TORONTO - Kanye West can rest assured that new tourmate Lady Gaga has got his back.
Gaga said on Monday that it was unfair for fans to judge West for his onstage confrontation with Taylor Swift at the MTV Video Music Awards earlier this month.
"I can tell you that he's very sorry, and he made a mistake, and he knows it," Gaga told The Canadian Press over the telephone from Virginia, where the personable pop star munched on a bowl of cereal.
"But at the end of the day, he is a pioneer in hip-hop music, and he changed what hip-hop music means. And I think that it's time for everyone to kind of take their heads out of the newspapers and remember that, in truth, Kanye's making most of the music we hear on the radio today. "
"He has a tremendous effect on everybody's lives and I think it's unfair to judge a person by one thing that they said."
West touched off his latest award-show controversy after Swift beat out Beyonce and other acts to win best female video at the VMAs for her hit "You Belong With Me."
Just after the 19-year-old country phenom approached the microphone to accept the award, West hopped onstage, grabbed the mike and declared that Beyonce's "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" was one of the "best videos of all time." Swift didn't finish her speech until later, when Beyonce invited her onstage.
Though Gaga has offered her support to West now, what was her reaction in the moment when West wrested the mike away?
"It was: 'Oh jeez,"' she said.
The platinum-blond electro singer says she's not worried that fans who attend their co-headlining tour this fall will harbour ill will toward West, though she conceded that "you can never really tell what kind of response or what effect it will have on anything."
Meantime, she and West are hard at work designing their tour, which begins in November and has scheduled stops in Saskatoon, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.
Gaga says they will use a new stage that stretches from one side of the arena to the other - "imagine an in-the-round experience, but larger," Gaga said.
While she was typically coy about revealing too many details about the tour, she did say that she and West would "spend a lot of time onstage together."
Gaga also provided a look inside the notion behind the show - and, for fans of the flamboyantly bizarre singer, the high-concept show sounds as though it will be unlikely to disappoint.
"The storyline is that Kanye is on one end of the stage and I'm on the other, and the whole show, we are trying to get to where each other is," she said. "I want something that he has, which is the fame, and he wants something that I have, which is home, and my humble beginnings. So we battle each other throughout the entire performance to steal each other's spaces."
"So I'm essentially on a quest to kill Kanye West to steal his fame."
Not that she really needs it.
Gaga's debut CD "The Fame" has reached No. 1 on the albums chart in Canada, where the record has been certified three-times platinum since its release last year. She says she'll "probably" release a new record next year, but in the meantime, she's coming out with a double-disc version of her debut that will feature almost a full album's worth of new material.
On Friday, she'll be honoured as Billboard's "Rising Star" at the trade publication's annual Women in Music event this week.
Also this weekend, she's set to perform on "Saturday Night Live," which will be hosted by Canadian Ryan Reynolds.
Gaga's television performances have, in the past, reliably been pretty strange. There was her candy-coloured performance of "Poker Face" on "American Idol," which opened with the pint-sized singer hammering away on a clear, bubble-filled piano.
Or her summer appearance at the MuchMusic Video Awards, which involved an exploding subway car and a pointy metal bustier that shot sparks from Gaga's chest. More recently, her performance of "Paparazzi" at the MTV VMAs ended with the singer hanging from a rope, blood smeared across her face and white dress.
But she says that her "SNL" performance this weekend will be more, um, restrained.
"I've got a couple things and ideas that we're working on, but truthfully I didn't want to do kind of any overproduction on 'SNL' because it's a very iconic performance in itself, the 'SNL' performance," she said.
"So it's way more about other things. It's way more about the choreography, it's about the songs, and I feel like I'm transitioning into a space where people are really recognizing me as a musician and I'm exploring that too."
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