The 58th Annual Grammy’s went as planned, well not likely. Adele cried, Taylor Swift dissed Kanye and Lady Gaga paid tribute to the late, great David Bowie. But one such artist was nowhere to be found.
According to Gerrick Kennedy, a Los Angeles Times reporter, Lauryn Hill was a no-show. The American singer-songwriter was supposed to perform “In the Night” as a special guest with the Weeknd for the award ceremony.
Disappointed fans took to Twitter and Hill’s team responded with a strongly worded statement that informed the public the singer didn’t attend because the performance was last minute. It also implied that the Grammy’s announcement went without her approval. The statement continued to explain the artist’s busy schedule, leaving her little time to rehearse for the show. Hill appreciated the honor, but stressed that it was never confirmed.
The Grammy’s had a different story.
Neil Portnow, the President of the Recording Academy, said he was “disappointed that Hill didn’t make her performance at the nationally televised show.” But he also said her above statement was inaccurate. The Official Grammy ads included her as a performer and the hip-hop and R&B singer attended the Grammy’s dress rehearsal. He also insinuated that the stage was ready for her up until showtime.
The conversation didn’t stop there; Hill issued another statement that countered the Recording Academy President. It said her team made it clear that the singers would try her best to make the surprise performance but couldn’t confirm due to “logistical issues.”
It’s a constant battle between, “he said, she said” and we will never know who was right in this instance. Unfortunately, Hill’s absence hindered her relationship with the Grammy’s. But it also hampered an opportunity to engage with a wider audience. The award show allows hundreds of thousands of viewers to tune in and watch performances by artists like Hill and by her disappearance, she missed out on “brand” awareness.
I think Hill or her team should have made a better effort at speaking with representatives at the Recording Academy. This would’ve ensured that the two sides were on the same page about her whereabouts.
I also believe Hill should also reach out the Portnow and apologize for the inconvenience and confusion in order to preserve her chances of participating at future Grammy awards.
This isn’t the first time a celebrity wasn’t able to attend an award show or backed out at the last minute, but excuses like Rihanna, who had bronchitis, seemed a bit more legitimate if you ask me. I guess we will never know what the Weeknd and Hill’s mashup sounded like, but there’s always next year (if she’s invited back).