With Grammy performances, high profile rants, new fashion lines, and fresh songs, Kanye West is having one of the biggest weeks of all time, y’all! And tonight he kept the streak alive with an intensely passionate medley on the Saturday Night Live 40th anniversary special. Yeezus balanced the throwback College Dropout track “Jesus Walks” with a tender reading of “Only One,” his recent collaboration with Paul McCartney. But the real highlight came with the TV debut of new track “Wolves” alongside Sia and Vic Mensa.
After a brief cameo in the star-packed opening monologue, Miley Cyrus had her chance to shine with a show-stopping solo spot during the Saturday Night Live 40th anniversary special. Instead of the usual provocative antics that we’ve come to expect from the 22-year-old, she kept her massive pipes front and center to belt out a killer version of Paul Simon‘s classic “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover.” It’s hard enough to deliver the goods on live television, but it couldn’t have been easy knowing that Paul himself was sitting in the studio audience!
Paul McCartney was just one of the many megastars on hand to pay tribute to Saturday Night Live during its 40th anniversary television special. But the music legend was the first to perform a solo musical spot, delivering a raw but passionate rendition of “Maybe I’m Amazed.”
Live from New York—the city that brought you Kiss, Twisted Sister, Anthrax, White Zombie, and the Plasmatics—it’s heavy metal on Saturday night! Alas, as with other hometown hard rock heroes the Ramones, none of those Big Apple metal battalions ever got a guest shot on Saturday Night Live.
When we saw the promos for Justin Timberlake‘s upcoming Saturday Night Live hosting gig (musical guest too!), we experienced a flurry of emotions, not least of which was admiration for his fancy new “Suit and Tie” hair. We’re not sure if JT got his naturally tight curls chemically relaxed or if its just a reeaally strong blowout, but this suddenly sleek, Cary Grant-esque style gives him such a dashing quality, no?
He wasn’t pulling double duty like Bruno Mars did back in October–or like Justin Bieber will do in just two week’s time–but there was still plenty of opportunity for Adam Levine to show off what his day job is like during his first Saturday Night Live hosting gig. He’s been stretching his acting muscles in recent months, but Levine stuck to his musical roots just enough to bust out a catchy hook and taking part in the formation of a brand-new beef, the latter taking place when Pat Monahan of Train (Taran Killam) steps to his own Maroon 5. Employing one of our necessary rules for successful hosting, Levine was not above mocking his own group, and the bands squared off in a battle of harmless guitar riffs and lady-killing stares while the likes of Jason Mraz (Jason Sudeikis) and John Mayer (Bill Hader) looked on.
But the night was not complete without the return of the digital short and the Lonely Island, whom we miss now more than ever. Levine joined Andy Samberg (welcome back!), Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer to hold court along the famous Grease raceway, reminding us that yes, we only live once, and we probably shouldn’t take that for granted with stupid stunts that will make us momentarily Internet-famous.
With Lonely Island featured player Justin Timberlake hosting the season finale of Saturday Night Live, it’s no surprise that he and Andy Samberg reprised their roles as the “D**k in a Box” duo (the pair who may as well be called “Color Me Really Really Bad, Like, Awful”). But their riff on the “Same Girl” gets a Shyamalanian twist: the “girl” is played by none other than musical guest Lady Gaga, and she suggests the titular “3-way”: Read more…
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.
Paul Simon surprised viewers of last night’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon when he joined percussive dance troupe STOMP for a striking rendition of his and Art Garfunkel’s 1970 single, “Cecilia.” In retrospect, the collaboration was obvious, as STOMP is perhaps uniquely suited to replicate the peculiar rhythmic charm of the original track. And the performance, to put it plainly, killed.
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon has emerged as the unlikely music leader in the late-night talk show game, hiring “the legendary Roots crew,” as Fallon puts it, as the show’s house band, and casting a net wide enough to include 90s DC indie-rock stalwarts Jawbox (reuniting only for the show), yacht-rocker extraordinaire Christopher Cross (with special guest Michael McDonald), teenage-riot horrorcore rappers Odd Future, and incomparable new jack swingers Bell Biv DeVoe, among others. Largely, this is thanks to the show’s music bookers (and their bosses, who give them lots of freedom).