The Oscars have no host, Rihanna turned down the Super Bowl, and the White House dinner will be MC’d by a historian. What’s behind the sudden demise of entertainment’s biggest jobs?

The loss of the Oscars’ latest host is, on the one hand, just another mishap to add to the list. From 2016’s #OscarsSoWhite to 2017’s wrong delivery of the best picture award, the ceremony now seems like a particularly slow bloopers reel. Yet the loss of Kevin Hart – who quit after old homophobic tweets resurfaced – is also a sign of something else. The fact that no one has replaced him, and that it’s difficult to think of many people who could, or would, reveals a much deeper malaise: a scary loss of nerve across showbiz’s top-tier events.

Within weeks, the Super Bowl half-time show will air. In the past, the American football final has been an epic showcase for the likes of Madonna, Prince and Beyoncé, a 20-minute, legacy-defining megamix. This year, though, with Rihanna and Cardi B having turned it down in solidarity with the activist NFL player Colin Kaepernick, we will be left with the hardly epochal sounds of Maroon 5.

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