NEW YORK: Ryan Reynolds may have been the host of "Saturday Night Live" this weekend, but it was Lady Gaga's show, as she performed two songs and appeared in two skits.
The most memorable comic segment featured a surprise appearance from Madonna, whose influence on Gaga has been much commented upon (and which Madge said she's "very flattered" by in a recent interview with MTV News.) In the middle of a mock-"MTV 4" show called "Deep House Dish," Kenan Thompson announced, "Performing together for the very first time, Lady Gaga and Madonna!"
The two came out in skimpy black leather outfits and matching high black boots, and danced briefly to a tepid electro song before mocking each other: "What's wrong Madonna, can't get into the groove?" to which Madonna replied, "Looks like your wig needs a fix!" A jokey hair-pulling match ensued that ended with Gaga and Madonna pretending to strangle each other.
Thompson then forced the pair to sit on the couch and placed himself between them (with the two occasionally reaching across him to slap each other). "Guess what Madonna, I'm totally hotter than you!" Gaga mocked. "Guess what, I'm totally taller than you! What kind of name is Lady Gaga, it sounds like baby food!"
"Behave, beetches!" Thompson yelled, then said he wanted them to kiss and make up. The two leaned in to kiss for a tantalising moment — before Thompson leaned in and they kissed him instead, with Madonna getting surprisingly intimate, straddling his leg as the segment ended.
One commercial break later, Gaga hit the stage to perform "Paparazzi" in a rendition less dramatic than its Video Music Awards incarnation but still elaborate: She was clad in a bright-red outfit and feathery headdress that was vaguely shaped like Mickey Mouse ears; she was accompanied by three dancers, a live band and (apparently) backing tracks. The song's demanding synchronised choreography — or the catfight with Madonna just before — caused Gaga to lose her breath mid-song and she never quite got it back. (She did, however, manage to say the song's "Snap, snap to that sh-- on the radio" line loud and clear.)
Later in the show, she came back for a performance of "LoveGame" that was much less physically taxing: She stood still at the microphone, wearing a wild gyroscope-ish contraption of several large concentric metal rings that moved while she sang. About halfway through the song — perhaps in reaction to her breathless singing on "Paparazzi" — she abruptly stopped, moved over to a nearby piano and sat down (which took several seconds, considering she was still wearing the contraption) and performed a freeform solo medley of several songs that showed off her often-overlooked vocal chops, including the new track "Bad Romance," "Pokerface" and snippets of several others, many of which had lyrics about New York.
Gaga made a final skit appearance in her famous plastic-bubble getup, during which she was soon joined by Andy Samberg wearing the same outfit. They joked about it (as if they'd accidentally worn a normal outfit) before attempting to kiss, but of course the bubbles prevented their mouths from reaching each other.
Minutes later, the pair appeared in the traditional credit-roll wave, and bounced off of each other attempting to kiss yet again.