Neither rain nor sleet nor one of the worst snow storms on record could stop Justin Bieber from making his SNL hosting debut tonight. And that’s a good thing, given the hordes of Bieber Fever-stricken fans who have probably contracted actual fevers after waiting for hours in a freaking blizzard to get standby tickets for his show. I repeat: most of the Beliebers who braved Nemo in nothing but snow-soaked sleeping bags didn’t even get past 30 Rock’s doors.
Given these conditions, we can only hope that Bieber’s double duty performance — he’s also tonight’s musical guest — is worth all that sacrifice. The kid is certainly a charismatic performer; as EW’s Owen Gleiberman wrote in his review of Bieber’s concert movie Never Say Never, he “communicates joy in every move” when he dances and sings like “a happy canary.”
But that charm may not translate to the small screen. Bieber looked vaguely uncomfortable in his SNL promos with Kenan Thompson, and certainly like he hadn’t quite gotten the knack of reading cue cards. His only other major acting experience thus far is a pair of CSI episodes notable mostly for the way they eventually (and violently) killed him off. Clearly, Bieber’s goal here — as elsewhere — is to emulate a certain other famously funny Justin. But Timberlake sets a pretty high bar, even for someone who actually is accustomed to comedy, and expecting Bieber to reach that bar will likely only lead to disappointment. In other words: Baby, baby, baby, nooooo.
So, what can we expect from tonight’s show? There’ll be plenty of storm humor, if Louis C.K.’s episode earlier this season is any indication, and probably a sketch about the Super Bowl (Beyoncé’s halftime show and the power outage seem like good material), though they might relegate that topic to Weekend Update. Since this is the last show before Feb. 14, expect Valentine’s Day-themed humor as well — if you can even hear it above the squeals of Bieber’s rabid, rapidly thawing fans. And music should be plentiful throughout the night as well; I’d be surprised if the show didn’t emulate Bruno Mars’s Pandora sketch, and I’m curious to see who Bieber might be tasked with imitating.
Do you have high expectations for Justin Bieber on SNL tonight? Think he has any chance of reaching Timberlakian levels? And is there anything that could get you to wait outside in a blizzard for an entire day, or longer?