Lorde Goes From Underdog to Top Dog in 'Live on Letterman' Set

'Pure Heroine' royal nails 27-minute performance for Ed Sullivan studio audience

Marc Hogan WRITTEN BY
Marc Hogan

A big month for Lorde got bigger last night thanks to the Late Show With David Letterman franchise. The New Zealand-born Pure Heroine-pusher celebrated her 17th birthday right after incoming New York Mayor Bill De Blasio used her hit "Royals" to introduce his victory speech, she covered Sheryl Crow with Haim for an upcoming VH1 special, and her Tears for Fears cover for Hunger Games: Catching Fire surfaced online. Oh, and she also signed to a music publishing deal that Billboard's sources say is worth $2.5 million. So, a $2.5 million big month.

The performer born Ella Yelich-O'Connor previously made her U.S. TV debut on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon performing her best-known song, but Letterman gave her more space: a 27-minute Live on Letterman set, which you can watch above, and an on-air chance to highlight latest single "Teams," a.k.a. the one that reminds people of Lana Del Rey. With Lorde's distinctive dark mane and thematically consistent — one might say "on the nose" — outsider's angle on pop, the artist she most resembles here is Charli XCX. At the same time, an aw-shucks demeanor made her seem more likely to hang out with Taylor Swift than, say, Danny Brown. "This is so crazy," Lorde says early on; later, she thanks the crowd for coming out despite a morning misting of snow, which, of course they did. Based on this accomplished, Pure Heroine-drawn set, it's not crazy, and she'd better get used to it.

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