Charli XCX unable to perform on Saturday Night Live as Covid concerns hit show

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Charli XCX said she was “devastated and heartbroken” as she pulled out of Saturday Night Live with just hours to go after it was confirmed the show would go ahead with a reduced cast and crew, and without a live audience, due to the surge in Omicron cases.

The long-running US sketch show, which airs on US network NBC and is available on Sky Comedy in the UK, was hosted by actor Paul Rudd, and was due to feature live performances by the English electro-pop star.

Shortly before the show recorded, a statement from the programme said: “Due to the recent spike in the Omicron variant and out of an abundance of caution, there will be no live audience for tonight’s taping of Saturday Night Live and the show will have limited cast and crew.

“The show continues to follow all government safety guidelines in addition to a rigorous testing protocol.”

The move prompted the singer, who was due to perform alongside Christine And The Queens and Caroline Polachek, to pull out of the show.

In a statement on Twitter, she said: “Hi everyone, due to the limited crew at tonight’s taping of SNL my musical performances will no longer be able to go ahead.

“I am devastated and heartbroken.

“Myself, Caroline, Christine and all of our crews and teams have worked so hard all week alongside the SNL team to bring the most amazing musical performance to life.

“It can’t happen this time but I’ll be back!”

“I am currently safe and healthy but of course very sad!

“Please look after yourselves out there and make sure you get vaccinated if you haven’t already.”

Cast members including Pete Davidson and Colin Jost were absent from the live segments of the programme, although Davidson did appear in a pre-recorded sketch.

Jost, who is married to Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson, was absent from his regular Weekend Update slot, with SNL veteran Tina Fey anchoring the bulletin with Michael Che.

The show featured a surprise appearance from Tom Hanks, who welcomed Rudd into the so-called Five Timers Club, the group of stars who have hosted the sketch show five times.

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