Michael Bolton riffed on his movie soundtrack love-ballad singing style, with help from The Lonely Island, on this week’s Saturday Night Live. In the comedy-rappers’ SNL Digital Short “Jack Sparrow,” Bolton paid tribute not only to the protagonist of the Pirates of the Caribbean films, but also to Forrest Gump, Erin Brockovich, and Scarface‘s Tony Montana (in each case costumed as the character), as the Lonely Island trio, who had been hoping for a club-rap hook, look puzzled and, increasingly, annoyed.
As far as the Lonely Island go, the contrast-gag is a bit old-hat. (They even use a callback to their short Andy Popping into Frame, with Bolton, wearing a Jolly Roger tricornet, pops into frame during a club scene to gleefully proclaim “Now back to the good part!”) But choosing Bolton as a collaborator was incredibly canny, since most of his biggest hits, particularly on 1989’s six-times-platinum Soul Provider, were co-written with Diane Warren, the undisputed champion of the film-soundtrack love ballad (“I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” is only the most famous of her many soundtrack hits). And Bolton himself sang on the soundtracks for Sing (“One More Time”), Only You (“Once in a Lifetime”), and Hercules (“Go the Distance”). “Jack Sparrow” proves Bolton to be a pretty good sport. We just hope the short didn’t upstage the epsiode’s actual musical guest, Ellie Goulding.