Miley Cyrus’ Twerk Overshadows Janelle Monae’s Moonwalk on ‘SNL’
But Monae still shines with "Electric Lady" and "Dance Apocalyptic"
Janelle Monáe made her Saturday Night Live debut on October 26, performing two sci-fi standouts from her recently released second album, The Electric Lady. Just as she did on the Late Show With David Letterman and NBC’s Today back in September, Monáe demanded that viewers “Dance Apocalyptic.” The sparkly clean sock-hop tune still thrills, of course — Letterman didn’t dub the impeccably coiffed singer “the hardest working woman in show business” for no reason. Monáe completely commandeered the SNL stage, bathing the space at Studio 8H in her black-and-white, hypno wheel color scheme and bringing along the living Swiss Army knife she calls a backing band (which includes guitar, bass, and keyboard players, a three-piece horn section, a drummer and a bongo player, and a pair of back-up singers).
For her second performance of the night, the SPIN profile subject donned a varsity jacket to gyrate and Moonwalk (!!) through hot-blooded future-funk boast “Electric Lady,” the near-title track off of her ambitious sophomore LP. Unfortunately, Monáe’s traveling circus didn’t include Solange, who contributes guest vocals to the song’s studio version, but at least the live show didn’t pack in those unsatisfying remix verses Cee Lo Green and Big Boi dropped a few weeks back, either.
Aside from filming the standard promos with episode host Edward Norton, Monáe steered clear of SNL‘s comedy segments — so, no, we don’t know how her Robert De Niro impression stacks up against that of Arcade Fire’s Win Butler. One musician who did show up in the night’s sketches, though, was Miley Cyrus, who only weeks ago acted as host and musical performer for the show’s October 5 broadcast. The Bangerz culprit came in like a wrecking ball (sorry), crashing Norton’s opening monologue alongside SNL VIP Alec Baldwin to offer some advice to the first-time host and once again stick her tongue out at all of America. Miley didn’t resurfaced again later in the broadcast, making a quick twerking cameo in a 12 Years a Slave parody not-so-cleverly titled 12 Days Not a Slave. Sadly, the latter will be the episode’s lasting watercooler moment.
Watch Janelle Monáe perform “Dance Apocalyptic” above, and find “Electric Lady” below, followed by the two sketches Miley invaded.