Miley Cyrus, SNL 40 special (Feb. 14)
Cyrus showed off her range (instead of her tongue) with a nuanced performance of Paul Simon’s 1975 hit “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” that progressed from a sexy growl to a torchy climax. She finished with a Karate Kid crane kick that said, “I nailed it.”
The Bots, Late Night with Seth Meyers (Feb. 9)
Babyfaced brothers Mikaiah Lei, 21 (guitar), and Anaiah Lei, 17 (drums), from Glendale, Calif., aced their TV debut with a raw performance of their single “Blinded” that evoked The Black Keys and Jimi Hendrix. They get extra points for rocking the blues while dressed in pink — a nod to their latest album, Pink Palms.
Sheppards, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (Feb. 9)
This Aussie act (named after the siblings who formed it) looked ready for bigger stages during its late-night TV debut. “Geronimo,” which sounds like a poppier, co-ed Mumford & Sons, is already a hit overseas and, judging from the way vocalist Ed Sheppard connected with the crowd, it has a shot here, too.
The Band Perry, Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Feb. 11)
Despite having just won a Grammy, this family band sounded muted while covering Glen Campbell’s “Gentle On My Mind.” The uptempo arrangement (and muddy sonics) also didn’t do justice to the song’s wistful, melancholy spirit.