JAM: Why won’t you let Lana Del Ray be great?

by Mark Jacobo

The first time I ever heard of Lana Del Rey was the very night she performed what critics (such as NBC anchor Brian Williams) are calling Saturday Night Live’s worst performance in the television show’s history. I’m not going to lie—I tuned in for British actor Daniel Radcliffe, but when the 25-year-old singer from New York came on, I was all eyes and ears.

Del Rey was singing her hit single “Video Games”, and since I had never heard the actual song I didn’t know what to think of it exactly. It was a slow ballad, which accounted for her standing still with an occasional sway here and there, but she was still somewhat stiff. Many critics have attributed this to Lana Del Rey being nervous during the performance, which make sense—SNL is quite a venue.

At one point during her performance I wondered what her accent was, and was surprised when I found out she was American.

Not even a couple of days after the performance did the critics begin attack on Del Rey. I was surprised that it was being considered SNL’s worst performance ever—did everyone forget about Ashlee Simpson’s lip-syncing debacle?

Curious, I picked up a copy of Lana Del Rey’s Born to Die, the singer’s second album, and popped it in, listening to it very intently. After getting the feel of Del Rey’s musicality I went back and watched her SNL performance. Indeed, it was not a good performance, but to say it was Saturday Night Live’s worst performance is taking it a little too far. Criticisms of the performance were spurred by celebrities looking to be noticed on the Twitter feed, such as Juliette Lewis and Eliza Dushku.

The Saturday Night Live cast defended Del Rey in a Weekend Update sketch, with the hilarious Kristin Wiig playing the singer.

In all honesty, I think the performance isn’t SNL’s worst, but it’s definitely not Del Rey’s greatest.

A rising star can succumb to nervousness easily, especially when pitted against a tough audience that demands a lot from entertainers. If you haven’t already, give Lana Del Rey a chance and pick up a copy of Born to Die or view the performance below and tell us what you think.