Due to the recent surge of the omicron variant of COVID-19 in New York City, Saturday Night Live has made some major last-minute changes to the Dec. 18 show in order to ensure the safety of the cast and crew. Paul Rudd is still going to host the episode, but there will be no live audience and a limited cast and crew. Not only that, but musical guest Charli XCX will no longer be performing. This is the final episode of the year.
SNL announced the changes on social media. "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's account tweeted. "The show continues to follow all government safety guidelines in addition to a rigorous testing protocol." They also explained that anyone who won tickets to the show would be getting more information.
The show continues to follow all government safety guidelines in addition to a rigorous testing protocol.— Saturday Night Live – SNL (@nbcsnl) December 18, 2021
Charli XCX tweeted out a statement that her performance had been canceled. "Hi everyone. Due to the limited crew at tonight's taping of SNL my musical performances will no longer be able to go ahead," the "Good Ones" singer wrote. "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 music 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 after yourselves out there and make sure you get vaccinated if you haven't already. Lots of love, Charli."
This decision comes in the wake of several Broadway shows being put on hold due to rising COVID numbers. Not only that but the Rockettes canceled their annual Christmas Spectacular show for the second year in a row due to the ongoing pandemic.