Kanye West‘s Billboard Music Awards performance had censors scrambling and fans at home squirming as a full minute of the audio was muted due to explicit lyrics and poor lighting obscured the visual ambiance.
Kanye took a break from his usual awards ceremony behavior, allowing Taylor Swift to collect her eight awards uninterrupted, and viewers may have thought they were in the clear from any Kanye drama. Introduced by his sisters-in-law, Kylie and Kendall Jenner, Kanye appeared before a mostly raving crowd. By the time the performance ended, however, Kanye was receiving rants instead, with several members of the audience booing.
As flames rose up from the floor, the crowd’s view of Kanye was obscured for the majority of the performance but that wasn’t the worst of it for the television audience. Kanye performed the singles “All Day” and “Black Skinhead” but a frequent pressing of the mute button by network censors made Kanye’s music disjointed and unpleasant for many television viewers, and they had no problem expressing it.
— « Lilz » (@Lollipoppin16) May 18, 2015
— Stephanie Glasser (@StephanieHBell) May 18, 2015
Best Kanye West performance ever. No audio (bleeped 80% of it) and no visual (pyrotechnics). Nice job Billboard Music Awards. Classic #BBMA
— Matt Patton (@mattpatton19) May 18, 2015
This isn’t the first time Kanye West has come under scrutiny for a poor performance. Last year, it was said that Kanye donned a mask and played almost the entire show in near darkness. A review of that show had this to say about Kanye’s onstage antics:
“There were lasers, fireworks, and falling snow. There was a monster that huddled near the mountain peak for a song or two. And there was Kanye West, masked and adrift on an under-lit stage.”
Kanye’s 2015 Grammy Awards performance also left the stoic rapper in the dark for the majority of the time. His behavior may cause Kanye’s fans to question what West’s motivations are if he doesn’t want to be seen let alone heard.
Is Kanye pulling a Sia? Does Kanye simply need a new light and pyrotechnic guy? Is Kanye only suitable for prime time cable pay channels?
In reality, Kanye West may just be a marketing genius. Though home viewers (and reportedly some live viewers) were disappointed by Kanye’s Billboard performance, it did prompt a discussion of the entertainer by being perhaps the most sound censored television performance in history. And as any savvy business man like Kanye West knows, even bad press is good press.
You can view Kanye’s 2015 Billboard Music Awards performance for yourself here:
[Image provided courtesy of Ethan Miller/Getty Images]