bore an uncanny resemblance to a 27-year-old Gwen Stefani.

Joining the band the first weekend was ’90s grrrl heir apparent, Olivia Rodrigo donning an iconic Stefani ensemble: a white, bedazzled man’s undershirt, visible tomato-red bra straps and mid-rise navy blue trousers. Rodrigo crooned along to “Bathwater,” dipping her voice into a low warble as she sang along to No Doubt’s ska-infused ode to obsession.

It was the kind of inspired, cross-generational pairing that Grammy Awards producers aim for but seldom get right.

The Varsity team: Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce

In the midst of a banner year for the couple, (a Super Bowl championship, a big Grammys win and a new album), Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce escaped to Coachella for a desert festival date. They were spotted mingling with Sabrina Carpenter and her rumored boyfriend Barry Keoghan at Ice Spice’s set. They danced backstage to the Bleachers, which is fronted by Swift’s friend and longtime collaborator Jack Antonoff.

Weeks after users made disparaging comments about her hair texture, Doja Cat gave Coachella plenty of hair-raising looks to talk about. One of her most notable styles during the set: long platinum tresses with matching hairy boots and an army of bleached Chewbaccas swirling around her.

Taylor Swift’s “New Heights” podcast hat

During Swift’s aforementioned Coachella date night with Kelce, the pop star sported a green “New Heights” hat — a merch item from the tight end’s football podcast that he co-hosts with his brother Jason. Swifties naturally swooped in on the merch, which Jason said sold out quickly in a recent episode of their podcast. “It’s a good color green,” Kelce quipped.

The diminutive rapper’s set was true to form: an energetic, cartoonish fever dream simmering with diamond chains and sculptural, red leather crop tops. Uzi, who goes by nonbinary pronouns, startled some hip-hop fans with their vogueing and unrepentant commitment to skin-hugging leather. But the real pièce de résistance was Uzi traipsing off the stage on weekend one with a custom Chrome Hearts Birkin bag hooked to their arm.

Best Coachella cameo by a purse, hands down.

Grimes’s technical difficulties

The biggest news out of weekend one in Indio was Grimes’s disastrous set.

The electronic artist and DJ (and the mother of three of Elon Musks’s children), screamed out of frustration during her performance during the first weekend, when tracks she prepared started playing at double-speed. “Just don’t blame me because it’s not my fault,” Grimes told the crowd as she scrambled for a solution. “Well, it’s partially my fault, but it’s not entirely my fault.” The next day, she apologized on X for the debacle.

She managed to get it together for the second weekend, though, and even poked fun of her previous set.

Tyla being unable to perform because of her injury

Tyla’s career has been on an upward trajectory over the past year: she won a Grammy for her hit single “Water,” released her debut self-titled album and was featured in a lush Gap campaign. But the South African singer was recently forced to drop out of Coachella and cancel her North American tour stops due to an unspecified injury, she said in a letter to fans.

“For the past year I’ve been silently suffering with an injury that has tragically worsened,” she wrote. “I am absolutely heartbroken to have to say this but as of right now I won’t be able to proceed with the tour. In consulting with medical professionals it’s become increasingly clear that continuing any festival or tour dates would jeopardize my long-term health and safety.”

Tygers, as Tyla’s fans are called, won’t have too long to wait. She said she’ll be fully recovered and back onstage by this summer: “just know when I’m back to performing pain free, I’m gonna be even more of a problem.”

Bye-bye boho. Blame Vanessa Hudgens

Vanessa Hudgens has long been considered the “Queen of Coachella,” after the flower crowns, flowery pants and patterned tops she wore to the festival in the 2010s set the blueprint for its unspoken boho dress code. But this year, Hudgens skipped out on Coachella for the second time in a row, likely because she’s very pregnant.

“No Coachella for me this yearrrr,” she captioned Instagram photos of her from Coachella 2022, lounging in a hot pink matching set. “Hope y’all are having the time of your lifeeee.” Her absence was felt.

“the renaissance is OVER,” one TikToker wrote after finding out the news.

With no apparent heir to the throne, some Coachella watchers fear the festival’s fashion has lost its way: “I’m gonna need Vanessa Hudgens to make a reappearance at Coachella to show the girlies how it’s done,” one X user commented.

Did the Coachella crowd suck, or was Blur simply too old and too British for them? That’s the question we were asking when Blur frontman Damon Albarn scolded the audience during their weekend one performance, after Albarn tried to lead them through a singalong of their ’90s hit “Boys & Girls.” The show was the Britpop legend’s first big U.S. concert in almost a decade.

“You can do better than that,” he said in response to their lukewarm reaction. Then: “You’re never seeing us again so you might as well f—ing sing this.”

Albarn did change his tune during the second Coachella weekend, telling the crowd, “I love you Coachella, I love you. Really,” reported the Desert Sun. But Albarn hadn’t seemed to change his mind about future performances, saying at the end of that show: “In the spirit of clarity and truth, this is probably our last gig.”

There was a time when a lyric like “Wake up in the morning feeling like P. Diddy” elicited thoughts of ostentatious wealth and dapper assistants with colorful umbrellas waiting on you hand and foot. Not so in 2024, when Sean Combs now faces a barrage of sexual assault and sex trafficking allegations, as well as an open federal investigation.

Not terribly surprising, then, that when “Mean Girls” star Reneé Rap invited Kesha onstage to sing the latter’s 2010 hit, “Tik Tok,” that lyric needed some revision.

Kesha’s offering was simple and explicit: “Wake up in the morning like f— P. Diddy,” she sang to cheers.

Tyler, the Creator continues to reject Jerrod Carmichael

Days after fans cringe-watched comedian Jerrod Carmichael spill his heart out to his friend, Tyler, the Creator on the first episode of his new Max reality series “Jerrod Carmichael Reality Show,” Tyler told the crowd how he felt about the moment. “[You’ve] probably seen my homie try to f— me on camera — it was terrible,” he said. “I told the n—a no, and he said, ‘But what about if we filmed it?’” Oof.

James Kennedy’s “Cruel Summer” remix

Grainy video circulating on TikTok showed Swift swaying along to her 2019 synth-pop hit “Cruel Summer,” which “Vanderpump Rules” star James Kennedy played during his DJ set on April 13. But a transition he added to the song mid-chorus made Swift pause and turn her head. As many fans lamented on social media: “This is not ‘Taylor’s version.’”

Lana Del Rey’s tour manager swap

After finishing her headlining set during the first weekend of Coachella, Lana shared an Instagram post thanking her band, her dancers, her special appearances and collaborators (Billie Eilish, Antonoff and Jon Batiste) and Emily Holt “for stepping up as tour manager when Pete quit for no reason after 15 years because he was butt hurt that I got 10 comped bikes for free from Wally and randomly decided he was more of a stage designer than a tour manager … Never got a phone call probably never will.” Her caption went on to allege that he quit 37 days before the show. “Not stressful at all,” she added.

Kid Cudi, who has dipped in and out of the limelight in recent years, abruptly ended his surprise set at Coachella Weekend 2 after leaping off stage and breaking his foot while his song “Memories” ironically played in the background. Fan footage posted to social media captured the poor landing along with festival staff carrying him away moments later.

“Never broken a bone before so this is all a bit crazy,” the rapper shared on X, formerly Twitter. In happier news, he also announced his engagement to menswear designer Lola Sartore. Here’s hoping he can walk himself down the aisle by then.

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