Lauryn Hill was rumored to make an appearance at the Grammys during the Weeknd’s performance yesterday, but that ended up not happening. Now, there are conflicting reports from both sides as to why Hill was a no-show for the night.
During the ceremony, Hill’s camp issued the following statement:
The Grammys announced a performance by Ms. Lauryn Hill prematurely and without approval. Ms. Hill had concerts all weekend, leaving no time to prepare, and was uncertain she would even be able to make it to LA in time to rehearse for the event. Any performance that could have happened was never confirmed, and should not have been advertised as such. Ms. Hill was invited to do a collaboration with an artist she appreciates. The performance was intended to be a surprise and unfortunately due to its last minute nature, was unable to come to fruition.
(For what it’s worth, Setlist.fm does indicate that one show was scheduled for this weekend on Saturday night in Boston.)
But in a new interview with USA Today, Recording Academy president Neil Portnow said that “none of that statement is accurated” and that her absence was “a disappointment to us and a disappointment to her,” adding that “our intention was, and we were ready, right up to the moment of the performance, for her to step up on stage.”
He says that Hill was present for a dress rehearsal on Monday morning: “She was there for it, completed it and left the building. And then she did not get back in time to make the show. I’m sorry, that’s the bottom line. That’s the truth. That’s unfortunate. I guess those things happen.” Another Grammy spokesperson reiterated to TVLine that she “showed up during rehearsals, but arrived too late for the performance.”
Portnow also addressed Rihanna’s last-minute cancellation: “We always regret when that happens because we know that she wants to be on the show and singing rather than taking antibiotics and not being able to sing for a few days. We just hope that she’s feeling better.”
UPDATE: Hill’s camp responds…
In regards to the comments this morning from The Grammys, CBS did announce Ms. Hill’s performance, there were official Grammy television ads that ran for a couple of days naming Ms. Hill as a performer on the show. Her camp was unhappy about this. They had made it clear from the start that although Ms. Hill was going to attempt to make the show, she could not confirm, as there were too many logistical issues that could potentially prevent the performance from happening. The performance was also supposed to be a surprise. This was discussed with Grammy organizers, and the TV spots were pulled. As previously mentioned, Ms. Hill attempted a last minute rush to LA, to see if this could happen, but unfortunately timing that day kept it from being a reality. Ms. Hill truly appreciated the invitation, and the efforts made by all parties to try and make the performance happen.