Saturday Night Not-So-Live

I remember when the music on Saturday Night Live was as much an event as the comedy.

That was years ago. Whereas they used to focus on providing musical events, now they serve up the latest flash-in-the-pan fakes more frequently than anyone of substance. And they celebrate anyone willing to cause a scandal–note the rush to have Janet Jackson not just sing but also HOST the show right after the breast-baring incident. The fact that next week they’re featuring Eminem is, sadly, one of the few times in recent months that somebody actually worth acknowledging has appeared on the show.

Last night’s fiasco was a sort of wages-of-sin comeuppance.

Ashlee Simpson, who leaned into the spotlight during Jude Law’s monologue with an annoying eagerness to be the center of attention, really blew it by lip-synching her “musical” numbers.

The lip-synching was noticeable in the first performance. But when the second one came around and somebody pushed the wrong button, the vocal track from the first song started playing while the band played the second song. Ashlee, unable to match the vocal track, fled the stage. Somebody pulled the plug, and Saturday Night Fake cut to a commercial.

And then, worst of all, she faced the audience and blamed the band at the show’s curtain call.

I’m going out to let my real talent show, not to just stand there and dance around. Personally, I’d never lip-synch. It’s just not me.

- Ashlee Simpson in Lucky Magazine

In an ideal world, Saturday Night Live would be introducing the world to the great live acts today… and not just the live Top 40 pop. Not just nostalgia for the days when they could recognize a relevant act from a hole in the wall. They’d put the spotlight on Buddy and Julie Miller. Wilco. Sam Phillips. Joseph Arthur. Ron Sexsmith. Patty Griffin. Etc… etc… etc….


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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet has two passions: writing fiction, and celebrating art — music, cinema, photography, literature — through writing and teaching. He is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” — Through a Screen Darkly. And his four-novel fantasy series, The Auralia Thread, which begins with Auralia's Colors, was published by Random House. He speaks at universities and conferences around the world about understanding art through eyes of faith. He is earning his MFA in Creative Writing at Seattle Pacific University, where he has worked for 11 years as an editor, writer, and communications project manager. His work has been recognized in The New Yorker, TIME, The Seattle Times, IMAGE, Ravi Zacharias International — and Christianity Today, where he served as a film journalist for more than a decade. He recently began a weekly column called "Listening Closer" for Christ and Pop Culture.