'I Feel Air!': Lil Nas X Opens Up About 'SNL' Wardrobe Malfunction

Wednesday May 26, 2021
Originally published on May 25, 2021

Lil Nas X had the most famous wardrobe malfunction since Janet Jackson on "Saturday Night Live" this past weekend, but he never let anyone see him sweat when it happened during his sexy performance of his hit, "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)."

The incident overshadowed what can be considered one of the most outré gay performances ever on television as the out singer performed with eight shirtless, leather-clad dancers in a sexy, heavily choreographed routine. It was to culminate with Lil Nas X showing his pole dancing skills, but then his pants ripped.

Lil Nas X joined Jimmy Fallon on "The Tonight Show" on Monday night to talk about the fashion malfunction. (Note: "SNL" provided "The Tonight Show" with a rehearsal video that showed the buff singer's pole dancing moves — see the clip below.)

"Your pants split live on the show, and you covered it, you actually literally covered it but you covered it well, when did you realize something happened?" asked Fallon.

"Okay, so I was on, I was pretty much, you know, going down the pole doing my little sexy drop down — and boom, I feel air! I feel like there's definitely a breeze going on. And I also felt, like, some popping, like, still happening while I was down there. So, I was like, 'Oh God, I hope it's not — Just please don't be on TV, already.' You know? And 'SNL' is actually live, so there goes that, yeah."

You can see the fashion malfunction at the 2:20 mark in the official "SNL" video:

He then pointed out the moment that brought him the most anxiety.

"At the end of the performance, the dancers were supposed to, like, touch me and, like, tug me, or whatever, and they were, like, tugging on the pants, I was like, 'Please, please God no, don't let them.' I couldn't say [that] cause I would have ruined the performance. It was like, 'Hey, guys, please stop, please.' But I couldn't say it."

Fallon later asked Lil Nas X how he managed to leave the stage.

"Oh, you know it's hilarious," the rapper said. "Everybody was leaving the stage and the 'SNL' people, like, a lot of them still didn't know, so everybody was leaving the stage, all the dancers, and they're like, 'Come on, Naz. You have to get ready for the next performance.' I'm like, 'I like literally cannot leave or everybody here will see everything, you know? Like, please bring me the towel!'"

The performer admitted it could have been worse. "It was perfect timing. If that had ripped any other time during the performance, everything over... if you listen closely you can probably hear the rip," he explained.

The incident came at the end of a trying week for the singer. "This week has been testing my patience a lot," he said. "So, you know, we rehearse for two weeks, and I was already afraid to even perform because, you know, since COVID, I haven't performed in like a year and I was like, 'Oh God, I don't want to perform. I don't want to do this,' but they were like, you know, they encouraged me ... and so I did."

"And then, you know, I rehearsed for the dancers for two weeks. We met and we bonded. We had a great time. And then, one day before the performance, one of the dancers catches COVID ... and then all the dancers have to not — we can't see them anymore," Lil Nas X added, explaining that he had to hire an entire group of new dancers to learn and perform the routine in under 24 hours.

"It was really scary," the 22-year-old said.

Fallon proceeded to show the rehearsal video provided by "SNL" that showed how the set should have ended, with Lil Nas X showing off his considerable pole dancing skills. (Now I can see why you didn't finish... It would have been Big Nas X," Fallon joked.)

"I want everybody who thought it was a publicity stunt to see that, you know, it was not. I would never, like, rip my pants down in public in person on purpose," Lil Nas X added.

The singer went on to discuss his upcoming album, "Montero," due out in a couple months.

"My entire life has led up to this moment of this album. It's honest, it's 100% me because, like, you know, because last time I played so many different characters," he explained. "But, yeah, like, I'm exploring my sexuality ... It's like a coming of age story, my heartbreaks."