Wale Welcomes Surprise Guests At VMA Rehearsals

Pitbull, Solange Knowles, 3OH!3 run through their songs with Wale and band.

NEW YORK — "This one's for the good people who are setting up the show for MTV!" Wale announced during rehearsals on Thursday (September 10). "We're gonna have some fun now, because you guys could use some good music."

And with that, he launched into a cracking version of his hit "Chillin' "

backed by his group, the fabulously funky UCB; the team will be serving as the house band for the VMAs on Sunday. And the stagehands hammering away on the Video Music Awards' set bobbed their heads. It seems like Wale's already got this house band gig down.

But, of course, practice makes perfect, and, over the course of 90 or so minutes, [artist id="2990927"]Wale[/artist] and UCB worked their way through their presumptive set for Sunday night, a series of originals and covers that'll definitely keep the VMA crowd rocking all night.

Like, for example, their funky takes on [artist id="501686"]Britney Spears[/artist]' "Womanizer" and [artist id="1111141"]Coldplay[/artist]'s "Viva La Vida" or a sultry version of the [artist id="1233888"]Kings of Leon[/artist]'s "Use Somebody," which featured a newly shorn Solange Knowles on vocals.

Then, as camera operators practiced their movements and stagehands milled about them, Wale and UCB welcomed [artist id="1678002"]Pitbull[/artist] (looking resplendent in a black tracksuit and shades) to the stage for a raucous run through of the rapper's hit "I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)," then followed that by teaming with [artist id="3068464"]3OH!3[/artist] on their breakout single "Don't Trust Me."

And even though the workers didn't stop their hammering, you could swear they all paused for a split second as UCB's conga drums skittered around the room. Now that's the sign of a great band.

Watch the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards Preshow this Sunday, September 13, at 8 p.m. ET, followed by the big event, airing live at 9 p.m. New York is celebrating the VMAs all week long, so stay tuned for party coverage, concert reports, behind-the-scenes updates and more.