Justin Bieber's performance on 'SNL': how did he do?

Justin-BieberImage Credit: Kevin Mazur/KCA2010/WireImage.comHaving already devoured QVC, the Billboard charts, and American Idol, Justin Bieber woke up Saturday morning and thought to himself, “Hmm, Saturday Night Live is ripe for the picking!” The 16-year-old singer was SNL‘s musical guest last night, but I’m not quite sure I get the objective. Was SNL hoping the Bieb’s presence would get tween girls to tune in, or was this a step toward gradually expanding his appeal to, I don’t know, people who like music? Ultimately, the majority of SNL‘s audience has probably never seen Bieber perform, so at least everyone got to find out what this “dreamy Christmas elf,” as host Tina Fey described him, was all about. And luckily, the Bieb didn’t have to worry about there being much comedy on the show to overshadow his two musical acts (sorry, Tina, but they gave you precious little to work with this time).

Bieber sang “Baby” and “U Smile,” the same two songs I watched him tape at American Idol a week ago (that performance will air in May). Vocally, he sounded quite crisp, although he stumbled a bit during the rap portion of “Baby,” which is normally done by Ludacris. The bigger issue, though, was the visual presentation. I have no idea what Bieber’s concerts look like, so all I can compare his SNL gig to is what he offered up at American Idol. Simply put, Bieber’s SNL act was an attempt to stuff his Idol extravaganza into a much smaller box. Behind Bieber were the same four male dancers, who failed to tone down their choreography for the minuscule SNL stage. The result was akin to watching an evening newscast directed by Michael Bay — way too much commotion for such a limited amount of space. And in my Idol recap, I warned Bieber about jumping in the air at the same time as his backup dancers, but he did so anyway. I don’t mean to be cruel, but the kid got as much air as this cat, and it doesn’t help that his backup dancers practically broke through the stratosphere.

But quibble as I may, it must be said that Bieber’s tunes are catchy despite being drenched in cheese, he seems like a decent guy, and every generation of tweens deserves its irrational infatuation. A few years down the road, these teenage girls will reflect upon their prior Bieber Fevers with equal amounts of embarrassment and nostalgia, and that’s part of the joy of growing up.

Bieber fans, did the Bieb’s SNL performance live up to your wildest fantasies? Adults, what did you make of the boy whose “smile is like watching a baby bunny sniff a tiny flower,” as Tina Fey pointed out? Does the Bieber phenomenon make any more sense now, or are you still just as puzzled?

Comments (305 total) Add your comment
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  • Danny

    He looks 12 and I so don’t care.

    • stella

      I think your giving him a couple of years too many. He looks 10 and sounds about 10 so I don’t care either. His little tween following though have a right to their tween infatuation but like John said they will grown up and be embarrassed and Bieber will probably go down the road of littered teen popstars you never hear of again.

      • Toshi Nobu

        Yeah, he’ll probably end up like Justin Timberlake. So sad.

      • Michael

        Ending up like Justin Timberlake wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. Not his biggest fan, but he’s done quite well for himself.

      • Toshi Nobu

        The empty mind knows no challenge, therefore be like the wind and pollinate the seat cushions with intelligence vapor.

      • Genesis

        Justin Drew Bieber is so cute I know his myspace e-mial.

      • tasha

        Toshi Nobu: In his dreams maybe he’ll end up like Justin Timberlake. He’s one of the few teen idols that went on to be an even bigger adult star. I somehow don’t see that happening with Bieber.

      • Celia

        Justin Timberlake was originally interested in signing Bieber. I think Justin will probably go the Justin Timberlake route. They both ride the fine line between R&B and Pop, they both can dance, and they’re both charismatic and funny.

      • Ugonna

        Tasha, how ironic! I actually have a gut feeling it WILL happen with Bieber! He has a je ne sais quoi quality about him, a charisma, and his voice is better to me than Justin’s was at that age. I think he has alot of genuine talent, like teaching himself to play several instruments, and he can sing and dance. Oh well.

      • OMG2

        I have never paid attention to Bieber (other than that HORRIFIC People Magazine cover on the stands right now – good lord he looks like Jim Carrey in “The Mask”) and I must admit he was 1,000 worse than I even imagined. Those back-up dancers on crack (especially during the 2nd song) and his personality – sorry, but he came across as a 12 year old douchebag. Gross.

      • Marissa

        Some people just don’t get sarcasm. So sad.

      • Antonio

        I agree with Marissa, Toshi’s comment was a very refined sarcasm.

    • Alex

      Memo to Justin: Save your money.

    • LOL

      He’s not on my radar. Bad choice SNL.

    • Genesis

      hey, Justin Drew Bieber lookslike he is my age 13 oh and he’s going out with Miley and she is 17.But justin is 16. He is so than cute.

