There’s a ton of buzz surrounding Kanye West’s performance at the Billboard Music Awards Sunday night, but for very un-Kanye-like reasons: He was barely audible throughout his two-song set. ABC’s censors left television viewers with more dead air than music during West’s rendition of “All Day” and “Black Skinhead.” We knew there’d be more details and mini-controversies to come out of the performance, because… Kanye. And there were.
The drama apparently started before Kanye even started performing, as Billboard reports that West was booed before and after his set. That didn’t come across on the broadcast, though you could hear some boos when his presenters, Kendall and Kylie Jenner, were announced.
As for the performance itself? It turns out there was a massive miscommunication between West and the broadcast’s production team. According to TMZ, West never did a dress rehearsal prior to his performance, leaving everyone in the dark as to what he would actually do on stage. It was assumed by the producers that West understood that clean versions of his tracks were necessary for the national audience. Yes, these producers thought the same guy who has a track record of storming stages at live award shows would not dare to have a potty mouth because he was on network television.
“He’s Kanye. What are we supposed to do?” a production source told TMZ.
How about telling Kanye that no one will hear him if he curses? It would have been at least worth a shot. After all, if there is anyone with a fear of not being heard, it’s Kanye West.
As TMZ notes, Kanye skipping out on his dress rehearsal is not unprecedented, as Mariah Carey also missed hers (and it showed).