13 Artists We Hope to See as ‘Saturday Night Live’ Musical Guests

Saturday Night Live has been spot-on with landing some serious talent as musical guests since The Weeknd performed on the season premiere of the late-night sketch show on Oct. 1. Not only have huge names like Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran and Lady Gaga graced the SNL stage in Season 42, but the show has also had some of music’s “next big things” like Maren Morris, Solange and Chance the Rapper as of late.

Following Sheeran’s performance on Feb. 11, the show is taking a two-week break, returning with host Octavia Spencer on March 4. With the musical guest still TBA, we couldn’t help thinking which artists we’d like to see on SNL ​this season and beyond.

Take a look at our SNL wish list below and see if you agree.

Katy Perry

Her new single “Chained To the Rhythm” has people bopping around the world, and it likely means there’s more new music on the way later this year. Considering it’s been more than three years since she’s performed on SNL (her last appearance was tied to her Prism album release in Oct. 2013), it seems like a great set-up for Perry to break that.

Jon Bellion

The singer-songwriter/rapper behind the Billboard Hot 100 hit “All Time Low” has proved he’s quite the dynamic performer on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and The Today Show, so he’d make for a fun live-television performance. Plus, he’s a Long Island, NY, native — SNL could hardly get more convenient than that.

Migos

​With “Bad and Boujee” burning up the Hot 100 (back-and-forth fighting for the top spot with Sheeran’s “Shape of You”) and four other simultaneous appearances on the chart — not to mention a chart-topping sophomore album just released on Jan. 27 — now is the perfect time for SNL to capitalize on the blazin’ hot rap group.

Thomas Rhett

The country star just landed his seventh No. 1 song on country radio with “Star of the Show,” he’s kicking off a massive North American tour on Feb. 23, and he just announced that his wife, Lauren, is pregnant with their first child (and they’re adopting another from Africa). Why not put the cherry on top of an already eventful year with his first-ever SNL performance?

James Arthur

His heartfelt love song “Say You Won’t Let Go” is getting him back on the radar after a three-year gap between albums, so an SNL appearance would likely boost him even more. Although SNL just had a British musical guest on with Sheeran, Arthur’s up-and-coming status and mellower vibe makes him different enough.

Kelsea Ballerini

After delivering dazzling performances of her latest hit “Peter Pan” on award shows (most recently on the Feb. 12 Grammys alongside Lukas Graham) and late-night talk shows, it’s about time the country sweetheart gets to do it on SNL too.

Maroon 5

Like Perry, Adam Levine and his band are hinting that a new album is in the works with two song releases in the last four months. Their latest, “Cold,” is yet another catchy tune that translates to a live-television performance the way that “Don’t Wanna Know” did — and practically any other Maroon 5 song, for that matter — so SNL would be a great platform to further prove that.

Ryan Adams

SNL has a way of snagging artists while they’re promoting new material. With Adams’ latest release, Prisoner, hitting stores Feb. 17, Adams seems like a great fit — especially since he hasn’t performed on the show since 2001.

Rae Sremmurd

The Mannequin Challenge fad may have fizzled, but that doesn’t mean the “Black Beatles” rappers shouldn’t bring it back for another live re-enactment. And with “Swang” gaining speed on the Hot 100, Rae Sremmurd fans are likely itching to see them perform on TV again.

Kehlani

Consideringthe R&B singer-songwriter’s first studio album just debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 (Feb. 18 chart), she clearly has a big enough fan base to qualify her for an SNL appearance. And after an electric choreographed performance of “CRZY” on Jimmy Kimmel Live​ recently, Kehlani seems like she would make her mark on the SNL stage too. 

​Luke Bryan

Despite the fact that the country hit-maker has a whole catalog of tunes that simply make you want to shake your booty (even a song specifically called “Country Girl Shake It For Me”), he has yet to be invited to shake his booty on SNL. With yet another entertainer of the year award nomination for this year’s Academy of Country Music Awards, it’s probably time to change that.

