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Lil Nas X learned that he had to scrap his “Saturday Night Live” dancers over COVID fears just 15 minutes before rehearsals for the show began, Page Six is told.
On Sunday, the red-hot rapper tweeted, “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.”
But his performance coach told Page Six about the behind-the-scenes scramble to keep the show on track — calling the “Old Town Road” star “king of the push-through.”
“We landed in New York on Wednesday, and Thursday we learned that one of the six dancers tested Positive, but there was only one dancer who was vaccinated! We literally found out 15 minutes before [his first] rehearsal,” KJ Rose told Page Six.
“He’s the king of the push-through,” she added, “but I wanted to make sure he didn’t harp on the news, so while we were jogging through the studio – I was hyping him up with affirming and encouraging words. We left the news in the dressing room, where he’d heard it and he rehearsed by himself as if he had dancers. He did it all as if they were there,” she added.
Lucky for Lil Nas X, his choreographer Sean Bankhead has an arsenal of dancers at the ready who were flown in to replace the original team.
“They learned the choreography over Zoom Thursday night, flew in Friday, rehearsed and shot the show on Saturday,” Rose said.
The new dancers joined him for his first performance of the night, “Montero (Call Me By Your Name),” where he was forced to hold his crotch after ripping the seams of his pants. Then he hit the stage solo to perform his most personal song, “Sun Goes Down,” and “SNL” honcho Lorne Michaels was “smiling and rocking” along, Rose said.
“It was perfect [seeing Michaels’ reaction]. It was Nas at his most honest. It felt like we won and we delivered,” she said.
The singer celebrated his “SNL” appearance with a private party at Michael Cohen’s new Chelsea cocktail lounge, Motel 23, where guests had to show their vaccination cards before entering.
Legendary Damon hosted the event and waitresses served up champagne and Taco Bell to guests like stylist Ty Hunter, Tk Wonder, The Blonds, Law Roach, Alvin Ailey dancer Yannick Lebrun and Native Son founder Emil Wilbekin. One pandemic-fatigued music industry vet was so excited to be out of her apartment that she didn’t even know what party she was attending. “I thought I was attending [the other] Nas party,” she said referring to the rap legend.
Meanwhile, “SNL” cast and crew stayed local and celebrated with an afterparty at the Rainbow Room where Questlove spun tunes.
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