Leading up to the celebration, which occupies a beach in the Brazilian city and features several stages and performers, media outlets wrongly reported that will.i.am was officially scheduled as a performer at the event. According to a Billboard article in which the singer’s spokesperson and manager clarify the mishap, will.i.am never signed an official agreement for the performance.
Nonetheless, the performer’s manager confirmed in a statement that he was originally slated to appear but the deal fell through stemming from inadequate stage preparation. “will.i.am and his management [representatives] received an invitation for will.i.am to perform at a New Year’s Eve event on the beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,” Polo Molina, will.i.am’s manager said in a statement according to Billboard’s article. “During discussions about the invitation, the event producer expressed an intention to televise the concert. will.i.am’s management team requested certain staging elements be added for the show in order to accommodate his televised performance. These staging elements were not confirmed, so no agreement to perform was ever reached.”
Molina’s statement also references the early reporting of the negotiations with an apology from the rapper himself. As per Billboard’s report, the emcee “apologizes to his fans for confusion caused as the result of the unauthorized and premature external discussion of his involvement.”
It is unclear if will.i.am performed at another venue to ring in the New Year.
In 2013, will.i.am released his fourth solo album, #willpower, and toured extensively while promoting the release. The performer encountered some controversy with the release of his Chris Brown featuring single, “Let’s Go,” owing to an apparently unauthorized sample. Months later, will.i.am publicly feuded with fellow label mate and producer Pharrell stemming from a similarity in their respectively held creative ventures.
Though it was reported in August that will.i.am was slated to appear as a judge on “American Idol” in 2014, the singer apparently turned down that offer in favor of another reality-show gig outside of the United States. As reported by The Hollywood Reporter in November of 2013, will.i.am has agreed to join the cast of judges on the Australian version of the singing competition “The Voice” for the 2014 season. Signing on with “The Voice Australia” represents a shift within the franchise for will.i.am who appeared as a judge on the British version previously. will.i.am also appeared previously on a separate reality musical competition show called “The X Factor” in 2012.