The Award For “Widest Disparity In Quality Between Two Musical Performances On The Same Episode Of Saturday Night Live” Goes To Jay-Z


So this “Betty White on Saturday Night Live” thing — a rousing success, no? The “Depends” joke you knew was coming was pretty great anyway, right? And then there was Jay-Z, giving one fantastic performance and one fantastically awful one. Dude’s got range.

Let’s start with the good one. (Might not last — everything’s on Hulu except Jay. So crazy it just might work, NBC!) It’s an eight-and-half-minute medley, from “Public Service Announcement” to “Empire State of Mind,” the profound aggro-rock violence of “99 Problems” particularly effective from within a show almost entirely otherwise devoted to old-lady-swearing jokes. Band’s great as always. Command performance. Bravo.

And then came the mercifully brief “Forever Young,” featuring the ludicrous Mr. Hudson, blaring the Alphaville-derived hook in faux-tough-guy fashion (get the hell outta here with that rasp), boasting a below-the-shins sartorial situation I can’t even begin to describe or tolerate. Unbelievable. I actually hope this one gets taken down. It is in everyone’s best interest.