Early forecasters were spot-on with their prediction – her new residency at Caesars Palace Colosseum had all of the elements of a perfect storm. Those early naysayers undoubtedly felt vindicated on January 20th, 2022, when Adele Laurie Blue Adkins, better known simply as Adele, abruptly canceled her entire four-month roster of shows just one day before the premiere.
By now you’ve read reports of COVID being used as a smokescreen, the outrageous demands, arguments with the production designer, and rumors of a simultaneous rift between Adele and her new boyfriend. All of those factors are moot now, as the “Weekends WIth Adele” set has been shoved to the loading docks and driven away from the Colosseum. Despite assurances of rescheduling from the star and no refunds being offered yet, it’s unlikely that Caesars will welcome back their biggest pain in the ass. What remains behind is a trail of disappointment, furious execs, an unemployed cast and crew, and a black eye on Las Vegas tourism that will take a long, long time to fade.
If you’re unfamiliar with the bigger picture of this tabloid-worthy drama, it’s important to know why Adele and Las Vegas were destined to be adversaries. The 33-year-old English singer/songwriter has always been a powderkeg of emotions and drama. Her father left when Adele was only two, and mother Penny struggled to provide for the two of them. They moved around quite a bit as Adele’s talent became evident. By the time she graduated from the BRIT School of Performing Arts, she was already recording and capturing the attention of industry heavyweights.
Adele’s own weight would often become an issue as she gathered fame and fortune. By 2019, the once-poor artist had dropped a hundred pounds, collected dozens of awards, banked over $220 million, and found herself partying with superstars like Drake. She’d also garnered a reputation for being highly unpredictable, even reportedly canceling a U.S. tour over issues with a different boyfriend.
Other cancellations would follow, as the star battled depression, anxiety attacks, stage fright, and an injury to her vocal cords. She grew increasingly difficult, earning the unpleasant label of “diva” from fans and colleagues. Bruno Mars stated in 2016 “She walks into the studio, she s got all this attitude, she s a diva, she s like, I don t want to do this. I don t like that.”
“I don’t want to do this. I don’t like that.”
So, back to Las Vegas. The City of Entertainment is struggling in 2021 to regain its footing. Dozens of shows have closed, the pandemic is still in full swing, and casinos are suffering. On the upside, long-postponed performances by Sting, Garth Brooks, and others are finally seeing the light of day. But what Sin City really needs is something global…a major “first” that no other destination offers. Enter Adele. On November 30th, her camp announces a 12-week series beginning on January 21st, 2022. Take note of the time frame, as the show would debut in a mere seven and a half weeks.
You now have the first few ingredients of this perfect storm…a city in turmoil, a planet-wide raging virus, minimal prep time, and a highly volatile, perpetually sobbing headliner. What could possibly go wrong? Short answer: everything. Even so, dedicated fans from around the world shook off their COVID fears and queued up for a complex lottery-style procedure. Called the Ticketmaster “Verified Fan” system, this supposedly-random process seeks to eliminate robotic purchases while simultaneously planting the idea that you’re lucky to be “allowed” to buy EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE (some as high as $5,000.00) seats. Naturally, the system crashed on the first day (December 7th), delaying things and creating even more furor. It also offered the first omen that those eager to attend Weekends With Adele were about to be screwed over big time.
Don’t gamble with Adele.
As the ticketing chaos got worldwide attention, local Vegas entertainers were in the midst of a professional conundrum caused by Adele’s show. A casting call had gone out for male singers to perform in the opening number “Skyfall”. Vocalists would only be paid $100 per performance, would not be given any perks (i.e. show tickets), and could not remain once their number was performed. Heated arguments took place on social media, with some Vegas entertainers calling it a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Others considered the pay to be an insult to their talent and not worth jeopardizing existing gigs for (in retrospect, they were the wise ones).
When taxes and parking fees were netted out, each singer would take home roughly $65 – $70 per evening. Keep in mind that each performance would also gross the producers about $2.2 million. To make matters worse, PageSix.com reported that Adele didn’t want the choir to be part of her show. How gratifying would it have been to give up your existing job in favor of singing with your idol (for chump change), only to discover later that she didn’t approve of you being there? Ouch!
As demonstrated by the relatively poor turnout for the choir auditions (100 available spaces, 60 candidates), it was clear that Adele and her company had already created bad blood in our entertainment community. Later it was revealed that her team opted for non-union musicians, something that’s deeply frowned upon in the industry. As PerezHilton.com reported last week:
“It is standard for an artist to use a local contractor to find and hire the help needed. But rather than rely on a Nevada-based contractor who would have found unionized musicians to put on the event Adele s team hired an unknown contractor from Canada to avoid the union!”
