Shortly after Alec Baldwin forced the jaw-drop of a nation with his freakishly spot-on Donald Trump impression, The Weeknd hit Saturday Night Live’s stage for the show’s season premiere to perform the first two singles off his forthcoming album, Starboy.
Baldwin wasn’t the only one nailing his four minutes in Studio 8H. The last time Abel Tesfaye played SNL, it was the height of “Can’t Feel My Face” glory, and he trotted out a high-powered collaboration with Her Minajesty, too. Now, he’s sporting a new ’do and has a new record to get everyone talking, and that’s exactly what these performances of “Starboy” and “False Alarm” are set to do.
First, Tesfaye brought out his Daft Punk–crafted beats and a giant white cross for “Starboy,” and he found a great dance partner in his mic stand over the soaring points of the track. All smiles at the end of the conclusion of the tune, it’s clear that Tesfaye’s feeling great about the next chapter in his career, and his nearly flawless vocal showing backed that up. (It’s “nearly” flawless as he clearly pauses to catch his breath at a few points, but if anything, it’s just further proof that he’s pouring everything he’s got into his new stuff.)
An aside here: The YouTube info for the “Starboy” SNL performance tacks on the “ft. Daft Punk,” but there are no helmets to be found on the stage — though we do see some tall dudes taking the guitar and bass to task in the background underneath the glow of that cross. Is this a simple vid title that gives them their part of the credit for what he’s performing, or is this a glimpse of Daft Punk live and in the flesh?
For “False Alarm,” that cross burned with a neon-magenta blaze and kicked up the pace a notch for the adrenaline-spiking number. The screams, barking, chants, pummeling heartbeat of the drum kit, and an eerie closer of a meditative hum made “False Alarm” the standout of The Weeknd’s SNL return, hands down.