LL Cool J tests positive for COVID-19, drops out of New Year’s show


Hiphop legend LL Cool J,  was scheduled as a headliner on ABC’s annual ball drop broadcast “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest,” had to cancel his appearance after testing positive for COVID-19.

“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 NYRE,” the “NCIS: Los Angeles” star said in a statement, Deadline reported. “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!”

ABC also announced that the R&B singer Chlöe, who had previously been scheduled to perform on the special, will no longer make an appearance.

Other acts still slated for the show — which first began as an end of year tradition on NBC in 1972 — include “Pose” star Billy Porter, rock group Journey and reggaeton singer Karol G.

Last week, ABC said it planned to play its Dec. 31 show by ear and follow New York City’s lead for coronavirus safety-related guidance.

The Times Square ball drop, while still set to happen, is heavily restricted, with masks required and crowd sizes capped amid the new Omicron variant of the virus causing caseloads to dramatically surge across the boroughs.

“There is a lot to celebrate and these additional safety measures will keep the fully vaccinated crowd safe and healthy as we ring in the New Year,” Mayor de Blasio said in a statement. “New Yorkers have stepped up tremendously over the past year — we are leading the way on vaccinations, we have reopened safely, and every day we work toward building a recovery for all of us.”