Watch 2021 Emmys Opener Bring Out LL Cool J, Rita Wilson And Lil Dicky For Rap Performance

ll cool j, lil dicky, rita wilson and cedric the entertainer singing 'just a friend' at the 2021 emmys

The Emmy Awards can often be quite the silly celebration of television, and the stops tend to get pulled out for the opening. This year's limited-audience ceremony opted not to go with an over-produced look back at this year's nominees — I would have bet money on the writers putting together a spoof of the Emmy-winning MCU series WandaVision-esque — and instead went with a totally unexpected tribute to late rapper Biz Markie that incorporated real-world rappers with TV shows, as well as Rita effing Wilson. It was quite the bizarre tribute, but also...kind of a fun one?

Check out the festivities in the video below, with the music starting after host Cedric the Entertainer's opening address. Keep an eye out for Billy Porter further earning considering for hosting next year's Emmys.

Ahead of anyone winning or losing any awards — or even Seth Rogen's snazzy look — the episode started off with a bang. Or rather, a banger, with a rousing rendition of Biz Markie's hit "Just a Friend," with the lyrics skewed to incorporate the world of TV. Cedric the Entertainer kicked things off, with NCIS: Los Angeles star LL Cool J taking over the first verse. The dude knows more than a little bit about winning over crowds with his vocal skills, as he's a Grammy-winning rapper and an Emmy-nominated host, on top of being on one of CBS' longest-running dramas.

Following up on the legacy of LL Cool J is breakout TV star Lil Dicky, otherwise known as Dave (Who's Dave?) Burd, the titular lead of FXX's Dave, which wrapped its wilder-than-expected second season in August. Gotta love the shot he took at Ted Lasso's 20 nominations being just too many for one show. Which isn't true, of course, and it'd be surprising to Ted Lasso fans if the Emmys doesn't just change its official name next year to reflect the show's massive success. The 1st Annual Lassos. They're coming.

Back to the Emmys opening! The next celeb that came out was the always great Rita Wilson, who previously showed off her vocal chops in the midst of 2020's quarantine. Of course, it wasn't quite the same style as what we watched in this opening. But that just makes the above all the more fun and ridiculous to watch.

Not that the performers themselves were always the most fun people to watch. It's just as fun to watch everyone's reactions, as some in the crowd were just as shocked as viewers at home, but had to keep those reactions down the middle, with cameras essentially on everyone in that small room at all times. The musical number kicked off a night that often became more awkward and weird as the night went on, for better or worse, but usually worse.

Check out all of this year's Emmy winners and don't forget to keep up with everything hitting the 2021 Fall TV schedule.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.