Machine Gun Kelly’s ‘SNL’ Debut Did Not Disappoint

Machine Gun Kelly’s Saturday Night Live debut with a long time coming, but was well worth the wait. Last night, January 30, MGK took the coveted SNL stage for the very first time. 


The rapper-turned-rockstar performed two tracks off his number one album Tickets to My Downfall. Both performances were stellar, but it was clear that one made fans want to mosh and one made fans want to cry.


Kicking Off The Night With “My Ex’s Best Friend”

His first set was a gritty, grungy version of his hit song “my ex’s best friend.” The chart-topping alt-rock track is one that Kelly can truly rip into. The rocker can – and did – run around the stage and shred on his signature pink guitar alongside the song. It’s an urban-infused pop punk track that usually features blackbear. 


Blackbear is Machine Gun Kelly’s friend and often a musical collaborator. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Kelly was only allowed to have his own band alongside him. (Which also meant that Blink-182’s Travis Barker wasn’t there to drum for him, like he had at the AMAs.) Therefore, blackbear was not able to join in on the SNL performance. In order to perform the song in full, though, MGK made sure to ask blackbear if it was okay to sing his verse.


On Twitter, Machine Gun Kelly shared the exchange with his musical friend. There, he included photo proof of blackbear’s acceptance, and also excitement, for his friend. “When you win, we all win,” blackbear kindly wrote to the SNL newbie.


And, boy, did MGK win. In his iconic white boots and pink-tinted outfit, “my ex’s best friend” got everyone in Studio 8H on their feet.


Machine Gun Kelly’s Not Alone Anymore After His Emotive Take on “Lonely”

It was Machine Gun Kelly’s second set that really impressed fans, critics, and TV watchers alike. The “Bloody Valentine” singer sat down to sing one of, if not his most, emotional performances to date. Kelly sang the song “Lonely,” which is somewhat of a deep cut off Tickets to My Downfall. The song is astronomically emotional with lyrics that weigh heavy on both the performer and the listener.


“Lonely” chronicles Kelly’s life in an autobiographical sense. He heart-wrenchingly sings about losing his aunt, who was like a mother to him, and his father. Kelly lost his father not even a year ago, right as this new rock era was off. He didn’t get to see the success that TTMD brought his son, and neither did Kelly’s beloved aunt. 


Sitting on a stool, with a solo spotlight on him, Machine Gun Kelly sang about this feeling of loss and loneliness . It’s emotional to hear anyone say that they feel “lonely, even when the room is full.” Let alone someone who is nearing tears on a national stage. 


Without these people in MGK’s life, the star felt alone. Although, he had hoped earlier in the week that this performance would once again connect him to his family. 


Kelly tweeted on Wednesday, that he hoped that by singing this song specifically, that he would feel his aunt and father there. He also noted that he grew up watching SNL with them, so this performance was a full circle moment. Singing a stripped down version of “Lonely” was a conscious choice that only added to the moment. 

To witness such a fun-loving and highly respected artist be so vulnerable on stage was mesmerizing to watch. In addition, Saturday Night Live is a massive stage to fill and so widely known. Machine Gun Kelly, for his debut performance, did so effortlessly. 


From a high energy, bright pink, electric performance to one so exposing, captivating, and dark – MGK can do it all. And hopefully he’ll do it all again soon – on SNL or anywhere else where the world can tune in and fall in love.

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