      • @Genesis

        Bieber is not dating Miley. To quote him: “she’s not my type.” I think Justin likes more ethnic girls. He’s got a huge crush on Beyonce.

      • MarySueBob

        Um, hate to break it to you but something tells me he’s more into Ricky Martin. Just sayin….

      • ich

        agree with you MarySue…..the boy is (or will be) into boys

    • heather

      He’s terrible. The boy can’t sing and yet his management (which includes Ryan Seacrest) are trying to make him into a huge talent. His fan base is being sold a paperbag puppet.

      • crispy

        Heather you sound really jealous, are you ok dear?

      • Justin’s #1 fan

        ur just jealous!i bet ur ugly and cant sing thats y yall r bagin on him!!!just STOP!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Marissa

        Heather’s right, I don’t get the appeal at all.

      • Lanning

        Justin’s #1 fan, you know the worst things are you people being hypocrites. I don’t hate him but I seriously hate fangirls who are defending him and acting like they are so awesome defending Justin Bieber. Come on, Heather is just expressing her opinion, no need for you to pms and start acting like a little whiny attention b*@ch

      • Janie

        I don’t get why people are always defending Justin Bieber with “you’re just jealous” If that’s all you got, then he must not be that great.Plus he’s terrible and sounds like he sings for daycare children.

  • missmollie

    he is just so amaing. entered competition to win a date with him. if i win am going to take my friend JESS!!!! haha x

    • Juju

      Oh I am gunna enter that contest too I hope I win I am gunna bring my friend jamie

      • Janie

        I hope he gets some fat chick with Herpes.

    • Chris Pizz

      Yeah, I’m sure he can’t wait to go on a date that his manager is forcing him to go on with a complete stranger that was delusional enough to enter in a contest to win a human being for an hour. You kids need a serious dose of reality. Get a life and go find a date in your own zip code.

      • Chris Pizz

        BTW, I was just looking for a review of snl and ended up reading this dribble…HUGE mistake. This country is in serious trouble with you kids as our future.

      • Songster

        Chris, chill out. I am sure you loved Sean Cassidy back in the day. The kid did okay last night, let the kids who adore him, well, adore him. Sean Cassidy will forever remain in your heart. Justin will not take anything away from that.

      • 19004

        I think it’s SHAUN

      • deiko

        Get a life Chris, who are you to dash some young girl’s hope of winning a date with Justin Bieber. Maybe your the one who wants to go on date with him.

      • Joseph

        Chris – I am more worried about a-hole adults like you in this country than I am kids being excited about kid stuff

  • Juju

    I LOVE him!!! And I definetly watched Saturday night live with him in it soooo hot when he flips his hair e was funny and a great singer!!!!!! I LOVE U JUSTIN!!!!!! ;)

    • Janie

      See! He has no real talent! He’s just “good lucking” which makes all the difference these days.

  • Jay Link

    John Young,are you a musician or singer?? How can you say Justin Bieber’s singing was crisp when he lyp synched 95% of the songs he performed You better review the singing again,when he dropped the mic by his side & words still came out from the recorded track.

    • Barry

      I agree. I especially “loved” the sequence when one of his backup dancers shook him & the “singing” level remained the same.

    • anon

      It’s a backing track. Listen for the ‘weight’ of the voice. Everyone uses it when they’re dancing.

      • Barry

        Mick Jagger doesn’t use backing tracks & his moves on stage are to fie for!!

      • Barry

        It’s called lipsynching.

      • Suzanne

        then why don’t they just dance instead of pretending that they are doing the singing live. I don’t get music. don’t people just sing and play instruments anymore?

      • anon


        In today’s pop music scene you’re basically forced to dance and sing at the same time :(


        Unfortunately when the live performance is blended with a recording it’s called a backing track :)

      • Dan

        Real musicians do not need backing tracks. Sorry. This kid is as gay as the day is long. The days are getting pretty long.

      • Ruby

        Completely agree Dan. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

      • Machunny

        Yet, oddly, Eddie Vedder and Bruce Springsteen seem to be managing quite well despite their advanced ages and lack of an accompanying dance troupe. I wonder why that is?

      • Joseph

        You don’t like him that’s fine but let the kids have Justin Bieber. Complaining about him while you extoll the virtues of Eddie Vedder or Bruce Springsteen makes you sound like a cranky 80 year old yelling “Get off my lawn!!”

    • cami

      wow you did awesome great job i love all you songs i love you so much so does my friend haley baker hope you have everything that you wanted your so cute i love your voice talk to you soon love you

      • sculliosis

        you do realize that Justin didn’t write this post. right? he’s not going to read your comment either.

        this is the kind of tween bieber fan i despise. those who make him trending topics every single day and devote their lives around him. Enjoy him if you want. Go to his concerts, share his music, i would say look for deeper meanings but i doubt there is any. but dont obsess yourself over him.
        make him a trending topic when he does something. even lost fans have that respect.

