Kanye West might’ve thrown his failing mic in the air and abruptly walked off at the Pan Am Games Closing Ceremony in Toronto this evening, but for the 13 minutes he got to perform at the tightly-timed televised event, he owned it.
The American rapper, whose booking as the headliner caused some controversy in the city because he isn’t Canadian (even Mayor John Tory thought he was), started his hit-packed medley with “Stronger” and soon asked for the lights to be turned on at the stadium. “There’s 400 million people watching across the world,” he said.
With the lights remaining on, West -- who wore ripped jeans, oversized blue sweater with the sleeves rolled-up, runners and a thick gold chain -- took command of the full stage, leaping, skipping, dropping to his knees, lying on his back, clapping and just making sure he reached every corner of the giant Rogers Centre.
And he didn’t make it about him. He came out early giving props to the athletes: “Everybody tonight, we’re celebrating y’all; we’re celebrating y’all tonight,” he said before launching into “Power,” then an intense version of “Black Skinhead” and right into “Can’t Tell Me Nothing.”
Sweaty and smiling just six minutes in, he then did “Gold Digger” and “Touch The Sky,” getting everyone to “jump, jump, jump,” clearly having a great time and giving people not familiar with his music a crash course in Kanye.
“Oh yeah, we’re gonna have a good time tonight,” he said, before “All of the Lights” and “Good Life,” but his mic cut out. He seemed pissed, throwing the mic high in the air like a shot put and storming out without so much as a “goodbye” or “thank you.” Officials are blaming a "technical error."
The two-hour closing ceremony had been filled with the marching of the athletes from 41 nations, multi-cultural dance routines, the extinguishing of the Pan Am flame, the handover of the Pan American Sports Organization flag to 2019 host city Lima, and performances by Pitbull, Serena Ryder and others.
For 16 days, the Americas competed in Toronto. United States won 265 medals, followed by Canada with 217, then Brazil with 141.
Just before West took the stage, Pitbull worked up a sweat too, performing “Fireball,” “Sube Las Manos Pa Arriba” and “Give Me Everything.”