Elton John makes surprise appearance at Pose panel: 'I am totally Elektra'
Pose has garnered critical acclaim since its 2018 debut, and it counts one of the world's biggest entertainers as a megafan. Elton John and his husband David Furnish even rearranged their vacation to stop by the series' FYC panel on Saturday, co-creator Ryan Murphy revealed during the event.
Held at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, the drive-in event featured a screening of the series finale, followed by a panel with Murphy, co-creator Steven Canals, and stars Mj Rodriguez and Billy Porter.
John praised the FX series for shining a light on the 1980s New York ballroom scene and the HIV epidemic, and representing trans characters on television. As someone who "lived through the AIDS epidemic," and now has his own AIDS Foundation to help others, John said Pose has a special place in his heart.
"My motto is no one gets left behind. No one should be left behind, no sex worker, no prisoner, to trans person, no intravenous drug user, no gay people. We have to embrace all of us, we have to embrace everybody. And this is exactly why I love this program so much," the artist said, according to Deadline. "This program touched me more than any other series because of the journey that these people are on. I mean, I am Elektra. I am totally Elektra."
After Porter joked that he would have to fight Murphy for the title, John responded, "I am the House of Abundance, no fighting on that one."
"This is a series where you laugh and you cry and you get angry and you see people's journey and how they fight," John added. "And they are real people, and they are trans people who have made their life possible but, by god, they had to fight for it. They still have to it, and they shouldn't fight for it, they should never fight for it."
John also credited Murphy for making sure a show like Pose got made.
"It never rings false," John said. "And those outfits — my dear!"
Murphy also revealed that John's music had an impact on his own childhood, growing up gay with a father with whom he "never really connected." He then told an anecdote involving the British star's 1975 hit "Philadelphia Freedom."
When he was seven, "we were driving in the car, and 'Philadelphia Freedom' came on the radio,'" the writer and producer recounted. "I was like, 'You know what, I'm just going to be me,' and I performed the s--t out of 'Philadelphia Freedom' in the back seat of that car, and my father saw me for the first time, thanks to Elton John."
"We pulled into my driveway and he looked at me and he goes, 'You have a good voice,' and it was the first time he had ever said anything kind to me. So you're so a part of my life, Elton, in a way that you'll never know," Murphy continued.
Ahead of the series finale, which airs tonight at 10 p.m. ET/PT on FX, EW premiered a first look of the two-hour event. The video features Mother Blanca Evangelista (Rodriguez) and Pray Tell (Porter) hitting the ballroom floor for one final performance, as well as behind-the-scenes footage of Rodriguez and Porter rehearsing the showstopping dance.
"The thing that we as a writers' room wanted most was for all of our characters to have whatever a happy ending looks like for them," Canals says in the video.
The cast and creators also reflect on the drama's legacy, including its groundbreaking casting. Recruiting trans women to play trans women "was revolutionary in 2017," executive producer Janet Mock says. "Now, I think in '20 and '21, it's almost like if you don't cast authentically, no one's going to show up for your project." Adds Porter, "Oh, how I wish that I had a show like Pose when I was growing up, when I was coming out in the '80s."