Ariana Grande’s got one more problem after hosting Saturday Night Live.
The “Break Free” singer proved so versatile and consistently amusing throughout this week’s telecast, that she’s almost certain to be invited back to Studio 8H — where she’ll face the challenge of fending off a sophomore slump.
But let’s wait ’til Season 42 for that brand of fretting.
Grande was so good this week that I’m eschewing my tradition of choosing the two best and two worst sketches, and instead devoting this space to the four best moments. (Solid work that included Grande’s Jennifer Lawrence and Maria from Sound of Music didn’t make the cut – but not because the “Focus” diva didn’t nail her parts. The Cold Open featuring both Darrell Hammond’s Donald Trump and Larry David’s Sanders would’ve also made the Top 3 almost any other week, but this episode was well above average, so… sorry, fellas!)
Grande and the ladies of SNL set out to write a song about all of womankind, determined that the task was too difficult to complete without offending anyone, then eventually claimed their mission and hashtagged it. When you can rhyme “a song we did not write” with “Malala, Maya Angelou and Madeleine Albright” — without calling a woman old or judging a woman’s hands — you know you’re crushing it.
BEST: Tidal Intern
This isn’t the first time SNL used this setup — an employee at a music-streaming service must avert a system-fail crisis through top-notch karaoke impersonations – but Grande’s takes on Celine Dion, Britney Spears, Shakira and Rihanna were so scathingly accurate that I dare say she gets the edge over even Bruno Mars.
BEST: True Tales From the Sea
Kate McKinnon and Beck Bennett got the most laughs in a grotesque and bizarre sketch about three sailors saved by a trio of mermaids — only McKinnon’s creature (who’s got a thing for Bennett) turned out to be 65% gelatinous blob-fish — a creature that eats and defecates from the same orifice, and absorbs her mate’s gonads. O_o
BEST: “Weekend Update”: The Drunkest Contestant on The Bachelor
Cecily Strong was perfection as a contestant with an appetite for anchor Colin Jost (“I saw a connection with you the first time I saw an opportunity to be on TV,” she cooed) and an even bigger lust for alcohol. Best part? Watching the self-proclaimed “wide-awake nightmare” repeatedly bare her teeth and declare, “I’m not crazy!”