how billie eilish sang upside down on her 'snl' performance
Sometimes, pop culture conjures up a stunt so faultless that we’re left wondering, “How the fuck did they actually do that?” Case in point: Billie Eilish on the first episode of the new season of Saturday Night Live this weekend.
For her performance of chart-topper “bad guy”, Billie bounced and crawled across the walls and ceilings of an art deco skyscraper lobby, clearly not giving a fuck about the ankle injury that’s left her in a leg brace. For three and a half minutes, she moved ceaselessly from one surface to the next, pausing only for dance breaks as the song hit its “Duh!” chorus, when she went wild in a graffitied custom co-ord from LA brand Freak City.
Despite being capable of breaking sales records, upending the music industry and going from tiny club shows to arenas in roughly 18 months, we all know that Spider-Man’s the only being who can defy gravity and clamber across walls and ceilings. So how did Billie and her team pull the whole thing off?
Usually stunts like these are reserved for film sets, which have the benefit of big spaces and endless takes to make the “walking on walls” trick look seamless and believable. For Inception, Christopher Nolan’s dream mindfuck film that features zero gravity fight scenes, the massive special effects team build a huge rotating set in a hangar-like movie studio, and used multiple digitally-operated cameras to make sure everything flowed perfectly. The used this technique for Ariana Grande’s “No Tears Left to Cry” video too. But for SNL, Billie Eilish downsized it a bit and executed the miraculous task of doing the whole thing live.
In this video lifted from actor Justin Theroux’s Instagram stories, we get a closer look at how they managed to make it work.
It seems the stage, lifted from the ground and placed inside what can only be described as a massive bingo caller’s machine, rotates clockwise throughout the performance. The camera, stabilised by cables, carefully turns with it, maintaining the illusion that the floor doesn’t move. Sure, people have tried stunts like this before, but it’s really hard to make it look this real.
So there you go. It seems Billie Eilish has yet another reason to brag about how she’s dominating the pop cultural conversation. It doesn’t matter if she’s on the walls, ceiling or planted firmly on the ground – she still does it better than the rest.
This article originally appeared on i-D UK.