Lauryn Hill Criticized by Academy President for Missing Grammy Performance – but She Says She Never Promised to Play the Show
A rep for Lauryn Hill says Grammy officials jumped the gun on the singer's expected performance
Her rep released a statement saying that Hill never confirmed that she was performing with The Weeknd at the Grammys and that Recording Academy bigs jumped the gun by announcing her.
“The Grammys announced a performance by Ms. Lauryn Hill prematurely and without approval,” the rep tells PEOPLE in a statement. “Any performance that could have happened was never confirmed, and should not have been advertised as such.”
The rep adds that Hill, 40, “had concerts all weekend,” had no time to prepare and wasn’t sure she’d be able to make it to Los Angeles in time for rehearsal.
“Ms. Hill was invited to do a collaboration with an artist she appreciates,” the rep says. “The performance was intended to be a surprise and unfortunately, due to its last minute nature, was unable to come to fruition.”
However, Recording Academy President Neil Portnow told reporters that Hill attended a dress rehearsal the morning of the award show, although she missed a few rehearsals prior.
“When it came to show time, we were told she was late – three minutes out, seven minutes out and she didn’t make it,” he said. “She didn’t make the performance, she didn’t get into the building on time.”
Portnow adds that he is “not accountable for why that happens.”
“If I have to be some place on time, I figure out how to do that,” he says. “But great credit to The Weekend. With all best intentions, things changed, but he killed it.”
In response, Hill’s rep tells PEOPLE, “In regards to the comments this morning from The Grammys, CBS did announce Ms. Hill’s performance, there were official Grammy television ads that ran for a couple of days naming Ms. Hill as a performer on the show. Her camp was unhappy about this. They had made it clear from the start that although Ms. Hill was going to attempt to make the show, she could not confirm, as there were too many logistical issues that could potentially prevent the performance from happening.”
The rep continues, “The performance was also supposed to be a surprise. This was discussed with Grammy organizers, and the TV spots were pulled. As previously mentioned, Ms. Hill attempted a last minute rush to L.A., to see if this could happen, but unfortunately timing that day kept it from being a reality. Ms. Hill truly appreciated the invitation, and the efforts made by all parties to try and make the performance happen.”