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"SNL" Is "Scrambling" to Replace Next Musical Guest Last Minute, Sources Say

Ed Sheeran was set to perform but tested positive for COVID-19.

The hosts and musical guests for Saturday Night Live are usually planned in advance, but it sounds like one musical artist could get a last-minute gig on the long-running show. As reported by Page Six, Ed Sheeran was set to perform on SNL's Nov. 6 episode, but he is no longer able to appear in the studio because he has contracted COVID-19. Now, the show is reportedly "scrambling" to find a replacement for the English singer.

That said, the Page Six report also puts forth another option the show could go with that would still involve Sheeran. Read on to find out more about the situation, including what the "Shape of You" singer has shared about his diagnosis.

RELATED: Kenan Thompson Says This SNL Guest Made the Cast "Extremely Uncomfortable".

Sheeran announced his COVID diagnosis on Instagram.

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A post shared by Ed Sheeran (@teddysphotos)

In an Instagram post on Sunday, Oct. 24, Sheeran shared that he tested positive for COVID-19 and was quarantining. "Hey guys. Quick note to tell you that I've sadly tested positive for Covid, so I'm now self-isolating and following government guidelines," he wrote. "It means that I'm now unable to plough ahead with any in person commitments for now, so I'll be doing as many of my planned interviews/performances I can from my house. Apologies to anyone I've let down. Be safe everyone x."

His SNL appearance had just been announced the day before.

Ed Sheeran, Seth Rogen, and Vanessa Bayer on "SNL" in 2014
Saturday Night Live / YouTube

According to what a source told Page Six, since Sheeran wouldn't be let into the U.S. with a positive COVID test, the comedy show is "scrambling" to find a replacement "who appeals to the same demo." The source said that this would be someone like Justin Bieber or Shawn Mendes.

Sheeran's third appearance on the show—he also performed in 2014 and 2017—was announced by SNL the night before he revealed he has COVID. On Oct. 23, the SNL Twitter account posted that Succession star Kieran Culkin would host with musical guest Sheeran on the Nov. 6 show. The series will not air a new episode on Saturday, October 30.

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There is a way Sheeran could still perform.

Ed Sheeran at the premiere of "Yesterday" in June 2019
Featureflash Photo Agency /

The source told Page Six that it's possible Saturday Night Live will let Sheeran do his performance virtually. "Ed is offering to perform live via video link, but this isn't something SNL does," the source said. "The show likes to have the performer in studio."

SNL is far from the only appearance Sheeran has scheduled at the moment. His fourth album = (pronounced "equals") is debuting on Oct. 29, which has the 30-year-old making the rounds to promote it. As noted by The Hollywood Reporter, he's also set to appear on The Voice this week as a mega mentor.

Another musical guest was canceled in relation to COVID.

Morgan Wallen at the Academy of Country Music Awards in April 2018
Kathy Hutchins /

Sheeran isn't the first SNL musical guest whose appearance is being affected by COVID. In October 2020, country singer Morgan Wallen was set to appear on the show, but his performance was cancelled when videos surfaced of him hanging out in a bar maskless and kissing multiple women.

"I respect the show's decision because I know that I put them in jeopardy. I take ownership for this," he said in an Instagram video. The 28-year-old singer was replaced by musician Jack White. When Wallen did appear on the show in December, he appeared in a sketch making fun of his time at the bar.

RELATED: Maya Rudolph Says This SNL Host Made the Cast Want to Leave.

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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