West blames MTV for Spears' performance


NEW YORK -- Kanye West blames MTV for Britney Spears' less than stellar performance at the Video Music Awards.

"Man, they were just trying to get ratings, and they knew she wasn't ready and they exploited her," the 29-year-old rapper said Tuesday on Sirius Satellite Radio's "The Morning Mash Up."

The network made a "bad move" by having the troubled pop star open Sunday's event in Las Vegas, said West, who feels he should have kicked off the show with "Stronger," the first single from his new album, "Graduation."

"They exploited her, they played me and I really don't mess with MTV," he said.

Spears, 25, looked unprepared while performing her new song, "Gimme More," to a bewildered audience of her music industry peers. She seemed nervous and, at times, stopped singing altogether.

West said he wanted to perform "Stronger" on the show's main stage -- where R&B hotshot Chris Brown wowed the crowd with Michael Jackson-esque dance moves -- but complied when he was asked to host a suite party.

West said it was a blow to the ego when Justin Timberlake, who also hosted a suite party, ended up "on the big stage" to give the closing performance with Timbaland and Nelly Furtado.

"Those are the big things, and you know what I do man, I really made the song 'Stronger,' you know, for stadiums," he said.

MTV spokesman David French didn't immediately return a phone call from The Associated Press seeking comment.

West -- who threw a tantrum backstage after losing all five categories for which he was nominated -- said he has bonded with 50 Cent over what they view as disrespectful behavior from MTV.

"So why do you have me do 'Stronger' in a suite, but you end the show with Justin?" he said. "I looked at 50 like, yo, we need to help each other as much as possible."

50 Cent has said he'd stop making solo records if West's new album outsells his "Curtis" CD in their first week out. Both albums were released Tuesday.