Kanye West, this week’s musical guest on the season premiere of NBC’s Saturday Night Live, wasn’t the show’s first choice: the scheduled Ariana Grande canceled “for emotional reasons,” says creator Lorne Michaels.
Michaels’ disclosure – and his gratitude to West – came during this week’s Origins With James Andrew Miller podcast, the last of a three-part arc about SNL. (Listen below.)
“We had Ariana drop out for emotional reasons two days ago,” Michaels says in the previously recorded interview. West’s appearance, and that of host Adam Driver, on tomorrow’s SNL was announced Sept. 17.
“That’s our premiere,” Michaels continued (hear it below, about 52 minutes into the episode), “and then Kanye stepped up, and he’ll be there.” The SNL exec producer said West’s last-minute agreement to appear indicated that “the reach of the show and the number of people who step forward” is “at its peak.”
Although Michaels didn’t go into specifics about Grande’s “emotional reasons,” the singer’s ex-boyfriend, MTV rapper Mac Miller, died of an apparent drug overdose on September 7.
Grande currently is dating SNL‘s Pete Davidson, who recently made headlines himself by firing back at former SNL star Chevy Chase for comments Chase made disparaging the current cast. Davidson called Chase, among other things, a racist.
SNL with Driver and West airs Saturday at 11:30 pm on NBC.