Kimmel and Colbert, Bee and Fallon et al., pay attention: Elmo did not come to play. For the inaugural episode of The Not-Too-Late Show With Elmo, made available Wednesday through HBO Max, Elmo brought some serious wattage, inviting both Lil Nas X and Kacey Musgraves to perform two signature songs from Sesame Street.
No artist finds more creative and consistent ways to remix, reconfigure and reimagine the same song over and over again than Lil Nas X, so the country-rap star was a perfect choice for helping to put a new spin on the well-tread "Elmo's Song."
In the clip, Elmo introduces Nas, who comes out in a typically bright outfit and launches into a hip-hop-infused remix of the beloved puppet's signature tune, supported by the show's house band (composed entirely of other Sesame Street puppets).
Elmo knows Lil Nas X is for the children — his Not-Too-Late Show appearance comes almost exactly a year after he transformed an elementary school gym into the world's rowdiest concert venue, with just the opening chorus of "Old Town Road."
Musgraves, meanwhile, took a more straightforward, but no less endearing, approach. For her appearance, she went to the microphone with just her acoustic guitar and performed a joyful rendition of "Rubber Duckie" with the same level of earnestness that she brought to her recent Christmas special.