Two former hockey players have confirmed reports that a group of ice skaters were cut last minute from Frank Ocean‘s polarizing Coachella set on Sunday.
On Tuesday’s installment of their podcast, “Empty Netters,” brothers and former hockey players Chris and Dan Powers reflected on their experience preparing for Coachella before the ice-rink element was scrapped from Ocean’s headlining performance. What was supposed to be a dazzling ice-skating display featuring about 120 skaters suddenly turned into 30 skaters walking back and forth across the stage, according to the Powers brothers.
The approximately 90 skaters who didn’t end up participating in the show at all — including the Powers brothers — were alerted of the change Sunday afternoon after Ocean allegedly suffered an ankle injury, the podcast hosts said.
“We got our skates, we’re ready to rock. The bus of all the other skaters … has arrived. They’re all sitting in wardrobe. It’s a nightmare,” Dan Powers recalled.
“We run into … these Olympic figure skaters … and they have a disgruntled look on their face, and they casually mention to us that they just got a phone call, and they’ve been cut from the show. So we’re sitting there like what the f— is happening right now? These Olympians just got cut from this Coachella performance with Frank Ocean.”
Well into the afternoon, the Powers brothers said, they began hearing “rumblings” that something was off. They were told that Ocean had “been in an accident that has given him an ankle injury” — a rumor that has yet to be verified — and that the singer was “not in a good headspace.”
The person who hired them — another former hockey player named Chris Nelson, who now works in Hollywood — advised the brothers not to put on stage makeup because they would no longer be skating and informed them that the production crew was in the middle of deconstructing the ice rink.
“We don’t know what’s going on,” Dan Powers said. “It is becoming very clear that things are not going well with this show.”
When they were asked to “put on these sequined Prada suits and walk back and forth onstage for about five minutes” instead of doing the ice-skating routine they had rehearsed, the brothers declined. Ocean later took the stage — sans ice rink — after an hour-long delay.
“It felt like … this thing that [Ocean] really cared about, that he was super psyched about, and to see it all fall apart was definitely sad — but also nuts,” Dan Powers continued.
“Those figure skaters got cut not because there was an ice issue. Not because something went wrong. There was no malfunction. He just straight up was like, ‘F— this. I’m not doing this anymore.’”
Representatives for Ocean and the Coachella festival did not immediately respond Wednesday to inquiries from The Times.
Apart from Sunday’s debacle, the Powers brothers had nothing but kind things to say about working with Ocean in the weeks leading up to the performance. Even when he was frustrated, they said, the “Thinkin Bout You” hitmaker maintained a “cool, calm and collected” presence during rehearsals.
He “was so incredibly level-headed and respectful,” Dan Powers said. “I liked that a lot.”
Ocean is slated to perform at Coachella again this Sunday.