Lil Nas X’s ‘SNL’ performance of ‘Montero’ ends in crotch wardrobe malfunction

The Grammy-winning star Lil Nas X pulled out a stripper pole and leather-clad, shirtless male dancers as he performed a live version of "Montero (Call Me By Your Name" on Saturday Night Live.

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Lil Nas X performed his platinum-selling (and somewhat controversial) single “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” for the first time on Saturday Night Live, and it ended in a wardrobe malfunction.

Lil Nas X x SNL Performance
Lil Nas X performs on SNL. (Photo: Getty Images/YouTube)

Nas X, 22, did not hold back in his performance of his hit record, which like its companion music video, was daring and homoerotic. The Grammy-winning star pulled out a stripper pole and leather-clad, shirtless male dancers as he performed a pared down version of his controversial video, which has garnered more than 200 million views on YouTube and plenty of opinions.

Despite the backlash he received for the “Montero” music video, particularly among Christians who were outraged by its overt sexuality and imagery of Nas X giving the devil a lap dance, he did not hold back on the shock value. The SNL performance included plenty of gyrating, and at one point, a dancer even licked Nas’s neck and cheek.

The most memorable part of the performance, however, may be an unplanned wardrobe malfunction in which Lil Nas X ripped the crotch of his pants. As he was about to do an apparent pole routine for the world to see, the musician stopped for a moment and grabbed his crotch. But as they say, the show must go on, and Lil Nas X continued the performance with some improvisation.

Before any rumors of the incident being staged began, the rapper took to Twitter to make it clear it was a legit accident. “[I] know i do a lot of planned shit but ripping my pants on live television is not one of them,” he tweeted Sunday morning. He further elaborated on the performance and shared that other mishaps had taken place before his live show.

“at first i was afraid to even perform. then we rehearsed for 2 weeks, then all of the dancers got removed because one had covid and new ones had to learn the routine in 24 hours, and then i ended up ripping my pants and couldn’t finish. everything happens for a reason tho lol,” he shared.

Performance mishap aside, many praised Lil Nas X, who also performed his new song “Sun Goes Down,” for what many saw as groundbreaking.

“keep thinking what an amazing example of representation this is. lil nas x is really doing THAT,” tweeted user @kamjpg.

“Some even loved the performance more because of the wardrobe malfunction. “Lil Nas X with his reaction to his pants ripping made the whole performance like 10 times more iconic,” said one Twitter user.

Another person tweeted, “You couldn’t tell the dancers had to be replaced at the last minute, and when your pants ripped on national tv you just kept going. You should be proud of what you did last night. You slayed.”

“To be fair. He spent most of the performance holding it prior to the issue,” another person tweeted.

As theGrio previously reported, Lil Nas X was recently honored for his visibility and impact as an openly gay musical artist.

Accepting his Native Son Award last week, the singer-songwriter delivered a speech recalling how intimidating an experience coming out was for him, describing it as one of the “scariest moments” of his life.

“I was afraid because I knew the world was watching, and all I ever saw for boys like me was judgment and ridicule, but it was because the world was watching, that I knew I had to stand in my truth,” Nas X said.

Lil Nas X spoke boldly of his intention to continue harnessing his craft and his far-reaching influence as guiding lights for the future success of more Black, queer men.

“Some people say I am pushing an agenda, and I am. It’s called liberation,” he said. “There’s no road map when you’re the first to break a barrier, and I hope that one day it’s no longer groundbreaking for queer artists to find mainstream success […] Until that day comes, there’s work to do and I will continue to do my part.”

theGrio’s Jamal Hansberry contributed to this report.

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