The last “SNL” of 2018 was one of reflection and hope, and that included the final song by musical guest Mark Ronson and Miley Cyrus — a rendition of the John Lennon classic “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” on which the two were joined by Sean Ono Lennon. The song’s lyrics, “And so this is Christmas / And what have you done / Another year over / A new one just begun,” offered a fitting bookend to a tumultuous year.
The performance was introduced by “SNL” cast member Pete Davidson, who had drawn public concern after a series of social media messages he posted earlier in the day, one of which noted that he “really [didn’t] want to be on this Earth anymore.” The message was shared by many of his famous friends and colleagues, who sent their well-wishes to the comedian and also pointed out that Davidson has been very open about his struggle to be mentally healthy (he revealed a borderline personality disorder diagnosis last year). Davidson did not appear in any sketches during the December 15 episode.
Cyrus and Ronson appeared together on stage twice that night. Earlier in the show, the two were accompanied by a string section for their latest single, “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart.” The song has a “Jolene”-like Americana vibe and, as Cyrus had described during an appearance on “The Howard Stern Show” earlier in the week, she was drawn to it because of the timeliness of its message. “What have we done? Are we doing enough? Are we actually active? … We’re the next generation to encourage people to fight for the change we want to see,” said Cyrus, who also revealed to the SiriusXM host that a recording of “Happy Xmas” was scheduled for New York’s Electric Ladyland studios, where John Lennon famously made a vocal cameo on David Bowie’s “Fame.”
Watch Cyrus and Lennon perform “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” below: