"I didn't think it was a major f--k-up," John said of Del Rey's performance. "I saw Ashlee Simpson and, yeah, that's a major f--k-up."
While speaking with Elton John in Rolling Stone's "Musicians on Musicians" cover story, the 34-year-old singer expressed how she doesn't believe her ridiculed performance was "terrible." And as it turns out, John doesn't think it was "that bad" either.
"You came through that awful thing in that 'Saturday Night Live' [in 2012]. Which was so distressing for someone like me to see someone so crucified," John began. "I've watched it, and it wasn't that bad!"
"It wasn't terrible," Del Rey replied.
"It wasn't terrible at all," John continued. "I don't know what the agenda was there, but where was the #MeToo movement there?"
"Oh, you said it, not me!" Del Rey said.
After the "Norman F--king Rockwell" singer's performance, John called her up and offered to help her deal with the criticism.
"That's the first time I ever talked to you," he called. "I rang you up and said, 'Listen, I just want to offer my help. I know you're sober and everything, but just don't take any notice of these people.' Most people, that would have flattened them forever. It was an outrageous assault."
According to Del Rey -- who performed her hits "Video Games" and "Blue Jeans" -- her appearance on "SNL" was the "one night in all my time performing that I wasn't nervous."
"I remember the intention I had," she added. "Looking back, there was a more eccentric performative approach to it. I was thinking about Maria Callas, or someone darker coming through."
"You were still a very, very young artist," John reassured. "I don't think you should have been put in that position so early on in your career."
The music icon praised how Del Rey recovered from the "incredible shellacking" she encountered. "I'm sure it gave you a lot of trauma," he said. "But it also gave you incredible backbone."
John then reiterated how he doesn't think Del Rey's performance was as awful as everyone made it out to be and compared it to the backlash Ashlee Simpson received after her now-infamous lip-sync disaster in 2004.
"I didn't think it was a major f--k-up," John said of Del Rey. "I saw Ashlee Simpson and, yeah, that's a major f--k-up. That's funny. Not to her it isn't, but it's very funny to watch."
"I'm not laughing!" Del Rey replied.
The pair went on to speak about each other's careers, music and personal lives. Read the full interview, here.
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