Adult Contemporary

The Year in Music 2022: Adele craps out in Las Vegas, then hits the jackpot

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Raven B. Varona

Since she became a global superstar, Adele has rarely put a foot wrong. But in 2022 she experienced backlash after abruptly canceling her Las Vegas residency — something she called “the worst moment in my career, by far.”

–The saga started in November 2021 when, shortly after telling Rolling Stone that she wasn’t going to do a Las Vegas residency because there were no venues available for her, Adele announced Weekends with Adele.  The production was planned to run on weekends from January through April 2022 at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace.

–Prices soared for the shows, Adele’s first in the U.S. since 2016, with at least one last-minute website offering seats for as much as $49,000 each for the opening night.

–But it all came crashing down on Thursday, January 20 — one day before the residency was to launch. In an emotional video message that day, Adele called the whole thing off, telling fans, “I’m so sorry, but my show ain’t ready.” She blamed COVID and delivery delays, adding, “I’m so upset and I’m really embarrassed and I’m so sorry to everyone that traveled in.”

–Fans who’d spent thousands on hotel and airfare to fly in for the opening weekend were furious and also frustrated Adele offered no further explanation. Rumors swirled as to the “real” reason the show was called off; there was speculation that she’d have to switch venues if she ever did make it to Vegas.

–In February, Adele appeared on The Graham Norton Show and insisted that the residency was “absolutely 100 percent happening this year.”

–In early July, Adele told BBC 4’s Desert Island Discs that she was “a shell of a person for a few months” after canceling the show, adding, “I definitely felt everyone’s disappointment … it was brutal.” She also explained her lack of communication by saying, “I’m not gonna update you if I ain’t got nothing to update you with, because that just leads to more disappointment.”

–Finally, in late July, the word came: Weekends with Adele had been rescheduled for November 18, 2022, through March 25, 2023, and eight new shows had been added. In August, she told ELLE magazine that canceling the residency was “the worst moment in my career, by far,” but insisted she had to because the show had “no soul in it” and “lacked intimacy.”

–But all’s well that ends well: When it finally premiered, the show, which features her performing with a string section amid video panels, a rain curtain, fire and clouds of confetti, got rave reviews.

Adele has since added two New Year’s Eve weekend shows to the run, and she told an audience in December that, rather than returning to arenas or stadiums, she might simply continue doing intimate shows like Weekends with Adele “for the rest of my life.”

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