By Nell Geraets
Olivia Rodrigo has cancelled her Australian promotional tour just days before it was set to begin, leaving local fans of the US pop star sour and others out of pocket.
The 20-year-old Good 4 U singer was scheduled to arrive in Sydney on Friday to promote her second album, Guts. The visit would have been Rodrigo’s first time down under, in which she had planned a variety of media appearances – such as on Nine’s Today show – interviews, an exclusive fan Q&A and meet-and-greets.
Rodrigo performs during the MTV Video Music Awards earlier this month.Credit: AP
Fans who wanted to meet Rodrigo during her visit had to pre-order the Guts album from the singer’s Australian store, upload proof of purchase and follow the prompts to be in the running to win a ticket. Those who missed out on the meet-and-greet were put in the running for passes to the exclusive Q&A.
These kinds of promotional activities have become a common way for artists and labels to help boost album sales. Presales of Guts helped contribute to the album debuting at No.1 on the ARIA album charts this week.
The day after securing the No.1 spot, Rodrigo cancelled her trip to Australia. A Universal Music Australia spokesman told this masthead that all of Rodrigo’s scheduled appearances have been cancelled, including the highly anticipated fan Q&A, which would have marked Australian fans’ first time seeing the Grammy-award winner in person on Australian soil.
“Due to unforeseen circumstances, Olivia Rodrigo’s trip to Australia has been cancelled,” the spokesman said. “Olivia is devastated that she won’t be able to make it; however, she’s so excited to see her Australian Livies in 2024.”
The abruptness of the news left fans – known affectionately as “Livies” – disheartened and confused.
“I felt very disappointed seeing the news so close to when she was meant to be here, as it would’ve been her first time in Australia and I had hoped she was going to announce tour dates alongside the promo tour,” Ruby, a fan who runs the X (formerly Twitter) account @OliviaRodrigoAustralia, told this masthead. Ruby requested her surname remain private as she was concerned by the vitriol on X over the Rodrigo cancellation.
Fans were notified of the cancellation on Monday via a brief email from the Universal Music Group. The email did not contain any information regarding potential refunds of merchandise.
Ruby said she was planning to drive to Sydney from Melbourne and had booked accommodation that allowed free cancellation within 24 hours and therefore didn’t lose any money. However, not every fan was as fortunate.
“I bought like seven copies of Guts, hotel [bookings] and plane tickets just in the hopes of seeing her,” wrote one fan on X. “I was convinced I was meeting her because there were so many chances, but they just ripped that away from us.”
Others expressed frustration over the lack of information provided when told the promotional tour was no longer going ahead. “The Universal Music Group email was so short and pathetic. It really was like ‘wait never mind, she can’t come, scratch that, cya bye’,” another fan wrote on X.
Some fans remained understanding – convinced Rodrigo would not have cancelled unless it were necessary.
“It is what it is,” Ruby said. “I can’t imagine Olivia and her team would have cancelled if they had [thought of] another way. I feel sorry for those who did buy extra items to get more entries, but for me, supporting Olivia by buying vinyl or merch was always my intention before the competition was even announced. Anything else was just a bonus.”
Rodrigo abruptly cancelled her Australian promotional tour, leaving fans devastated.
Ruby said the email notifying her of the cancellation gave her hope that Rodrigo would soon announce Australian dates for her Guts world tour next year. So far, the pop star has only confirmed the tour’s European, UK and North American legs.
“Seeing the ‘she’s so excited to see her Australian Livies in 2024’ part in the announcement made me feel better,” Ruby said.
Rodrigo, a former Disney star who featured in Bizaardvark and High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, shot to global fame after the release of her debut album, Sour, in 2021.
Sour spent eight non-consecutive weeks at number one on the ARIA albums chart that year.
Following the promotional tour’s initial announcement earlier this month, Rodrigo expressed her excitement about getting to visit a different part of the world.
“I can’t wait to get down to Australia,” she said in a press release at the time. “I’ve never been and I’m so excited to meet everyone. I’ll see you soon Livies!”
The Today show airs on Nine, which owns this masthead.
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