Lil Nas X Ruled the 2021 VMAs

Lil Nas X Ruled the 2021 VMAs

Lil Nas X Ruled the 2021 VMAs

The singer’s best moments at the MTV awards ceremony, from the red carpet to the stage.

The singer’s best moments at the MTV awards ceremony, from the red carpet to the stage.

Text: Luana Harumi

Lil Nas X was barely one year old when Britney Spears took the stage of the MTV Video Music Awards to perform “Slave 4 U” with a yellow python on her shoulders. Now, he is ready to claim a spot next to her name on the list of Most Iconic Appearances in the award’s 37-year history. 

The 2021 VMAs took place on Sunday, assembling some of music’s biggest names and pop personalities at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn for a night of flashy outfits and lively performances – and Lil Nas X was the icon to rule them all. We break it down for you below:

Red carpet serve: check

Photo by Angela Weiss/ Via Getty Images.

Lil Nas X arrived at the VMAs red carpet in a custom lavender Atelier Versace suit featuring an asymmetrical off-the-shoulder cut and a cascading trail embroidered with crystals. The look was complete with matching boots and a curly mullet, and you could tell the singer was feeling it. “I’m happy. I look good,” he told journalist Jamila Mustafa during a pre-show interview. “Don’t I look a little good?” (The interaction originated an awkward now-viral moment that had fans scratching their heads, but we’re here to confirm that yes, he absolutely did.

Stage presence: check

The singer later led a marching band to the stage to perform a medley of “Industry Baby” and “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name),” the lead singles from his upcoming album, Monterowhich comes out on Friday. He quickly stripped down to just a pair of hot-pink track pants to sing in front of masked dancers before being joined by Jack Harlow, who rapped in a black vinyl getup. 

After exchanging a friendly, rhythmic hand-slap with Harlow, Lil Nas X closed the performance in a pair of glittery pink “MONTERO” boxer briefs. The act had another socially conscious element: Mardrequs Harris, the Southern AIDS Coalition’s director of community investments, participated wearing the number 433,816 in red, “representing the universal color of awareness and support for HIV, and the number of people living with HIV in the U.S. South as of 2015,” according to a statement by GLAAD

Awards: check, check, check

Lil Nas X took home the Moon Person trophies for Best Direction, Best Visual Effects, and the coveted Video of the Year award for “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” – making him the evening’s biggest winner alongside Olivia Rodrigo. “First, I want to say thank you to the gay agenda, let’s go gay agenda!” he joked during his acceptance speech, this time wearing matching light pink pants and jacket. He also took the opportunity to promote Montero and thank his team and fans. “I love you guys so much, I will not take this for granted.”

Credits: Cover photo by JOHN SHEARER/MTV VMAS 2021/ Via GETTY IMAGES.

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