Lil Nas X took the VMAs stage to perform “Panini” live for the 2019 awards ceremony. It was the top recording artist’s first Video Music Awards performance. Lil Nas X was nominated in 8 different categories for the Video Music Awards, including Best New Artist.
Billy Ray Cyrus introduced Lil Nas X’s performance, reflecting on the records he has shattered, the ways he’s changed music, and how he’s encouraged people to be themselves. He expressed gratitude for being linked to Lil Nas X in the younger generation’s minds before welcoming him to the stage and encouraging the fans to make some noise for his new single, “Panini.”
The performance began with a pre-recorded “news announcement” from the future year 2079, celebrating Remix #3162 of Lil Nax X’s hit single “Old Town Road.” It played off of the success of the artist’s first single and the success of each remix released after it. The video included Lil Nas X as President of the United States,
Then, the performance began, continuing with the futuristic theme. Dressed in a white holographic space suit, Lil Nas X sang and danced to his new single “Panini” with the help of his back-up dancers.
Although the performance seemed flawless for the audience and viewers watching from home, Lil Nas X revealed a behind-the-scenes hiccup that he dealt with just before the performance. On Twitter, he wrote “my light went out before the performance i almost left the stage lol.”
The live coverage cut to fans and fellow music industry celebrities dancing and singing along throughout the performance. Taylor Swift, who opened the show with the first-ever performance of “Lover” from her new album by the same title, was filmed enjoying herself from the front row.
Fans watching the Video Music Awards loved Lil Nas X’s performance, too, and took to Twitter to react. @ira wrote “I love this so goddamn much and wish I had Lil Nas X at the VMAs when I was a kid.”
@Beyoncemyroc tweeted out a meme that quick racked up over a thousand likes. The video jokes about and gives credit to Lil Nas’s top-notch choreography throughout the entirety of his performance.
Before it was even time for Lil Nas X to perform, he grabbed attention in an eye-popping silver sequined suit and Victorian-styled lace ruffled shirt. He commanded the VMAs red carpet, even though it was his first VMAs attendance (and he is still pretty new to that scene, in general).