Just days after being named Billboard's Rising Star, Janelle Monae took to the "Saturday Night Live" stage to showcase just why she's regarded as one of music's next big talents with a rollicking two-song set from her second LP, "The Electric Lady."
It all started with "Dance Apocalyptic," the second single from Monae's new album. The singer jived about the stage as the cameras focused on her "SNL" debut, the song's opening ukelele strums resonating beneath a backing band of about a dozen. Donning all white with black suspenders, Monae did just what the song commands -- dance -- around her microphone stand, nearly letting it fall over once before grabbing it in the nick of time. She also forced the camerapeople to do a little extra work, leaping out onto the space in front of the stage before ending the song with an extreme closeup by one of the cameras.
Rather than following with first single "Q.U.E.E.N." or perhaps newest single "PrimeTime" (feat. Miguel), Monae opted for the title track from "The Electric Lady" for song two. Though featured artist Solange didn't join her, Monae got along just fine by herself, carrying on the dancing tradition started with "Dance Apocalyptic," at one point moonwalking across the stage. This time, she and her backup singers wore varsity jackets, the song showing off Monae's firecracker-lite side, with less unbridled energy but nonetheless featuring some great dance moves and a singalong chorus.
Monae wasn't the only musician to make an appearance on "SNL" Saturday night. During host Edward Norton's opening monologue, Miley Cyrus appeared to dispense some sagely hosting advice (rule three: stick your tongue out) and announce that she'll be going on tour in 2014. Cyrus also made an appearance during a sketch parodying new film "12 Years a Slave," twerking her way through a short, non-speaking cameo.
"Saturday Night Live" returns next week with Eminem as the musical guest. Kerry Washington will host.