At first, it appeared that Bieber wanted to kick off his third time on the SNL stage with an expected song in an unexpected way. Accompanied by cello, violin and acoustic guitar, the pop star began his first performance of the night inside a giant green cube with a stripped-down arrangement of “Yummy,” his first single off his forthcoming album, Changes.
In a black t-sirt and baggy jade pants that matched his surroundings, Bieber kept it simple: he sang through the mellow slow-jam with only strings for support, but the chamber-pop approach took a turn toward radio-ready R&B complete with choreography as his accompanists were replaced by a crew of dancers. A spotlight transformed the walls of the cube into a backdrop, which magnified the shadows of Bieber and his dancers for a mesmerizing visual to accompany the final verses of the love song.
The green cube got a nightclub-worthy upgrade for brand new single “Intentions,” which had Bieber playing with shadows instead of light this time around — and once more with dancers in tow. Select words from the track’s lyrics popped in neon on the brick wall behind them as Bieber led the serenade, and he was joined by his collaborator, Quavo, who was all too happy to roll through his bars and bounce to the beat alongside Bieber for the occasion.
Bieber’s Changes is set for a Feb. 14 release.