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Katy Perry - "California Gurls" on SNL

1 rating: -5.0
Live Performance

Live performance of "California Gurls" by Katy Perry on Saturday Night Live on September 25th, 2010.

1 review about Katy Perry - "California Gurls" on SNL

Absolutely Horrendous

  • Oct 13, 2010
So though I may not be a Katy Perry fan, I can respect how successful some of her music is within pop culture. And despite my already waning tolerance for the majority of pop music today, I still hold on for those very few who exemplify the genre's best output of music.

All right, so "California Gurls" isn't your dramatic mad scene aria that calls for a spinto soprano obviously, so it should be a no-brainer to nail, right? Well, this particular song happens to be a dance pop song, in other words, it's focus is not on actual vocal caliber so much as it is on awesome beats you can bang your head and tap your feet to. So that means that the music wasn't actually composed so much with the singer in mind, let alone "singability" of the music and lyrics.

Therefore, when you try to perform a song like this live (as demonstrated by the artist herself), your chances of utter failure are imminent. Not that Katy Perry has a terrible voice (at least she's actually singing live), but the nature of this song doesn't lend itself so easily for natural, comfortable singing, and so what you get is terrible tone and intonation (albeit that can be partially attributed to her caliber as a musician) and incredibly forced singing, the combination of which resulting in an awkward, weak performance. Furthermore, when you try do a dance pop song live, you need to have a lot of bass to fill up all that space (when you're dancing in a club or listening to to the recording, the bass is the most prominent register). As you can tell from the video, the bass is almost nonexistent, which I'm sure was done to highlight Katy Perry's singing prowess (or lack thereof), but it ultimately failed in recreating the appeal of the music and in captivating the audience.

Despite this embarrassing performance, the other two songs she sang were salvageable (and of course the best one was the digital short; thank goodness for music production). But I personally think it's not the best idea to perform these kinds of dance pop songs live unless you've got the vocal chops to do so.

And it should at least be a good song too!

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