English singer-songwriter Sam Smith was the musical guest on last night's Saturday Night Live, locking in the announcement of his second studio album, The Thrill of it All. There were no undue surprises or new songs; he performed "Too Good at Goodbyes," released last month, and his latest single "Pray," which came out alongside the album announcement at the end of last week.
Both performances went off without a hitch. "Too Good at Goodbyes" is a poppy ballad which relies entirely on the strength of Smith's voice and the presence of some gospel backing vocals. Smith's falsetto was flawless and the backing singers were present. So it worked.
"Pray" is the more interesting song, a soulful downtempo ballad that showcases Smith's vocal versatility and conjures a little more drama. The backing singers grew to a mini-choir and the strings were more prominent. Smith, for some reason, was dressed like Rick Astley.
Last night's SNL also featured an unannounced performance from Jason Aldean, who addressed the mass shooting in Las Vegas and performed a cover of Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down" for the show's cold open. You can watch that here.
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