Kanye West is known for his memorable Video Music Awards moments, and it sounds like he might have another one to add to his list. According to TMZ, Kanye failed to show up for his dress rehearsal for the 2016 MTV VMAs just hours before the annual extravaganza is set to kick off at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Kanye West has already been given a pass to do whatever he wants during his four-minute VMA time slot, but now MTV producers have absolutely no clue how he plans to entertain the audience during his segment. Sources at the VMAs told TMZ that “nobody knows what [Kanye’s] doing,” so MTV censors are no doubt on alert ahead of the live broadcast.
Of course, one of Kanye West’s biggest VMA moments came in 2009, when he famously stole the stage from Taylor Swift as she accepted her award for Best Female Video. West told Swift “Imma let you finish” before declaring Beyonce the true best female video artist of that year. Kanye later apologized for stealing the moment from Taylor and her Swifties.
Last year, Kanye West was honored with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award (Swift actually introduced him), and fans were treated to a 12-minute rant in which he announced that he plans to run for president in 2020. West’s rambling speech was supposed to have been cut off at two minutes, but MTV execs reportedly found it entertaining enough that they let him keep on talking. Still, Kanye dissed MTV and awards shows in general during his spiel. While West apologized to Taylor Swift for crashing her 2009 VMA speech, he went on to slam MTV for running the footage of the exchange repeatedly just for ratings.
VMA producers reportedly loved Kanye West’s never-ending speech enough to let it keep clocking time, but Yahoo Music reported that about halfway through the speech, audience members in the back of the theater were booing and shouting for Kanye to get off the stage.
While his 12-minute rant is now part of MTV’s history books, an insider told Us Weekly that West was back and forth about what he planned to do in the weeks before he took the stage at last year’s ceremony. West reportedly went from saying he was going to perform, to threatening to not attend the VMAs at all, to saying he might come and just not perform.
“Literally, up until [Kanye] got on stage, no one was clear if he was going to perform or not. No one knew he was going to do that insane speech or what he was going to do.”
That sounds a lot like what he’s doing this year, except this time Kanye West isn’t being given MTV’s highest honor, so he doesn’t necessarily have a reason to give a speech at all. Still, if Kanye has a big musical number planned—the obvious choice would be a performance of his controversial song “Famous”— it’s shocking that he wouldn’t want to rehearse it. No matter what he does, Kanye West will have people talking following the VMAs.
In addition to his still-secret performance at the 2016 VMAs, Kanye West is nominated for both Best Male Video and Video of the Year for his totally NSFW “Famous” video, which features nude lookalikes of everyone from Swift to Donald Trump. That means Kanye West may have more than one chance to take the stage, so anyone planning to DVR the VMAs may want to extend the recording time. By a lot.
Take a look at the video below to see Kanye West’s famous VMA speech.
[Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]