Bieber brought out Chance the Rapper as a surprise special guest for the night’s first song “Holy.” With a church-in-the-woods stage design, the more mature Bieber gives a nod to his relationship with wife Hailey Baldwin, and making references to their shared Christian beliefs. The lyrics stand out as a departure from Bieber’s past songs.
That the way you hold me, hold me, hold me, hold me, hold me.
Feels so holy, holy, holy, holy, holy.
On God, runnin’ to the altar like a track star.
Can’t wait another second.
For the second performance of the night, Bieber was joined by benny blanco on piano for “Lonely,” a song referencing his early rise to fame in the past decade. This performance began from Bieber’s SNL dressing room, singing in the mirror, then walking towards the stage through the halls of Studio 8-H. This intro is similar to the music video for “Lonely” that was released this past week, starring Jacob Tremblay as a young Bieber.
Maybe when I’m older it’ll all calm down, but it’s killing me now.
What if you had it all but nobody to call, maybe then you’d know me.
Cause I’ve had everything, but no one’s listening, and that’s just oh so lonely.
Everybody knows my past now, like my house was always made of glass.
Maybe that’s the price you pay for the money and fame at an early age.
Bieber does not hold back on “Lonely,” with a single spotlight on him for the song on a barren stage, save for Blanco. The two songs present Bieber in a different spotlight than the tabloid view of recent years. Justin Bieber appears focused and stepping into a new phase of his career with “Holy” and “Lonely.”