"Saturday Night Live" addressed criticism over its lack of a black female cast member while as Eminem tore through the rock-fueled hits from his upcoming LP during its newest episode Saturday evening (Nov. 2).
The rapper performed singles "Berzerk" and "Survival" -- both top 20 singles on the Hot 100 -- from "The Marshall Mathers LP 2," which drops next week and is currently streaming ahead of its release.
For "Berzerk," Em was joined by album producer Rick Rubin and a rock backing band -- and honestly, it's unclear whether or not he was actually lip-syncing through the entire performance. He was spot-on almost throughout, but his vocal seemed to match the studio version to a T, and there were moments where he seemed to lag behind a bit. Still, it was cool to see Rubin -- and his majestic beard -- on the side of the stage.
EMINEM'S PERFORMANCES HAVE NOT BEEN PUBLISHED TO OFFICIAL CHANNELS (NBC OR HULU) // WE'LL UPDATE THIS ARTICLE WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE
"Survival" threw us for a loop; rather than featuring Liz Rodrigues, who performs on the album version, Eminem recruited frequent collaborator Skylar Grey to help sing the hook. He admittedly seemed a bit more there on the second song, less cartoonish and perhaps actually providing a live vocal. But in terms of unbridled energy, there was no matching "Berzerk" -- with or without Grey's solid vocal.
Kerry Washington hosted the show, and the cold open addressed her standing as the only black female member of the cast that night. In a political open, Washington impersonated Michelle Obama, but once the sketch called for Oprah Winfrey, she departed the stage, with "SNL" running a disclaimer. "The producers at 'Saturday Night Live' would like to apologize to Kerry Washington for the number of black women she will be asked to play," it read. "We make these requests because Ms. Washington is an actress of considerable range and talent -- and also because 'SNL' does not currently have a black woman on the cast. Mostly the latter. We agree this is not an ideal situation and look forward to rectifying it in the near future, unless, of course, we fall in love with another white guy first."
"SNL" hasn't had a black female cast member since Maya Rudolph's departure in 2007.
One of the night's highlights? A parody of a parody. Ylvis' "The Fox" got the "SNL" treatment, with a Digital Short-esque video called "What Does My Girl Say" that references a fighting couple and how they respond to the other's criticism.
"SNL" returns in two weeks with Lady Gaga as the host and musical guest.