The boys of One Direction got the chance to test out their acting abilities, appearing alongside the stars of "Anchorman" on "Saturday Night Live" last night (Dec. 7). The band appeared in two sketches in addition to performing two cuts from new No. 1 album "Midnight Memories."
"Story of My Life," One Direction's song of the now, kicked off the band's set. Unlike the group's American Music Awards performance of the song, "Story of My Life" felt fuller and reined in, owing to the intimate nature of the venue versus the arena setting of the AMAs. Each member took his turn at lead vocals, trading off in a circular fashion before joining at the front on the chorus. The live version of the song highlights the quintet's harmonizing abilities, especially with acoustic/folk instrumentation. It might not boost the current "Midnight Memories" single in the charts, but it was an expert showcase of the boyband's singing ability as a whole.
The Mumford train kept a-rollin' with "Through the Dark," a quickly-strummed acoustic guitar the instrumental centerpiece as the band took its place behind microphone stands, opting for zero choreography rather than the minimal amount of dancing and moving the group normally employs. Again, the track accentuated One Direction's harmonizing while taking time to allow each member to take a quick solo. Props also to Harry Styles, who at this point was clowning around every so often, even miming some cymbal hits from the drummer.
Rather than first appearing at the midnight mark for their first performance, the boys were featured since the start, showing up in host Paul Rudd's opening monologue. Rudd, who previously hosted with Beyonce and Paul McCartney as musical guests, lamented his place on the totem pole compared to said guests and announced that the night would be different -- that is, until the boyband appeared to steal the show. But in a twist, Rudd brought out his own "man band" -- "Anchorman" co-stars Will Ferrell, David Koechner and Steve Carell. The boys traded jibes ("Why don't you kids go sit on Santa's lap and ask for a pair of balls?") before both groups convened for a rendition of "Afternoon Delight," Rudd proclaiming the combo "Nine Direction."
The Brits also guested in a digital short, during which Rudd played Dan Charles, a middle-aged man and the band's self-proclaimed biggest fan. The sketch was a shout-out to elder fans of One Direction everywhere, realizing the strange predicament when Charles asks for an autograph that's not addressed to his daughter, like the group assumes.
It was a night of special guests; in addition to One Direction's appearances in multiple sketches, Ferrell and Koechner joined in again at the end of the show, drinking themselves to a stupor while remembering a fallen friend. Meanwhile, former cast members Kristen Wiig and Fred Armisen made cameos in the cold open, Armisen as Lawrence Welk and and Wiig as Dooneese, her popular baby-armed character (you know, the one with the giant forehead) who usually appears with her sisters but instead starred alongside the Von Trapp children of "The Sound of Music."
"SNL" returns next week with John Goodman as host and Kings of Leon as musical guests.