Linkin Park

They’re baaack! The throwback rock band just announced Thursday (Feb. 16) that they are releasing their first album in nearly three years on May 19, along with dropping a new single, “Heavy” (featuring Kiiara), meaning that 2017 is about to serve as a resurgence for the group. With their last SNL performance taking place six years ago, might as well add an SNL resurgence too.

Hans Zimmer’s Walk on the Wild Side

“I never thought I would be scoring a nature program,” confesses celebrated composer Hans Zimmer. “Except look, it’s really simple. When somebody starts the sentence with BBC, Sir David Attenborough, Planet Earth… they don’t even have to finish the sentence before you go, ‘I’m in.’ “

What’s more, scoring Planet Earth II — which premieres in the U.S. on Saturday (Feb. 18) simulcasting across BBC America, AMC and SundanceTV — enabled Zimmer to evoke his favorite creative process when embracing a new project.

“It was very important to me to go back to the fundamentals of how I like working, which is sort of a band structure,” he tells Billboard. It’s an approach that’s recently found Zimmer not only embarking on the greatest nature walk of his life, but also hitting the road for his first tour and gearing up to take the stage at Coachella in April.

“Having grown up in Europe, I’m a huge fan of [Attenborough’s] lifelong work,” testifies the German-born Zimmer, one of Hollywood’s most prolific composers, who’s scored more than 150 films in three decades. “It’s so easy to use the word ‘legend,’ these days, but this man really is a legend. So I thought, this will be great. I can have a little band and I’ll treat his voice as if he’s the lead singer in the band.”

“And I had [co-composers] Jasha Klebe and Jacob Shea as the band members, and really was very collaborative with the filmmakers,” Zimmer continues. “What they shot, and how they shot it, jumps off the screen, pulls you by the throat and you can’t help but be inspired.”

From the frozen tundra to the dry forests of the equator, the Attenborough-narrated view of the planet from the perspective of the animals provides an intimate, and at times harrowing, view of our planet. A scene where a hatchling marine iguana is being hunted by a mass of snakes as the music swells — we won’t ruin the ending — is one Zimmer returns to.

“There isn’t a director on earth who isn’t going, ‘I wish I had shot an incredible car chase like that,’” he says. “It’s the greatest action scene ever put on film. What makes the series so strong is it is full of drama, love, empathy, surprises. It’s full of magic in a way we weren’t able to do 10 years ago. The whole technology involved in it — and, honestly, the reckless bravery of these filmmakers who put themselves into impossible situations to shoot impossible footage that we would never otherwise be able to see.”

The series, which again drew raves when season 2 opened in the U.K. last fall, has been lauded for opening the eyes of a younger demographic than is traditionally drawn to nature programming. “One of the things I got pretty excited about after it came out in Europe was the Telegraph and the Times were writing that more young people were watching Planet Earth than The X Factor or the Kardashians,” Zimmer recalls. “I thought, We’ve got something right.”

In embracing projects that “really mean something,” Zimmer has found himself expanding his musical palette. “I’ll work in anything where somebody wants to tell a great story. We have gotten to another golden age of television. The three things I was involved with last year – The Crown, which is very longform writing, Planet Earth and [Oscar-nominated film] Hidden Figures – are all things a few years ago nobody would’ve made. And they’re not only getting made, but are successful. That, to me, is fantastic.”

And he’s expanding his experiences. Fresh from a successful European tour, during which he chipped away at his own dogged stage fright, Zimmer is taking on a few U.S. dates this spring. “The tour was really something. Being a paranoid artist, I have terrible stage fright, I thought, What if nobody comes? But they came the first night and then they kept coming.”

Among other friends and collaborators, Zimmer says The Smiths’ Johnny Marr really pushed him to get out of his comfort zone. “He said, ‘You can’t let fear dictate your life,’” Zimmer says. “And the other thing he said was, ‘You have to get out of your dark windowless room.’ He was right about the fear not dictating my life part — but, the first night standing up there on stage, I look out and where am I? I’m in a huge, dark, windowless room. So he did fail a bit about that, but other than that he was absolutely right. This is a great moment in my life where I get to do this.”

