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Adele’s Last Minute Cancellation Leaves Vegas, Fans Wondering: What Went Wrong?

While rescheduling may be difficult, the singer is not expected to face any serious liability despite the last-minute decision.

Adele shocked fans on Thursday (Jan. 20) when she took to Instagram to explain that her Las Vegas residency — which was set to open the next day — had been postponed indefinitely due to production delays caused by COVID-19, fighting through tears as she explained, “We’ve run out time.”

The “Easy on Me” singer told fans “My show ain’t ready” to open on Friday due to “delivery delays and COVID” spreading amongst the team of people working with the artist to launch her first performance series in a half decade. Adele said she was embarrassed and “gutted” to have to make the announcement just one day before the 24-show run opened.

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Last month, Billboard predicted that the January-to-April weekend concert series would net Adele $2 million per show and help her avoid exposure to COVID that could have become a bigger threat if she were to tour North America by hunkering down inside of the Colosseum at Caesars Palace instead of going out on the road.

But sources are now telling Billboard that the decision to stay in Las Vegas and stage the Live Nation-produced concert series at the 4,200-seat theater first built for Celine Dion might have backfired. Finding an available venue to stage a 12-week concert series in the first place proved difficult, because many in the concert industry had forecast a full-scale comeback for live music in 2022 and most venues were already booked by the time Adele’s team at Endeavor-owned booking agency WME began looking for a venue for her live shows last year. An agreement to stage the concert at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace was finalized in October, with tickets going on sale in early December.

That left the promoters at Live Nation and Adele’s production team approximately two to three months to design the show; build and mount the staging and major production elements; and start rehearsing and finalizing the main performance with the cast and band. A source familiar with the Las Vegas live-entertainment business said large-scale productions can begin building and rehearsing concerts at rehearsal studios and production shops while they wait for host venues to become available, making it difficult to nail down how long Adele and her team had been working on the show. A representative for Adele did not respond to Billboard‘s request for comment.

Adele also mentioned in her Instagram video that her tour crew had been hit hard by the rapid spread of the COVID variant Omicron, which has prompted a number of competing residency shows at the new Resorts World Hotel in Las Vegas to tighten their protocols around COVID. Carrie Underwood and Katy Perry have both launched residency shows at the Resorts World Hotel and Casino without major outbreaks.

Shortly after the news broke, host hotel Caesars Palace said it would refund any guests staying at the hotel for Adele’s concerts and accommodate fans arriving today for this weekend’s show. Tickets purchased for the Adele concert series will be valid for a new, yet-to-be-scheduled date, according to Ticketmaster’s website.

“If your event is eligible for a refund or credit, those options will be visible within the Event Details of your order,” the site said.

While many fans have sent Adele messages of support and encouragement, others have expressed anger and frustration over the last-minute announcement. Many fans were already on the ground in Las Vegas and preparing for tomorrow’s opening when they heard the news. While the last-minute announcement didn’t sit well with fans who spent an average of $600 to $800 for tickets to the opening weekend on the primary market, Minneapolis Attorney Bruce Rivers told Billboard that fans have little recourse to recover additional travel-related costs based on the lengthy terms and conditions they agree to when purchasing tickets.

As for Adele’s 90-second video apologizing to fans for the show not being ready on time, Rivers says he doubts her statement exposes her to any real liabilities. “Sometimes it’s better to let a spokesperson handle these kind of statements” to minimize one’s exposure to any threat of future litigation, he notes.