Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Worst All-Time SNL Musical Performances

From The Daily Beast.

Fledgling indie chanteuse Lana Del Rey has been slammed by music critics, listeners, and certain NBC news anchors for her abysmal performance on Saturday Night Live. Some have even gone so far as to call Del Rey the worst performer in SNL history. But The Daily Beast puts things in perspective. From Ashlee Simpson’s lip-synced hoedown to punk band Fear’s on-stage riot, watch clips of SNL music guests that make Lana Del Rey look like a pro.


The mother of all SNL musical gaffes, Ashlee Simpson’s now-infamous October 2004 appearance turned her into a national joke for months. As she was set to perform her second song, “Autobiography,” a pre-recorded version of her hit “Pieces of Me” began playing instead, while Simpson’s microphone was still at her side and her mouth was shut. Her band gamely played on but Simpson abandoned ship and wandered offstage—but not before subjecting the audience to 30 seconds of a bizarre, awkward jig and a sheepish smile. While she initially placed the blame on her band (“I feel so bad,” she said at the end of the show. “My band started playing the wrong song.”), she later changed her tune and blamed a case of “severe” acid reflux.


On Halloween, 1981, surrounded by fans clad in chains, spiked boots and leather jackets, punk band Fear sang “Beef Bologna” and incited a near-riot. As one audience member recalled, “We were just f--king kicking cameras over, screens, anything that look like it cost money. We were just like, ‘Bam! Next!’” Noses were broken, brawls broke out between New York and Washington, D.C., natives, pumpkins were launched at security guards’ heads and a NYPD-versus-punks chase out of Rockefeller Center spilled into the streets outside. Total property damages caused that night by Fear and their fans are rumored to be around $250,000—needless to say, they were promptly banned from ever performing on SNL again.


Two years later, in 2010, Ke$ha was the one branded the worst act in SNL history. Her pitchy performance of “Tik Tok” in particular seemed to attract the ire of SNL audiences. The unflattering space suits, robotic dance moves and bizarre laser harp (which she played while asking her audience what is surely the most enduring question of our generation: “Does anyone ever stop to think that maybe we are the aliens?”) probably didn’t help either. The second half of her performance, during which she played the song “Your Love Is My Drug” featured better visuals (glow-in-the-dark paint!) but vocals that somehow seemed to deteriorate even further.


His 2008 rendition of “Love Lockdown” on SNL was regarded as generally terrible, without the aid of the vocoder that usually smooths his voice into its trademark robotic croon. Despite the zealous dancing and fancy background screens, Kanye’s singing remained mostly flat, prompting Gawker to quip that West “sounded disturbingly like a quiet man doing bad karaoke.” To his credit, however, West did have the good sense to spare the audience his non-machine-aided high notes—he turned away from the microphone and let a disembodied female voice take over for those.

See the rest at The Daily Beast.


  1. Ashlee Simpson blamed first her band and then a case of severe acid reflux for her screw-up? Ha! There's nothing like owning up and taking responsibility. I'm trying to figure out how acid reflux made the wrong song be played. Her dancing would be hard to blame on that too.

  2. What a bunch of unprofessional hacks. If they know they can't cut a "live" version of their gig without help of voice-overs and lip synching, why agree to it? Lots to lose and nothing to gain...except for of course, the never-ending entertainment value for the rest of us thanks to the interwebs ;).

    I'd never heard of Fear before, and after watching the first bit of the video where they sing that song, I know why: they suck. SNL's fault for inviting no-talent idiots like that on the show in the first place, I guess.

  3. Man, that "Fear" clip is just a friggin' treasure-trove. As if "Beef Balogna" wasn't good enough, we get "New York's All Right If You Like Saxaphones": Finally, a song fit to be played at my wedding.




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