The stage will be quite different this April in Indio. While Zimmer’s mum on some details, the Coachella audience can expect a full orchestral and visual spectacle, with material focused even more heavily on his Christopher Nolan opus than he’s done on previous tour dates.

“I think I’m doing a 90% Christopher Nolan segment,” he says. “I’ll be bringing my band – and my band is an orchestra of 76 people. It will be definitely something different, and why not? That was the whole point. Because secretly, if you listen to some of my stuff, the secret is, it’s all rock’n’roll. Inception or Batman — that’s where I come from… Film composers can rock. John Williams can rock. Ennio Morricone can rock. It just seemed like a fun thing to do. And yes, I’m terrified of it, and that’s part of the appeal of doing it.”

Visuals will again be in the hands of Mark Brickman, the Pink Floyd lighting designer whom Zimmer enlisted to set the mood for his tour.

“I consider him a member of the band. He loves blowing things up and floating pigs over places. Sometimes I have to stop him from blowing things up, but it’s always right on the edge. I told him a few years ago I’m not showing any images from the films, so reinterpret those images with light. He has as much freedom as any of the musicians on stage and he has vast experience, vast knowledge and vast recklessness. It’s a dangerous and good combination.”

Given that Zimmer has already had a few guest musicians join him on stage, might there be an on-site collaboration with other acts headed to the desert next month? Radiohead, whose guitarist Jonny Greenwood is a composer currently at work scoring his third Paul Thomas Anderson film, comes to mind.

“I haven’t thought that far because of course as usual I’m behind on the movie I’m working on [Nolan’s Dunkirk]. But Radiohead, think about it – there’s another very good film composer who is playing there,” he says. “This is not an idea I have floated around, but you never know. A lot of my collaborations come at the last moment because I think that’s what we musicians are quite good at. Like the work I’ve done with Pharrell. It comes from friendship and a pure place of us wanting to make music together.”

Watch Leslie Jones Bait Donald Trump on ‘Saturday Night Live’

There’s been speculation that President Donald Trump hated Melissa McCarthy’s Saturday Night Live impression of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer—not so much because it was insulting, but because she’s a woman.

So naturally, many speculated that nothing would make Mr. Trump more angry than being portrayed by a woman himself. And Leslie Jones put that theory to the test in the February 11 episode of Saturday Night Live, when she donned a Donald costume and tried out her presidential impression.

An angry POTUS tweet is all but guaranteed. Watch the video of Leslie Jones as Donald Trump when it’s available.
 

Watch Kate McKinnon’s ‘Fatal Attraction’ on ‘Saturday Night Live’

Kate McKinnon played Attorney General Jeff Sessions on the February 11 episode of Saturday Night Live, but she didn’t neglect her usual gig—a terrifying impression of presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway. And this was the most terrifying of all.

Jake Tapper (played by Beck Bennett) is the Chief Washington Correspondent for CNN, star of The Lead with Jake Tapper, and anchor of the CNN Sunday morning show State of the Union—and in a so-scary-it-was-barely-funny parody of Fatal Attraction, McKinnon-as-Conway appeared in Tapper’s apartment to demand air time. 

The sketch also implied that Conway is possibly a many-times reanimated corpse. The stuff of nightmares.

Watch the video when it becomes available.
 

6 Things We Hope to See Alessia Cara Do on ‘Saturday Night Live’

Alessia Cara is set to take the Saturday Night Live stage for the first time Saturday night (Feb. 4), serving as the musical guest to host Kristen Stewart.

The 20-year-old has landed four songs on the Billboard Hot 100 in her relatively short career thus far (“Here,” “Scars to Your Beautiful,” “Wild Things” and Moana track “How Far I’ll Go”), meaning she has plenty to choose from when it comes to the songs she’ll perform.

No matter what she chooses, though, we’ve thought up some SNL happenings we’d love to see prior to Cara’s first appearance on the late-night comedy sketch show.

