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Eminem’s 2020 Oscars Performance Proves He’s Still Pop Music’s Biggest Outsider

If you didn’t watch Eminem’s Oscars performance live on Sunday night, you definitely read about it by Monday afternoon. Media outlets flocked to report on the surprise performance, and confused reactions from various Oscars attendees went viral. The 47-year-old rapper’s rendition of his 8 Mile hit “Lose Yourself” became the top-trending moment from the awards show according to data from Facebook, Billboard reports, beating Joaquin Phoenix’s Best Actor acceptance speech and Parasite’s Best Picture victory.

Eminem earned a standing ovation at the end of his performance, though you would be forgiven for thinking everybody in the audience hated it based on the reaction photos that circulated. (Stars, they’re just like us—their candid moments look bad, too!) The performance did draw criticism from some viewers on social media, including actor Billy Eichner, who called hypocrisy on the Oscars’ decision to book a rapper with a history of using homophobic slurs to perform at a show that ostensibly celebrates diversity. Eminem should be used to this split reaction by now: His music and publicity stunts have been met with a combination of praise, confusion and disgust for more than 20 years now. But whether people love him, hate him or just don’t understand him, they’re still talking about him—and the metrics from Sunday’s Oscars performance prove that Eminem is still pop music’s biggest outsider.

In the beginning of his career, Eminem soared to unfathomable commercial heights

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