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It should be clear by now, but in case you need a reminder, here it is: You can’t tell Lil Nas X nothin’. The young artist spent most of 2019 watching his juggernaut song “Old Town Road” (and its Billy Ray Cyrus-featuring remix) creep up on, then completely demolish, the existing Billboard Hot 100 chart record for longest weeks at No. 1.
And now, as if it was destiny fulfilled, Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” has been crowned the Song of the Year at the 2019 VMAs.
Onstage accepting his Moon Person alongside collaborator Billy Ray, Lil Nas X made a point to highlight the momentousness of the situation. “This is my first award ever,” he said in a blazing red cowboy suit, complete with a matching hat, though the pants on his booty looked a touch more expensive than Wranglers.
He kept it simple, making sure to shout out his collaborator. “I want to say thank you to this man for helping me take my career to the next level,” gesturing to Billy Ray. And because he’s an expert troll—or rather that he just honed his innate comedic timing from his years concocting viral moments online—he pulled out “a little speech” from his pocket… which turned out to be a long ass (but blank) scroll. Then he stepped away.
Cyrus kept it simple as well after hopping on the mic to thanked God, the fans, and his wife, Tish, who looked on from the crowd. “I never dreamed I’d be standing here tonight,” he said. “One time, Johnny Cash wrote me a letter, and in the letter, he said, ‘It’s good to be reminded where all goodness comes from: almighty God.”
Lil Nas X racked up nine nominations this year. Earlier tonight, he turned the VMA stage into a Blade Runner– and Tron-inspired dystopian lightscape of neon and futuristic costumes to perform “Panini.” Oh, and he was the president too, at least for a few minutes. It’s his night, man. Can’t tell him nothin’.
The 2019 MTV Video Music Awards have touched down at The Prudential Center in New Jersey, airing live on MTV. See the full list of winners and keep up with all of the night’s biggest VMA moments!