Frank Ocean’s Coachella ice skaters say singer scrapped routine at the last minute in ‘wild flip’

Two former ice hockey players have detailed their failed experience of working on Frank Ocean’s polarising Coachella performance.

Brothers Dan and Chris Powers were booked to perform with over 100 other skaters during Ocean’s set Sunday (16 April). The singer has since pulled out of headlining the California festival’s second weekend.

On their podcast, Empty Netters, the pair alleged that Ocean decided to nix the elaborate performance hours before they were due on stage despite months of preparations.

A spokesperson for Ocean declined to comment when contacted by The Independent.

The pair said that issues started immediately on the day as buses to take the skaters to the festival were delayed. In the end, they say, only about 30 of the 120 performers took to the stage and did so on foot after the ice rink was deconstructed.

“Those figure skaters got cut not because there was an ice issue, not because there was something wrong,” Dan said.

Frank Ocean (Getty Images)
Frank Ocean (Getty Images)

“There was no malfunction. He [Ocean] just straight-up was like, ‘F*** this. I’m not doing this anymore.’ And [to] these 120 people [he] had bused out here, he was just like, ‘You guys aren’t doing shit now.’ So it was just like a wild flip.”

The pair both said they were particularly shocked by the switch because working with Ocean on the choreography had been an overwhelmingly positive experience.

“He really cares about the production, he had a very clear vision and even though that vision changes a lot he was always on us, helping us, making sure everyone hit what he was picturing in his mind,” Chris said.

“During all the rehearsals, he was so funny, he was so interesting... He was so cool, he was cool to everyone, teaching them how to sing his songs,” Dan added.

On Wednesday, Ocean announced that he was pulling out of headlining Coachella’s second weekend due to a leg injury he sustained before his first headline set.

“It was chaotic,” Ocean said of the performance in his statement. “There is some beauty in chaos. It isn’t what I intended to show but I did enjoy being out there and I’ll see you soon.”

Variety reports that Blink-182 are set to replace the R&B star in the Sunday headline slot.

Ocean’s opening headline performance was met with criticism from fans after the singer started over an hour late, meaning he was forced to wrap up the set early due to strict curfew rules.

Justin Bieber subsequently defended the performance, arguing that the singer’s “artistry is unmatched”.