Lady Gaga Takes on SNL; How Did She Do?
Gaga does SNL. We’ve got the verdict (and the visuals to go with it)
So Lady Gaga‘s ARTPOP didn’t break any ground in terms of record sales or chart action (except it did go to No. 1, selling a dismal 260,000 copies in the US), nor did it impress a world of critics. HiFi was even confused over its content.
But that didn’t stop the pop star from promoting her record on the first week of its release. Her appearance on NBC’s Saturday Night Live this past weekend included hosting the affair (which means her presence in most of the comedic skits) and two musical performances.
So how did she do?
Wisely, she opted for “Do What U Want” (featuring a guest slot for R. Kelly) as her first performance. Besides the musicians playing air guitar behind them, Kelz and Gaga dry humped one another like horny rabbits. It was good to see the Pied Piper of R&B getting freaky once again, while Gaga’s dancing skills on urban beats seemed a bit silly. Still, the song is one of the best creations from her hands, even if the censors weren’t expecting the borderline X-rated burlesque tease.
Using Elton John gravitas, her second performance – a Fleetwood Mac-esque version of “Gypsy” – showed off her big pipes and glorious talent on the baby grand. The first half was acoustic-driven, but later exploded with driving tempo and rock-pop smarts. Towards the last half, a bundle of acoustic guitar-toting studs joins Gaga in a Mumford & Sons free-fall. The audio of that performance should have been tossed on the ARTPOP album, if you really want to know the truth.
Gaga’s acting skills – ehh – they are okay. But we blame mediocre writing and sluggish scripts that forced Gaga to play secondary characters for her shortcomings. Showing up as an Apple tech geek on a Kanye West/Kim Karadashian talk show (played by Jay Pharaoh and Nasim Pedrad) allowed her to dress below conservative levels, but the character lacked punchlines. She did throw a jab at her Gaga-ness when her nerdy character blurted out that sometimes people dress flamboyantly to cover up what’s on the inside. She looked straight into the character, knowing the joke was on her.
Another jab at her Gaga-ness transpired during a slightly-humorous routine on The Worst Cover Songs of All Time. The segment played like those NOW! That’s What I Call Music infomercials, showing Britney Spears (Noël Wells) singing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” Kenan Thompson dressed up as Rick Ross singing Anna Kendrick. The SNL cast also dressed up as Lana Del Rey and Nathan Lane, performing music by Shaggy. Gaga appeared as herself singing “Born This Way,” returning to those old rumors of ripoffs of Madonna’s “Express Yourself.” The joke would have been funnier if the year was 2012. Goes to show you that some jokes do have expiration dates.
So did she do enough good to save ARTPOP from becoming a train wreck in sales? Not really, but her fellow Little Monsters will eat it all up like cavity-inducing candy.