Lana Del Rey Recalls Her Critically Bashed 'SNL’ Performance: ‘It Wasn’t Terrible’

In 2012, Lana Del Rey hit the Saturday Night Live stage as its musical guest, performing renditions of “Video Games” and “Blue Jeans.” The appearance was trashed by music fans, bloggers, and even NBC News anchor Brian Williams, who, in a leaked email to Gawker’s chief, called it “one of worst outings in SNL history.”

Taking the time to reflect on that moment with Elton John in a “Musicians on Musicians” interview for Rolling Stone, Del Rey doesn’t believe it was a terrible performance.

“You came through that awful thing in that Saturday Night Live [in 2012]. Which was so distressing for someone like me to see someone so crucified,” John began. “I’ve watched it, and it wasn’t that bad!”

“It wasn’t terrible,” the Norman F—ing Rockwell! singer replied.

“It wasn’t terrible at all,” John continued. “I don’t know what the agenda was there, but where was the #MeToo movement there?”

“Oh, you said it, not me!” Del Rey said.

She later remembered how her SNL show marked “the one night in all my time performing that I wasn’t nervous.”

“I remember the intention I had,” she added. “Looking back, there was a more eccentric performative approach to it. I was thinking about Maria Callas, or someone darker coming through.”

John compared the situation to the one with Ashlee Simpson, when, in 2004, she had a lip sync fiasco as vocals for her song “Pieces of Me” began playing. “I didn’t think it was a major f—up,” John told Del Rey. “I saw Ashlee Simpson and, yeah, that’s a major f–up. That’s funny. Not to her it isn’t, but it’s very funny to watch.”

“I’m not laughing,” she said.

Del Rey first addressed the harsh criticism of her SNL debut back in 2012 in a Q&A with Rolling Stone.

“There’s backlash about everything I do. It’s nothing new,” she said at the time. “When I walk outside, people have something to say about it. It wouldn’t have mattered if I was absolutely excellent. People don’t have anything nice to say about this project. I’m sure that’s why you’re writing about it.”

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