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a major pop star is making a comeback on thursday

Adele? RiRi? Gagz?

by Douglas Greenwood
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Aug 5 2019, 10:31pm

This article originally appeared on i-D UK.

In the world of pop music, keeping something a secret is an art in itself. The combination of the tabloid rumour mill and those highly observant stan Twitter accounts means that we know a popstar is making a return weeks, if not months, before the music finally drops.

There are a few exceptions to the rule though. Let’s not forget the absolute meltdown that occured back in 2013 when Beyoncé pulled off the biggest pop stunt of the century, dropping a full album with a slew of music videos with no prior fanfare. It was so major that it transformed the star’s name into a verb – to “pull a Beyoncé” is to release new music unexpectedly – and no one’s managed to execute a stunt quite as monumental as it since. But is that all about to change?

Eagle-eyed people on the internet have spotted something curious, something major. On Thursday night this week, the lead interview spot on four of the most popular late night talk shows in America – that’s The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Conan, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Late Night With Seth Meyers and Jimmy Kimmel Live – all lie empty. Instead there’s a placeholder for an unannounced “special guest” and pop fans are going wild trying to hypothesise who it might be.

The ever-reliable Pop Crave team have stated that all signs point to that spot being filled by an imminently returning female popstar, and considering there’s a slew of women we’re chomping at the bit to hear new music from, our options are open.

The most popular returnee candidate seems to be Rihanna. The pop icon, fashion designer and i-D cover star has been thwarting any conversation surrounding her ninth album for years since she released 2016’s Anti. But in January, The-Dream – one of her closest friends and producers – sung the record’s praises already and said it was almost finished. She teased it again in a few interviews this year, casually mentioning it’s a reggae-focused record. If it’s all wrapped up by now, then what is she waiting for? All the signs are pointing to RiRi returning on Thursday.

But she’s not the only option. Adele has a habit of causing a shitstorm through the telly when she releases new music. Remember the ‘Hello, it’s me...’ teaser that made everybody’s jaw drop during The X Factor ad-breaks a few years ago? It’s been four years since her last record, and she’s famously elusive, so it’s likely that she might be making her comeback on Thursday too.

Don’t rule out Gaga either. She might be in the middle of her Enigma residency in Las Vegas, releasing her debut cosmetic line Haus Labs and still riding high off the back of A Star is Born’s wild success, but she hasn’t released new pop material since Joanne in 2016. With rumours that she’s worked with SOPHIE on this new one, and that it’s a return to her high drama-slash-pop art self, a several-show stunt like this might be the perfect way to execute her popstar comeback.

If it’s none of them, then maybe Pop Crave was a little off the scent and it’s a guy getting that talk show spotlight (Harry Styles was spotted shooting what fans assume will be a music video in Cancun last weekend)? Either way, the timing for all of these popstars is right, and killer TV show slot or not, we need new music from them all ASAP.

This article originally appeared on i-D UK.