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Kanye West Is Performing on SNL’s Season Premiere Because Ariana Grande Dropped Out

Kanye West apparently wasn’t the first choice for musical guest at the season 44 premiere of Saturday Night Live this weekend. According to SNL creator Lorne Michaels, Ariana Grande dropped out a few weeks ahead of the premiere with host Adam Driver.

“We had Ariana drop out for emotional reasons two days ago,” Michaels said on the Origins With James Andrew Miller podcast. “That’s our premiere, and then Kanye stepped up, and he’ll be there. So, the reach of the show and the number of people who will step forward is now somehow now, I think, probably at its peak.”

The “emotional reasons” Michaels references most likely pertain to the death of her ex-boyfriend, rapper Mac Miller. He died from an apparent overdose earlier this month at the age of 26. Grande is currently engaged to current SNL cast member Pete Davidson, for whom she wrote a song titled “Pete Davidson.”

West seems to have tied the Saturday night release of his surprise album Yandhi to his SNL appearance, which is interesting given that it’s only in the past few weeks that he was booked on the show.

You can hear Michaels discuss Grande and West around the 51:30 mark of the podcast below.