Lady Gaga Performs “Do What U Want” With R. Kelly & “Gypsy” On ‘SNL’: Watch

lady gaga r kelly snl
They Don't Give A Whaaaat
Well, the American Music Awards can’t be too happy about this! Lady Gaga was joined by R. Kelly on Saturday Night Live for the first live performance of “Do What U Want” tonight (November 16). The duo, of course, will be joining forces again for the awards show, but they gave fans a surprise first run of the song on SNL when Kells emerged for his verse.

What ensued was a display of sizzling chemistry, with various tandem moves that could, depending on the angle, be interpreted as simulations of certain sex acts. At one point, R. Kelly climbed on top of Gaga and most viewers were surely bracing for something uncouth, and well, it didn’t come to that. Kells merely did a couple push-ups over Gaga’s writhing body. Thinkpieces averted!

For her second song, Gaga did a completely life-affirming rendition of ARTPOP standout “Gypsy.” Watch “Do What U Want” up top and “Gypsy” below. 

  • Sean

    Thoroughly enjoyed both! Gypsy is beautiful live. She seems so at easy and in great spirits. And Do What U Want is so much more fun with R Kelly there. Definitely looking forward to their AMA performance.

  • YAS


  • XadaX

    Gaga doing sexy was cringeworthy. Just look how lame she tried to get on with R Kelly’s moves. She couldn’t put the 2 Rs in DIRRTY ;)

  • MusicSoul

    DWYW was a little uncomfortable to watch. R Kelly looked like he was definitely on something, and the whole performance was kind of not cohesive.

    I love the first part of Gypsy when it was just her and the piano. She’s great with combining simplicity and drama together–but the whole circus/electric part was just inconsistent. Where was the ART?!

    I think the most artistic show that she ever put on during the ARTPOP era (so far) was her VEVO performances.