      • omgzzz JBiebs!!

        hahahahahahaha! sorry cami, but that post is just so pathetic.

    • kenny

      It’s call a backtrack you retard. He sings over the recorded version and when he does a dance move that would be difficult to do while singing they have the recorded version there so the song continues and he can pick back up after he stopped dancing. Everyone does it…

      • Robert Sincal

        Except for real artists…

      • Wake up

        Uh, no, actually not “everyone does it”. Only untalented signers do this. If they weren’t hopping around all over the place dancing, they might actually learn how to sing. Give me any REAL artist out there (no not your teenie boppers) and I bet you a shiny penny they don’t do this.

      • Zippy

        @ Robert and Wake up: Yeah, MJ did it; check out his MTV 10 year anniversary YouTube. The first song, “Black or White,” he lipsynched, (maybe partial backtrack), though Slash played live…MJ let the mic slip to his side as he jumped down from the car at the beginning and the vocals continued. The second song, “Will You Be There,” was sung live. MJ wasn’t a real artist to you?

      • 4rocket

        Except MJ’s numerous procedures on his nose has greatly reduced his ability to breathe, sing and dance at the same time. What’s Justin’s excuse, though? He’s not even doing much dancing.

    • Ugonna

      sorry , he didn’t lip sync at all. It didn’t sound that much like the recording to me, his voice sounded stronger here.

  • Katie

    I’m not a tween, but I will say I’m a Bieber fan. Mainly because I’ve seen him perform on a couple of other shows, and the kid can really sing. I’ll admit that the dancers were a bit odd and intense (I’d have liked to see U Smile with just him and the band, no dancers) but I thought he did a pretty good job. Hopefully some people who hate him watched and actually listened to him sing before writing him off, because he’s actually talented. And his sketch with Tina Fey was hilarious!

    • Barry

      I guess it was hilarious if you enjoy student-teacher sex.

    • Celia

      I think he’s actually good live, whether you like him or not. The kid knows how to sing.

      • ash

        NO HE DOESNT. Kinda the point of this damn debate.

      • Suzanne

        yeah. He’s not a strong singer. Go listen to him duet with Jordin Sparks on No Air over at you tube. It’s like Jordin Sparks singing with a friend from middle school. (I linked the vid here, but my comment was deleted.) He’s not popular based on his voice; it’s something else. Such a mystery.

      • anon


        That duet was frankly a disaster (he was so off key at times) but it wasn’t really his fault. Most of Chris’ parts were way too low for him.

        Have you listened to him do Chris Brown’s With You before he got famous? At the time (before he hit this voice change thing) I thought he did a pretty impressive job and had a lot of potential.

    • Caitlin

      It was the first time that I heard hin sing, and I must say, he wasn’t as bad as I thought he’d be. He’s not really my type, but considering that the Jonas Brothers on SNL last year still gives me nightmares, I can at least understand his appeal. The one thing that needs to stop are the 20 year olds at my university pining over him. Eww. He’s a 16 year old that looks 12. Please stop.

  • Steve

    I totally entered.

  • mike

    How in the world does he get his hair to stay like that?

    • Chris Pizz

      Have you ever seen “There’s something about mary”?

      • ST

        OMG LMAO

      • Janie

        Yes. I loved that movie!!! lol “you may only have one leg, but it’s the most beautiful leg in the world”. Such a sweet thing to say.

  • Sid VIcious

    People trying to compare Justin Bieber to Michael Jackson have got to be kidding! Talk to me about JB’s musical works 30years from now!

    • ES_Revenge

      Justin Bieber has already surpassed MJ. He’s more talented and sexier.

      • Rich

        At lipsyncing? At not writing his own songs? At dancing much worse than his backup crew??

      • Mary

        Are you effin’ kidding? There is NO comparison of Justin Bieber to Michael Jackson. MJ surpasses him on all levels.

      • Jean Genie

        ES Revenge will get over it someday. Just wait & see.

      • Catherine

        Come on… anyone like anything is sexier than Michael Jackson. I mean, I love him as an artist but he was difficult to look at.

    • beerhider

      I think bieber makes usher look like Michael Jackson… Does that count?

  • lisa

    As an adult~I’d much rather have my daughter infatuated w/JB ~which she is~then what the majority of singers are today~oversexed based on lyrics & the girls in the videos~drug & alcohol crazed n low morales based on clothing attire. At least JB isn’t f~in’ every other word & his pants stay up when he performs. I can only hope that this 16 isn’t used & abused by an industry & its people that seems to take what they can from an artist then drops em’ off in the alley.

    • Barry

      As an adult, I took great exception to his hot for teacher segment. Just what we need: a HS teacher lusting after 1 of her students while he reciprocates. Yes, most definately a “quality” role model for young teens!

