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Last Night on "SNL" Daniel Radcliffe Was Overshadowed By One of the Most Embarrassingly Awful Musical Performances in the Show's History

By Dustin Rowles | TV | January 15, 2012 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | January 15, 2012 |

Last night’s Daniel Radcliffe show was far more notable for its musical guest than Daniel Radcliffe’s first hosting gig. It wasn’t that Radcliffe was bad — he acquitted himself fine given what little he had to work with. It was that Lana Del Ray was really, truly memorably bad.

Del Ray’s first official album is not due out until the end of the month (she’s gained a huge following based on songs she’s released online), and it was one of the few times that “SNL” has allowed a musical guest to perform before an album has been released. Clearly, the nerves got the better of her. I have no idea who Lana Del Ray is, so I can’t compare the performance to the recorded version, but she looks kind of like one of those “American Idol” contestants who realize, 30 seconds into their performance, that it’s going very badly, and they spend the rest of the time struggling through with a sort of embarrassed look on their face. Either that, or — as someone said on Twitter — it’s Kristen Wiig’s best character yet.

The second performance was no better.

As for the rest of the show: It wasn’t very good, but it wasn’t the complete disaster the musical performance was. I love Jason Sudeikis as Mitt Romney, but the cold open fell flat (as the writers once again tried to make hay out of something that’s already been joked to death — in this case, Mitt Romney’s “I like to fire people” line). Radcliffe’s monologue was a snoozer, and the commercial following it — Jason Sudeikis doing Ricky Gervais — should’ve been funny, but it wasn’t. Then Kristen Wiig pulled out her Target Lady for the first time in quite a while, but failed to bring anything new to the character.

My favorite skit of the night came next: You Can Do Anything is not actually funny. But the idea behind it is smart. I wish the execution was better because the observation is spot-on. (“I’m Twitter Popular!”)

Spin The Bottle was funny only inasmuch as its fun to see Harry Potter make out with hobos.

The Harry Potter Epilogue is another good idea, wasted in a mediocre sketch (the fun, however, lies in seeing various SNL actors dress up as Hogwarts’ characters).

The headlines from Weekend Update were no better than OK, except the joke about dog beer.

2112 was another awesome idea that was written and executed very, very badly. I wish they’d put some more effort into this skit because it had immense potential.

Finally, they ended the show with a commercial for the Headz Up app when they probably should’ve led the show off with it (and bumped the Gervais’ skit to last).

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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