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Eminem explains how he pulled off a surprise performance

Eminem finally performed his Oscar-winning track “Lose Yourself” at the Academy Awards. It just took him 17 years to get there.  

Speaking Monday to Variety about his surprise award show performance, the rapper, now 47, said he thought performing on film’s biggest night at this point in his life was a better idea.

“I kinda figured maybe since I didn’t get a chance to do it at the time, maybe it would be cool,” Eminem said. “Back then, I never even thought that I had a chance to win, and we had just performed ‘Lose Yourself’ on the Grammys with the Roots a couple of weeks before the Oscars, so we didn’t think it was a good idea. And also, back at that time, the younger me didn’t really feel like a show like that would understand me.”

Oscars viewers at home and in Los Angeles’ Dolby Theatre were surprised to see the rapper – and doubly surprised to see him perform a song that had won the award nearly 20 years ago. 

Eminem gave a high-energy performance of his rap hit “Lose Yourself.” The song earned Eminem an Oscar for best original song in 2003.

The rapper said he flew to Los Angeles the week before and “probably (had) four or five rehearsals” offsite to keep things a secret. 

“It was presented to me that way and I said ‘Oh that’s kinda dope, to not even announce it,’ ” he recalled. 

Oscars producer Lynette Howell Taylor told USA TODAY the idea to have Eminem perform “Lose Yourself” 17 years after he won best original song came because “we made a show that was about impact and we wanted to do a segment on the impact of music. And we reached out to see if that was something he wanted to be involved in and we were just really lucky he said yes.”

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