Did Backstage Drama, Rather Than COVID, Derail Adele's Las Vegas Residency?

Adele’s postponement of her Las Vegas residency the night before her big premiere might have less to do with COVID-19, as the British pop icon stressed in her announcement, and more to do with percolating tensions over the presentation of her shows.

What Happened: The “Weekends with Adele” residency was slated to begin on Jan. 21 and run for four months almost every weekend at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace Hotel, a subsidiary of Caesars Entertainment, Inc. CZR.

But in an online video message posted Jan. 20, a tearful Adele declared, “I’m so sorry, my show ain’t ready” – but then indicated the postponement of the four-month engagement, consisting of two shows each weekend, was due to COVID-19 rather than backstage feuds.

“We’ve been absolutely destroyed by delivery delays, and half my crew, half my team have come down with COVID,” Adele added. “It’s been impossible to finish the show, and I can’t give you what I can right now. I’m gutted. I’m gutted, I’m sorry it’s so last minute. We’ve been awake for 30 hours trying to figure it out, and we’ve run out of time.”

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What Might Have Also Happened: However, two British media outlets are reporting there was more to Adele’s abrupt postponement than COVID.

According to The Sun, Adele’s residency was “heading for disaster” over “explosive arguments” with Esmeralda Devlin, the set designer for “Weekends with Adele.”

“In spite of the set costing millions to put together, Adele was unhappy with the result, and she made her feelings very clear to Es,” an unnamed source told The Sun. “She [Adele] was already nervous, and the falling out sent her spiraling into a panic because she was desperate that everything should be perfect.”

Another unnamed source claimed Devlin, who worked on Adele’s 2016 world tour, and the singer dealt with “endless changes” to the show’s song line-up and how she wanted to present her music.

“There was no real clarity around what Adele wanted for the show because of the endless changes being made to the production,” the source said. “It seemed that while she has always preferred a stripped-back performance, she was under some pressure to come up with a huge extravaganza. So, there was a constant ricochet between those two versions of what the show should be, and it did cause some quite explosive arguments.”

A separate report from another British media outlet, The Daily Mail, insisted that “tension” grew between Adele and the venue when she was asked to perform “Skyfall” with a 60-member choir. Adele pushed back, with the insistence of maintaining a “low-key” performance that was “all about the voice.”

Adele’s representatives did not comment on either media report.

Photo: Promotional art for the now-postponed Adele residency. Courtesy of Caesar's Palace.

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