Live from New York, it’s Saturday night’s most important music gig.
While Saturday Night Live may be creating headlines this season for their hosts and political commentary, there’s one element of the show that continues to be important for the music industry: It’s the weekly performers and performances.
This season alone, NBC’s late-night series has featured veteran artists like The Weeknd and Lady Gaga. At the same time, they have spotlighted underrated artists such as country darling Maren Morris and Sturgill Simpson.
And before you ask “who” for the latter, the 38-year-old is competing against Beyoncé, Justin Bieber and Adele for Album of the Year this Sunday at the 2017 Grammys.
The weekend award show got us thinking of the powerful platform SNL continues to hold for artists of all genres. It also has proven to drastically help or hurt their careers.
When Adele first appeared on the show all the way back in October 2008, it occurred two weeks before Grammy ballots were due. The singer believes the show helped her get important recognition before VIPs decided on which songs were deserving of nominations.
“The album shot to No. 1 on iTunes and I was nominated for a Grammy,” she shared with the BBC. “And then I won one.”
Others, however, haven’t been as successful. Ashlee Simpson Ross pulled off a seamless performance of her hit song “Piece of Me” back in October of 2004. When she returned to the stage for “Autobiography,” however, the vocals for her previous song began playing.
Ultimately, many Americans weren’t able to forget the singer’s lip-sync fail and her follow-up albums were unable to meet expectations.
Lana Del Rey also had a similar experience when she made her SNL debut performance in January 2012. After viewers described the gig as “flat” and “awkward,” the singer admitted that some in the industry began to doubt her talent.
“Everyone I knew suddenly wasn’t so sure about me,” she explained to Rolling Stone. “They were like, ‘Maybe I don’t want to be associated with her—not a great reputation.'”
For some music veterans, a combination of loyal fans, talent and overall good music can overcome any drama that happens on or off camera.
After audio surfaced of Kanye West voicing his frustrations backstage at “dramatic set changes” 30 minutes before showtime, some wondered if this could hurt the rapper’s career.
As it turned out, Kanye delivered impressive performances of “Ultralight Beam” and “Highlights” live on the show. In addition, the night ended on a positive note in more ways than one.
“The producers were apologetic to him. There was a miscommunication, things smoothed over and he performed as planned,” a source previously shared with E! News. “Kanye was seen hugging [executive producer] Lorne Michaels just before the good nights and he stayed afterwards to chat with the staff and the cast, and thanked the producers on his way out the door.”
Saturday Night Live airs Saturday nights at 11:30 p.m. only on NBC.
(E! and NBC are part of the NBCUniversal family)