Billie Eilish’s ‘SNL’ performance honors show’s current and former women stars

Billie Eilish poses at the premiere of 'Swarm' in 2023
AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Billie Eilish sang a simple and poignant rendition of her blockbuster hit “What Was I Made For?” on the Dec. 16 episode of “Saturday Night Live.” The standout song from this year’s popular “Barbie” movie has become a comfort song for fans, who have lovingly embraced “What Was I Made For?” as a means of emotional healing.

Eilish sat across from her brother and collaborator Finneas, who played the piano for the beautiful performance, which marked the song’s debut on television.

The timing of Eilish’s appearance coincided with SNL alum Kate McKinnon’s return to the show, this time as a host. McKinnon, who had a feature role in “Barbie” as Weird Barbie, partnered with “Barbie” director Greta Gerwig on stage to introduce Eilish’s performance.

As Eilish sang, a video montage played in the background to honor the women of “Saturday Night Live,” both past and present. The video showcased home movies and photos of Chloe Fineman, Heidi Gardner, Punkie Johnson, Molly Kearney (who is is the show’s first openly nonbinary cast member), Ego Nwodim, Sarah Sherman and Chloe Troast. In addition, images of McKinnon and fellow SNL alums Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig were featured. Rudolph and Wiig made cameos earlier in the show during McKinnon’s opening monologue.

You can watch the performance, and see the video montage, in the clip “SNL” shared on YouTube:

MORE: Watch Julia Stiles step into surprise ‘Save the Last Dance’ routine on ‘SNL’

Eilish, who has already won the film song of the year at Variety’s 2023 Hitmakers ceremony in early December, is also nominated for five Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe Award and a Critic’s Choice Award.

The singer spoke with Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show” about the song’s cultural impact. She said Gerwig asked her to write Barbie’s “heart song.”

“And that, like, stuck with us. That stayed with us,” she told Fallon. “I feel like [the song] brought women together in this way that I haven’t felt part of like that. It made me feel really good.”

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About the Author
Marie Rossiter
Marie is a freelance writer and content creator with more than 20 years of experience in journalism. She lives in southwest Ohio with her husband and is almost a full-fledged empty nest mom of two daughters. She loves music, reading, word games, and Walt Disney World.

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