Never let it be said that Lil Nas X doesn’t know how to put on a show! The 22-year-old artist took the stage on Sunday for the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards alongside Jack Harlow for their first-ever live performance together of their controversial mega-hit, “Industry Baby.”

Lil Nas X opened the performance dressed in a marching band uniform, complete with a drum line behind him hyping him up as he made his way to the VMA stage. Moments later, he stripped down to reveal his chiseled abs and the temperature quickly rose inside the Barclays Center, as he belted out out his hit song alongside more than a dozen backup dancers in all pink ensembles.

During one memorable moment of Lil Nas’ performance, he showed off his toned butt as he did a slow body roll.

Jack Harlow, dressed in an black pleather shirt and pants, then appeared on stage to spit his bars while Lil Nas X handed the mic over to him. After Harlow’s verse, the heat was turned up even more when Lil Nas X stripped down to nothing but sparkly pink short shorts and coordinating knee pads as the equally shirtless backup dancers performed some very sensual moves.

Viewers could not get enough of Lil Nas’ performance.

The performance also raised awareness for a very important cause.

Mardrequs Harris, Southern AIDS Coalition’s Director of Community Investments, participated onstage while donning the number 433,816 in red on his wardrobe, representing the universal colour of awareness and support for HIV, and the number of people living with HIV in the south as of 2015, which has increased substantially over the years.

“This experience was surreal! Having the opportunity to share the stage with Lil Nas X was something I never would have imagined,” said Harris. “And to have him use his platform to raise awareness about HIV stigma is invaluable to our work.”

The performance took place less than a week before Lil Nas X drops his debut album, Montero, on Sept. 17. The “Industry Baby” singer revealed the album’s official look on Aug. 31, after trolling fans with a replica of Drake’s cover for his album, Certified Lover Boy. The cover for Montero features Lil Nas X floating nude in the ethereal Garden of Eden from the “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” music video.

But even without having a released album, Lil Nas X was one of the top contenders of the night with five nominations under his belt. His video for “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” scored nods for Video of the Year, Video for Good, Best Direction, Best Art Direction and Best Visual Affects.

Ahead of his show-stopping VMAs performance, Lil Nas X teased to ET’s Rachel Smith on the red carpet that it is “going to be really sexy.”

“It’s gonna be a VMA moment,” he added with a smile.

Check out the full list of winners here.

The MTV Video Music Awards air Sunday, Sept. 12 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on MTV.


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