So, the adorably mussed One Direction made their big debut on Saturday Night Live this weekend, and, unlike some previous recent SNL first-timers, they were totally fine! In fact, some viewers — those under the age of 15, perhaps, or anyone who mourns the Early Bieber phase — might even argue that they were good, give or take a very noticeable backing track on the chorus. The suspenders! The Bieber-to-the-max hair! The sense that they are actually enjoying their time in the spotlight and don’t mind singing pop songs clearly written for one person, then divided into five parts. It’s all genuinely likable (except for maybe the maroon blazer). But watching the five young gentlemen of One Direction crammed onto a tiny stage for the duration of “What Makes You Beautiful,” it became clear that there is one aspect of their performance routine that still needs a little fine-tuning. And that would be: the dancing. Or lack thereof.
Listen, they bop up and down with enthusiasm, and at least a couple of those moves (the scoop-and-point-at-the-ground, for one) were made respectable by Justin Bieber himself. But mostly, the guys just wander around the stage like lost shiba inu puppies. The minimal choreography feels like a cup-shuffle game (Is Harry under the middle spotlight? Or the far right? Wait, no, he’s stage left now! ), and there’s a lot of hand uncertainty. Several members got way too close to the baby-crotch-grab (another Bieber move) for Vulture’s comfort. Again, we respect the energy, and Niall is really working the air-drum as best he can, but would a full grapevine be out of place here? Or one of those windmill-type moves where they all line up single file and wave their arms around in patterns? Just some suggestions.