Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Janelle Monáe and Billy Porter open the Oscars with a snappy, reference-heavy musical number

Illustration for article titled Janelle Monáe and Billy Porter open the Oscars with a snappy, reference-heavy musical number
Photo: Kevin Winter

The Academy Awards are really dedicated to this “no hosts” thing, which means it has to do something big and exciting to open the show that will make everyone forget that Billy Crystal isn’t about to be hamming it up on their televisions for the next few hours. This year, the Oscars did that with Janelle Monáe, who took the stage with a Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood routine (opening the door, putting on a sweater, etc.) that turned into a riff on “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” that then turned into a big, dramatic musical number about the Oscars themselves, complete with back-up dancers dressed like the Joker and Queen And Slim, a big Midsommar flower dress, a call-and-response thing with the audience that Leonardo DiCaprio almost participated in, and some predictably impressive assistance from Billy Porter. Who needs a host when you can get Janelle Monáe? Well, she could just do this and host, but it’s not our job to tell the Oscars what to do.

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