Here’s a sentence I thought only existed in some sort of SEO fantasy world: Daft Punk may have pulled a Death Grips on us all. As we reported last night, the French Robots were scheduled to appear on The Colbert Report, only to cancel hours before showtime due to contractual obligations with MTV’s Video Music Awards. Now, varying reports (via Pitchfork) raise doubts as to whether Daft Punk ever intended to show up in the first place.
According to Billboard, the “biggest performance in summer history” was never intended to go off. When Daft Punk “dropped out” of Colbert, Robin Thicke stepped in to perform “Blurred Lines” as “the new song of the summer”. According to Billboard’s sources, Thicke actually filmed his performance last Tuesday (July 31st), and even made comments around that time of Daft Punk’s cancellation and references to Hyundai, who sponsored Colbert’s Colbchella music festival.
If this were the case, it could mean a number of things: 1) the whole thing was a clever, clever ruse, 2) the ploy was meant as a cross-promotional trick to advertise Daft Punk’s VMA appearance (Comedy Central and MTV are both owned by Viacom), and/or 3) Thicke’s performance was taped as a precaution in case of cancellation.
The New York Times reports that the band was planning to make an appearance, but ultimately canceled due to pressure from MTV. Speaking with three individuals involved with the show, The Times indicates that “Daft Punk’s planned appearance had already been a source of stress for Colbert since the group was only willing to appear in costume, and not perform or sit for an interview.” While on their way to the taping Tuesday night, the duo canceled, citing the MTV conflict.
Despite Comedy Central’s attempts to negotiate, MTV apparently “threatened to cut Daft Punk from the awards if the group also appeared on Colbert and would not budge despite pleas from Comedy Central.” In an email Colbert read on air last night, MTV Networks President Van Toffler wrote, “Not sure I can help you on this one. (Daft Punk’s label, Columbia Records) sold us hard on some clip and live appearance based on them not showing up anywhere else.” So, looks like we can possibly blame MTV for more than just the downfall of the music video.
Drama aside, last night’s Colbert did end up celebrating Daft Punk’s song “Get Lucky” with an all-star celebrity sing-along featuring Matt Damon, Jimmy Fallon, Bryan Cranston, Hugh Laurie, Jeff Bridges, and more. Watch the replay below.