The third time was apparently the charm for a nearly-perfect Lady Gaga, as her most recent SNL hosting stint was ratings gold: Saturday night’s SNL brought in the most viewers since Justin Timberlake’s episode on March 9, and matched Miley’s hosting stint in the coveted 18 to 49 market. Her hosting duties brought forth tons of great moments in which Gaga was not only hilarious, but successfully self-deprecating and charming: the Worst Covers Of All Time sketch was flawless and poked fun at the much griped about similarities between Gaga’s “Born This Way” and Madonna’s “Express Yourself”; a look into the future with a decrepit and forgotten Gaga was fantastic as well. Both performances measured up to the standards she set with an exceptional opening monologue and the sketches that followed, so yeah, we’re not surprised at all about the overwhelming success of the episode.
When you’ve got R. Kelly throwing you over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes in between lines and you not only mount the R&B demigod but hold a high note while bending over backwards when you’ve got your legs wrapped around his waist, you win. And that’s exactly what Gaga did at the high point of “Do What U Want,” the second of ARTPOP‘s singles and the duet that’ll soon be receiving the Terry Richardson treatment (a la “Wrecking Ball”) for the video. Not the biggest fan of the wig or jumpsuit choice, but who cares when the woman rocking them is belting out some of the more flawless notes that stage has seen in recent memory?
Gaga was riling up the crowd before her performance (as you can tell when she’s cut off by Bobby Moynihan’s introduction) and that kind of enthusiasm hasn’t been bottled up and chugged by the SNL audience since … yeah, no idea. The audible screams that were picked up from the mics when R. Kelly came out just back up the fact that “Do What U Want” went over brilliantly in studio and came across just as strong over the broadcast. This is a new standard set for late night musical performances, in that no star should ever, ever show up without their duet counterpart if they plan on performing it without them. If they do, a “Well Gaga and R. Kelly did it!” will likely follow, and whoever says so won’t be wrong.
So, “Gypsy”: slow start, strong finish. Remember when Lana Del Rey sounded like she chugged a bottle of Benadryl before slurring her way into “Video Games” on the SNL stage? Lana was mocked by Cecily Strong in a sketch just before Gaga’s second performance, and the first measures of “Gypsy” matched the syrupy, unyielding vibratto and melodramatic approach Lana was slammed for. That lasted for all of 45 seconds, thankfully, and Gaga plowed into “Gypsy” with the aplomb of a Vegas lounge goddess from the future. What followed as soon as Gaga got up from the piano was a weird, frenzied, frantic shift to acoustic guitar, which she barely played (and could barely play, from the looks of her picking), and the addition of a purple glitter legging-clad dancer that made Seizure Chic a thing with his spastic tambourine playing. Girl hit her notes, and well, and I’d take “Gypsy” over “Applause” or “Born This Way” any day of the week, but “Gypsy” on SNL was a bit of a confusing display from beginning to end.
And now for the Monsters, Little and otherwise. Arsenio threw shade (maybe)! Moms are Gaga fans! UFC fighters are chiming in! If there’s one thing that can bring us all together, guys, it’s Lady Gaga on SNL, apparently.
If that isn’t a missed opportunity for an SNL skit WE DON’T KNOW WHAT IS.
Team Billboard was stoked.
Head of Team Billboard was bewildered, but also stoked.
BUT ISN’T IT THO GET IT DRILL SEX INNUENDO LOL
UFC Fighters: They’re Just Like Us! (Confused by what we’re watching and where the fourth wall is exactly.)
Moms <3 Gaga.
Op, I believe that’s some shade being thrown by Mr. Hall …
Gaga <3s R. Kelly ...
… And promptly celebrated her SNL triumph with cake and ice cream in fashion we approve of entirely.