The 2016 Grammys telecast was packed wall to wall with performances and tributes. But two of the biggest names — Rihanna and Lauryn Hill — were no-shows.
Rihanna, who released her eighth album Anti in January, was reportedly set to perform "Kiss It Better" on the Grammy stage. But according to TMZ, she had to pull out at the last minute due to a persistent case of bronchitis. One of Rihanna's representatives confirmed the report to Just Jared, saying that her doctor "put her on vocal rest for 48 hours because she was at risk of hemorrhaging her vocal chords."
Meanwhile, Lauryn Hill was reportedly supposed to join the Weeknd for his debut Grammy performance — but when the time came, he was left to his own devices.
In a statement to Vox, Hill's representatives said that publicizing a performance by Hill was a matter of premature communication on the part of the Grammys:
"The Grammy's 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."
Though the Weeknd did an admirable job with his medley — which included "I Can't Feel My Face" and "In the Night" — Hill's absence was initially confusing, given that Complex reported earlier in the day that she was at rehearsals. The site even posted a since-deleted Instagram post that showed the Weeknd and Hill together:
Then when Hill didn't show up on the Grammy stage, a PR rep tweeted her surprise, apparently having seen the pair in action at rehearsals:
Wow...was at rehearsals & Lauryn Hill rehearsed w/ The Wkend & now she is not for the telecast. Guess she pulled out. #grammys— Simone Smalls (@simonesmalls) February 16, 2016
Lauryn Hill & her background singers rehearsed twice with The Wkend earlier today & it was a good performance. Not sure what happened.— Simone Smalls (@simonesmalls) February 16, 2016
In short: Confusion reigned supreme.
But where's Lauryn Hill? She's supposed to perform tonight.— HuffPost BlackVoices (@blackvoices) February 16, 2016
Who lied and said Lauryn Hill was coming out for the Weeknd's performance?... janky promoters! pic.twitter.com/WQZ8PuRs9w— xoNecole (@xonecole) February 16, 2016
Updated to reflect the statement from Lauryn Hill's camp.