Rich Fury/Getty Jack White
White is replacing country singer Morgan Wallen, who was originally scheduled to perform but then was disinvited earlier this week after breaking protocols put in place to protect the series' cast, staff, and guests against the novel coronavirus.
Wallen, 27, was seen in video footage partying over the weekend after a University of Alabama football game, ignoring safety guidelines recommended by medical professionals and the CDC that encourage people to wear masks in public, avoid gatherings and remain six feet apart.
"He probably isn't the first country singer or person from rock n' roll who partied after, in that case, a football game," Michaels told Today of the star. "But we're just living in a different time and everything is scrutinized."
Lorne Michaels revealed the new @nbcsnl musical guest after Morgan Wallen was removed for breaching COVID-19 protocols. Catch the full interview with @WillieGeist on #SundayTODAY. pic.twitter.com/3VsNILgBH4
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) October 9, 2020
After revealing that White would be joining Saturday's show, the producer teased that there may be "some other stuff" in store for those who tune in. Michaels also told Today that Wallen will eventually be invited back.
On Wednesday, Wallen said in an Instagram video that he had just been informed he "will no longer be able to play" because he had broken the show's safety protocols.
"I'm in New York City, in a hotel room. I was getting ready for SNL this Saturday, and I got a call from the show letting me know that I will no longer be able to play. And that's because of COVID protocols, which I understand," Wallen said in the video.
He continued, "I'm not positive for COVID, but my actions this past weekend were pretty short-sighted and that have obviously affected my long-term goals and my dreams. I respect the show's decision because I know that I put them in jeopardy. I take ownership for this. I'd like to apologize to SNL, to my fans, to my team, for bringing me these opportunities and I let 'em down."
The "Whiskey Glasses" singer said Michaels gave him "a lot of encouragement" and confirmed that he could appear on the show at a later time.
"So that means a lot to me. Thank you for that," the singer concluded. "And lastly, I know that I'm taking some heat — a lot of heat — but I just wanted to let you guys know that your messages of encouragement haven't gone unnoticed, either. It may be a second before you hear from me for awhile, but I'm [going to] go work on me, and I appreciate y'all respecting that. And I'll talk to you soon. Love you."
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