Kanye West to headline Pan Am closing ceremony

65th Cannes Film Festival - Cruel Summer ScreeningPan Am officials announced via Twitter Wednesday morning that American rapper Kanye West has been booked to perform at the closing ceremony of the Pan Am Games in Toronto on July 26 at the Rogers Centre.

Pan Am CEO Saad Rafi made the official announcement during a packed press conference in Toronto Wednesday, saying, “If this just doesn’t get you excited and if you don’t think there’s going to be a party in Toronto on the 26th of July, then we have nothing left for you. This is remarkable.”

Also performing during the show will be Cuban-American rapper Pitbull and Juno-winning Canadian songstress Serena Ryder.

A number of tickets, which range in price from $90 to $200, were still available at the time of the announcement, although scalpers are asking up to $1,400 for some seats.

The closing ceremony will air live on CBC TV starting at 7:00 p.m. ET.

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Comments & Discussion

  1. Gisele Vallee • July 16, 2015 @ 9:47 AM

    While Kanye West is a super-star in his own right it would be more appropriate to headline a wonderful Canadian artist.
    No doubt the show will be great. I believe that the USA would not headline a Canadian performer for such a wonderful event if they were hosting the games.

  2. Skiwoman • July 16, 2015 @ 10:13 AM

    Such an insult to Canadian entertainers

  3. Chris • July 16, 2015 @ 10:27 AM

    Where’s Drake? That would be more Canadian. Serena Ryder is good choice but no Kanye West please.

  4. Lenny • July 16, 2015 @ 10:33 AM


  5. Catherine • July 16, 2015 @ 10:39 AM

    Who ever decided Kanye should take the place of a Canadian performer needs his head (and wallet) examined. This makes no sense. I guarantee you I will stop watching while he (so called) “performs” I think he is a no talent who rides on the backs of others.

  6. sebas • July 16, 2015 @ 10:51 AM

    Seriously! I won’t watch it now. Bad choice.

  7. gbh999 • July 16, 2015 @ 10:57 AM

    No talent! This, is a total joke.

  8. Leni • July 16, 2015 @ 11:02 AM

    Really!!! At a Canadian venue with so many great Canadian talents out there and Kanye West is who you choose?

  9. Bn • July 16, 2015 @ 11:20 AM

    What we heard yesterday, it was more a choice of who was available to perform not a choice of an artist – that says it all.
    Unfortunately an extremely poor selection, definitely do not want him representing me as a Canadian. And to top it all we have to be subject to his wife also!

  10. Chris • July 16, 2015 @ 11:29 AM

    6 + years to organize and plan the PanAm games and they announce a performer for the closing ceremonies 11 days in advance of the event? Doesn’t make sense. And if it is a matter of who is available, again, 6 + years isn’t enough to book a great Canadian talent ahead of time?

  11. Rosey • July 16, 2015 @ 11:40 AM

    There ste do many talented Canadian performers and for them to pick Kanye West? ???? Come on Mr.Saad Rafi !!!!

  12. Age A • July 16, 2015 @ 11:53 AM

    What a disappointment…first kw sucks…second…I thought Canada had enough talent that we did not have to go to american talentless jerks to close games in CANADA !!!

  13. SHERYL ST LOUIS • July 16, 2015 @ 11:53 AM


  14. Age A • July 16, 2015 @ 11:57 AM

    Will not watch… won’t waste one second of my life with anything to do with this asinine decision…the host country should supply the entertainers from the host country…

  15. Nora Dolan • July 16, 2015 @ 12:21 PM

    There’s an online petition from change.org to sign- tell your friends!!!

  16. Annie • July 16, 2015 @ 2:01 PM

    There is a petition going on that people can sign to try and get them to cancel Kanye. I highly recommend everyone sign it. Even if it doesn’t get cancelled, at least our voice will be heard that Kanye is not acceptable. I’m really surprised they didn’t get our most famous Canadian singer, Celine Dion. We have so many talented artists in Canada to choose from. Shania Twain, Blue Rodeo, The Guess Who, Drake, just to name a few. They spent Billions on these games, I’m sure they could have afforded one of our own to sing.

  17. TorNative • July 16, 2015 @ 2:07 PM

    Whoever signed Kanye as the “artist” to close the Pan Am Games needs their ass kicked to the border. As someone born and raised in Toronto, this is beyond insulting to the multitude of world-class performers this city and country have produced, as well as the city of Toronto and the country. I am so disappointed that the Pan Am Games have tarnished the reputation of the city, and this great country with this classless choice. Kanye has no talent, no class, limited intelligence and his only claim to fame is being married into a family whose major talent is fame whoring and having the biggest butts on the planet. Shame on you Pan Am Games. I will not be supporting you in any way and will continue to bitch about the traffic. I cannot wait to see the back of all of you.

