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Why was Lil Nas X on ‘Maury’? Montero’s dramatic talk show appearance, explained

A man wearing a black hat poses in front of a red backdrop.
Lil Nas X poses for a portrait at Cactus Cube Studio in 2019.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Lil Nas X’s album-based love triangle made its way to drama-soaked daytime television Wednesday, blurring the lines between his music video universe and the real world.

The groundbreaking “Old Town Road” singer, whose real name is Montero Lamar Hill, appeared on Wednesday’s episode of “Maury” to declare his love for his music video co-star Yai Ariza and confront his lover’s wife, Ashley.

The “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)” hitmaker — he of satanic lap dances, blood-tinged sneakers and a flair for album-birthing theatrics — continued to have his art imitate life. The real “Maury” episode — complete with unreal drama — was aptly titled “LEAVE YOUR WIFE FOR ME TODAY…THAT’S WHAT I WANT!” and aired in syndication.

“Montero came to the ‘Maury’ show, and Maury was happy to help Montero tell this story and contribute to the LNX creative vision,” a spokesperson for the show said Wednesday in a statement to The Times.

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The stunt, which requires a heavy dose of suspended disbelief to process, was an extension of the musician’s steamy locker-room tryst in the “That’s What I Want” music video, which also delves into Yai’s double life. In the video, Montero and Yai have a passionate affair, but it falls apart after a visit to Yai’s home reveals his marital status and the existence of his 4-year-old son, Noah.

But Montero didn’t confront Yai then. Instead, the 22-year-old artist resumed the deliciously dishy narrative for “Maury’s” audience.

“I feel like a damn fool,” he said in a prerecorded segment playing off familiar trashy-talk-show tropes. “He’s been lying to me since the day we met. He never told me about his wife, Ashley, and don’t even get me started on that damn baby. I have a big heart, and I want somebody who loves me. How can he love me and Ashley at the same time?”

Montero fit right in with the expectant audience, repeatedly soliciting their agreement, performing a mini striptease, presenting Yai with a bouquet of roses and clashing with Ashley. And though he’s acting as his music video character in the dramatization, it’s pretty clear that the artist himself is enjoying the farce.

The singer, rapper and internet savant has finally released his full-length debut, ‘Montero,’ which strikes an impressive balance between craft and heart.

Host Maury Povich pulled out all the stops for segment, which included a lie detector test for Yai that ultimately proved three things: Yai wants to leave his wife for Montero, that he wants to be in a committed relationship with his teammate — cue the impromptu wedding proposal by an already-married man — and, brace yourselves, that he’s cheated on Montero and Ashley with more than 10 other people.

That last revelation sent the once-smitten Montero running off stage and into the street before breaking up with Yai while pushing cameras off him.

By the end of the episode, viewers were presented with a disclaimer slide that said the Montero segment was a collaboration between Lil Nas X and the “Maury” show “for entertainment purposes.”

Rapper and singer Lil Nas X has released his debut album, ‘Montero,’ as well as the music video for his latest single, ‘Thats What I Want.’

Still, fans praised Lil Nas X’s PR prowess for taking his unique artistry to syndicated TV.

“Montero is so damn funny. He is a marketing PARAGON,” wrote one user in the YouTube promo’s comments.

“Now y’all really have me out here checking my local listings for the damn episode,” wrote another.

Though Lil Nas X’s episode was a special collaboration, Povich has previously insisted that his guests and the show are real and that he uses it to help people work out relationship conflicts.

“This is not [‘Jerry] Springer.’ Jerry and I have known each other a long time, and I love his honesty: He says his show is wrestling. My show is not wrestling,” the veteran host told People in 2017.

But part of a music video? When the sneaker fits.


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