Katy Perry was in severe danger of getting upstaged by Bruce Willis, who absolutely knocked it out of the park while hosting Saturday Night Live, and that’s a feat considering how dead-eyed the Die Hard star/Mr. Clean look-alike is on a normal basis. Willis whipped out a harmonica during his opening monologue, achieved impression perfection with his take on Michael Kors for a Lady Gaga talk show sketch, and was a good sport about the fact that someone in wardrobe apparently thought it’d be a good idea to make the bald guy rock 912 different wigs. By the time Perry hit the stage for her first number, Willis was knocking expectations out of the park, and thankfully, Perry met plenty of those held for her performance by the time she finished “Roar,” all the while playing octave tag in a leopard leotard that’d make Tarzan drool.
As Ms. Perry’s the gal who’s given us some of the weirdest costumes, music videos, and wig choices in popular music since she’s come on the scene, it would’ve been out of character entirely for her to merely show up at SNL and perform hit-of-the-moment “Roar” in anything short of spectacular fashion. The demure approach worked for chart rival Miley Cyrus last week with her stripped-down version of “We Can’t Stop,” but Katy’s full-throttle blast in the opposite direction worked fantastically and totally bizarrely for Prism‘s insanely popular single. There were some wonky tuning issues going on in the opening measures of the song (that Perry successfully navigated), but that’s to be expected when your guy on keys/synths can’t see what he’s doing because you thought it’d be a good idea to PUT HIM IN A MONKEY/GIRAFFE/ALLIGATOR/ZEBRA/LION COSTUME. Perry’s band not only gets all of the brownie points in the universe for acting out some costume designer’s furry fantasies, they get props for actually making them look cool and fun to perform in. Perry wasn’t awful, either, and soared especially with the high notes on every passing “Eye Of The TIIIIGER!” line seemingly ripped from an inspirational poster in a guidance counselor’s office. Glad to see she’s performing up to par and that she’s embracing her wacky sartorial tendencies all the way to the bank.
“Walking On Air” provided the worst kind of contrast in that everything about it was all wrong: the cheesy return to Now That’s What I Call Terrible ’90s Dance Music, the reject costume pile from Clueless or The Craft, the ridiculous dancers, the heavy breathing, the shimmery scarf interpretive awkwardness, the low budget porno lighting, all of it. After the delightfully ridiculous “Roar,” “Walking On Air” made us nostalgic for Katy’s weirder ways. The whipped cream exploding out of Perry’s nipples a la “California Gurls” is preferable, and that video is the stuff of nightmares. This? This just felt cheap, and was a huge disappointment in comparison with Katy’s campier first act.
A few people piped up when it came to bashing “Walking On Air” on Twitter shortly after the SNL broadcast, but “Roar” left way more of an impression. Girl had her band dressed up in animal costumes and she emptied the greenhouses of every Home Depot in from Westchester to Queens, from the look of it. Quite a few talking points abound here.
I’d say this was the question on everyone’s mind, yes.
O R U THO
Nope. Too distracted by the Tarzan get-up. And the menagerie of jungle creatures playing instruments. And the sound gaffes.
All that I want to say is best summed up by Surprised Patrick:
Didn’t think “BURN” and “Sara Barreiles” were two things that would make sense in the same sentence, but here we are!
We all were collectively chompin’ on the same substance, my friend.
Probably the handler that let all those creatures out of the zoo HIOOOOO
-________- (fart noises)
We’d defer to Kay Hanley of Letters to Cleo on this one.
Actual LOL-inducing tweet.
THAT WOULD BE PRETTY AMAZING, ACTUALLY.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 14, 2013