The Vietnamese authority of art performances neither sought to approve Ariana Grande’s on-stage costumes nor revoked the license for her Ho Chi Minh City concert as rumored, the agency head announced on Thursday.
Shortly after the controversial cancelation of the singer’s Dangerous Woman show in the Vietnamese city on Wednesday, rumors circulated online that Grande either had her license revoked at the last minute or that she had been asked to have her costumes ‘censored’ by local authorities.
“None of these rumors are true,” Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Vuong Duy Bien confirmed to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Thursday.
Bien is also head of the ministry-run agency in charge of licensing artistic performances in the country, the same agency that the organizer of the Dangerous Woman concert in Ho Chi Minh City obtained a license from for the show.
According to rumors spread on certain news websites and social media outlets, although the show had been licensed, Grande was asked to submit her performance costumes to the agency to ensure that her outfits were not in violation of Vietnamese traditions and customs.
The U.S. singer reportedly refused to follow the request, calling it absurd and forcing the agency to revoke the show’s license.
“This is fake news,” the concert’s organizer told Tuoi Tre over the phone.
Bien, the agency head, also denied the rumors.
|The poster for the Ho Chi Minh City tour|
Later on Thursday, the agency sent an urgent dispatch to the Ho Chi Minh City culture department, asking it to release a full report on the show’s sudden cancelation.
The Dangerous Woman Tour was originally scheduled to make a stop on Wednesday night at Quan Khu 7 Stadium, hosting fans who shelled out anywhere between VND750,000 (US$33) and VND15 million ($660) per ticket.
However, at around 3:00 pm that day, Grande took to Instagram Stories to break the news to her “babes in Vietnam” that while she was already in the country and excited to perform, “my doctor won’t allow me to do the show for you tonight.”
‘Conspiracy theories’ quickly emerged that the show, given its exorbitant prices, failed to meet sales expectations, forcing Grande to cancel rather than perform for a barely filled stadium.
Others expressed anger at Grande’s choice to use such an informal medium as Instagram Stories, which disappears after 24 hours, to announce the cancelation, calling it disrespectful.
Sources said the singer was suffering a fever of 42 degrees Celsius, though her health condition is almost impossible to verify.
The next stop of Grande’s world tour is China, with shows in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou.
Some Vietnamese newspapers reported on Thursday that concert organizers in Beijing have announced that the show will go on as scheduled this Saturday.
Grande is reportedly ready for her performance in Beijing.