Saturday Night Live’s final episode of 2020, hosted by Kristen Wiig, featured two electric performances from musical guest Dua Lipa. The episode opened with Vice President Pence (Beck Bennett) and Vice President-Elect Harris (Maya Rudolph) receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
One of the few artists who thrived during the pandemic, Dua Lipa’s second album Future Nostalgia cemented her status as a pop staple. It dropped in the first month of quarantine and didn’t need an accompanying tour to bolster its release, although one is coming in September 2021.
Future Nostalgia righted the wrongs of its predecessor, the 2017 self-titled debut Dua Lipa, by finding a distinct sound amid complaints of being too generic. Dua also improved her live performances, coming off more confident and energetic onstage than in the past. Future Nostalgia is ending the year on several publications’ best of 2020 lists, and is up for five Grammy Awards, including Album and Song of the Year.
Dua’s first song of the night was “Don’t Start Now.” While Future Nostalgia’s lead single was released on Halloween of 2019, it had major staying power throughout 2020. It reached its Billboard Hot 100 peak of #2 on its 19th week of release, and surpassed Lipa’s 2017 single “New Rules” as her biggest hit. The nu-disco bop channels “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor, as well as Daft Punk and the Bee Gees, dealing with themes of female empowerment and independence.
Dua closed her SNL debut with “Levitating,” an album standout that became a single in August. The dance floor-ready anthem spawned remixes with Madonna, Missy Elliott, and DaBaby, although none compare to the original solo version. “Levitating” is arguably Future Nostalgia’s high point, expertly updating the Studio 54 sound for 2020. The DaBaby remix made Barack Obama’s recently unveiled list of favorite songs of 2020.
Saturday Night Live returns in January. Revisit Kristen Wiig’s memorable final episode as a cast member on SNL, where Mick Jagger dedicated “She’s A Rainbow” to Wiig and the cast gave her an emotional send-off.