Lana Del Rey's friends and foes: A primer
Lana Del Rey is set to celebrate the one-week anniversary of her near-disastrous (or completely disastrous) debut performance on "Saturday Night Live." And now that the dust has settled a bit, the Twitterverse has calmed and the pundits have spoken, the show business newcomer can survey the landscape and determine who out there has her back and who she can safely delete from her concert guest list for the foreseeable future.
Surprisingly, "NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams was first out of the gate as a foe. Soon after the performance, the normally impartial newsman purportedly emailed Gawker owner Nick Denton to encourage him to do something on Del Rey, which he described as "one of worst outings in SNL history." (Much to Williams' chagrin, Gawker editors posted his email in full on their site).
Gossip blogger Perez Hilton, who once took a vow to be nicer to celebrities, tweeted, "Just watched SNL. Not only was @LanaDelRey vocally WAY off, but watching her utter lack of stage presence was cringe-worthy. #DontBuyTheHype."
And actress Eliza Dushku just had to ask, "Who.....is.....this wack-a-doodle chick performing on #SNL..? Whaaaa?"
Even record labels came out swinging against the lovely Del Rey. DFA Records, the label co-founded by LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy, took a pre-emptive foe stance when it tweeted on Jan. 7: "Lana Del Rey plays Saturday Night Live next week... LCD Soundsystem tried for 6 years to play Saturday Night Live. Isn't 'too soon' ok advice?"
Singer and actress Juliette Lewis also became an instant foe with her tweet, "Wow watching this 'singer' on SNL is like watching a 12 year old in their bedroom when they're pretending to sing and perform #signofourtimes."
However, Lewis quickly attempted to switch sides by deleting the tweet and then writing a follow-up saying she "woke up singing a @LanaDelRey song! Such great haunting melodies! Regardless of my own taste LIVE she's a #FreshandYummy songwriter. Period." Nice try, Lewis.
But the entire universe is not aligned against one poor 22-year-old who flopped on her first nationally televised performance. A girl still has a few friends in this town, not the least of whom is Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe.
The actor was the host of the "SNL" episode that saw Del Rey's debut performance and he told the BBC earlier in the week, "It was unfortunate that people seemed to turn on her so quickly... I don't think it warranted anywhere near that reaction."
"Whitney" star Whitney Cummings wrote a long, impassioned defense of Del Rey on her Tumblr page on Thursday. Though Cummings is not a singer, she wrote with deep respect about the hard life of a young woman in show business and admonished the critics, bloggers and virtually anyone who had expressed an opinion on Del Rey. She wrote, "First, everybody calm down. It’s a little troubling that when a young girl fails at something that we keep kicking her [while] she is down."
She continued, "Something is pissing people off about this girl and I just think it’s an opportunity for us to learn from ourselves and grow.... [Let's] forgive her for being human and all be kinder to each other. Let’s all just have more love and less venom all around, eh?"
And with that, the tide appears to be turning in Del Rey's favor. With any luck, it'll only be a matter of time (and album sales) before she makes a triumphant return to the "SNL" stage for a greatly hyped and eagerly tweeted-upon second chance.
— Patrick Kevin Day
Photo: Lana Del Rey at the Troubadour in December. Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times