      • Steve

        That segment was actually pretty funny,…mainly because of Tina Fey though.

        The kiid is A KID,….and I’m not too impressed with his voice.

        It’s understandable that young prepubescent girls are all gaga over him, his hair gimick and cute pre-man-boy looks but maybe acting is what he should go for,….because he’ll only last so long as a singer. There are just only so many ‘girl you stole my heart’ songs you can do.

      • Suzanne

        The intended audience for he sketch was adults–it was late-night tv. He’s 16 years old, and 16-year-olds could see that. His fanbase, which is more like 11 or 12, should have been in bed.

      • Are you for Real?

        @Barry—actually if you watched that sketch..he didn’t reciprocate, it was a daydream fantasy and when she finally said something to him for real he didn’t reciprocate. The sketch was funny and of course it was inappropriate, it was a joke on SNL. Plus, did you see him on Chelsea Lately not once but twice trying to put the moves on her while she rejected him. Funny but slightly creepy.

      • ash

        For those saying it was cute..kids were in bed..blah blah bullshiit. Listen I head 25-30 yr old women screaming for him..thats PERVERTED.

      • Rachel

        Ooh it was just a joke, showing how everyone seems to be infatuated with Justin Bieber these days… even like Women.
        It was just a joke.

    • Suzanne

      Generally agree, Lisa. And Justin Beiber seems to have fine management.

    • jc


    • Ricig

      AMEN Brother!!!! I have a 6yr daughter who adores him and see nothing wrong with him. Leave him be and let him run his course. If we have seen it once, you’ve seen it a million times. Just another teen idiol who’s career will last a lunchtime……..oh yeah, and don’t even try to compare him to Micheal Jackson!! That comment was just pure ignorance!!

  • Snarf

    Fey’s SPN and Weekend Update bits were great, but Fey’s teacher lusting after Bieber’s student was cringe inducing.

    Cute little 16 year olds seldom grow and age into cute little men, but like 90210 where everyone kept telling the audience how beautiful and smart Donna Martin (Tori Spelling) was, people keep going on about how attractive this under-developed prepubesant looking child is.

    I suspect Beiber’s people are trying to position him to be the next Justin Timberlake. He’s got the confidence (and chances are ego) part down cold.

  • Ron

    Give him time. The pants will be down, the drugs and alcohol will be flowing. It’s what the music industry DOES to kids. If he manages to steer clear of it, more power to him, but I don’t have much faith in it.

    • Chris Pizz

      I have the show DVRed because I am an SNL fan. My girlfriend and I were making bets on what type of music this Justin bieber guy sings. We hear his name everywhere but neither of us knows who he is. He looks like a douche.

    • Jean Genie

      Look what happened to Andy Gibb, for instance. Then again, maybe you shouldn’t.

    • Suzanne

      He’s Canadian. They breed ‘em down-to-earth up there.

  • Madison

    I love Justin Bieber!!!♥♥♥
    I love Justin Bieber!!!♥♥♥
    I love Justin Bieber!!!♥♥♥
    I love Justin Bieber!!!♥♥♥
    I love Justin Bieber!!!♥♥♥

    • cami

      i love Justin Bieber too

  • Jennifer

    Cute kid…if you are 12. He does not belong on SNL…way creepy!!!!!

    • llevinso

      Seriously. I’m not even kidding, he doesn’t look any older than 14.

      • Khadia

        I thought he did an ok job, not to bad. Check Out My Awesome version of Baby on YouTube

      • Celia

        Agreed, he doesn’t. I wonder if they could be lying about his age?? I guess he could be a late bloomer.
        Either way, I still think he’s adorable. He’s not trying to be anything that he’s not.

      • Zoey

        I thought he was ten the first time I saw him. And a butch-y lesbian. He was not good in the skits. And seriously kid, when’s your voice gonna crack?

      • caryn

        That’s partially because we’re used to seeing 24 year olds play 16 on tv.

      • 4rocket

        The 16-year-olds I went to school with looked more mature then I did! And I wasn’t some underdeveloped midget like Bieber.

  • anon

    I thought he did pretty well. Sounded decent. Way better than the white house performance (where it was just painful to listen to… ugh)

    • Suzanne

      He’s performed at the White House?? What is going on? He’s not a good singer and he’s Canadian. Is he eventaller than both of the first children?

      • anon

        Yea for the easter thing. Wow was that painful to listen to. Kinda hit the notes but his voice had this really strange vibe. Maybe it was the mic… I donno.

        I don’t get your dislike for Canadians (and immigrants?) performing at the white house though. What happened to treating everyone equally?

  • Cathy

    His voice is DEFINITELY not a healthy sound. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has some vocal injury in there. Oversinging? Trying to outsing the band? Too much shouting?

    • jbiebslollipop

      I actually think he did a great job, just saying…


      I know thats right girl

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