Last night’s “Saturday Night Live” performances were a long time in the making for Dua Lipa. She was originally scheduled to be the musical guest on March 28th, but at that point everyone, including Lipa, was living under lockdown. So the artist postponed her performance and spent the majority of 2020 promoting her highly anticipated sophomore album, Future Nostalgia, virtually. There was her neon orange Tiny Desk set, the beamed-in AMAs performance of “Levitating,”, and her online-only rendition of “Boys Will Be Boys” for Billboard’s annual Women in Music event. After a string of digital gigs, it must’ve felt good to be in front of a live audience. At least, it looked like it did.
Dancing in front of a cube constructed out of flashing neon lights, Lipa performed her hit “Don’t Start Now.” The song is a break-up banger, a synthy sad-pop masterpiece, and watching a smiling and sweaty Lipa almost run out of breath as she made her way through it was the closest I got to actually going to a concert in 2020.
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Lipa positioned herself atop a pedestal to perform her second song, “Levitating.” Donning a giant, bell-shaped hat covered in white feathers, Lipa sang, “If you wanna run away with me, I know a galaxy, and I could take you for a ride,” while purple and blue lights flashed like headlight beams behind her. Watching the performance last night, all I could think about was how much I wanted to be inside a neon UFO with Dua Lipa, rocketing towards an intergalactic dance party. “Take me there,” I mouthed to my television.
Given the deluge of Dad rock musical guests that preceded her, Dua Lipa turning up on “Saturday Night Live” was a welcome shock to the system, a nice revving of the show’s engine. Her youthful and kinetic performances refreshed the soul, like that first breath of cold, fresh air you draw after spilling out of a sweaty nightclub.
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