While a lot of late-night TV hosts played musical chairs, regardless of who was giving the opening monologue, most of the shows managed to maintain a pretty impressive lineup of both established acts and buzz bands throughout the year.
We really have to doff our hats to the talent bookers because without them, we wouldn’t have discovered some of our new favorite groups OR seen with our own eyes that Will Ferrell and Chad Smith (drummer for Red Hot Chili Peppers) are indeed two different people.
As we scan back through the year’s late-night TV musical roster, here are a couple of our most beloved performances.
1. Sia performing “Chandelier” on Late Night With Seth Meyers: It takes a bold person (like Lena Dunham) to wear an all-white power suit and an even bolder singer (like Sia) to belt out while face-down on a top bunk mattress, but it hardly matters because those artistic risks are the things that make the performance most captivating.
2. Future Islands performing “Seasons” on The Late Show With David Letterman: It only took this Baltimore band eight years to become an overnight sensation, and much of their sudden success can be attributed to this clip—and, possibly, the strong resemblance of singer Samuel T. Herring to a young Marlon Brando.
3. St. Vincent performing “Birth In Reverse” on Saturday Night Live: While watching this clip, we didn’t know which is most hypnotizing—singer Annie Clark’s amazingly electric coif, the bad-ass bassist’s deadpan expression, or the flash lighting that almost induces an epileptic seizure… but in a good way. Whichever it is, we totally appreciate the band wanting to make their SNL debut more like a piece of performance art instead of another ho-hum musical performance.
4. Will Ferrell and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith performing a drum-off on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon: Okay, truth be told, even after seeing this clip, we’re still not sure if Ferrell and Smith still might be the same person. After all, CGI is getting pret-ty realistic and Jimmy Fallon could’ve totally orchestrated some kind of green-screen magic to make this drum off appear authentic. Then again, these guys could just be each other’s doppleganger. You decide.
5. Bleachers performing “Rollercoaster” on Conan: It’s been a little more than a month since we first reported on this kid-tested, hipster-approved performance from Bleachers and their adorable mini-me’s. However, it’s so cute, we can’t seem to let it go. What can we say? We’re a sucker for little kids with beards and matching beanies.
Did you have a favorite late-night TV musical moment? Let us know what made your playlists this year.