Billie Eilish returned for her third Saturday Night Live appearance with a touching performance of “What Was I Made For?,” the acclaimed ballad from the soundtrack of this summer’s Barbie.
The film’s director, Greta Gerwig, and Barbie co-star Kate McKinnon introduced the 21-year-old songwriter, who was joined on stage by brother and collaborator Finneas on piano. A 7-string ensemble filled out the performance.
During the song, childhood home movie clips and photos of Eilish and current and former female SNL cast members were shown in the backdrop, bringing to mind the poignant montage scene in Gerwig’s film.
Eilish, during a recent Hollywood Reporter roundtable with other artists, revealed that the song’s composition was preceded by a bout with writer’s block.
“I honestly was concerned that it was over for me,” said Eilish, who would go on to direct the one-take music video for the single. “We’d been trying, and it wasn’t doing what it usually would do in me. I was honestly like, ‘Damn, maybe I hit my peak and I don’t know how to write anymore?’”
Lo and behold, the song has been nominated for five Grammys–including Song of the Year–a Golden Globe, and a Critics Choice Award. It also placed ninth on Rolling Stone‘s 100 Best Songs of 2023.
Eilish followed “What Was I Made For?” with “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” with her brother on piano once more and award-winning jazz musician Christian McBride on stand-up bass.
On The Tonight Show Thursday, Eilish said she’s “almost done” with her next album, which will be her third after 2021’s Happier Than Ever and 2019’s When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
Eilish’s last SNL appearance was as host and musical guest two Decembers ago when she performed the title track for her 2021 album along with “Male Fantasy.” Happier than Ever garnered a pair of Grammy nominations for Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album. In 2020, those two awards went to When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
Eilish debuted on SNL‘s Season 45 premiere back in 2019.