Sam Smith’s ‘SNL’ “Stay With Me” & “Lay Me Down” Performances: Review Revue

Robbie Daw | March 31, 2014 1:50 pm

Voice of an angel? Second coming of Adele? The best male voice to emerge out of England since, um, Rick Astley? Well, regardless of which label best fits Sam Smith, he’s certainly making a splash stateside. With his pair-up with Naughty Boy, “La La La,” steadily climbing the American charts (and the Disclosure collab “Latch” not far behind), Smith struck out on his own with a bold showing on Saturday Night Live this past weekend.

A darkly-clad Sam hit the stage and belted out his current single “Stay With Me” as well as “Lay Me Down” — a track from his upcoming debut LP In The Lonely Hour (out June 17) — and proceeded to both wow and raise the eyebrows of the Internet. Head below for our roundup of reviews of Smith on SNL.

:: Rolling Stone wrote, “Between the two songs and their emphasis on his powerful voice, Smith made the most of his high-profile opportunity to draw in a wider U.S. audience…”

:: MTV declared of Smith, “Following last night’s powerful pair of performances, if you hadn’t heard of him before, you certainly will now.”

:: Entertainment Weekly called Sam “a soulful sort with Morrissey hair and the shiniest eyes this side of anime,” while also noting, “(Seriously, what was up with that? Was Smith so moved by his own performance that he was tearing up?) Of Smith’s two songs, ‘Stay With Me’ was more stirring; I mean, who isn’t a sucker for a backup choir?”

:: Paste was a bit underwhelmed: “…he’s got a great voice, but he’s not much in terms of performance. I frankly don’t know much about Smith, outside of his appearance on last year’s great Disclosure record, but he’s a good singer with not much stage presence.

:: The A.V. Club wasn’t very impressed with British newcomer Smith, either: “His combination of fey, faux-shy camera flirting and simpering, meandering pseudo soul made me think very ill of him indeed.”

:: The Los Angeles Times had more to say about host Louis C.K., but did offer this up on Smith: “The only non-weird parts of the episode, really, were the musical interludes by Sam Smith, who wowed the audience with two straightforward but powerful soul performances.”

:: Finally, Bustle raved, “Does he remind anyone else of Boy George?  Just a little bit?  Critics tend to be harsh on SNL newbies (Lana Del Rey, anyone?), but Smith doesn’t have anything to worry about — he was fantastic!”

What are your own thoughts on Sam Smith’s big SNL performance from the weekend? Let us know below!

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