SNL Sound-Off: Justin Bieber
As expected, the Bieber/Bieber Saturday Night Live episode doled out plenty of lesbian haircut jabs and opportunities for the Canadian teen idol to bust out with the giggles in the middle of each skit. With a hilarious opening monologue that had Bieber handing out roses and misguided Black History Month trivia to members of the audience ("Girl, you driving me crazy--but did you also know that Denzel Washington invented the peanut?") it became clear SNL wasn't taking Bieber too seriously by putting his comedic chops to work, which is exactly the route they should've taken. The kid seemingly had an enjoyable time and his addition to The Californians was a goofy one indeed. But we're not here to talk about how silly the Biebs was! We're here to talk about how silly the Biebs' musical performance was, which was the portion of the program he took way, way too seriously.
See also: Beliebers on One Direction: "They're Nothing"
Without the bells and whistles (or beats or swells) of a backing band behind him, Justin Bieber went the stripped-down, intimate route for both of his musical selections. As dedicated and tortured as a coffeehouse-themed high school talent show contestant, Bieber got soulful to the solitary accompaniment of an acoustic guitar ("As Long As You Love Me") and later the ruminations of a piano ("Nothing Like Us") in the most emotional of ways, crooning his way through the hit single and bonus track from 2012's Believe. As puberty robbed him of a falsetto not too long ago, the decidedly mature performances served up Bieber's modest tenor on a "platinum, silver and gold" platter, which he attempted to gussy up with a few awkward moves. Boy pawed at the hanging mic like a cat with a new toy, and though furrowing your brow and squeezing your doe eyes shut gives off the impression that you're trying to concentrate on the intense romantic dirge you're belting out, we're not entirely sure he broke the kind of sweat he'd like us to belieb he did on his two numbers.