Bring out Lin-Manuel Miranda to duet for “How Far I’ll Go” 

The dynamic track from Disney’s latest animated hit Moana​ is making waves with fans, sitting at No. 65 on the Hot 100 (dated Feb. 11). Unfortunately Miranda, one of the songwriters for the film, is currently working (and living) in London for Mary Poppins Returns — so while Cara may sing the popular tune, an appearance from the man who penned it probably won’t happen.

Then again, Miranda will likely be Stateside for the Oscars — at which the Moana track is up for best original song — in a couple of weeks, so maybe he’ll begin his trip to the U.S. early? Talk about making the Hamilton heads go crazy.

Consolation possibility: If Miranda isn’t available, perhaps The Rock would be?

Sing “Seventeen”

Easily one of the best deep cuts from Cara’s debut album Know-It-All, Cara could use her late-night performance to show the world what they’re missing if they haven’t listened to the full record. Not that we wouldn’t want to hear Cara’s top 10 hit “Here” in her first SNL appearance, but why not let some of her other great tunes shine?

Appear in a skit

It’s not unusual to see an SNL musical guest make an appearance in a skit (or a few, if you’re Justin Bieber), so this isn’t a totally far-fetched thing. As for what kind of skit she should be in, we’ll leave that up to the show’s producers — but it’d be fun to see her acting skills.

Premiere a collaboration with Zedd

Just more than 24 hours before Cara’s SNL performance, both she and Zedd took to Twitter to be awfully cryptic about something happening during the commercial breaks of tonight’s episode.

Break out her pair of sequined jeans once more

Cara is known for having a rather played-down style, typically sporting plain white T-shirts and bomber jackets. But when she took the stage for the HALO Awards this year, she rocked a pair of ripped jeans that were covered in iridescent sequins, spicing up her typical street-chic vibe.

If not a sequined pair of jeans, we’re thinking Cara will come up with some sort of fashion statement for her SNL debut.

Give one of her empowering speeches

If you’ve ever seen Cara in concert, you know that she doesn’t shy away from talking to her fans in between every song — especially her latest Hot 100 smash “Scars to Your Beautiful.” She typically says something compelling and uplifting, encouraging fans to be themselves and not conform to society’s standards (similar to the speech she gave upon receiving the Rule Breaker award at Billboard‘s Women In Music event in December). Amid recent not-so-positive controversies, it’d be cool to hear one of the inspiring spiels on national television.

Mary Tyler Moore’s 7 Best Musical Moments

Mary Tyler Moore died last week at the age of 80 and was memorialized around the world as no less than a comedic and feminist icon for her work on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. But she was never recognized for what she really set out to do in show business: dancing and singing. “To this day, beneath the exterior of a successful actor beats the heart of a failed dancer,” she told Entertainment Tonight in 2004. She began her career as the dancing elf Happy Hotpoint in 1950s commercials for home appliance company Hotpoint. From there, she became an actress and turned out to be a monster comedic and dramatic talent. Despite her seven Emmys, one Tony (for a dramatic role in Whose Life Is It Anyway?), and one Oscar nomination (for Ordinary People), she kept trying to return to her musical roots. Here, look back at some of the best moments from Moore’s musical career — she may not have won awards for it, but she always looked overjoyed to be doing it.

The Dick Van Dyke Show, 1962

As Rob and Laura Petrie, Van Dyke and Moore had legendary on-screen chemistry that changed the way marriage was portrayed on TV. (They had separate beds, but watching them interact left no doubt they had sex.) That chemistry extended to the musical numbers that they, believe it or not, seamlessly integrated into storylines on The Dick Van Dyke Show, Moore’s first star turn. (Laura was a former dancer and Rob was a comedy writer, so, sure. Plus you didn’t really care why they were singing and dancing once they started.) “We thought we were the best dance team since [Fred] Astaire and [Ginger] Rogers,” Van Dyke said in an interview with Charlie Rose while remembering his co-star.

