There is no guidebook for showing up to your first awards show, but Lil Nas X, keeper of the (still) current song of summer, has never seemed to require much direction. And that was the case with his big stage moment at the BET Awards on Sunday night.
Despite his trolling on Twitter before the event about what his BET Awards performance would include, Lil Nas X delivered exactly what the people wanted when the time came for him to make his debut. The rapper rode in on horseback, along with Billy Ray Cyrus and some tumbleweed, then burst into the saloon set onstage for his first awards show performance of “Old Town Road,” which has topped the Billboard Hot 100 for 11 weeks in a row. Come to think of it, this was Cyrus’s first BET Awards performance, too. The song’s producer Youngkio also made an appearance on the red carpet before the ceremony began.
Not since Christina Aguilera’s “Dirrty” era have chaps been so relevant. Here is Lil Nas X in a black cowboy hat, custom black-and-yellow chaps, and a monogrammed yellow leather fringed jacket to match, bringing everybody at the Staples Center—including Cardi B, who is featured on the rapper’s debut EP and who opened the BET Awards with her husband, Offset—to their feet. And yes, everyone there seemed to know Cyrus’s verse by heart too. The pair have really found their live-performance groove since the first time they performed “Old Town Road” together, in April during a Stagecoach festival set with Diplo.
Everybody at the BET Awards seemed to want a picture with Lil Nas X—Lizzo, John Legend, and even Rihanna met the yeehaw prince at the awards ceremony, which he shared with his 2 million followers on Instagram.
Your move, CMT Awards.