LL Cool J is pulling out of this year’s “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2022″ after testing positive for COVID-19. The ABC special, which is marking its 50th anniversary this year, is still moving forward as planned with hosts Seacrest and Liza Koshy, but will have to make an adjustment due to the hip-hop star’s absence.
“I know it’s disappointing to the millions of fans but my test came back positive for COVID, which means I’ll no longer be able to perform as scheduled at ‘New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,’” LL Cool J said in a statement. “We were ready and I was really looking forward to ringing in 2022 in my hometown in a special way, but for now I wish everyone a healthy and happy New Year. The best is yet to come!“
As had been planned, 2021 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee LL Cool J was set to perform some of his hits from the New Year’s Rockin’ Eve stage in Times Square. Also no longer performing will be Chlöe, who had been scheduled to sing her track “Have Mercy.”
Still set to perform there are Journey performing a medley of hits and Latin recording artist Karol G.
This year’s event will also include a New Orleans segment, featuring co-host Billy Porter performing his new single, and a Spanish-language countdown from Puerto Rico, with co-host Roselyn Sanchez, along with a performance by Daddy Yankee.
Previously announced Los Angeles performers (in pre-taped segments) include AJR and Daisy The Great (“Record Player”); Avril Lavigne and Travis Barker (“Sk8er Boi,” “Bite Me”); Big Boi with Sleepy Brown (“The Way You Move,” “Animalz”); Don Omar (“Danza Kuduro”) with Nio Garcia (“Se Menea”); French Montana (“FWMGAB,” “Unforgettable”); Macklemore and Ryan Lewis (“Can’t Hold Us”) with singer Windser (“Next Year”); Måneskin (“Beggin’,” “Mamma Mia”); Mae Muller with Polo G (“Better Days”); Polo G (“Rapstar,” “Smooth Criminal”); Masked Wolf (“Astronauts in the Ocean,” “Pandemonium”); OneRepublic (”Counting Stars,” “Run”); and Walker Hayes (“Fancy Like,” “AA”).
The L.A. segments are hosted by Ciara, with Club Quarantine’s D-Nice as DJ.
The fast-moving omicron variant has led to many last-minute postponements and cancellations across the industry. Fox earlier decided to scrap its “New Year’s Eve Toast & Roast 2022” production in New York, with hosts Joel McHale and Ken Jeong, due to the ongoing surge of COVID-19. On Broadway, “The Music Man” canceled performances through Jan. 1 after Hugh Jackman tested positive for COVID-19. Several Broadway shows have been forced to cancel performances due to breakthrough cases, including “Aladdin,” “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Hamilton” and “The Lion King.” Other productions such as “Ain’t Too Proud,” “Jagged Little Pill” and “Waitress” have ended their runs early as COVID continues to depress ticket sales and imperil Broadway’s revival.