One of the biggest stories from Grammy night was Rihanna’s last-minute cancellation, with the singer ordered by a doctor to go on immediate “vocal rest” just before the show. While the audience missed out on the debut performance of Anti‘s “Kiss It Better,” Late Late Show host James Corden, who was recruited by Rihanna to appear within the song, gave a rundown of what she and Grammy producers had planned.
“A couple of weeks ago, I was asked if I would introduce Rihanna on the show,” Corden said on the post-Grammy Late Late Show. “So I get this phone call saying ‘Rihanna’s got this big thing planned for her song “Kiss It Better,” and she’s doing like a whole Eighties talk show thing. It’s going to be really cool and what she wants you to do is be like an Eighties talk show.'”
On Saturday morning, Corden rehearsed the performance with Rihanna, who the host said was “under the weather.” “Today, I got all dressed up, a guy came and measured me for an Eighties suit, drive down there, get there, do the red carpet, saying ‘I’m introducing Rihanna, she asked me personally to be part of it, it’s amazing,'” Corden continued. “And then I get to the end of the red carpet and they say ‘Rihanna has had to pull out of the show. She’s pulled out, she’s been told by a doctor she’s not allowed to sing, it could really damage her voice.’ And immediately go, ‘I hear what you’re saying, yes. I’ll fill the spot.”
To Corden’s disappointment, the host instead learned that the performance has been nixed entirely. However, LL Cool J invites the Late Late Show host to join him onstage when he introduced the Lionel Richie tribute.
Following the Grammys, Rihanna apologized to her fans for the last-minute cancellation. “#NAVY so sorry I couldn’t be there. Thanks Grammys and CBS for your support tonight,” the singer tweeted.
Recording Academy president Neil Portnow was understanding of Rihanna’s situation. “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,” Portnow said after the Grammys. “We just hope that she’s feeling better.”