It’s been a rough few days for singer Lana Del Rey. Her instantly legendary awkward network TV debut on “Saturday Night Live” has been dissected, dissed and defended endlessly since last weekend. But the one thing we haven’t heard in the wake of the polarizing performance is how Del Rey feels about how she did.
While she still hasn’t officially commented on the criticism, the singer spoke to the Fuse network just days before the “SNL” gig and said that, frankly, live performance is not really her thing.
“You can’t expect too much from my show,” Del Rey said, explaining that her real fans are probably aware that she’s more of a songwriter and studio musician than performer and that she thinks people who come to see her show are really just there to hear the songs they already like.
“Sometimes I feel less nervous than other times,” she added. “I don’t love live television. The only tip I have is just pray and just hope that things work out.”
That attitude pretty much fits what Del Rey told MTV News before “SNL,” when she said she finds singing on TV “weird.”
“[It] depends on the day,” Del Rey said. “Depends on what’s going on with my family and everyone around me. If I have other things to think about, or I’m trying to get things done for somebody else, and I’m not in my own way, then … I’m like, ‘This doesn’t really matter.’ Sometimes it seems more important to me than other times.”
And though everyone from “NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams to actress Eliza Dushku and singer/actress Juliette Lewis (whose tweets have since been deleted) piled on Del Rey in the moment, since the dust has settled a bit, another actress has come out in defense of the singer.
“Whitney” star and stand-up comedian Whitney Cummings, who faced her fair share of criticism when her NBC sitcom debuted last year, posted a blog on Thursday in which she pleaded with haters to chill out.
“I have many random thoughts. First, everybody calm down,” she wrote. “It’s a little troubling that when a young girl fails at something that we keep kicking her why she is down. I get very protective of girls, especially young performers, because they live a hard, emotionally challenging, often physically challenging life where you are constantly given reasons to be insecure and have panic attacks. I totally get the stuff about her not deserving to be there and I don’t mean to insult musicians in any way if that’s how they feel obviously, but this is an opportunity to show us how hard being a performer is so maybe they can all be cut some slack.”
Cummings honed her act for years on the stand-up circuit before breaking through last year with her sitcom and a producer and co-creator credit on “2 Broke Girls,” and she said she doesn’t feel qualified to judge Del Rey’s performance. “It takes a long time to get good, and even when you are good, you can be challenged by new venues and being televised, and cameras, and the uh…fear and terror of being slammed by critics and bloggers,” she wrote. “Plus if you are a woman you also get fashion criticism and if you’re a pretty woman you’re accused of having plastic surgery and if you’re not you’re ‘busted’ and people blog about how they don’t want to f— you … it’s not ideal.”
Add into that mix the self-hate and self-criticism that many artists have, and Cummings said even when things go perfectly, it’s still hard. “So when it goes bad, it’s just the worst vortex of misery,” she said. “If she fell on her face, she was there, she felt it, and her having lived it is punishment enough. We don’t need to keep bashing her unless it makes us feel better about ourselves which … isn’t an ideal reason to hate someone.”