Some winners at the 2023 Golden Globe Awards Tuesday (Jan. 10) weren’t too pleased when it sounded like live pianist Chloe Flower playing to urge them to wrap up their acceptance speeches. Neither was the internet.
Since the event, though, Flower has cleared the air with folks such as Michelle Yeoh and Austin Butler, both of whom made digs at the play-off music during their time onstage. And now, she wants to set the record straight for everyone else: It wasn’t her who was playing the piano in the middle of winners’ speeches — it was a pre-recorded track.
“I was hired to play piano when we come back from commercial break and re-enter the program,” she told People in a story published Thursday (Jan. 12). “It’s called a rejoin. That was the only time I was ever supposed to play, and that’s the only time I played. I think that all of the winners and celebrities who were being cut off didn’t … all of a sudden, I became the face of the playoff music.”
“I was kind of sad,” she continued. “I mean, you saw it. They cut to me. I’m not an actress. I was sad that everyone thought that I would be that disrespectful. I would never do that as a live musician.”
Flower caught a lot of flack on social media during the course of the show from upset viewers who assumed it was her piano-playing that was interrupting the stars’ big moments. An insta-viral clip of Yeoh looking off stage, presumably at Flower — who was sitting at the piano but not playing — “Shut up, please … I can beat you up, OK? And that’s serious,” while accepting the award for best actress in a musical or comedy didn’t help the misunderstanding.
Butler, accepting best actor in a motion picture, drama for his title role in Elvis, quipped: “You could at least play ‘Suspicious Minds’ or something.” And Farrell, who won best actor in a motion picture, musical or comedy said, “You can forget that piano.”
Though viewers may have missed it as many in the crowd were talking over him in the moment, host Jerrod Carmichael set the record straight on camera before the show had even ended — something Flower said made her cry because she felt “protected.”
“Look, this show here is not easy,” Carmichael said during the ceremony. “We are very lucky to have tonight, someone who is an incredible, incredible pianist. People on Twitter are like, ‘Man, she’s playing people off.’ It’s actually a track.”
According to Flower, she was able to explain what had really happened to Yeoh before the night was over. “She walked past the piano, and I stopped her and I was like, ‘I would never play during your speech,” she recalled. “I respect you, and I am a huge fan,’ and she held my hand. She was so lovely, and she was so nice.”
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Flower shared that she also got the chance to clear the air with Butler. “I definitely reached out to him and I said, ‘I was not playing during your play-off,’” she said. “He was like, ‘Really?’ He’s like, ‘Sorry. Thank you.’”
“They’re all artists, and I think they just want their moments to say thank you, and they don’t want to be cut off,” she added. “I think in the moment, they’re not really thinking about me. They’re not thinking about the producers, they’re just thinking about, ‘Why is someone cutting me off?’ I didn’t feel like it was necessarily directed at me, if that makes sense, even though it was at me.”