The initially time Billie Eilish appeared on Saturday Night Dwell, the then-17-12 months-outdated put her famously environmentally friendly hair in two topknots, donned a graffiti-print outfit, and climbed the walls of a rotating room to underscore her eerie, enigmatic impression. She rose to fame creating darkish, ASMR electro-pop that distilled the fears of her technology with wry directness. However months afterwards, she swept the 2020 Grammys with her debut album, When We All Slide Asleep, In which Do We Go?, and her soaring star turned meteoric. On this weekend’s SNL, pulling double responsibility as the two host and musical visitor, the now-19-yr-previous asserted section of her refashioned identification: that she’s manufactured peace with fame.
Whereas Eilish when shied away from the hypervisibility of public lifestyle, she’s instead embraced mainstream celebrity—and the branding it so usually calls for. In the earlier 12 months, she’s recorded the latest James Bond theme song, dropped her next album, produced an Apple Television set+ documentary, set on a concert on Disney+, co-chaired the 2021 Fulfilled Gala, and well prepared to launch a perfume. Eilish’s SNL visual appeal extra to that indefatigable output, featuring her an prospect to act—something she stated she utilised to hate—and lean into the multifaceted character of modern day celebrity.
The singer took the prospect to display off her extra playful side. Like Britney Spears, Justin Bieber, and Taylor Swift right before her (all of whom hosted and executed on SNL before they had been 20), Eilish employed her monologue to poke enjoyable at herself. Dressed in a wedding day cake of a dress, she delivered canned jokes about her fashion, specially the dishevelled garments she’s regarded for carrying. “The true reason I wore huge, outsized clothing back then is [that] I was truly two young ones stacked on major of just about every other attempting to sneak into an R-rated film,” she stated. But with her regular candor, Eilish unpacked the attendant traumas of adolescent celeb too. “I am truly really psyched to get older, due to the fact I am just now commencing to comprehend who I really am as a particular person,” she explained. “And the scary point about rising up in the public eye is men and women just decide that everything you say and do and glimpse like is who you are permanently. It is not fair.”
With that weighty idea hanging above the episode, Eilish gamely participated in a number of tepid sketches that oscillated in between making an attempt to engage in into her new, loose persona and hoping to perform against form. In the end, SNL didn’t quite know what to do with her. In one especially bizarre sketch, she performed a nativity-present co-director who’d made the decision to liven up the tale of Jesus’s delivery by adding crude, allegedly hip-hop factors. “The streets are in the knees,” she reported, and bounced her overall body stiffly to exhibit how to twerk. To salvage the premise, Heidi Gardner, who performed the other director, experimented with to out-specific her counterpart, building for a lopsided sketch that felt frenzied and pointless. SNL’s model of comedy favors visitor hosts who can either cling to their brand name no make any difference the sketch or dissolve into their roles. As an individual whose model and acting chops are both of those nevertheless using form, Eilish couldn’t very achieve both.
She did discover a comedic groove with the SNL solid through a electronic shorter identified as “Lonely Christmas.” Partnered with Kate McKinnon, who’d returned to the exhibit for the to start with time this period, Eilish could stage again and allow the golden goddess of character operate do her detail, twisting a seemingly sweet holiday break tale into a delightfully dark mix of The Act and Rear Window. Eilish’s reactions, primarily based in the sincerity that make her this sort of an intriguing pop determine, confirmed her acting capacity. But it’s also ironic that a single of the greatest sketches mainly essential her silence.
If Eilish established out to declare a new image on SNL’s phase, she attained that in her musical performances. Her frankness as an artist—her appetite and talent for actually casting ugly moments—has made her intriguing to view as opposed with her pop peers, and she leaned into that topic. For the duration of “Happier Than Ever,” Eilish sat singing in a beige area right before the walls peeled absent to reveal the studio audience looking at her. SNL has stretched the performative power of its musical segments in current many years, and this was a impressive representation of Eilish’s reality. She appeared to offer you viewers a stark visible of the voyeurism that shadows celebrity. On her 2nd song, “Male Fantasy,” Eilish’s brother and collaborator, Finneas O’Connell, joined her in a makeshift-bed room established, reminiscent of where by they commenced generating tunes jointly. Inhabiting the house, Eilish linked her earlier with her present—the individual she was with the human being she’s getting. The sketches couldn’t pretty reconcile those people identities, but she was perfectly capable of executing it herself.