After just two shows together, Ne-Yo is no longer on the R. Kelly tour, his rep confirmed to MTV News on Tuesday (November 20).
“I am disappointed that I won’t be able to perform for my fans,” Ne-Yo said in a statement. “I love being onstage in front of fans because of the immediate feedback you get. You know right away if they are feeling you — and they were really feeling our show.”
It might have seemed from the slew of activities and events outside of the tour that the Las Vegas-bred singer/songwriter was involved with this week — performing with Rihanna at the American Music Awards on Sunday, announcing details of his Compound Foundation’s Brazilian-themed masquerade ball on Monday and lending his star power to a Ronald McDonald House for World Children’s Day on Tuesday — that he’d known for a while that the tour plans were falling apart. But in fact, he’d planned his activities — including an appearance at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York — around the tour, which kicked off November 14 (see “R. Kelly Touring After All: With Keyshia Cole, J. Holiday — And Ne-Yo?” ). “Everything he is doing was already planned before this development,” said Jana Fleishman, his label rep.
Ne-Yo’s camp got word Monday night that the R&B singer would be dropped from the rest of the R. Kelly tour, which is slated to continue through January, after the parties were unable to come to terms on contracts. “This was a contractual issue between Ne-Yo and the promoter, not Kelly’s decision at all,” Kelly’s spokesperson told MTV News on Tuesday. As of Sunday, however, Ne-Yo was under the impression that whatever problems they had would be taken care of shortly.
“[The tour's] going pretty good so far,” Ne-Yo told MTV News at the American Music Awards on Sunday. “We’re working the bugs out.”
Kelly, Keyshia Cole and J. Holiday continue the Double Up trek on November 21 in Philadelphia.
In 2004, Kelly’s Best of Both Worlds tour with Jay-Z ended acrimoniously , with the two headliners parting ways after a chaotic show in New York, during which a member of Jay’s entourage reportedly discharged pepper spray into Kelly’s face.