It's not just Halloween: television sound stages are notoriously difficult for musicians to navigate, as they are cavernous and tinny with acoustics suited for conversations and applause, and Saturday Night Live's soundstage is, notoriously, the worst of any of them. It has been the site of both demise (Ashlee Simpson) and of triumph over demise (Lana Del Rey). But many, many musicians, both good and bad, have fallen victim to the SNL curse.
Iggy Azalea was no exception. With her performance on SNL's Halloween episode over the weekend, she too was sucked into the quagmire of crappy sound and weird syncing—two technical foibles which were complicated by crappy rapping and weird singing. Acoustics aside, Iggy Azalea's performance wasn't doing any favors for the Australian rapper's reputation, wherein she is pop-worshipped (see: charts) but, generally, hip-hop-reviled.
For her first clip, performing "Fancy" and "Black Widow" with her best friend Rita Ora, she opened with that weird unplaceable brogue, what we music assume is her take on a black-esque, Southern-esque accent, T.I. by way of Charli Baltimore. She flicks the end of each bar up with a cat purr, which would be effective but after the fiftieth time it has the effect of singer-songwriters who end each of their lines with a Cranberries-style "eh"!
That said, "Fancy" is still a catchy-as-shit song, but didn't have the same impact without the voice/presence of the effervescent Charli XCX on deck. Rita Ora, in a feathered Farah Fawcett wig that dear god we pray does not return as a popular style, tried to ramp up the energy with her "Black Widow" chorus. But she could not distract from the awkward choreography, whether from the buff, be-vested dudes unconvincingly rubbing their hands on her body, to Azalea's awkward rap-stance hand-thrust at 1:10 (huh)?
Unfortunately, though, for Azalea's live debut of new single "Beg For It," it was Danish pop star Mø who fared worst—her backing track must have been echoing in her headset, or something, because her live singalong was about a half beat off the entire time, and a little pitchy, too. (It's a shame, because Mø is actually pretty great, a singer with trad Scandinavian pop panache and a little USA soul.)
Again, television appearances tend to be hot messes of shitshows, and many stars have bounced back from worse than this (see: the aforementioned Lana Del Rey). But yeah, this was bad, and maybe a larger indicator of the direction SNL is headed in general: on the bullet-train track to who-caresville.