Saturday Night Live: Watch The Voice Judges On Family Feud

26 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Blake Shelton on ‘SNL': 3 Sketches You Have to See.

Country superstar Blake Shelton pulled double duty on Saturday Night Live last night, making his debut as both host and musical guest. In the sketch, the women of the show throw themselves at the country music star, in character as a bachelor from Iowa, as they try to win the television show competition. We did get the inevitable Deflategate sketch, in which Beck Bennett dons Bill Belichick’s rolled-up dress shirt and gruff manner while Taran Killam plays a very dim-witted version of Tom Brady. Instead of relying on Shelton’s acting skills or comedic chops to win laughs, the sketch show frequently cast him as a singer or shoved a guitar into his hands for some mild comedy. For those of you that don’t know my work I am kinda like the Justin Bieber of country music – just a trouble-making cutie,’ he said. ‘I have to say that I do feel like a fish out of water here in New York City as everything is so fancy.

It works well because it lets him doll out sly line readings (“I like kids … and I’m horny”) while giving most of the heavy lifting to the female cast members, like Cecily Strong and Kate McKinnon. At the same time the skit pokes fun at the show for supposedly sending the black contestants home first and featuring contestants who have worked in the porn industry.

It started with his monologue, which didn’t give him much to do save sit on some hay and strum a guitar, and was got worse in the second sketch of the night, with Shelton playing a version of The Bachelor as an excuse to let the show’s female stars do their craziest wannabe wife impressions. Shelton played so many different troubadours during the episode, including a country singer who sort of looks like Blake Shelton (but with blond hair and a mustache), a strummer on a local morning television show, and actually Blake Shelton, that by the time Shelton took to SNL’s music stage to croon his own songs, it seemed as if the show had already been through enough musical numbers to last for six episodes. This week’s show also featured a humorous rendition of Tom Brady’s press conference addressing allegations that he altered the air pressure in footballs to improve his team’s performance.

When he did get something to do—like in the Topeka Today sketch—Shelton was occasionally charming and always game, but for the most part fell flat. He kept the audience in stitches with an appropriately hokey take on Hee Haw in his opening monologue; he did an impressive Alan Jackson impersonation on a mock music video for a country parody called “Wishin’ Boot”; he gave a twinkle-eyed nod to his most well-known TV gig in The Voice vs. Shelton—whose heartland-hunk vibe perfectly matches that of Chris Soules, the Iowan farmer who stars in the show’s current season—is admirably even-keeled as a procession of loony suitors attempt to seduce him: A relatively slim outing in terms of quantity – there were only nine sketches this week, and SNL usually tops out around eleven or twelve per episode, and even “Weekend Update” ran uncharacteristically long, featuring a rare three guests – last night’s show stretched out its material to confusing effect.

Other skits included a celebrity version of “Family Feud” with cast members playing judges from “The Voice” taking on judges from “American Idol.” Here are some of the “characters” he played last night: A wholesome farmer, a country music singer, a singer on a talk show, a Texan on a parole board, a southern guy at a party and, oh yeah, don’t forget about the sketch where he played Blake Shelton. Heavy on the pop cultural nods, from a somewhat amusing spin on The Bachelor to a weird twist on Shawshank Redemption, the episode proved to be a weak one in a mostly strong season. They stretched out “Weekend Update,” had Shelton sing his way through two sketches, and for the majority of the rest of the bits, they gave him a line or two and had the cast carry the rest.

With all that talk of wet, soggy balls in Thursday’s press conference featuring New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick and his star quarterback Tom Brady, “Deflate-gate” was the only choice to lead in the show. As musical guest, Shelton showcased a near-year-old single from 2014’s Bringing Back the Sunshine and, perhaps making up for lost time with this being his SNL debut and all, performed one of the biggest hits from his 2013 album, Based on a True Story…. Certainly Shelton’s 2013 bro-country standard “Boys ‘Round Here” is by no means a new tune, and there was nothing necessarily new about the singer’s SNL performance of the song. Instead of hanging the show’s opening sketch on a bunch of people talking about “underinflated balls” until the word “balls” loses all meaning, SNL turned its attention to great celebrity impressions. While Shelton wanted to emulate the corny jokes of the one-time variety show, the cast members (all dressed in overalls and big-skirted dresses) couldn’t quite grasp the concept and instead used it as a chance to tell generic, dirty jokes.

