Charli XCX will no longer perform on tonight’s holiday episode of “Saturday Night Live” due to the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in New York City and NBC’s decision to limit the number of crew members working at 30 Rock’s Stage 8H. The musician made the announcement this evening, just hours before the show was set to broadcast.
“Hi everyone, due to the limited crew at tonight’s taping of ‘SNL’ my musical performances will no longer be able to go ahead,” Charli XCX wrote on Instagram. “I am devastated and heartbroken. Myself, Caroline, Christine and all our crews and teams have worked so hard all week alongside the ‘SNL’ team to bring the most amazing musical performance to life.”
“It can’t happen this time but I’ll be back!” the post continues. “I am currently safe and healthy but of course very sad. Please look after yourselves out there and make sure you get vaccinated if you haven’t already. Lots of love, Charli”
Earlier Saturday afternoon, NBC announced that “Saturday Night Live” would proceed without a live audience. The upcoming broadcast is set to be the final new episode before the production takes a break and returns in 2022.
“Due to the recent spike in the Omicron variant and out of an abundance of caution, there will be no live audience for tonight’s taping of ‘Saturday Night Live’ and the show will have limited cast and crew,” reads a statement on the series’ official Twitter. “The show continues to follow all government safety guidelines in addition to a rigorous testing protocol.”
Due to the recent spike in the Omicron variant and out of an abundance of caution, there will be no live audience for tonight’s taping of “Saturday Night Live” and the show will have limited cast and crew.
— Saturday Night Live – SNL (@nbcsnl) December 18, 2021
Specific details defining the limitations in the number of cast and crew members are currently unclear, as are any additional health and safety protocols provided to personnel on set. Paul Rudd will marquee the episode, his fifth time hosting the show.
The news comes in the wake of several adjustments and cancellations within the entertainment industry responding to a new surge of COVID-19. Most recently, the CBS comedy “Ghosts” halted production in Montreal after a case of COVID-19 was detected on set. A talent agent who attended the “Spider-Man: No Way Home” premiere and Tom Holland’s proceeding after party also tested positive for COVID. On Broadway, musicals such as “Mrs. Doubtfire: The Musical,” “MJ The Musical” and “Hamilton” have announced hiatuses and cancelled shows. And beyond entertainment, the Netherlands just announced a country-wide lockdown of non-essential schools and businesses.
Much of the renewed attention to COVID-19 precautions are driven by the latest Omicron variant. First detected in the U.S. on Dec. 1 after earlier appearing in other countries, Omicron has not been found to be more severe than the Delta variant, but it is more transmissible.