Pharrell Williams was celebrating before his musical performances on “Saturday Night Live” even started. In honor of turning 41, the singer cut into a slice of birthday cake backstage, a chocolate confection decorated with his now-famous high hat silhouette. The night only got sweeter as he rocked studio 8H with two performances.
Pharrell kicked off his first number, “Happy,” taking the stage in his latest uniform of an Adidas track jacket and mainstay “Buffalo Girls” hat (this time in emerald green, which he’d worn for the promos this week). Pharrell urged the audience, “Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof. Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth.” Kids clapped and swayed on the stage behind him, with a few stepping up to show off their breakdancing skills.
For his next number, Pharrell showcased the lead track from his album G.I.R.L. An all-female string section opened the “Marilyn Monroe” song, with legendary composer Hans Zimmer conducting (which may explain all of the other Disney-related sketches by host Anna Kendrick). “What makes you different makes you special,” he said toward the camera, reiterating the girl-power theme.
Pharrell held onto his hat for one more appearance, but this time he jumped into a sketch (playing himself). Sitting alongside Kenan Thompson and Taran Killam, the panel judged tryouts for Pharrell’s new backup singer. Although Kendrick’s version of Rent’s “Take Me or Leave Me” solidified her vocal dominance in the night’s sketches, once again the headwear stole the show. Pharrell kept his green version from earlier, while Kenan and Taran each affectionately donned their own in tan and navy.
After two high-energy musical performances and an impressive acting cameo, our hat is off to you Pharrell.