Monday night’s Grammy Awards boasted several explosive performances from Taylor Swift, Adele, Kendrick Lamar, and more music industry heavyweights. But the sting of Rihanna’s cancelled performance was hard to shake off — especially now, when we’ve learned just how elaborate her planned segment was.
James Corden, who was set to introduce the singer, detailed what he and Rih had plotted for the performance, which would’ve marked the live debut of her smoldering ANTI highlight “Kiss It Better.”
“A couple of weeks ago, I got asked if I would introduce Rihanna on the show,” Corden explained during his post-Grammys episode of The Late Late Show. “I get this phone call saying Rihanna has this big thing planned for her song ‘Kiss It Better’ and she’s doing like a whole ’80s talk show thing and it’s going to be really cool.”
Corden revealed how he’d play the host of a fictional ‘80s talk show called As It Lays, and he would’ve appeared in goofy grasses and a slick ‘80s suit that he was just fitted for that morning. As fate would have it, though, Rihanna came down with bronchitis and was warned by her doctors that she was at serious risk of hemorrhaging her vocal cords. Unfortunately, Corden didn’t find out about the cancellation until AFTER he had completed the red carpet and excitedly told reporters all about his and Rih’s big Grammy plans.
“I get to the end of the red carpet and they say, ‘Rihanna’s had to pull out of the show. She’s pulled out, she’s been told by a doctor that she’s not allowed to sing; it could really damage her voice,’” Corden explained. “And I immediately go, ‘I hear what you’re saying. Yes, I’ll fill the spot. I’ll do it.’”
Though Corden boldly stepped up to the challenge, hot pants and all, the segment ultimately got cut. Instead, host LL Cool J invited him to introduce the evening’s star-studded Lionel Richie tribute performance. Not a bad consolation prize… but it ain’t Rih either. Hopefully we’ll get that ’80s-inspired performance some other time?!