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Saturday Night Live is kicking off Season 44 with a bang, as Star Wars actor Adam Driver makes his triumphant return to the series alongside legendary and controversial rapper Kanye West. The blockbuster pairing seems like the typical A-list talent the late-night sketch show would pair together, although showrunner Lorne Michaels recently revealed West was a last-minute stand-in. According to Michaels, West stepped up and accepted the offer to appear after originally scheduled musical guest Ariana Grande bowed out due to "emotional reasons."
As for specifics behind why Ariana Grande dropped out, Lorne Michaels didn't dive deeply into that while speaking to James Andrew Miller's Origins podcast. That said, fans can speculate why she canceled considering Grande has been absent from other high profile events such as The Emmys, following the death of her former boyfriend and rapper Mac Miller. The singer dropped some cryptic tweets and not so cryptic responses to fans following the news, which have referenced his death and indicated that she is currently going through a difficult time dealing with the loss.
Kanye West is certainly a high-profile act that will draw a lot of eyes of Saturday Night Live's season premiere, although its debatable that Ariana Grande could've pulled even more. The pop-superstar isn't just coming off the success of her latest album Sweetener, but is also engaged to current SNL cast member Pete Davidson. The two's whirlwind romance has generated a lot of headlines since they first got together, so its safe to say many would've been watching to see if the celebrity couple starred in any sketches together.
The timing was bad for Ariana Grande, but couldn't be better for Kanye West. The rapper has coordinated the Saturday Night Live performance with the release date for his latest album Yandhi, which many have speculated is a follow-up to his 2013 album Yeezus. West shared a photo from the SNL set on his social media, which shows the rapper alongside Adam Driver and long-time cast member Kenan Thompson.
As for what folks can expect from Kanye West's Saturday Night Live performance, the sky is the limit. The rapper is known for his over-the-top performances, and with a new album dropping alongside this moment, one can expect the polarizing rapper to do something eye-catching and headline-grabbing. TMZ reported multiple other high profile rappers have been rumored for his SNL performance, and its even being said that director Spike Jonze is involved in the creative direction of the performance. West has moved the needle and caused controversy with fans and the public with many statements he's made in 2018, so one can imagine something like that can happen during the performance as well.
Fans will see what Kanye West has up his sleeve as Saturday Night Live returns for Season 44 Saturday, September 29 at 11:30 p.m. ET. For a look at what else is coming to television in the near future, head on over to our fall premiere guide.