Kanye Reneges on MTV Boycott, Closing VMAs

West agrees to perform at MTV Awards despite last year's vow never to return to the cable net

By Gina Serpe Sep 05, 2008 4:01 PMTags
Kanye WestKevin Mazur/WireImage.com

Well, Kanye West certainly came out swinging. He just needs to work on his follow-through.

Despite a year-old vow to any media outlet that would listen that he would never again show his face on the backstabbing airwaves of MTV—a proclamation made after being relegated to a small stage and shut out despite five nominations at last year's Video Music Awards—West has apparently forgiven and forgotten and signed on to perform at this Sunday's show.

West will join Britney Spears (whom the rapper previously claimed was exploited by the network at last year's wingding) in book-ending the 25th anniversary edition of the VMAs do, with the hip-hop star set to close the night's censor-ready proceedings.

Of course, the decision to partake in the festivities may be less about moving on and more about self-promotion, as the rapper's new single, "Love Lockdown," is expected to drop on Monday.

Although producers have confirmed that Spears would be opening the show, they are keeping mum in what capacity she'll be appearing. However, her manager previously shot down speculation that she would be performing.

Not that MTV is going to come up short on the pop-star front. The network recently announced that Christina Aguilera would be taking the stage, marking her first televised performance since the birth of son Max back in January. She'll sing a new version of her career-launching hit, "Genie in a Bottle."

Also on the roster are the Jonas Brothers, Rihanna, T.I., Pink, Kid Rock, the Ting Tings, Lupe Fiasco, Lil Wayne and Katy Perry, who is expected to harken back to a classic moment in the awards show's history and perform a version of Madonna's "Like a Virgin."

DJ AM and former Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker will fill in the gaps between awkward presenting banter and full-scale performances by mixing live drum beats to spinning records.

As always, MTV is keeping a few secrets up its sleeve, including staying mum on whether Michael Jackson will make an appearance. Rumors have been circulating that the erstwhile King of Pop may play a part in the silver-anniversary event.

(Fans may not want to hold their breath—Jackson was a notable no-show at last night's BMI Urban Awards, when the rest of the Jackson 5 sans Jermaine, reunited to accept a lifetime achievement award from sister Janet.)

Meanwhile, organizers have assembeld star presenters for the show, including Shia LaBeouf, Taylor Swift, Jamie Foxx, Ashlee Simpson-Wentz, Kobe Bryant, Paris Hilton, Leona Lewis, Chace Crawford and the Hills gang in its roster of talking heads.

Several awards have already been announced in advance of Sunday's Russell Brand-hosted festivities.

Gnarls Barkley's "Run" was honored for art direction and choreography," Erykah Badu's "Honey" won for direction, Death Cab for Cutie's "I Will Possess Your Heart" scored for editing, the White Stripes' "Conquest" won for cinematography, and West is already a winner, with his "Good Life" taking home a prize for special effects.

The censors are no doubt already breathing a little easier.