Hugh Jackman hops and raps as Tonys 2014 host

Hugh Jackman speaks during the 68th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 8, 2014, in New York. Theo Wargo/Getty Images

No stranger to the Tony Awards, this year's host Hugh Jackman kicked off the ceremony on Sunday by literally hopping into New York's Radio City Music Hall for Broadway's biggest night, drawing a mix of confusion and praise on social media.

During the near-silent routine, the "X-Men" star, who was hosting the awards show for the fourth time, caught the attention of viewers at home -- some of whom said they were impressed by his breathing stamina, if not wondering why he decided to begin the ceremony with such an unconventional number.

It turns out Jackman was paying homage to Bobby Van's hop dance in the 1953 musical "Small Town Girl," although hardly anyone seemed to get the reference.

He then got to show off more of his dancing skills after introducing and joining Patti LaBelle, Gladys Knight, Fantasia for a number from "After Midnight."

Following the highly choreographed routine, Jackman then used his opening monologue as an opportunity to comment on marriage equality, at the same time giving a shout-out to last year's host, and this year's best actor in a musical winner, Neil Patrick Harris.

Tonys 2014

How did Hugh Jackman do as host?

"He is a legendary four-time Tony host, but Angela Lansbury has hosted five times. So Neil is right behind her. And I was right behind him, which is still illegal in 13 states."

Jackman also made mention of the play "Casa Valentina" while taking a jab at opponents of same-sex marriage.

"['Casa Valentina'] highlights the tension between married men who cross-dress and the gay community -- two sides that never really understood each other," Jackman said. "It's kind of like people who are against same-sex marriage and people who mind their own business."

The comments caught the attention of the conservative Chicago radio host and former U.S. congressman Joe Walsh:

Other Twitter users, meanwhile, were pleased with Jackman's frequent shout-outs to the LGBT community:

Another memorable moment came when Jackman performed an unorthodox rap from "The Music Man" onstage with LL Cool J and T.I.

The set left many at home once again scratching their heads, with celebrity blogger Perez Hilton wondering, "What am I watching right now?"

Following the routine, Jackman joked that LL Cool J had given him the rap moniker, "Biggie Tap Shoes."

After the awards ceremony, one viewer expressed disappointment that Jackman never showed off his infamous chiseled physique during the show:

One person who was pleased with Jackman's hosting duties was presenter and actor Tony Goldwyn, who gave a shout-out to the Australian actor on Twitter:

Whether you loved Jackman's unique approach to the 68th Tony Awards or were left wondering "Why?" -- one thing's for certain: He got people talking.

Tell us: How do you think Jackman did as host?

  • Ken Lombardi On Twitter» On Facebook»

    Ken Lombardi is an entertainment reporter for CBS News. He has interviewed over 300 celebrities, including Clint Eastwood, Oprah Winfrey and Tom Hanks.

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