A few weeks ago, singer Lana del Rey gave what has been described as a “terrible live performance” on Saturday Night Live. I didn’t get a chance to see the performance myself, since I’m still on my way to becoming a real live grown up with furniture sets and an impressive cable line up; however, I did notice some internet buzz in regards to how awful and atrocious the whole thing was. It was enough for curiosity to strike–and before I knew it, I was looking up what I expected to be a butchered performance of her 2011 single, “Video Games.”
I searched, I saw, I … don’t really know what to say.
For how much everyone who jumped on the judging bandwagon hemmed and hawed about how awful her show was, I was disappointed. Disappointed in the fact that it really wasn’t that bad. This guy has proven to be much worse. Not only because of the fact that his voice isn’t designed for anything remotely associated with music, but also because of the over-confident introduction he gives. Granted, church man isn’t a professional singer who is making a debut on one of the most well-known and long-running installments of sketch comedy shows this nation has ever known, but again, Lana wasn’t that bad.
If anything, I’d say she was a little weird. Her voice in the recording I’ve heard on the radio is much richer, controlled, and pretty. Her appearance on the SNL stage was odd. I have to admit right away I couldn’t help but be reminded of Samantha Baker’s drugged-up sister in 16 Candles, what with the wedding-like dress and voluminous hair; not to mention the random and lazy turns she made during any instrumental part of the song. She wasn’t quite as polished as we’ve heard on her single, but what live performance is? Overall, I have to say it wasn’t nearly as bad as what the Internet was telling me. Perhaps she was nervous, perhaps it was just one of those flukey things that happens where it just all goes to hell the moment you step on stage and there is nothing you can do about it in that particular moment. Maybe she was cursed with the superstitious occurance that once shrouded me during a high school music contest. I won’t go into details, but the long and the short of it is that I had a picture-perfect rehearsal for my baritone saxaphone Wizard of Oz variations solo. Immediately after nailing the piece in the practice room, I went on to squeak my way through the entire thing for the actual performance. It could have been nerves, it could have been a dry reed, it could have been the fact that the fates were shitting on any chance I had to star in my category.
I digress. Lana’s performance wasn’t by any means the best that has graced the SNL stage, but it wasn’t terrible. The audience applauded her efforts at the end with what I interpreted to be a genuine response. I think the real culprit here is a group mind of “if everyone else is saying it, it must be true therefore I will say it too” (only I will exaggerate it by multiplying everything by ten).
Keep it up Lana. I think her response to the whole thing deserves some credit as well. Being turned into minced meat on the national chopping block isn’t an easy thing to go through. I just hope that this newly-known artist is able to make a strong impression on the other side by coming back with her album, Born to Die, and some praise-worthy live performances.
Samantha Veldhouse is the Arts & Entertainment Editor of Secret Laboratory. Originally from rural North Dakota, Ms. Veldhouse went to school for literature and writing at Bemidji State University, but fell into the theater community while she was there. After graduating with a BA in English, she moved to Minneapolis where she has been known to tap into Twin Cities theater performing with the Brave New Institute and Huge Theater; she also produces independently with the Minnesota Fringe Festival. When Samantha isn’t creatively displaying herself on stage, she’s documenting her life on her blog at intheveldhouse.blogspot.com. She currently works as an Academic Advisor at Capella University and lives in her trusty uptown studio with her laptop.
E-mail Ms. Veldhouse at email@example.com.