Ariana Grande has been forced to pull out of a surprise tribute performance at the 2018 BRIT Awards, a source confirms to E! News. The "One Last Time" singer recently fell ill and was planning to attend the event regardless, but she was ordered by her doctor to not fly overseas.
Though the 24-year-old pop star had not been publicly named as one of the night's performers, The Mirror first reported Wednesday morning that she had secretly agreed to participate in a tribute to the 22 victims of last summer's Manchester terror attack. "It was utter chaos when the call came in that Ariana couldn't do it," a source said. "It's race against time to get someone to do what is very much the centerpiece of the entire show." The tribute is expected to "be the biggest talking point of the night," the source added. "The whole industry wants to come together to pay their respects to the victims. The effects of that terrible night resonated far and wide in the music industry and it's only right everyone comes together to pay their respects."
E! News has reached out to a rep for the BRIT Awards for additional comment.
Confirmed performers include Rita Ora, Liam Payne, Dua Lipa, Ed Sheeran, Justin Timberlake and Sam Smith, among others. Jack Whitehall is hosting the show live from London's O2 Arena.
Liam Gallagher is rumored to be replacing Grande. "Liam has saved the day by stepping in at the last minute. It's a perfect choice," a source told The Mirror, adding that he may sing "Live Forever" from Oasis' hit album Definitely Maybe. "It's going to be the moment of the evening."
Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the BRIT Awards, confirmed Grande's last-minute absence in a BBC Radio 5 Live interview Wednesday, just hours before the show. "We think it's really important to recognize that terrible atrocity and the impact on so many lives so I can confirm we did have Ariana Grande lined up to make a performance tonight. Unfortunately she was not able to travel on doctor's orders, she's not well, and I can say that there will be something tonight, I can't say any more than that but people should tune in and watch," Taylor said. "And hopefully it will be a fitting remembrance and recognition of what happened, which was so terrible." Regarding rumors that Gallagher will step in for Grande, Taylor played coy. "I think people should tune in tonight," he told the radio hosts. "I promise they won't be disappointed."
After 22 of her fans were killed in 2017, Grande organized the One Love Manchester concert. The benefit was televised worldwide and included performances from Justin Bieber, Coldplay, Miley Cyrus, Niall Horan, Little Mix, Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams and other musicians. After the special aired, the British Red Cross announced it'd received nearly $13 million in donations.