For a pop star whose boobs were their own punchline on a previous appearance ofSaturday Night Live
fell flat on Saturday. Instead of creating any memorable new characters -- a laJustin Timberlake
-- the writers ofSNL
had Perry showcasing her singing talents instead of her acting ones. She was not the musical guest (that duty fell toRobyn
), and it was easy to forget that the ever-singing Perry was a guest host and not a featured player.
Perry impersonated Christina Aguilera in a New Year's Eve movie spoof and even did a fleetingly funny job as Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine (2:20 mark). Notably, she sang in both instances. However, Perry's presence on the show as a whole was easily overshadowed by Bill Hader's Stefon and an abundance of new Kristen Wiig characters, including a creepy Finnish talk-show host named Kalle.
Even when Perry was playing herself, though, her nerves got the best of her. Knowing the pop star to be as charismatic as she is cheeky -- just look at her music videos -- it was easy to expect more characters, more humor, more more from Perry.
Perry was at her best on Saturday when she was interacting with three characters that she created for her music videos, in a subtle reference to A Christmas Carol's three ghosts of Christmas (it was the annual Christmas episode, after all). One would hope Perry would reprise these colorful characters on SNL, but instead, Wiig, Andy Samberg and Hader (whose character, Tom, for the purposes of this sketch, inspired the "Firework" music video) had a go at them instead.
Kathy Beth Terry, whom Perry created as an alter ego for a time during promotion for "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)," stopped by, but Samberg took on the character, not Perry -- full metal dental headgear, overalls and all. And Wiig popped on a blue wig and donned a bra loaded with whipped cream canisters, as Perry had in the "California Gurls" video.
The skit worked (it was part of Perry's monologue) because of Perry and her willingness to be self-deprecating about her outlandish musical exploits. Watching Perry and Wiig almost embrace for a kiss, as they sang "Teenage Dream" a cappella and as Perry's hands moved to make a grab for Wiig's whipped cream, was the most subtly hilarious moment of the entire show.
Perry is over the top and a bit of a Lolita and a bit of the girl next door. She'll wink at you from across the bar one minute,then tell a fart joke in the next. Her revolving personas are equally funny. For whatever reason, though, Lorne Michaels and the writers decided that *that* Perry just wouldn't be appearing on Saturday Night Live beyond the monologue.
But Michaels and the writers can't be the only responsible ones. Maybe Perry is just tired. After all, she's had a busy year. She wrapped an international tour just before Thanksgiving -- of which Robyn was the opener. Perry's also been on a whirlwind of promotional duties to drive sales of Teenage Dream and its sixth single, "The One That Got Away."
The song, which could break Michael Jackson's record and make Katy Perry the first artist in history to have six number-one singles from just one album, has a lot riding on it, so why lose steam now, on national television? Even so, the guest spot was a nice way to top a year of major moments for Perry.
Luckily, Capitol, Perry's label, had a fail-safe plan for sending "The One That Got Away" to the top of the charts, even if Perry's stint on SNL doesn't: a slash in pricing. For an undetermined amount of time (read: until it goes number one), you can buy "The One That Got Away" for 69 cents. And according to the change in chart rules set forth by Billboard in reaction to Born This Way going for only a dollar, Perry would still qualify for charting under this slash in pricing. The price drop, which began last week, didn't cause any major changes in charting for "The One That Got Away"...yet. Perry still holds at number nine for a second week in a row.
Movers & Shakers: Rihanna and Calvin Harris still sit at the top with "We Found Love," while LMFAO is still close behind, at number two, with "Sexy and I Know It." Lower, the newest addition to the Billboard Hot 100 top ten is "Niggas in Paris," by Jay-Z and Kanye West. Michael Buble's Christmas, meanwhile, holds at the top spot yet again on the album's chart, while Adele's 21 moves back up the Billboard 200 to number two, from number seven last week.
The End of 2011: The top artist of the year, thanks to "Rolling in the Deep" and 21, is Adele, according to Billboard's year-end chart. No surprise there. Adele was named top artist by Rolling Stone, too. Wiz Khalifa is the top new artist of 2011, according to Billboard. Katy Perry is the Hot 100 artist, radio artist, and digital song artist of the year. Lady Gaga nabbed dance/electronic artist of the year. And The Lonely Island, composed of Andy Samberg, a repertory player on SNL, plus Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer, landed 2011 comedy album and comedy-album artist.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Follow Backbeat on Twitter: @westword_music