First things first: Rita Ora’s backing vocals? Not the Realest, and she still managed to upstage Iggy Azalea for her big Saturday Night Live debut.
Before we begin, let us stipulate that Azalea’s chart and headline domination in 2014 is irrefutable. Between “Fancy,” “Black Widow,” “Problem,” and the collection of awards-show performances and festival engagements under her belt, the radiant rapper has had an excellent year, chock-full of star-spangled collaborations and oft-repeated verses. It’s a good time to be Iggy Azalea. Or it was until she made her way to SNL.
See also: Sorry, Haters: Maroon 5 Rocked SNL
Love her or hate her, Iggy’s style, vocal and otherwise, is without a foil at the moment. Some love her frankness and personalized pronunciation; others have absolutely no idea what the hell she’s talking about and can’t get past the fact that she sounds like she’s rapping with an insurmountable speech impediment. She adds grit and sass to saccharine pop confections or she throws an offensive wrench into social discourse. She’s engaging or she’s infuriating; there is no in between. With great attention comes great responsibility, and as one of the first musical acts to grace the SNL stage at the start of its 40th season, the base expectation for Iggy was to not suck. She didn’t have to convert haters or bowl over her fans. She just had to show up, drop fire, mug for the camera, and channel a modicum of the enthusiasm the world has shown for any track she touches.
This is not what she did.
Maybe it was the cheap sets, the clunky changes, or off timing and choreography, but “Fancy/Black Widow” was one train-wreck of a performance from start to finish. “Black Widow” went from compelling duet to reject high school talent show routine in a matter of seconds, with the clumsy addition of Ora further enhancing the fact that Iggy appeared to be awkward and clueless merely existing in her own skin. There’s no written rule that all pop stars have to be exceptional dancers or athletically inclined, but Iggy and Rita’s awkward waltz and try-hard advances were hardly the stuff of femme fatale sex appeal. For two of the biggest hits of the season, the SNL treatment of “Fancy/Black Widow” was a straight-up embarrassment, and one Iggy and the show should look back to as a cautionary tale for future tapings.
As for the debut of new track “Beg for It,” Iggy recovered some swagger, but just barely, and her cohort in MØ managed to make her look on-point and with it. The usually delightfully wacky MØ couldn’t seem to hear the overwhelming backing track and stumbled along her lines with the grace of a drunk person trying to hold it together in church (UPDATE: This is indeed the case, according to the MØ Instagram below). The beat’s fine and the hook’s catchy enough, but the ’90s-styling and abysmal execution sucked the wind out of “Beg for It” (whatever wind there was left after her disappointing first selection of the evening, that is).
Et billede slået op af MØ (@momomoyouth) i
Credit where credit is due, though: Iggy’s cameo in the epic Chandelier Dance-Off was great, and we want to like her. JUST LET US LIKE YOU, IGGY.
It would be great to sing the praises of one of 2014’s most celebrated pop stars, but the malignant backing tracks and tone-deaf styling of Iggy’s SNL performance missed every conceivable mark. We’re not alone in thinking so, either, and the internet was pretty unanimous about it. I think we’re all asking a lot of questions this morning.
my wife assesses iggy azalea: “i’m confused by art in our current century”
— rob harvilla (@harvilla) October 26, 2014
If it came out that Iggy Azalea was doing a full-on Milli Vanilli, would even one person on earth be surprised
— Matthew Perpetua (@perpetua) October 26, 2014
I had never heard Iggy Azalea before. And I would be fine to never hear Iggy Azalea ever again. #SNL
— Eric Kleefeld (@EricKleefeld) October 26, 2014
We weren’t thrilled with Jim Carrey’s performance either, save for his fantastic Matthew McConaughey impressions, and this isn’t far from the truth.
Tonight might be the first and only time America says “wow, Iggy Azalea was the best thing tonight.” #SNL
— Cryptnapper (@Crutnacker) October 26, 2014
iggy on snl is so embarassing i have secondhand embarassment
— kayla. (@spookyienzo) October 26, 2014
Betcha didn’t come up with that line on your own, but yes.
Why they let iggy perform on SNL? A pack of Kraft Singles still got more singles than her.
— The Quéen (@pitchesluvme) October 26, 2014
BUZZ YOUR GIRLFRIEND WOOF.
Iggy’s SNL performance was like a ratchet High school musical…
— Richard Inman (@RichardInman82) October 26, 2014
When it’s breaking the Replacements’ record, you know the situation is dire.
Iggy’s performances on SNL last night are the worst I’ve seen, and I’ve watched the Replacements’ performances like 30 times each.
— Cassie Aylward (@eissacaylward) October 26, 2014
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