Bad news, Verzuz fans. After previously postponing the upcoming Ashanti Vs. Keyshia Cole battle, the show announced it again pushed back their upcoming appearance out of COVID-19 safety concerns. In a statement posted to the Verzuz social channels, the organizers also revealed the show would be returning to its original format, with each artist calling into the live stream from a separate location after the most recent handful of shows saw the battles being staged at places like Atlanta’s Magic City and various studios.
For some fans in the comments, that’s good news. After all, Verzuz was initially sparked by the search for communal entertainment during the socially isolated shutdowns, with the artists taking turns playing their favorite hits for an appreciative digital audience. However, corporate sponsorships eventually led to more elaborate presentations beginning with the May Bounty Killer Vs. Beenie Man show. Since then, DMX and Snoop Dogg, 2 Chainz and Rick Ross, Gladys Knight and Patti LaBelle, Brandy and Monica, and E-40 and Too Short have all appeared in the same room. The crowning achievement of the new format was the battle between Gucci Mane and Jeezy, which saw the two rivals come together for the first time in a decade to perform their hit song “So Icy.”
However, such events drew criticism from longtime fans who pointed out the increased risk of infection of stars. That point was hammered home in December when Ashanti’s COVID diagnosis caused her showdown with Keyshia Cole to be postponed the first time. It appears that after COVID cases rose precipitously, shutting down new hospital admissions in cities like Los Angeles, the Verzuz organizers aren’t taking any more chances with the lives of our musical legends.