It’s still too early to say that One Direction have joined the ranks of Alec Baldwin and Christopher Walken as Saturday Night Live mainstays, but the British pop quintet are quickly becoming an annual tradition on SNL. For the third time in three years, 1D served as musical guest on Saturday Night Live, performing two Four tracks, “Night Changes” and “Ready to Run,” on the festive, Amy Adams-hosted episode, the last SNL of 2014.
While One Direction’s “Night Changes” at the American Music Awards fell flat – Rolling Stone called that night’s lackluster performance “corny” – the laidback Four single worked much better within the more intimate confines of SNL‘s Studio 8H.
Supported by what sounded like an army of Directioners in the SNL audience, the biggest pop band on the planet bounced back from early microphone trouble – in fact, both songs started out with hollow vocals that were quickly repaired – to bring yet another solid performance, with the group’s harmonizing especially impressive on the mellow rocker “Ready to Run.”
In addition to the two performances, One Direction also dropped by Aidy Bryant and Cecily Strong’s Girlfriends Talk Show. The fivesome portrayed a high school dance team in the sketch, with 1D’s Niall Horan delivering one of the worst accents in SNL history. It was an SNL filled with musical moments, from Kristen Wiig and Amy Adams’ seasonal music showdown in the opening monologue to that rap video about a bangin’ office Christmas party to Taran Killan’s killer Pitbull impression in “A Very Cuban Christmas.”
New episodes of Saturday Night Live return January 17th with Kevin Hart as host. That night’s musical guest has not been announced yet.