Internet sensation Lana Del Rey performed on Saturday Night Live over the weekend, and her performance is being called one of the worst in the show’s long, long history. Though new to the music landscape, she had already been met with skepticism, with many feeling her indie credibility was largely manufactured, a position that was supported by her shoddy performance.

She was selected for the show due exclusively to buzz, as her output at the time of her selection consisted of a two-song web EP. As such, it would appear that Del Rey wasn’t prepeared for the gig. She appeared visibly nerous and seemed to make several mistakes during the performances, prompting no less than Brian Williams to write an email to Gawker panning her performance.

Here are a handful of other notorious SNL performances that would have undoubtedly upset Brian Williams as well.


The performances here fall into two groups, largely. Performances by shitty artists that are as shitty as the artists themselves and performances by decent artists that are shitty. This performance is the former.

It’s unclear what makes Ke$ha a star, so I’m comfortable assuming it’s her eagerness to get on her back for everyone in the music industry, from record execs to the guys that sell bootleg t-shirts outside concert venues.

This performance would seem to support my theory, as this video defies all logic blending astronauts, patriotism, and lots of spectacle with a song that’s pretty much about being a drunk white trash whore.

This performance is exactly as good as it should be.

Sinead O’Connor

This will sound horribly jaded, but I find it quaint that, as recently as 1992, people were mortified by the fact that Sinead O’Connor tore up a picture of the pope at the end of her a capella rendition of “War,” urging the audience and viewers to “fight the real enemy.” What do you think would happen if someone like Adele tore up a picture of Pope Benedict next weekend? I would guess you would hear a hiccup, a squeaky fart, then some polite applause.

Adding to the haunting nature of O’Connor’s performance is Lorne Michaels’ now-infamous decision to not light up the applause sign, creating an even more uncomfortable silence all the way to commercial.

Ashlee Simpson

Ashlee Simpson’s legendary performance on SNL taught me a life lesson I still hold dear today: If you hit a snag in any situation and need to buy yourself some time to think, do a jig while you regroup. This little secret has served me well in job interviews, eulogies, and when I get pulled over for drunk driving.

Of course, this scandal, (if anything pertaining to Ashlee Simpson can actually be a “scandal”) resulted from a lip-synched rendition that went horribly wrong when the singing for her first song, “Pieces of Me,” were heard again when she was supposed to be singing “Autobiography.” It would have been as disastrous as the Milli Vanilli lip-synching fiasco if anyone had thought as highly of Ashlee Simpson as they did of Milli Vanilli.


While the hardcore punk band Fear’s appearance on SNL in 1981 was by all measures, a shitshow, I think it provided one of the more interesting and charming aspects of the show in its early years. Fear wasn’t on the radar of most Americans at that (or any other) time, but former cast member John Belushi was fond of them and had successfully lobbied to get them on the Halloween show. However, once they took the stage, punks bumrushed the studio and began slamdancing during the performance, causing a nation to collectively drop their monocles into their martini glasses.

The estimates of damage done to the set vary wildly, between $20,000 and $500,000. Either way, job well done, fellas.


I’ll be honest. I hate Coldplay, so even their best, most over-achieving performance would probably have found them on this list. Their lyrics remind us that stars are yellow and every teardrop is a waterfall.

They are huge pussies and they must be stopped.

I’m trying to set aside my personal feelings in saying that this performance failed to clear the low bar the band has set for itself. Onstage playing “Viva la Vida,” Chris Martin (husband to Gwyneth Paltrow, father to bullying victims Apple and Moses) writhes around in a performance that manages to fall flat in tiny studio 8H, making us wonder how he’s able to pull off those gigs in arenas full of yuppies.

Following this debacle, Coldplay sales at your neighborhood Starbucks fell almost 29%.

Chris Gaines

This performance was fine from a technical standpoint, though a bit derivative. The real problem here was the concept behind “Chris Gaines,” the dark rock star alter-ego of Garth Brooks. Brooks refused to acknowledge a link between the two, baetin the gimmick into the ground. It was easy enough to ignore or brush off from an audio standpoint, but watching him host the show as one person, then perform as a completely distinct character was impossible to ignore.

The nation wasn’t baffled or mesmerized by the transformation, just kinda confused and annoyed.


Karmin haven’t played SNL yet, but we’re holding a spot for their February 11 performance. The ironic folk-cover duo are viral video sensations (which is pretty much all it takes to get booked on SNL these days), so look for some already-stale-and-seen covers of Chris Brown and Lil’ Wayne by some bookish hipsters.


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