Ashanti addressed the “Verzuz” controversy surrounding her fellow competitor Keyshia Cole during a sit-down interview with Hot 97 on Jan. 26. The singer opened up about Cole’s attitude and her late arrival to the Instagram Live show.
Around mark 1:25 Ashanti revealed that when she was initially alerted about the “Love” vocalist’s technical difficulties and she decided to wait before heading out on stage because she wanted to enter the same time as Cole.
“I obviously thought she was gonna be there a little bit sooner. I just felt like as women camaraderie, if someone is late, you know, you hold on a little bit. … I didn’t even realize so much time was going by, and we were sitting in the dressing room, and I got a call like ‘Yo, we’ve got to figure out what’s going on,’ and ‘Oh, she’s not ready,’ whatever it is that was happening, you know? I think there was something with her screen, or the sound, or something. I didn’t even know what was going on.”
The R&B crooner said she changed her mind after realizing how long fans were waiting for the show to begin. “I was like, ‘OK, I have to go out because there’s just people sitting there.’ This thing has been already up and down — the cancellations, the postponements, now it’s late. So, I said, ‘I’m going to wait a bit longer, and then I’ll go out.’ So I did.”
When the “Foolish” songstress was asked about the backlash Cole received for her attitude when finally coming onstage over an hour past the original start time, Ashanti stood up for her “Woman to Woman” collaborator.
She said on mark 2:56, “Everyone has their days, you know what I mean? There was probably a lot of stuff going on. It’s a lot of pressure. When you think of that many people with eyes on you, you know what I mean?”
She continued, “If her stuff wasn’t together, of course, you’re going to be frustrated. So on top of being nervous and then having to deal with all of that, of course, you’re going to be a little flustered. So I would just assume that played a part into it.”
Days following the battle, Cole talked about the incident during an interview with singer and songwriter Elijah Blake. She said, “When I was literally in the back and putting on my last touches, and I’m looking at the video from back in my dressing room, we did it at the studio and I said ‘Why does my picture look so dark?”
She added, “Soon as that happened, OT [Genasis, her surprise guest] came back and said, ‘You know they gotta fix the internet connection, because you are going to be experiencing another situation, you know like when Teddy Riley went on.’ You know the picture wasn’t clear, the visual wasn’t clear, the sound wasn’t good. I was really skeptical about that. I was just like, ‘I don’t want to go on and they not see me, and I’m looking blurry, the connection wasn’t right.’ I said ‘Y’all need to fix that first and then I’m going to go out there.'”
Despite the battle’s success, Ashanti revealed she “didn’t get a chance” to reconnect with Cole after the live. On Jan. 24, the “Verzuz” official Instagram page released the total number of viewers who watched the show, which rounded up to over 8.1 million people. Six million of those viewers came from Instagram Live, setting a new record for the live competition stream.