Lady Gaga showed she can poke fun at herself with the best of them during her first hosting gig on “Saturday Night Live” this weekend.
The singer, who follows Miley Cyrus as musicians who have both hosted and performed during the show’s 39th season this year, performed cuts from her new album “ARTPOP” — with an assist from a certain R&B star — while showing off her acting chops.
“Do What U Want,” Gaga’s second single off “ARTPOP,” hadn’t been performed live prior to her “SNL” hosting gig, but that all changed with a downright dirty rendition of the tune with her featured guest on the song, R. Kelly. After a few crotch grabs for good measure, Gaga got down on the stage floor, Kellz basically doing push-ups over her before he picked her up, getting straddled in the process.
A little later, Gaga returned for “Gypsy,” beginning the tune behind a pink piano before the song launched into full electric glory with her backing band. Before long, a purple-clad dancer joined the cacophony, and together, Gaga, band and dancer sang, played and danced the hell out of the song’s catchy final bars.
As tends to be custom with musicians hosting the show, Lady Gaga’s two performances weren’t the only times the singer got to do what she makes bank doing. Her opening monologue — which, let’s be real, generally includes a song whether or not the host is musically inclined — featured Gaga doing a jazzy rendition of “Applause,” with a few words changed to reflect her love for your adoration, “cheap” or otherwise.
Throughout the evening, she (or the writers) had a little fun at her own expense. In a Kanye West-Kim Kardashian talk show segment, Gaga played an Apple Store employee who couldn’t get behind West (Jay Pharoah) and his comparisons of the two ladies’ get-ups. “I think people who try too hard with their outfits are maybe hiding something,” she said. “Like come on, dress like a person.”
That wasn’t all. Later, a sketch advertised the release of an album featuring the worst cover songs of all time — hosted by Counting Crows’ Adam Duritz (WHAT YEAR IS THIS??), played by Taran Killam. Though the vast majority, including a Rick Ross rendition of Anna Kendrick’s “Cups” and Britney Spears’ take on “Hallelujah,” weren’t real, Gaga appeared to perform what was billed as a cover of Madonna’s “Express Yourself,” though she merely sang “Born This Way” — a callback to allegations years ago that the latter was ripping off the former.
The final Gaga-featuring sketch found the musician in the future, living out her days in a small apartment hoping someone would recognize her hits from yesteryear. The highlight? The pop star singing “I’m on the edge of roast beef” to meat and later trying to jog Kenan Thompson’s memory by trying to wear it, hands down.
Among Lady Gaga’s other roles of the evening: child actor (and the G-rated version of “Training Day” star) Lizzy Jacobson, a Marisa Tomei-in-“My Cousin Vinny” doppelganger and some sort of queen of the VHS/DVD rentals in a Blockbuster Video tribute.
Her “SNL” appearance precedes the expected announcement that she’ll bow atop the Billboard 200 next week with “ARTPOP,” her third studio LP. Industry sources currently forecast sales of 240,000 to 250,000.
Next week’s “SNL” will feature a hosting spot from “The Hunger Games” star Josh Hutcherson, with indie-pop band HAIM the musical guest.
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|In this week’s “ARTPOP”-tastic episode, Jason and Keith discuss all things Lady Gaga, including a first-week sales projection for the album. Listen above, or click here to download/subscribe in iTunes.|