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Breakfast at Tiffany’s, 1966

The Broadway musical adaptation of Audrey Hepburn’s classic film role seemed like a dream vehicle for Moore’s transition to life after Van Dyke. But the stage version failed to do what the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s did so masterfully: balance the lightness and darkness of its source material, Truman Capote’s short story about a single woman in New York City forced to rely on her feminine wiles to get by. Amid loads of hype, producer David Merrick decided to shut down the production after four dismal preview performances, he said in a statement, “rather than subject the drama critics and the public to an excruciatingly boring evening.” Luckily, some vindication was on the way for Moore.

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Thoroughly Modern Millie, 1967

Moore was a natural choice for a big-screen musical. In Thoroughly Modern Millie, she played the naïve best friend to Julie Andrews as the title character, a 1920s flapper — incidentally, trying to make it on her own in the big city. The film — an adaptation of a stage musical — was a hit, and Moore got admiring reviews for her acting, singing, and dancing. Alas, it would be her only hit during her attempt at movie stardom in the years immediately following Van Dyke.

Change of Habit, 1969

This notorious flop — famous for being Elvis’s last film — features Moore as a nun who falls in love with a doctor (played by the King) while they work together to help a poor neighborhood. There’s also music, of course! Moore didn’t get to sing or dance, but she did get to play a part in some cheesy music-video-like segments in which Elvis breaks out into song. Ridiculous movie premise aside, Elvis sounds perfect, and they both look luminous.

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Dick Van Dyke and the Other Woman, 1969

Van Dyke had plans to headline a variety special for CBS, the network that had aired The Dick Van Dyke Show, and he used it to give his former co-star a career boost. He invited her to perform in the special with him — highlighting their song and dance chemistry — and let her steal the show. It worked. Soon afterwards, CBS offered Moore her own sitcom. That deal resulted in her history-making Mary Tyler Moore Show, which ran from 1970-77.

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Mary’s Incredible Dream, 1976

During the run of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Moore used her newfound clout to land a variety special of her own on CBS. But instead of making a straightforward special like Van Dyke’s in the previous decade, Moore and her production company, MTM Enterprises, instead made a psychedelic musical-fantasy that aimed to do no less than tell the history of the world in an hour. It included Moore as an angel floating around religious symbols and singing “Morning Has Broken,” Ben Vereen as a green devil and a rewritten version of Jerome Kern’s “She Didn’t Say Yes” that told of the Biblical fall of Eve. Moore was thrilled with the result, showing pre-screening tapes to all of her friends so much that her Mary Tyler Moore co-star, Betty White, teased, “It’s a shame you don’t put it on TV, instead of showing it door to door.” When it finally was on TV, however, critics eviscerated it, with the New York Times calling it “a landmark in TV vulgarity.” Luckily, Moore had the final year of The Mary Tyler Moore Show to return to.

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Mary/The Mary Tyler Moore Hour, 1978

After The Mary Tyler Moore Show ended, Moore tried to build on that momentum to finally have a musical-variety series of her own, Mary, with a cast that included Michael Keaton, David Letterman and Swoosie Kurtz (all of whom are in the clip above). But ratings were dismal, and it was pulled after just three episodes. Later the same season, it returned in a retooled format, The Mary Tyler Moore Hour, and the conceit was clever: She played the star of a variety show, and we watched both her off-screen life — with a young Michael Keaton as her studio page, Kenneth — and portions of the show within the show. The 30 Rock approach (yes, Keaton was the original Kenneth the page!) was meant to lure viewers into the variety format with Moore in the familiar sitcom setting. However, this version lasted only 11 episodes. That said, don’t fret too much for Moore: she would be nominated for an Oscar just three years later, and would be remembered as one of the greatest comedic actresses of all time.

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Jennifer Keishin Armstrong is the author of the 2013 book Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted: And All the Brilliant Minds Who Made The Mary Tyler Moore Show a Classic.