So before it had even opened, Weekends With Adele had stuck it to our city’s singers and musicians in an attempt to be cheap. Are you seeing any patterns of disrespect here?
The January 21st premiere date was now fast approaching. Excited ticket buyers from all over planet Earth have made arrangements to fly into Las Vegas. The singer has imposed a rule that all guests must show proof of COVID vaccination AND a negative COVID test that has been taken within forty-eight hours of showtime. In-home tests will not be accepted, meaning an extra expense on top of the outrageous ticket prices, airfare, hotel, and other associated costs. Fans have used valuable vacation time, arranged for pet sitters, and taken the kids to grandma so they can journey to Las Vegas. They’ve done everything they can to be there on opening night and beyond.
As controversy rages, third-party ticket sites are now charging up to $35K per seat, and OMICRON has spread around the world. All eyes are on Adele and Caesars Palace Colosseum to see if the landmark show can put Vegas back on top as a live entertainment destination. Adding to the pressure, KISS has canceled their Las Vegas residency, and David Lee Roth has decided to prematurely pull the plug on his Mandalay Bay House of Blues farewell show, blaming COVID-19.
Proof That Adele Is A Liar
As you now know, Adele made her sobbing video public the day before opening night. Millions of dollars wasted, thousands of people “stranded”, money from ticket sales frozen, and the star’s demands and lies gradually exposed. It’s all in the above video if you need Cliff Notes. Mere hours later, execs from Caesars packed into a meeting with Adele’s people. The singer was not among them….she was undoubtedly feeling sorry for herself instead of all the people she’d gutted.
As an informant told me, the Adele reps were extremely confrontational, as though they were the ones being wronged. One report says there was in-the-face finger-pointing and shouts of “Shut up and sit down”. Knowing they would face a great deal of the blame, Caesars ordered Adele’s sets off their property immediately. According to the same informant, Adele would be banned from performing at any Caesars property until she made financial restitution for the damages she’d caused. The hotel did their best to placate ticket-buyers who were staying at their resorts, but could only do so much to lessen the sting.
As the sky fell around her and rumors swirled, one of the latest involved a rift between the now-divorced singer and her latest boyfriend (same shit, different man). Then PopCulture.com reported on January 29th that the arrogant award-winner launched another grenade by refusing to perform a previously-scheduled number at the BRIT Awards, apparently fearing a backlash after her Vegas no-show. Instead, it created another wave of negative publicity…and even more angry fans:
Adele is canceling another concert appearance after previously delaying the start of her Las Vegas residency. The “Easy on Me” singer is reportedly no longer appearing or performing at the Brit Awards, leaving the show’s producers scrambling to come up with a solution to keep the run of events going smoothly according to The Sun.
“Adele was confirmed to perform on the night, but has now pulled out which has been a massive blow for the organizers,” a source told the outlet. “They are talking to her team to see if she can appear by videolink. It’s a massive headache but they want her involved in any way she will agree. They also now have to find someone to accept her awards should she win. And several big names have already said no,” the insider continued. “
As the multi-millionaire continues to cry, lie, and blame others, Las Vegas is the entity that’s really suffering from her horrible behavior. Major shows across the city are suffering, much of it attributed to the January slow season. Producers were hoping for overflow to fill seats with visiting Adele fans. Instead, showrooms are painfully empty, as evidenced by the above photos I’ve taken in recent weeks.
Local performers and technicians who committed themselves and their talents to Weekends With Adele have now lost that employment opportunity. Some may have burned bridges at their previous gigs in their eagerness to work with Adele. That means they may suffer long-lasting professional consequences. Then there’s the famed Vegas chef /restaurateur who was recruited to be Adele’s personal cook. He cleared his schedule to be at the fussy singer’s beck and call. That caused him a double-whammy…no paycheck from Adele and no other jobs for the next several months.
Photo: The U.S. Sun
For those of us who live and work in the Las Vegas area, the destructive tornado known as Adele left scars that won’t fade for months or perhaps years to come. That is no overstatement. Obviously, our entire city is built on tourism, and a fiasco of this magnitude will continue to resonate. Visitors will either deliberately or subconsciously reconsider whether it’s worth the expense and COVID-associated risks to journey here for a solitary performer. No matter how large the headliner, there will always be that choice of “See them in Vegas or wait until they’re in my own area”.
As a journalist who’s witnessed plenty, I can’t blame tourists for being reluctant. But as an entertainment enthusiast who believes in the power of the Vegas experience, I have a message for Adele:
“You set fire to the rain, but it’ll never be water under the bridge for the people of Las Vegas. We don’t need someone like you, so don’t come back…ever.”