As such, Shelton decked out in denim, winking, shucking and jiving while singing the salute to “red-red-red-red-redneck” partyin’ in a woozy bellow-rap. It also had a re-enactment of the court scene from A Few Good Men (“You can’t handle the truth!”) between a reporter and an equipment coach (Bobby Moynihan) – but the whole sketch caused frown lines as deep as the ones on Belichick’s face.

Sporting his charcoal-vest-on-black-button-up-shirt bartender’s look and fittingly bathed in blue neon, Shelton and his band also performed an equally straightforward rendition of his sprightly 2014 chart-topper, “Neon Light.” (Watch below.) Aside from the elite group of musicians he joins as an SNL host, the Oklahoma native is one of only five country stars to have performed on the legendary show since 2007. Shelton welcomed a banjo player and sat on a bale of hay to play a “Hee-Haw” inspired game of “Pickin’ and Grinnin’” – which is a little bit of music followed by some good-old fashioned clean country jokes. Shelton brought out his guitar multiple times throughout the night, but it’s no surprise that his best moment with the instrument was when he was performing as country singer Blake Shelton, not as a character. Leslie Jones – wearing blonde pigtails – summed it up best: “This is wrong.” In this Bachelor spoof, Shelton played a farm boy from Iowa sifting through a selection of bachelorettes who all seem to be teachers from Hollywood who occasionally starred in porn films. Blake Shelton might not have a background in comedy, but the country boy was eager to let his audience know that he really does have a strong appreciation for the art of televised sketch comedy.

You could see how much fun he was having during the first performance, which gave the show a burst of energy that even non-country listeners could appreciate. “Wishin’ Boot” might be joke, but it still sounds like something straight off country radio–and that’s the point. The digital short, like many of the night’s sketches, seemed to go on forever, but it was weirdly catchy, and did have some high points: Between Shelton’s dog turning into a boot and Kate McKinnon’s boot holding a never-ending supply of food, the music video was just absurd enough to justify the “Hey, here’s a country song that has some silly lyrics!” premise. With the exception of Kate McKinnon as a stringy Keith Urban and Taran Killam as a falsetto-voiced Adam Levine, the impressions were surprisingly weak. Throw in some bonus Leslie Jones sporting a pair of wicked pigtails, and this is a fairly strong opening monologue for anyone, especially a newbie like Shelton. Shelton’s musical performances included songs with words like “honky tonk,” “four-wheel drive”, “dirt roads,” “chew tobacco” and “spit.” He was in his element and clearly belongs on the stage – just not as an actor.

Imagined as a game show face-off between the hosts of American Idol and The Voice (can we actually make this happen, like in real life?), the stage was positively swollen with high-note-hitting impersonations, from Cecily Strong’s big-haired Christina Aguilera to Sasheer Zamata’s somewhat terrifying Nicki Minaj to Taran Killam’s squeaky-voiced Adam Levine. -Killam was the runner-up MVP tonight: Between his turn as an angry old man in Topeka Today and as the ever-evasive Tom Brady in the cold open (“I’m not a science computer!”), he brought humor to sketches that needed it. Unfortunately, the celebrity impersonations — Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine, Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban, Pharrell, and Steve Tyler — were just … awful.

As Vanessa Bayer and Cecily Strong danced with scary enthusiasm in their Sunday best, Jones very hesitantly danced along behind them while flashing looks of suspicion. -After Bobby Moynihan’s turn as the obnoxious Riblet on Weekend Update, it was a relief to see Pete Davidson roll up to the desk—but even the SNL newcomer’s charm couldn’t save his gay porn bit, one that was too drawn out and ultimately uninteresting. Last year a man in his nineties became something of a viral hit when he wrote a song for his long-dead wife and a songwriter set it to music. “My Darlin’ Joan” is basically that story, but with a darker, meaner edge to it.

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