Treat Yo’self To Aziz Ansari’s ‘SNL’ Opening Monologue

Aziz Ansari, co-creator of Master of None and Parks and Rec‘s master of swagger, made his Saturday Night Live debut on January 21—the day after President Trump’s inauguration. The comedian spent his monologue minutes on a stand-up routine skewering the new president, his supporters—and his supporters’ detractors. 

Ansari, SNL‘s first South Asian American host, said of Trump, “Pretty cool to know he’s probably at home watching a brown guy make fun of him.”

“Today, an entire gender protested against him,” he said, referencing the enormous Women’s March in D.C. and around the world. Ansari then cautioned, “We can’t demonize everyone that voted for Trump … we’re talking about 63 million people.”

Ansari suggested that it’s unfair to consider all of those Trump supporters racist, when some of them were surely just “there for the tunes”—like they listen to Chris Brown.

“Donald Trump is basically the Chris Brown of politics,” Ansari explained. “And ‘Make America great again’ is his These Hoes Ain’t Loyal.”

Ansari finished his routine on a serious but hopeful note: “Change doesn’t come from presidents. Change comes from large groups of angry people. And if day one if any indication, you’re part of the largest group of angry people I’ve ever seen.”

Watch the video when it becomes available.

Chance the Rapper and Kenan Thompson Rap Their Love For Barack Obama

Musical guest and longtime Saturday Night Live cast member Kenan Thompson performed a Run-D.M.C.-style rap on Dec. 17’s Christmas episode.

The pair said farewell to the Obama administration and cautioned friends to stockpile goodies including birth control, legal marijuana, and–for some reason–Home Alone DVDs before Donald Trump takes office.

“It’s the last Christmas that Barack’s still here,” they rapped. “It’s the last Christmas before Trump next year.”

As if their vocal stylings and Adidas track suits weren’t compelling enough, Leslie Jone’s Salt-N-Pepa-styled verse professing her love for Vice President Joe Biden took the whole pre-recorded segment to the next level.

Chance the Rapper Took It to the ‘Finish Line’ on ‘SNL’

Chance the Rapper returned to Saturday Night Live on Dec. 17–and he let fans call the shots on the songs he picked for his second turn as musical guest.”I’ve been trying to perform EVERY song from Coloring Book on television once,” he wrote. “I’ve done 5 so far. What do you want to see me do on #SNL?”

For the first performance, that was Finish Line with Noname (and his other costar: a seriously amazing pair of red overalls).

After a five-second appearance as all three wisemen in a Christmas sketch –arguably the best five seconds of a pretty solid episode–Chance turned out his second song: his Peter Pan-inspired tune “Same Drugs”. Seated at the piano, accompanied by a chamber orchestra and backup singers, Chance closed the show with a killer performance.

If all we need is happy thoughts, Chance the Rapper delivered.

Alec Baldwin Is Back on ‘SNL’ For an ‘Unpresidented’ Poke at Putin

Alec Baldwin is an Oscar nominee with a miles-long resume in major motion pictures–but it might be time for him to admit his calling: regular cast member on Saturday Night Live. Because Baldwin was back yet again on the Dec. 17 episode to reprise his impression of president-elect Donald Trump.

In the episode’s cold open, Baldwin and Kate McKinnon, as Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, discuss real-world issues like:

Trump’s recent pick for Energy Secretary, Rick Perry–”I saw him on Dancing With the Stars. He has so much energy. It’s just unpresidented.”

Trump’s Thank You Tour: “I felt an obligation to thank all my supporters by standing in front of them while they cheered for me.”

And Trump’s abbreviated list of celebrities willing to perform at his inauguration: “So many great names here. I love them both.”

Their conversation is interrupted by a shirtless Beck Bennett as Vladimir Putin, who comes to deliver an Elf on the Shelf that is almost certainly a spyware vehicle. Bennett stays to chat with Trump’s choice for Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson–an unexpected cameo by John Goodman, and a sick burn on Tillerson’s suggested ties to Russia.

Live from New York, it’s another sketch that Trump will definitely not enjoy. Watch the sketch below when available.

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