The musical guest for SNL S46:E9, the last of 2020, was Dua Lipa. Sure, I’ve heard the name before, but if you’ve been following this blog, I’m sure you can already tell where this is going…I’m not real familiar with Dua’s work. So, I hit the Google machines. Did you know, Dua Lipa is NOT a stage name. As a teenager, she started posting covers on YouTube and she parlayed that into a record deal. Earlier this year, she released Future Nostalgia, and was scheduled to appear on SNL to support the release, but that appearance was cancelled because of the pandemic.
“Don’t Start Now”
My first exposure to this song couldn’t have come at a better time. The night before I watched the HBO movie “The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend A Broken Heart.” If you haven’tseen it, set your DVR for the next airing or hit that On Demand button. Back to Dua, “Don’t Start Now” definitely pays homage to the disco era. I can’t say that Lipa’s vocals or song writing carries this song across the finish line. Don’t get me wrong, she has a good voice, but she relies heavily on her modeling career to keep the crowd’s attention. In most disco or club style songs, the singer may end in long dance sequence, yet Dua and her backup dancers don’t hit that sequence until nearly the end of the song and it’s only like 20 seconds. Even with such a short sequence, you can clearly tell that there’s a backing vocal track to support Lipa’s vocals.
Lipa’s second set included another single off her latest album. This time it was “Levitating.” Another love song, this one was more of a ballad and saw Dua staged in a near wedding gown with huge, feathered hat that would make any Kentucky Derby goer jealous. She never moved off her pedestal, but she didn’thave to when performing this tune. A backing track was not required, but I’m sure it was there.
Home Run Performance
Dua Lipa has a good voice. That’s not lost on me. Even over her backing track (yes, it’s clear that her vocals were backed by a soundtrack, unlike some of the other performers this season), you can still hear her vocals come through. Further, unlike a lot of pop singers, Lipa wrote both songs she performed and the hooks for both songs won’t leave me anytime soon. They’redefinitely ear worms. She’s clearly very talented. Despite my dislike for artists using a backing track, Dua Lipa needs to rely more on her talents: song writing and singing. She’s very talented in both respects and that came through in her performances. SNL keeps knocking it out of the park this season with their musical guest performances.