Since releasing the tune “Video Games” online in June 2011 and re-releasing it in October as the first single from her new album, Del Rey has been building buzz thanks to her husky vocals and re-imagined retro image.
On Saturday the 25-year-old singer showed off “Video Games” as well as “Blue Jeans,” as the first musical guest to play the show before the release of a major label album since Natalie Imbruglia’s 1998 performance.
Although Del Rey didn’t lip-sync or forget her lyrics, plenty of viewers didn’t think too highly of her set.
The Huffington Post thought she was “pitchy and strangely guttural.”
Newsday complained that Del Rey was off key and wrote that the performance was “so awful that it could easily have been a Kristen Wiig skit, maybe one where she impersonates a Fiona Apple wannabe.”
The Los Angeles Times described Del Rey as “sounding and looking like an amateur Jessica Rabbit.” The paper wrote that although her voice is distinctive, she “appeared to be trying to do too much with it, distractingly switching between highs and lows, moving between pouting and singing.”
Countless tweets were sent out critiquing the performance. Perez Hilton wrote, “Just watched SNL. Not only was @LanaDelRey vocally WAY off, but watching her utter lack of stage presence was cringe-worthy #DontBuyTheHype.”
Singer/actress Juliette Lewis reportedly wrote, “Wow watching this ‘singer’ on SNL is like watching a 12 yearold in their bedroom when theyre pretending to sing and perform #signofourtimes” The tweet has since been deleted from her Twitter page. On Sunday, Lewis added another tweet about Del Rey: “I woke up singing a @LanaDelRey song! Such great haunting melodies! Regardless of my own taste LIVE she's a #FreshandYummy songwriter.Period.”
A private email between Brian Williams and Gawker blogger Nick Denton, which was posted on Gawker.com, included the NBC anchorman’s take on Del Rey.
“Brooklyn hippster [sic] Lana Del Rey had one of the worst outings in SNL history last night — booked on the strength of her TWO SONG web EP,” Williams wrote, adding that she is “the least-experienced musical guest in the show’s history.”
This blogger’s opinion? Sure, Del Rey couldn’t stop playing with her hair and she didn’t know what to do with her hands, but was her awkward set really a train wreck? I agree she really needs to work on her stage presence but I don’t think her vocals were that awful – as long as you like her vocal style in general. If there wasn’t so much hype surrounding Del Rey, maybe viewers wouldn’t have freaked out so much.
Del Rey, who was born Elizabeth Grant, initially put out a three-track EP in 2008 titled Kill Kill under the name Lizzy Grant. In early 2010 she released a self-titled album on iTunes under her stage name but it has since been taken down. Now she’s promoting her major label debut, Born To Die, which is due out Jan. 30 on Interscope/Stranger Records.
Leave us a comment and tell us what you think of Lana Del Rey’s SNL set.