Tomorrow is the release date for Yandhi, the latest album to emerge from Kanye West’s past few months of astounding musical productivity. The release also coincides with him serving as the musical guest on the season premiere of Saturday Night Live on the same night. It turns out that Kanye wasn’t actually SNL‘s first choice to fill the music slot on the episode, though: He was apparently a last-minute replacement for Ariana Grande, who was scheduled to appear but stepped out for “emotional reasons.”
SNL creator Lorne Michaels appeared on a recent episode of Origins With James Andrew Miller, a podcast hosted by the titular writer of the SNL oral history Live From New York: An Uncensored History Of Saturday Night Live, and at the 51:40 mark of the episode, Michaels says, “We had Ariana drop out for emotional reasons two days ago. 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 that will step forward is somehow now I think probably at its peak.”
Grande’s emotional reasons are certainly justified: Aside from the lasting impact of the Manchester bombing, she’s also recently had to deal with the death of Mac Miller, with whom she was previously in a longterm relationship. Last night, Grande also posted a series of distressed tweets, writing, “Can I [please] have one okay day. Just one. [Please]. I’m so tired, [please]. [Thank you] for loving me [so much], I do not deserve it. [I love you].
Watch the promo video for this week’s SNL, which also features host Adam Driver and Kenan Thompson, above.