Saturday Night Live music: Shawn Mendes performs ‘If I Can’t Have You,’ ‘In My Blood’

FredShawn Mendes was the musical guest on this weekend’s Saturday Night Live, and we knew that the enthusiasm for him would be there. How could it not be when you consider the size of his social media following? We knew that he was going to be a good fit from the moment that he turned up during the show in some comedy bits — he, clearly, had an interest in taking part in SNL in every way that he possibly could, including the comedy bits. This is always a positive sign for us as a regular viewer. It shows just how engaged the musical guest really is.

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As for Shawn’s first song, it was “If I Can’t Have You” — a brand-new single that is still just getting some play now. It’s upbeat, it’s fun, and it’s the sort of thing that plays really well on this sort of stage. It’s high-energy, it has a live band, and it allows Shawn to do what he does best without all that much in the way of fuss. That’s something that we’ve always encouraged artists to do with this show — just go on and perform without too many frills. For a lot of people, this is a chance to be in front of an audience that has never heard you before.

Of course, with Mendes, he’s already got an established audience. This performance was for him, more along the lines of icing on the cake. It’s a great way to top off everything else that he’s done over the past several years. He may still be young, but he’s got an incredible resume.

As for the second song…

Mendes performed another fairly recent song in “In My Blood,” one that was a significant change-up from what he did the first time around. For starters, the staging for this song was so much more intimate, and the focus was mostly on him in front of a piano singing and continuing to play.

This was a pretty powerful number, a reminder of how good of a singer Shawn is, and also just how he can alternate between doing fun, upbeat stuff like earlier and then something much more vulnerable and soft. This was a great showcase of everything that he can do both as a singer and a musician — something that he probably wanted to do coming into this episode. Really, we can’t say that there is a better showcase out there for Shawn and some of his talent than what we had here.

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