HEY INTERNET: THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS.
Adele goes on Saturday Night Live for the first time since 2008. Adele does what Adele does, which is render an audience utterly puddle-like with her soul-searing vocals and lyrics that zero in on the place in which you store all of your important feelings. Adele stands at the microphone, makes short work of various octave-leaping phrases, belts her heart out, looks out upon her rapturous, applauding crowd, her eyes truly the cat-eye-lined windows to her grateful, grinning soul, and takes a minute. Adele makes a goofy, highly GIF-able cartoon face. Adele does it all again a half an hour later. Adele leaves NBC’s Studio 8H with the hearts of a couple million people in her pocket that were likely already folded up and stuffed in there somewhere before she gave “Hello” and “When We Were Young” their official late night television debuts. Adele calls it a night.
And then, someone had to go and rip the microphone feed from her performance of “Hello” and post it to Reddit, and then that had to go and get posted everywhere because, hey, everyone wants to talk about how flawless this woman is at everything she does, and now we don’t have a solid clip of her singing “Hello” complete with her whole band. Coincidence? Probably, but whatever: the point is that Adele could sneeze and the world would collapse in on itself in one conflicted sigh caught between the winds of melancholy and elation. Her performance of “Hello” on SNL was just as lovely as you expected it to be, because Adele hitting a wrong note is about as common an occurrence as Donald Trump making a good point. The Reddit mic feed proved that, not that it needed to be proven, so I hope you’re happy, audio nerds and laptop geniuses who stripped the damn track bare of all its live splendor for the sake of pointing out the obvious. GOOD TALK.
“When We Were Young” was much of the same, with Adele belting the ever-living shit out of the ballad’s chorus and navigating the pot holes of her low notes with aplomb. It was all perfectly nice, but half of the fun in seeing Adele live and in the flesh (or before a live studio audience, at least) is her banter and approachable nature. Girl came out for her bow at the end of SNL in bare feet, because of course she did — this is the same woman who gushes about the SteelDrivers (a/k/a the band Chris Stapleton fronted before flying solo) before cutting into a cover of their “If It Hadn’t Been For Love” (“They’ve got a lot of swagger, we think!”) the kind of broad who swears not because she’s English and “fuck” isn’t that bad of a curse word over there, but because she doesn’t give a fuck about saying “fuck,” sensitive ears in the vicinity be damned. That caricaturesque, cross-eyed goof-off following “Hello” was almost as important a moment as the first chorus of 25‘s lead-off single, and those snippets of realness in the polish of her pop just made her all the more endearing. The songs of 25 — including the two she sang on SNL — are fine, lovely, just what you’d expect from Adele. The fact that 25 is projected to break records is fine, lovely, just what you’d expect from Adele, too. There’s no earth-shattering revelation in the case of this particular earth-shattering talent. That takes the fun and excitement out of her music for some, but for others, a ventricle-excavating emotional escape soundtracked by Britain’s finest is a dependable fix for a broken heart. It’s a dependable fix for SNL, at the very least.
Twitter was awash with #feelingz in the hours following the broadcast — for a few-hour stretch on Sunday, a search of “Adele SNL” revealed that a thousand-plus tweets were posting per hour about her performance and that “ADELE CAN SAVE THANKSGIVING!” sketch. (And for good reason, because that sketch was just as good as Adele just being Adele.) Adele IS something everyone can agree on. Almost. That’s what the internet had to say about her, anyway.
First, the GIF that keeps on giving:
— Christopher Rosen (@chrisjrosen) November 22, 2015
Why DON’T you ever sing power-ballads for Steve anymore, Nicole?
(watching Adele on SNL, no realization that Steve is paying attention) Steve: "How come you never sing me power ballads anymore?"
— Nicole Cliffe (@Nicole_Cliffe) November 22, 2015
LET HER HAVE HER FRINGE
Beautiful performance last night from Adele on #SNL everything except the outfit straight from Uncle Fester's closet…
— TweetleD (@ThruTheBridle) November 22, 2015
Your name isn’t Angelo.
adele is so cute on snl tonight she's my mom
— angel emoji (@perfectbIue) November 22, 2015
Distract her, there are enough of us trying to get tickets to Hamilton before 2018.
my mom: *sees Adele on snl* lets go to New York!
— i love nouis (@whenwewere18) November 22, 2015
My dad: "I don't like Adele I don't like any of your music" *Adele sings When We Were Young On SNL "Oh my god I'm sorry I was wrong"
— Randi Doan (@randi_doan) November 22, 2015