Saturday Night Live has been at the center of some controversy for having Kanye West be the musical guest for the premiere episode — yet, as it turns out, this was not the original plan. Instead, the show’s producers were at one point looking to bring on board Ariana Grande.
Speaking on the Origins podcast in a new interview, show executive producer Lorne Michaels noted that they had Grande originally lined up to be in the premiere before dropping out for personal reasons. Grande has had a difficult past month, stemming largely from the death of her ex Mac Miller. It made sense for a few reasons for her to originally be the musical guest for the premiere, given that she was very well-received the last time she was an actual host on SNL, she has a new song out there in “God Is a Woman,” and beyond that is engaged to one of the cast members in Pete Davidson. Yet, it’s easy to understand why she would not be ready at the moment to return to the stage so soon after a tragedy, especially when so much of the audience often has a tendency to be quick to judge every single move a celebrity makes.
West is stepping for the performance alongside host Adam Driver, and his booking is controversial largely because of many of West’s recent remarks, including him uttering in an interview that slavery was “a choice” before apologizing for it later. Controversy aside, though, West has been a staple on SNL for many years and has performed a number of notable performers. We’re not altogether shocked that he is the person to step in for the gig, given that he does have that close relationship with Lorne and, regardless of your affinity for him as an artist, will certainly get a number of people talking.
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