COMMENTARY | Whoever books the musical guests on “Saturday Night Live,” could you please book New Zealand singer-songwriter Lorde, or, Ella Yelich-O’Conner? This week, the talented 16-year-old took the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for her single “Royals.”
On Tuesday, Lorde made her American television debut on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” where she performed two songs off her debut album Pure Heroine. She opened with a cool, dramatic performance of her current hit, “Royals” dressed in a baggy white shirt and flanked by a keyboardist and drummer. She also performed a wistful and evocative version of “White Teeth Teens,” which was a web-only bonus.
During her performance on “Late Night,” her voice was so original and magnetic; I glanced up from what I was doing and put my total focus on her. She’s an artist who demands all of your attention when she’s performing on television. Her lyrical prowess at the age of sixteen is remarkable.
Her performance of “Royals” was electric, and never for a moment did it feel manufactured or artificial, which, in the age of “The Voice” and “American Idol,” all artists can cross that line at times. Not since Adele has an artist’s first live performance on national television been this impressive. It’s earning Lorde a lot of well deserved praise.
She would fit in perfectly to “SNL’s” long history of booking talented acts, slightly under America’s radar, looking for a big stage to shine. Fallon scored an impressive booking.
Landing at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart made Lorde the youngest artist to do so in 26 years. She topped Katy Perry, whose “Roar” fell to the No. 2 spot, and Miley Cryrus, who’s hosting “SNL” this weekend, came in third with “Wrecking Ball.” Perry will be the musical guest for the Bruce Willis hosted “SNL” on October 12.
Lorde’s music draws from electropop and she has said that soul singer Etta James and producer SBTRKT are two important influences. She’s an artist who believes “mystery is more interesting.” If she performs on “SNL,” some of her mystery may wane, but her performing talents will surely garner new fans.
Her cover of the Tears for Fears’ classic “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” is included on “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” soundtrack. Perhaps if Jennifer Lawrence or Woody Harrelson returns to host in November, Lorde could be the musical guest?
Note: I’ve been writing pieces for Yahoo! Sports and Yahoo! Voices for little over a year.