Hockey-player brothers Dan and Chris Powers say that they and more than a hundred other skaters were originally hired for the show.
After he was originally set to headline the music festival in 2020 -- before the pandemic shut down the festival -- Ocean returned to Indio, California, on Sunday to headline the first weekend of this year's star-studded music festival. The performance was the singer's first in six years since 2017's Flow Festival in Finland.
When it came time for his performance, fans became irate when not only was it announced that his set would not be included in YouTube's livestream from the festival, but signs placed around the venue declared that no Frank Ocean merchandise would be available for purchase at the festival. Then, the performance itself began after a delay of one hour after Ocean's set was scheduled to begin.
Brothers Dan and Chris Powers say there was even more chaos behind the scenes leading up to Sunday's performance, including an entire routine being scrapped the day of Ocean's performance.
In the Tuesday episode of their Empty Netters podcast, the Powers brothers claimed that they were part of about 120 skaters -- including several well-known Olympians and hockey veterans -- who had been hired for the show and had been rehearsing on a makeshift ice rink at Paramount for weeks. Although they said they had a "positive experience" during the month of rehearsals, as well as a successful dress rehearsal on the Coachella main stage -- the brothers said skating extras were left waiting on buses or in hot tents for hours as Ocean made the last-minute call to disassemble the ice rink and ditch the planned choreography.
"Those figure skaters got cut not because there was an ice issue, not because there was something wrong," Dan claimed. "There was no malfunction. He [Ocean] just straight-up was like, 'F**k 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 s**t now.' So it was just like a wild flip."
The brothers noted that some skaters did take part in the performance fans saw on Sunday, but they simply walked onstage in customized Prada outfits and face paint, not in their skates on ice as planned.
"We both know how show business works in a lot of ways. Production is a mess in everything, all the time," Chris said, adding that it would have been "a worthy experience" if the show had gone as planned. "But I would say that there was a lot of sunk time for the participants throughout this, because we've been rehearsing for months... And you guys gotta keep in mind that the skating portion was huge. It was gonna be like 120 skaters, and the people that walked [around onstage in the final show] was only 30 or whatever."
"And that means that these people bused to Coachella without a pass can't go into the festival," he also claimed. "They are literally sitting in a tent in the baking sun. This is a group of people who [were] about to perform onstage with the headliner and were not given passes. Which blew my mind."
While the brothers conceded that they heard Ocean had suffered an ankle injury in rehearsals during the week leading up to the show, they said they were "unsure" why that meant the routine had to be canceled, especially at the last minute.
Still, they acknowledged that fans of the singer still enjoyed the show Ocean eventually put on. "The one thing that made me genuinely sad [after] spending some time with him over the last several weeks -- he really cares about the production. He had a very clear vision, and even though that vision changed a lot, he was always on us, helping us, making sure everyone hit what he was picturing in his mind," Chris said. "And also, I didn't even know this till this week that his brother died [in 2020]... It just broke my heart that he clearly put a ton of weight on this performance. First of all, he's coming out of hiding, seven years not performing, doing this for the memory of his brother, and he just wanted it to be this big thing -- and then everything was gone and it was cut short."
ET has reached out to Ocean for further comment.
Ocean is slated to perform again on Sunday for his second Coachella go-round.