  18. PP • July 16, 2015 @ 2:14 PM

    You can’t please everybody… When the Grey cup had Justin Bieber who is a famous Canadian artist perform in their finals, lots of people weren’t happy and he got lots of boos. So would you all prefer Justin Bieber over Kanye West just because he’s Canadian?
    You may not like Kanye West but there is no denying he is a big super star who sells millions of records… So stop the negativity and complaining, and show the world how friendly, accepting and gracious Canadians are by welcoming Kanye West who frankly, doesn’t need to perform here.

  19. Kris • July 16, 2015 @ 3:10 PM

    I am totally with everybody in this thread. Who thought bringing this clown here was a good idea…very poor judgment.

  20. Samantha Lauzon • July 16, 2015 @ 3:18 PM

    This is disgusting! There’s a petition that I urged everyone to sign to get Kanye West out of the PanAm closing ceremonies. This is a disgrace to #Toronto and to #Canada as Toronto, Canada is hosting the games it should be a Canadian such as Drake, Nelly Furtado, Justin Beiber, Celine Dion, Michael Bubble or even Amanda Marshall or Jann Arden. Just to name a few incredible Canadian superstars that would be more appropriate to close these ceremonies.

  21. MA • July 16, 2015 @ 3:23 PM

    That is just so ridiculous. West is an ignorant egomaniac, very low in talent in my opinion but, rap is not my thing. These Pan Am executives need their heads examined. We have lots of good talent here in Canada, we do not need to get people like him here. Not only are we being forced to have this idiot but probably the Kardashian trash as his entourage. I will NOT watch the closing ceremonies. LOVED the opening ceremonies but, not interested in this at all.

  22. MA • July 16, 2015 @ 3:25 PM

    PP…..YES, I would prefer Justin Bieber over Kanye West any day. He actually HAS talent and while he has made a real fool of himself over the years…would still prefer him to Kanye.

  23. Real Deal • July 16, 2015 @ 3:47 PM

    Canadians have such an inferiority complex! Like you guys really worried that Canada will be no more because the most talented rapper on the planet after Jay-Z will close a games that is PAN AMERICAN!! They deliberately went for 3 genres and 3 regions. Pitbull with his latino dance/techno stuff with Caribbean and latino roots takes care of that whole region roots; Kayne with his rap takes care of the US and the biggest form of music right now; and the talented Ryder takes care of Canada and the cross section of the audience who want more “tradition” North America music (i.e. rock and white). Seriously Kayne is an idiot and so is his wife but his wife is not performing and he is here to perform not have a talk show or take up residence. Those saying Drake could be used instead? Well read my lips: despite what Drake and his lil fans would have you believe he is NOT a rapper he is simply a not very good R and B singer who talks in his songs at times. Kayne will be here deal with it. Also there is nothing more uniquely American in sport than the Superbowl, but guess who sang that of so American song “God Bless America” at the 2003 Superbowl in San Diego? Let me inform the ignorant uninformed idiots her. It was FRENCH CANADIAN singer CELINE DION!! So very stupid to say because a games that purports to unite athletes from North Central and South America should not even go as far as having a North American artist but rather the artist should be from Canada! Why not insist it be a Toronto singer who has a blood relative on the Canadian Pan Am team!! Idiots.

  24. TeeDee • July 16, 2015 @ 5:27 PM

    I definitely will NOT be watching the egomaniacal Kanye. What a let down. I would not have minded another American or South American headliner, but he is unbearable to listen to! He thinks he is a god in the music industry and has little respect for anyone else. Bad decision, organizers.

  25. Bruce • July 16, 2015 @ 5:40 PM

    Ridiculous. Canadians should close the games. I will not watch the close now.

  26. Bruce • July 16, 2015 @ 5:42 PM

    Real Deal. Ur a wank! Blah blah blah.

  27. Tess • July 16, 2015 @ 5:45 PM

    As others have stated, he’ll no doubt bring along his KarTrashian booty babe and make it into a real paparazzi gutter production. So many better TALENTED choices could have been made (American, or Canadian) than that sawed off little wanker.

  28. dp wood • July 16, 2015 @ 6:24 PM

    Kanye please stay home – Pitbull is great – you suck and arrogance is not needed in Canada and keep the plastic surgeons nightmare at home please……
    The PanAm Games have been a great event so please dont come and spoil the closing of the events.

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