  • Yoani Veg

    Lady Gaga is nothing if else a totally fascinating pop culture character. Everything about her from the weird performance-art-meets-techno-club-jam songs to the strange costume choices to her outlandish persona, everything about Gaga seems like one big act. That’s not a bad thing. Gaga knows what she’s doing and the transformation from a talented, New York City musical theater student named Stephanie into the global superstar known as Gaga is nothing but a beautifully calculated experiment into what makes a pop culture icon.
    She has a lot going for her, Saturday Night Live wise. She knows how to perform and enjoys slipping into various characters. But the best SNL hosts are generally ones that are able to fade into the fabric of the already established cast without turning too much of the focus onto them. I’m not sure Gaga is capable of anything that resembles ensemble work.
    Like always, I’ll be writing the recaps “live,” meaning I’ll watch the sketch and immediately write a short blurb reviewing and recapping it. For each segment, I’ll rate it on a scale of 0-5 stars. At the end of the piece, I’ll share some quick overall thoughts and the best/worst sketch of the night.
    Rob Ford Cold Open: * *
    Casting Bobby Moynihan as the infamous, crack-smoking Toronto mayor is inspired but after a fairly funny sight-gag (that of Moynihan in a blonde wig and fat suit) it seemed the SNL writers didn’t quite know what to do with him. Cue some fat jokes, cue some bad Canadian accents, cue obvious drug material. Ford is such an intriguing and humorous political figure, it says something very sad about the state of SNL that they couldn’t mine some better material from him.
    Opening Monologue: * * * ½
    There wasn’t a lot of comedy in the monologue, but, you know what, that’s A-OK with me. Lady Gaga made her entrance in an ensemble that looked straight from the Gypsy wardrobe department and proceeded to remind the audience that she was glad to be back in her home of NYC. After that, she reminded the audience that she is actually a very talented singer with a jazzy arrangement of her single, “Applause.” Following some shtick in the audience, Gaga returned to the stage and closed with a “New York, New York” kick line. Unlike most recent SNL monologues, this one had two goals (Gaga can sing! She’s a real person and not a strange, fashion-forward alien!) which it completed with flying colors.
    Paxil: Second Term Strength: * * * ½
    This season of SNL has produced some solid faux-commercials already (the pumpkin spice one leading the pack) and the Paxil sketch, although not a frontrunner, is a welcome entry. This ad mocks the staples of anti-depressants in advertisements like the rainy broll and the man holding onto a wall but gives it a political spin. You see this Paxil is custom made for Obama and his plummeting approval ratings. “You’ll feel like you were giving a speech at a college campus in 2008 or getting Bin Laden all over again,” the voice-over says. Is this cutting-edge political satire? Absolutely no. But it had some really funny moments and a solid premise which held its own throughout.
    Waking Up With Kimye: * * * *
    Wait, Nasim Pedrad gets another leading role in a post-monologue sketch? It’s been a while since she’s brought out her Kim Kardashian impression and now is a perfect time to do so. It was fun to see Pedrad do her Kim impression again and Jay Pharaoh’s Kanye is just brilliant, down to the weird, guttural exclamation. It was interesting to see how they used Gaga right off the bat – she played an Apple Store genius who shows up to fix Kim’s computer. Her mousy, affected character was assured and pretty funny at times, although I wish they had given her more jokes in the process (and done away with the winking Gaga in-joke). I also wish Kate McKinon’s Kris Jenner had a few lines, as, from physicality alone, she seemed to nail the Kardashian matriarch.
    Whaaat? Worst Cover Songs Of All Times: * * * *
    This is one of those sketches based solely around giving the cast a chance to do a string of impressions. Sometimes (like in the 50 Shades casting skit from a few weeks ago), they can feel meandering and pointless, but this musical version worked surprisingly well. Maybe that’s ‘cause I got to hear Britney Spears (Noel Wells) sing “Hallelujah” or Lana Del Ray (Cecily Strong) cover Shaggy. Adie Bryant’s Adele and Thompson’s Rick Ross were also a standout. My only qualm with this sketch was the bit featuring the host. Instead of busting out a musical impression a la Bruno Mars, Gaga played herself covering Madonna. Only she sang “Born This Way” instead. Like in the last sketch, this winking, “oh look at me making fun of myself” kind of material just feels lazy and flat.
    Weekend Update: * * * * ½
    Weekend Update started slow with a bit involving Kenan Thompson as Mister Senior, an old curmudgeon complaining about the early arrival of Christmas. Except for a fairly amusing taped bit, his in-studio material just wasn’t that lively or funny. But once Senior left, WU took off. The hosts’ jokes were uniformly strong but the real standout was Taran Killam’s Jebediah Atkinson, an angry journalist who wrote a critique of the Gettysburg Address in 1863 (see here). Killam’s character is a divine comic inspiration – a snarky, internet reviewer meets 19th century socialite – and one whose quips (“Don’t get me started on that beard…what was her name, Mary Todd?”) are always welcome at the Update desk. There was just something almost dangerous and improvised in his performance, a spark of spontaneity you don’t often see on SNL that made the whole thing a wonderfully fun high-wire act to watch.
    Co-Op Board: ½
    This sketch made no sense, had no concept of reality or timing, was unfunny and annoying. Nothing here worked, except maybe the bit with Kate McKinnon’s baby-crazy tenant. Let’s just forget this happened and rewatch Jebediah Atkinson, OK?
    Spotlightz: * * * ½
    What Spotlightz lacked in polish, it made up for in heart. That sounds corny, but the sketch had great energy, even if I’ve seen Bayer do this kind of character before. Spotlightz is a performing arts school for “serious actors.” The kids (Bayer and Gaga are the stand-outs) all reenact famous movie scenes in childish, ham-fisted ways. The joke is one-note, but the performances were strong (especially Gaga’s Training Day monologue) and the pacing was brisk enough to keep me laughing.
    Blockbuster: * * * * *
    With Blockbuster, SNL produces another funny, strong, visually interesting and oddly wistful prerecorded sketch. I won’t spoil too much of this little narrative gem but it followed four Blockbuster employees as they find out they lost their job in the company’s closing. Unlike the Co-Op sketch, almost everything worked in this skit from the tone to the performances to the way the story kept building and escalating. It’s the best taped piece since Sad Mouse.
    Pageant Parents: * * * *
    First of all, it’s super weird to see Lady Gaga in normal people clothing. Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way…this skit was strange and funny and very, very simple. Some parents mime their little pageant girl’s dance moves! But things get freaky (in any number of meanings) when the parents are Gaga and John Milhiser. They make this silly material work with total commitment and great comic timing.
    Old Lady Gaga: * * * * ½
    At first I thought Lady Gaga was trying to bring back Collette Reardon (look it up, kids!), but then things took an oddly sad turn when it’s revealed Gaga is playing an aged, desperate, batty, futuristic version of herself. It seemed like the audience didn’t know what to do with this bittersweet sketch but I was hooked from the get-go. Gaga’s commitment and knack for blending into kooky characters is to be admired and the self-referential humor, would could be winking and self-aggrandizing, felt grounded and appropriate. I wish more hosts would take these kinds of risks and that SNL would be more willing to try out some more multi-dimensional humor like this more often. What this has to say about Gaga’s psyche, on the other hand, seems more like a long therapy appointment rather than a late-night TV show sketch.
    Rose Zone: * * *
    After that phenomenal, darkly comedic sketch, we end on a tepid prerecorded sketch skewering reality TV. It’s not bad, it’s not very good. It’s just…blah.

