We watched Christina Aguilera host Saturday Night Live last night with a fair amount of apprehension. They allayed some of those fears in the monologue, confronting the skank issue head-on by having Jimmy Fallon telling her to, you know, “dress like Christina Aguilera,” and by showing a past Weekend Update clip of him stating she had to cancel a concert due to “acute bronchitis”: “It used to be a-cute, but now it’s just a-skank.”
The show also had the good sense to have a musical guest – Maroon 5 – other than Christina, who nonetheless busted out an a capella version of the dreaded “Beautiful” – complete with her bizarre street-diva hand gestures – during the monologue just to remind everyone that they’d better laugh or she might resort to song at any moment of the telecast. She was also blessedly free of facial piercings.
Fortunately the audience did, and she did not – in fact it was probably the funniest, if also the most salacious and scatological, episode of the year. Xtina was a fine character actress – mostly playing off her libertine image, which she addressed directly and forcefully, saying something to the effect of, “I do feel free to express my sexuality on stage and see no need to hide it, and tough shit.”
While I think her no less skanky than I did before, at least it does seem to be her own choice, and she takes ownership and defends it as freedom of expression. Well okay then: there’s social theory behind the skank.
So anyway, she did a good job of staying in character, did a bang up job as Kim Cattrall in Sex In the City (was, in fact, the only recognizable character in the sketch), was funny as a Mexican soap opera character (especially apt in her recently acquired very dark hair), as a spoiled trust fund teen (in Paris Hilton garb) in a game show parody (“Do You Know Who My Father Is?”), and played herself to a “T” in the impossibly hilarious skit where various celebs came backstage to congratulate her on her genuine pipes, which in their collective opinion justified her waving her “nasty honey pot” around – and twenty other colorful euphemisms for her pudenda, each one more ornate, descriptive and arcane than the one before.
You have to give Xtina credit for being willing to play her whole schtick for laughs, and for the show to be willing to take it as far as they did. Good thing Lily fell asleep on the couch during the show or we would have had some ‘splaining to do. As with Britney, I like Xtina much better as a comic actress than as a singer. She was less apealing whenever she was “herself,” however, twitching nervously, touching her nose repeatedly like a toothead, and assuming her street-diva posture.
Maroon 5 was pleasant, if somewhat generic in their funky rocking white boy thang: about 40% Spin Doctors and 60% Jamiroquai.
In all, the best show of the season so far.