Most Unexpected Mashups at Coachella Weekend

From N*Sync and Ariana Grande to Weezer and TLC, Coachella Pt. One was a master-class in surprise cameos.

‘Tis the season of “yeehaw”—a currently trending shorthand for an embrace of genre-less music, propelled by the phenomenon of “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus, the ranking song of the summer. In the summer’s spirit of musical unity, weekend one of Coachella has just wrapped—leaving in its wake a series of mirage-like encounters between a genre-spanning list of the industry’s biggest names. Whether onstage, in the crowd or on the VIP party circuit offsite, the desert Mecca continues to occasion such encounters like no other. Below, we recap the most surprising and delightful run-ins that happened this weekend.

Ariana Grande and N*Sync

Headliner and master of nostaglia Ariana Grande proved that time is a flat circle by bringing out bubblegum predecessors N*Sync (sans Justin) to deafening screams (despite Coachella’s much of target demo having been in utero around the time of No Strings Attached). But what is “Thank U, Next” but another way of saying “Bye Bye Bye”?

Weezer and TLC’s Chili

Weezer, longtime arbiters of soft-core alt-punk, earned a second wind as a cover band when their rendition of Toto’s “Africa” became their biggest hit in over a decade. Accordingly, Rivers Cuomo and company homed in on an array of adaptations during their Indio set, from Tears for Fears to No Scrubs by TLC.


Khalid and Billie Eilish, Normani and Halsey 

A solid contender for most cameos during one set was Khalid’s, whose parade of duets amounted to a fresh-faces-of-pop Mount Rushmore. Opening for Ariana Grande, who minutes later would become the youngest female headliner in the festival’s history, Khalid warmed up the stage with a who’s who of recent collaborators, including Billie Eilish and Normani, who sang renditions of “Lovely” and “Love Lies” respectively, and Halsey, who sang the hit “Eastside.”

Rosalía and Sean Paul 

If you haven’t noticed, reggaeton is having a moment. But some would say it’s been having one since Sean Paul first brought his staccato dancehall rhythm to Beyoncé’s “Baby Boy” circa 2003. On Saturday, Paul’s classic style converged with that of semi-avant-garde crossover Rosalía, as both artists graced the hyper-animated stage of global nu-reggae star J Balvin.

Courtesy: Coachella

Diplo and Blackpink 

You can hear the influence of festival trap in Blackpink’s “Kill This Love“—a pounding, airhorn-heavy K-Pop jam by way of American electronic dance music. Bringing this generic feedback loop to life, the K-Pop quartet ran into EDM godfather Diplo in between respective sets at the Sahara tent.

Diplo and Blackpink

Stella Maxwell and The Sims

If Coachella is the premier simulacrum for youth culture, no offsite party captured this quite like Jeremy Scott and his launch of Moschino x The Sims. Blending the lines between reality and VR, the party featured perhaps the most dynamic duo of all: real-life Stella Maxwell plus virtual Stella Maxwell, the latter projected on a giant screen above DJ sets by Diplo and Ty Sutherland.

Moschino, Sims, Diplo
Stella Maxwell


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