Miley Cyrus and Mark Ronson closed out their musical guest spot on “Saturday Night Live” on Dec. 15 with an uplifting performance of their John Lennon and Yoko Ono cover of “Happy Xmas (War Is Over!)” featuring Sean Ono Lennon.
Cyrus looked lovely in a festive red-and-green sequined dress as she delivered a pleading, powerful vocal charging listeners “So this is Christmas, and what have you done?” Ronson accompanied on electric guitar on Cyrus’ right while Lennon and Ono’s musical son Sean, stepped up to the mic on her left and provided vocals on the resounding “War Is Over” refrain while playing guitar.
The trio dropped the pop-infused, punctuation-added (War Is Over!) holiday cover on Friday (Dec. 14) preceding their SNL performance. Cyrus visited “The Tonight Show” ahead of SNL to promote her other new Ronson collab single “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart." She also announced the impending “Happy Xmas” cover and talked about the song's important message.
She said, “I don’t think anything could speak louder about what’s going on right now than ‘War Is Over.” When Fallon asked if Lennon sounded like his late, great father in the recording session she was quick to praise the young musician. She said, “I think more than just inheriting the voice, or you know the way he looks or whatever, that it's about the magic that he has. I think that's what he's really inherited more than anything: it's just this radiant magic."
Diehard Beatles and Lennon fans would likely agree Sean bears a striking physical blend of his dad and his mom, Yoko Ono. It has been a tragic, tumultuous year on many fronts with multiple mass shootings and horrific physical devastation caused by hurricanes and California’s ravaging wildfires.
Hearing John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s protest for the Vietnam War transcend time and issue a new, relevant plea to a new generation arguably created an epic SNL moment – especially when capped off with a live performance from Lennon and Ono’s son. Sean’s smile projected warmth and kindness as he looked over at his collaborators, then the audience, from behind the mic. In that instant, the “magic” Cyrus described to Jimmy Fallon was abundantly clear.
Watch the entire “Happy Xmas (War Is Over!)” SNL performance above.
Ronson and Cyrus also performed their poignant new single “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart” on the show. The captivating music video for the track dropped on Nov. 30. Watch their SNL performance below.