Elton John gushes over Lil Nas X’s ‘ball of steel’: ‘He’s a hero of mine’

Lil Nas X and Elton John at the 2021 iHeartRadio Music Awards

Elton John showered Lil Nas X with praise at the 2021 iHeartRadio Music Awards, describing him as a “hero” with “balls of steel”.

John was honoured with the iHeartRadio Icon Award on Thursday (27 May).

Lil Nas X presented the award to him, saying: “Elton John has been called many things. Reggie, Rocket Man, Pinball Wizard, Sir Elton.

“To me, he’s a trailblazer who paved the way for others to live their lives freely and unapologetically.

“He’s inspired me and so many other people by being himself, and being larger than life, flashy and fearless, especially when he’s in front of that piano.”

The “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” singer added: “Elton on behalf of all the people around the world who you have inspired, thank you. Even if you didn’t mean to be a role model, you are.”

During his acceptance speech, as the crowd cheered, John said: “I just want to say a special thanks to Lil Nas X, because he is a wonderful artist and has balls of steel!”

Following the ceremony, he showered Lil Nas X with even more praise, telling Entertainment Weekly that he’s “a hero of mine”.

John said that a highlight of the awards was being able to attend in person, and getting to meet some of the younger artists he admires.

He continued: “It’s wonderful to be able to be amongst those artists and to say hello [sometimes] for the first time, because of course, I listen to these artists all the time.

“I’ve been a fan of music all my life. And I still buy my records and my CDs and my vinyl. I don’t stream and I don’t download, I’m still a bit of a luddite like that, but it gives me the incentive to keep up, to look for new artists to provide me with energy.”