So… what happened to Rihanna?

This is a much, much, more shallow entry than my last one.

I have to ask — where the fuck was Rihanna last Saturday night?

I ultimately didn’t really care, but there are so many things that don’t add up, I feel like I have to put it all together.

(continues after the jump)

Background: the Mardi Gras party held annually immediately after the Mardi Gras parade (except for last year… but we won’t go there) tends to attract some really big name stars, over the years names like George Michael, Adam Lambert, Cyndi Lauper, Kylie Minogue, and Boy George have all appeared, many as last-minute surprise guests.  This year a few acts, namely Amanda Palmer, Wynter Gordon, and Alexis Jordan were announced in advance of the party, with hints and rumours of special guests flying like crazy.  Ke$ha was hotly rumoured, encouraged by the @newmardigras folks but of course never officially confirmed.

She was in Brisbane the day of the parade/party, but the party goes ’til 8am and the big names historically have appeared as late as possible.  Ke$ha tweeted saying she was landing, somewhere, and was up tweeting ’til after 4am, but if she was in Sydney, no one I know saw here.  Since no one ever officially confirmed anything, this wasn’t a big surprise.

Rihanna was also very heavily discussed.  A day or two before the parade, she was spotted leaving a sex shop in Oxford Street with undisclosed purchases in a couple of bags.  Rumours flew.  Nothing was confirmed (as, of course, it wouldn’t be – why spoil the surprise?)

Then the day arrived.  And all these tweets appeared:

The second and third tweets were retweeted by @newmardigras, suggesting a very official confirmation that she would be at the party.

Performances for the big acts were in between the DJ sets in the RHI building, at midnight, 2, 4, 6, and 8.  I missed the midnight performance but friends that were there before me confirmed it was just a drag performance.  2am was Alexis Jordan.  4am was Wynter Gordon.  By this point the entire room kept muttering Rihanna’s name.  It was actually kind of funny, since people who weren’t following on Twitter (that is, pretty well everyone but me) would likely not have even heard confirmation as people attending the party would’ve seen the parade in person, or been in a bar somewhere and not watching on Foxtel.

6am came, along with a whole bunch of people crowding to the stage in hopes Rihanna would be on (we’d all given up on Ke$ha at this point… though I was just happy with the awesome venue and DJs!)  The cast of Black Swan (I think?) performed a trapeze / dance act, which was fabulous, and then the next DJ came on, at which point a number of people who were clearly hanging on for Rihanna left.  I was having such a good time I stuck around until the end of the night.  I can’t find the tweet anymore but one of the performers in the 6am show had tweeted earlier in the evening saying something about “leading off the closing show” at 6am – which had originally suggested there would be other performers after him (there weren’t).

At 8am I was in the RHI, since it was one of only two buildings still open, and after the standard announcer voice asked people to thank the last DJ, it came back on and said: [please] “Welcome to the two thousand…” and was cut off.  Virtually everyone around me muttered the word ‘Rihanna’ (rather awkwardly, since it had long been clear she wasn’t there!)  A drag queen in a giant stack of wedding cupcakes came out and did a very cute set to Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5, with a series of floor-cleaning tools suggesting she was cleaning out the trash (i.e. us – in a funny campy way of course).  Then the lights came on and they wished us a safe trip home.

I had had a good night so wasn’t really bothered by the lack of celebrity – I’ve seen plenty of live performances, and while I love them, that’s not why I bought the ticket.  I also figured it was entirely possibly that she was there and I just missed her.

It was only in retrospect (last night, actually), I realized something wasn’t right.  New Mardi Gras sent out a post-festival email listing all the performers, which she was conspicuously absent from — this confirmed to me she wasn’t there.

This Same Same article also confirms she wasn’t there, and that NMG claimed she was on site: “She didn’t [perform], and we don’t know why, but Mardi Gras’ team say they did all they could, and insist she did actually turn up to the RHI on the night.”  I’ll be honest – I was snuck into the RHI VIP area multiple times, and spent most of the night exploring the different buildings.  If she was in RHI, even if only the VIP area, I sure as hell didn’t see her, and don’t know anyone who did.

Which only leaves me with one question: what happened?  It’s obvious, based on NMG’s tweets and Foxtel’s announcements, that she was scheduled to be there.  Why wasn’t she?

I’d love to hear everyone’s conspiracy theories!  This is amusing to me more than anything – I don’t have any hard feelings about it, but am genuinely curious about what fell apart at the last minute!


2 responses to this post.

  1. […] possibility that Rihanna or Ke$ha might very well just show up (in the end, as best as I can tell, neither did).  But the community festival feel is exactly what I (personally) like most about pride events.  […]


  2. […] happened to rihanna 2011″ and “what happened to rihanna” likely landed them on this entry I wrote about a totally trivial no-show appearance at Sydney’s Mardi Gras.  Highly […]


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