Recording Academy President Calls 2016 Grammys 'the Most Complicated Show on Television. Period' as CBS Officials Say Adele's Performance Was the Only Technical Issue
Recording Academy President Neil Portnow addressed several of the 2016 Grammy Awards' snafus
[BRIGHTCOVE “20987498” “” “peoplenow” “no” ]Even the Recording Academy President admits there were a few snafus at Monday’s Grammy Awards.
“We had the most complicated show on television. Period. End of story,” Academy President Neil Portnow told reporters backstage in the press room. With each musical performance, we change over the microphones, the wires. I mean, if you’ve been backstage – I can’t understand how they get it done, but they do.”
Portnow said that after the “Hello” crooner’s microphone dropped onto the paino keys, the show switched to a backup sound system that caused the momentary audio drop.
“All credit to her for how professional she is,” he said of Adele. “She did a great job and we certainly don’t like when those things happen, but those things happen sometimes.”
The singer, who performed “All I Ask,” took to Twitter after the ceremony to explain the strange guitar tuning sounds that interrupted her soaring voice.
A spokesperson for CBS, which streamed the award show live, tells PEOPLE that Adele’s brief sound issue was out of their control and “there weren’t additional technical issues beyond Adele’s performance.”
However, technical lapses weren’t the only snafus surrounding the show. Portnow said Rihanna canceled her performance nearly less than an hour before show time.
“We got word from [Rihanna’s] folks, which basically said she had been under the care of a doctor. I guess she had been taking some antibiotics. She made rehearsal, which was okay and she wasn’t feeling that great, doctor came in and examined her and said, “you have to be on at least 48 hours rest because you’re at risk here if you’re going to sing.”
Portnow was sympathetic toward the singer, and noted that Adele and John Mayer had similar issues in the past.
“If you’re a singer and you have this problem and a doctor says, ‘don’t,’ if you’re smart then you don’t,” he said.
He added: “Of course, we were all looking forward to that performance and I’m sure she regrets it. She would rather be sitting in than on the bed taking some medication. But that’s what happens when you have live events.”
However, reps for the singer told PEOPLE that she never promised to perform, calling her expected appearance a “last-minute” surprise.
“The Grammys announced a performance by Ms. Lauryn Hill prematurely without approval,” the rep said in a statement. “Any performance that could have happened was never confirmed, and should not have been advertised as such.”
Portnow has a different story. He told reporters backstage that Hill and The Weeknd spoke about he performance and she even attended a dress rehearsal the morning of the show.
“When it came to showtime, we were told she was late. Three minutes out, seven minutes out and she didn’t make it,” Portnow said of the singer. “She didn’t make the performance, she didn’t get in to the building on time. that’s the truth.”
• Reporting by NICOLE SANDS and NICK MASLOW