One Direction Hit Seriously Strong Notes on SNL


Let’s get one thing clear, adults: Your newfound Directioner tendencies are TOTALLY OKAY. The One Direction guys can actually sing, and no, it doesn’t make you a cheesy pop fan in dire need of public shaming to acknowledge it. They’re not kids anymore, they’re not going anywhere, and each record they release proves to be more likable than the last. They’re doing the legwork to ensure that their voices will be heard long after they’ve aged out of the boyhood that keeps them employed. They’re writing more, picking up an instrument from time to time (hi, Niall!) and grabbing at the reins as they continue to tour relentlessly and drop one hit after another.

This week’s Saturday Night Live saw this in spades, as the guys came to Studio 8H just as down to have a good time and sing their hearts out as they did last year, nearly to the day. They made a quick cameo for the latest installment of the Girlfriends Talk Show — helmed by Cecily Strong’s Kira and Aidy Bryant’s Morgan — as dude dancers from Morgan’s school dance team, which gave us some delightful GIFs and snippets of Harry Styles flailing around like a grandma doing beach aerobics in Boca:

And that’s to say nothing about the songs themselves. Instead of blasting through the bombast of “Steal My Girl” and “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” (which they dragged Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones out for during the X Factor UK finale last week), One Direction chose two of the more sensitive cuts from FOUR: “Night Changes” and “Ready to Run”.

While Styles tends to get the majority of the attention for his vocal chops and offstage, tabloid-ready social life, it’s great to see Liam Payne and Zayn Malik truly step into the spotlight on their own with the flawless delivery of their gorgeous tones on “Night Changes.” Those high notes were golden, and it’s getting harder to choose between favorites as we get to know these guys better with each and every passing tune.

As for “Ready to Run”, their visible enthusiasm (and that weird mic-dance action with Liam) was just as engaging as the driving, anthemic quality of the single itself. Not a bad note between them, not a stray harmony, either, and it all made for a performance hard to fault from the least unlikable band on the market.

And the internet? Hooooo, boy. Scrolling through these tweets, a few themes stood out among the enamored emojis and exclamation-point-soaked rants: Parents are weird when it comes to One Direction, IT’S REALLY HARD TO TALK ABOUT THEM WITHOUT SCREAMING IN ALL CAPS, and Directioners really are the most vocal fan army on social media. Here’s what the peanut gallery had to say about “Night Changes” and “Ready to Run.”

In an episode full of SNL alumni cameos, this feels like a missed opportunity. (But really, though, what the hell happened to Cheri Oteri?)

The tweet heard ’round the Directioner universe:

The workout that keeps on giving!

Moms love One Direction:

Grandmoms love One Direction, too:

Dads? Not so much.

A few examples of this whole ALL CAPS LOCK ALL THE TIME thing:

Plenty of tears over the lads, in various 140-character arrangements:

And a combination of caps-lock freakout AND tears: