YouTube’s Karmin savaged by “SNL” critics

Karmin, the cover-song sensation, got lousy reviews on "Saturday Night Live." But YouTubers don't care about the critics.


Fruzsina Eördögh


Published Feb 13, 2012   Updated Jun 2, 2021, 9:28 pm CDT

Is Karmin the next Lana Del Rey? Unfortunately for the charming YouTube stars, it appears so. But their fans on the video site don’t seem to be listening to the critics.

The pair, known for their quirkily endearing covers of R&B numbers, became the second YouTube act to make the leap to TV via Saturday Night Live over the weekend. And like Del Rey, the musical duo of Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonan are getting reamed by the press for their live performance on the late-night comedy show.

Gawker didn’t hesitate to write them off, publishing “The Hater’s Guide to Karmin” as a time-saving move for anyone who didn’t want to make the effort of staying up to watch their actual performance. Karmin’s “existence is a crime against humanity,” the blog declared, and their popularity is due to “unspoken cultural biases …[l]ike racism.” (Heidemann and Noonan are white, but they often cover songs made popular by black artists.)

Heidemann does have a distinctive performing style which may be more suited for the small screen than the big stage. New York Magazine collected and categorized 88 different gestures, from kicks to hand poses inadvertently flashing gang signs.

LiveJournal celebrity-news community Oh No They Didn’t simply made fun of the pair’s dance moves, and left the rest up to their commenters.  

Videogum sarcastically declared Karmin its “new favorite band” and asked, “Why didn’t they just play Whitney Houston songs off of a CD in the dark?”

Spin went with the headline “‘SNL’ Damage Report: How Badly Did Karmin Bomb?” The music publication forgave Del Rey for her past transgressions (they mocked her original performance). Spin called Karmin “hip-hop even Mitt Romney could enjoy” and wrote the duo is “better at stage-y song-ending poses than they are at songs.”

But those critics seem out of touch with Karmin’s fanbase on YouTube, where the pair has attracted more than 800,000 subscribers and 192 million video views across two channels.

When people started making fun of Heidemann’s outfit, YouTubers were quick to defend her attire and declare their love for Karmin.

YouTube the company also displayed its pride in its homegrown hit with a mini-documentary about the band’s rise to fame.

“Yay Karmin! Awesome performance. So happy to see Karmin doing the primetime gigs…. Nice!” commented NiocaLove on a copy of their SNL performance on their newish KarminVEVO channel.

Karmin’s presence on Vevo, the music-video site, is a result of signing with Sony subsidiary Epic Records last year.

Who cares about bad press when you’ve got hundreds of thousands of adoring fans?


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*First Published: Feb 13, 2012, 7:54 pm CST