Lil Nas X surprises Ohio elementary school kids with "Old Town Road" performance

By Caitlin O'Kane

/ CBS News

Lil Nas X performs "Old Town Road" for school

Like many kids, the students at Lander Elementary School outside of Cleveland, Ohio, love Lil Nas X. In fact, they love the rapper-turned-country singer so much, the whole school danced to his hit single "Old Town Road" during their talent show last week.

After seeing a video of the school wilding out to his song, Lil Nas X decided to treat his fans to a surprise. He showed up at the school for a special performance on Wednesday, and the kids couldn't get enough of him.

I love my job. We ended our 5th grade talent show today with the whole school dancing and celebrating…together!! #LanderLove🐾💚 @LanderElem @LilNasX 💃🏽🤠 pic.twitter.com/pzS1id79mu

— Felecia Evans (@EduLeadingLady) May 23, 2019

As Lil Nas X hummed the beat, the kids geared up to sing — or rather, scream — the lyrics. Then, they let loose, jumping up and down and belting out "Old Town Road."

View this post on Instagram

SAW THESE KIDS TURNIN UP TO OLD TOWN ROAD 5 DAYS AGO AND HAD TO COME THRU AND PERFORM ONE TIME. LOVE THESE MOMENTS! 🤠

A post shared by Lil Nas X (@lilnasx) on

The singer dressed the part, wearing a cowboy hat and denim jacket with "Old Town Road" written across the back, just below the suede fringe. While kids across the U.S. can't get enough of his rap-country hybrid, the song wasn't well received at first.

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Billboard sparked controversy when it removed the song from the country chart after it debuted at No. 3. Their reason was that the genre-blending hit "does not embrace enough elements of today's country music to chart in its current version," Billboard said in a statement.

Lil Nas X responded on Genius.com. "I started to think about it, I was like, you know, why? After like listening to other songs that's actually on that chart, it's like, wait a minute, something's not right, basically," Lil Nas X said.

The song merges a rap beat and country-themed lyrics. The words of the song were enough to convince country singer Billy Ray Cyrus that it was, in fact, a country song. ""I thought, it's honest, humble, and has an infectious hook, and a banjo. What the hell more do ya need?" Cyrus tweeted after the debate over the song's genre spread online.

[email protected] Been watching everything going on with OTR. When I got thrown off the charts, Waylon Jennings said to me “Take this as a compliment” means you’re doing something great! Only Outlaws are outlawed. Welcome to the club!

— Billy Ray Cyrus (@billyraycyrus) April 3, 2019

Cyrus ended up joining Lil Nas X on a remix of the song, adding even more of a country flair.

The remixed version of the song currently has more than 170 million views on YouTube. It's No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and has been on the chart for 12 weeks. So it's no wonder why an entire school full of children celebrated Lil Nas X so passionately.

First published on May 30, 2019 / 11:56 AM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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