By Amanda Wicks
Rather than pull out the club-happy “Perfect Illusion” for her duties as musical guest on last night’s (Oct. 22) Saturday Night Live, Lady Gaga instead went full country. She performed her two most recent singles, “A-Yo” and “Million Reasons,” off Joanne.
For the up-tempo “A-Yo,” Gaga started center stage on a lift. Wearing a silver sparkly crop top and fringe-laced bottoms along with her staple pink Joanne hat, she danced and twirled and generally seemed to seethe with a little bit of hostility. Her moves came across less like a pop star’s fun and punctuating choreography and more like a singer’s frantic, pointed moves as she tried to prove she could pull off a new genre of music. Gaga grabbed a big pink electric guitar to use more as a prop than an actual instrument near the song’s end.
She changed gears with “Million Reasons,” playing the mournful song at an upright piano accompanied by her co-writer Hillary Lindsey on guitar. Gaga wore a floor-length cape, and removed her pink Stetson hat for the duration of the performance. She gave the brooding song a tinge of anger as her playing grew more powerful. Whatever she had been wanting to work out on “A-Yo” carried over to “Million Reasons.” Toward the end, she gave up accompanying herself on the instrument and climbed on top of it to finish the number with a theatrical bent. The song was a potent reminder that no matter what she’s singing, by golly she can really sing.