Lana Del Rey might be the most recent artistto bomb on stage during Saturday Night Live (SNL), but she’s certainlynot the first. Some artists booked for the popular sketch comedy show have decided it wasn’t worth using their real voices, opting instead for a horribly concealed backtrack. Others used their real voices, but left audienceswishing they had just decided tolip sync.
A musical performance on a comedy television show might not be the ideal scenario for a musician, but that’s hardly an excuse for artists who make big bucks as entertainers andperformers.
The Oracle spotlights a few memorable SNL musicaldebacles that had audienceswondering where the comedy sketches ended and the musical performances began.
Sinead O’Connor – 1992
This one is far from the worst performance musically – it’s just too awkward and ridiculous to ignore.
After three minutes of O’Connor singing her hit song “War”a cappella, O’Connor looks into the camera and holds out a picture of then-Pope John Paul II. She then tears it up into several pieces and says, “Fight the real enemy.”
The crowd is silent for several seconds as the camera pans away and fades out. Though this stunt might seem tame to readers who grew up watching Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction at the Super Bowl, keep in mind that thisperformance was 20 years ago.
Ashlee Simpson – 2004
It’s hard to even call this goof-up a performance. Riding the coattails of her sister Jessica’s commercial success, Simpson landed the gig with SNL to show the world what she was made of. Yet, when the music of her single “Pieces of Me” began to play, the starlet missed her cue to begin pretendingto sing.
What ensued was one of the more awkward moments in television history – Simpson looking around confused as her own voice comes through the speakers. She then decided the best way to mend the situation was to dance around blissfully before exiting the stage.
Simpson offered this explanation before SNL signed off: “I feel so bad, my band startedplaying the wrong song, and I had no excuse, so I thought I’d do ahoedown.”
Kanye West – 2008
Just before Kanye’s hip-hop fans got mad at him for auto-tuning and turning pop, Kanye took his lack of a singing voice to national television with his SNL rendition of “Love Lockdown.”
The performance is just Kanye standing in front of twomassive LCD screens, donning garb reminiscent of what people wore in “Back to the Future Part II,” when Marty travels to 2015. Theperformance confirmed what many already suspected: that Kanye, while brilliant at making beats, might not make the best one-man show.
Kanye offers up a couple of pitchy verses and we see hissilhouette doing the Charlie Brown as the lights go out. Sorry Kanye, but, to quote that same song,”You lose.”
Ke$ha – 2010
It’s best to take this performance step by step. At first, the stage is dark except for a spotlight on Ke$ha. She begins actually singing some unknown lyrics and you start to wonder if maybe this woman, who you previously considered Lil’ Wayne embodied in a rich white girl, might actually have a shred of something that resembles actual talent.
But then the real performance begins and the Ke$ha you know shines for all to see. The stage lights up and she opens her cape, revealing an American flag on the underside, as she sings/raps/says annoyingly: “Wake up in the morning feeling like P. Diddy.”
The remaining details can be spared, but know that there isterrible robot dancing, an imaginary laser harp and thisline: “Did anyone ever stop to think maybe we are the aliens?”