    Best Sketch: There were so many to choose from tonight! I gotta go with Blockbuster, but the Old Gaga and Jebediah Atkinson merit a second viewing (and maybe even a third) without a doubt.
    Worst Sketch: Co-Op Board
    Musical Guest: Lady Gaga
    In a sequenced ‘80s-inspired leotard, Gaga first sang “Do What U Want” (Yes, I double checked this time! Sorry Eminem fans!). This song has a dark, driving beat to it and featured a surprisingly little amount of actual Gaga singing. Most of the verses were provided by R. Kelly who escaped the closet in enough time to gyrate and do push-ups onto Gaga. I’m not sure what to make of this number, except to say the song was intriguing and the dark, sexually charged number left both out of breath in a way that was both awkward, distracting and a bit steamy. Next up was “Gypsy,” which I dug more when it was Gaga singing alone at the piano. When the band joined in, the song got exponentially less interesting. That’s not a dig at the song, which is bouncy and catchy, but a statement that, to me, simple Gaga is usually best. I was also very preoccupied with the shirtless, purple-pantsed tambourine player who had an ungodly amount of energy for one in the morning. I want him (and Atkinson) back every week. And a way to bottle that energy.
    Overall Thoughts:
    In my intro, I worried that Lady Gaga would stand out too much but she was an excellent host who, despite some Gaga-centric material, did her best to just be one of the cast. The material was very, very strong tonight and three of the sketches were absolute winners. Out of all the episodes this season, this might be…no is…the best.


  • Yoani Veg

    Lady Gaga Ignites ‘SNL’ for Highest Ratings of the Season

    Auds went gaga for Lady Gaga last night, as her hosting gig helped “Saturday Night Live” match its best overnight rating since March.

    In Nielsen’s metered markets, “SNL” did a 4.9 household rating/12 share, making it the night’s No. 1 program.

    The show hasn’t done a higher overnight score since the March 9 episode featuring Justin Timberlake as host and musical guest. That installment of “SNL” ended up averaging 8.4 million total viewers in the nationals, so this episode figures to be in that ballpark.

    In adults 18-49, this week’s “SNL” did a 2.6 rating/9 share, matching the show’s best since Miley Cyrus hosted on Oct. 5.

    Lady Gaga was the host and musical guest on Saturday and was featured in a number of sketches, including as a very enthusiast dance mom and an Apple Store Genius. The show’s final bit saw Gaga playing herself at age 77 in “Upper West Side 2063.”