SNL Digest: Ariana Grande (3/12/16)

Ariana Grande proves she has the talent to be SNL’s host and musical guest, even if she’s stretched thin at times.

Of those that have tried to be SNL’s host and musical guest at the same time, I came into this episode with high hopes for Ariana Grande.  She has both the acting1 and singing2 chops to pull it off.  I ended up a little disappointed with the episode we got – the sketches that made air felt a little tame in terms of what Ariana was actually asked to do, but that may just be the nature of filling both roles – with all that running around, there’s not much time to do too much with makeup/hair from sketch to sketch3

What You Missed

Carson Endorsement Cold Open

I’m going to miss Jay Pharaoh’s Ben Carson, who is “positively turnt” to be endorsing Trump.  The look he made after saying “he gave me a muffin” was beautiful.  The Bernie Sanders material felt a little done.


The quick bit with Keenan was great, and this was the perfect moment for a musical monologue.

Hillary Clinton Ad

The slow morph from Hillary to Bernie was kind of great.

Kids Choice Awards Pre-Show

This was a nice nod to the Oscars pre-show, and the weird nuances of the Kids Choice Awards (which, scarily enough, are as old as I am).


Kate McKinnon was almost unrecognizable as a mermaid that’s 35% woman, 65% blobfish, and she stole the sketch.

Weekend Update

  • Michael Che on the Chicago Trump Rally was AMAZING
  • The Drunkest Contestant on The Bachelor is another wonderful character from Cecily
  • The Mitt Romney joke had me in tears.
  • I still do not like Riblet.


They did one of these before with Spotify and Bruno Mars, but it’s nice to see it come back (and it’s always fun to see musical impressions)

Celebrity Family Feud

Actors vs. Directors is a nice twist on this sketch.  Ariana has a surprisingly good Jennifer Lawrence impression.

The Sound of Music

This was a fun take on “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria”, but Ariana’s character felt a little too sassy for me by the end, in terms of comedic balance

What You Didn’t Miss

  1. starting on Nickelodeon kids shows  
  2. two major album releases with a third happening later this spring  
  3. although I would totally dig if a future host that tries to do both performs the musical portion in full character makeup with no explanation  

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About Ben Smith 252 Articles
Ben has been writing about TV, music, and pop culture in some form or another since 2009, including stints at Mental Floss and Temporary Obsession. When not solving puzzles of some sort or consuming pop culture at a frightening pace, he can be found collecting shiny pieces of the internet at E-mail:
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