Each season, “Saturday Night Live” musical guests represent an elite group of the year’s most popular artists, as well as up-and-coming performers on the brink of breaking through to mainstream. Appearances regularly make headlines, and this year’s crop of performers was certainly no different.
The final episode of the 2012-13 season on May 18 will feature host Ben Affleck alongside musical guest, Kanye West, who has announced work on a new album expected to drop in the weeks to come. Fans speculate the album will be released on June 18, in reference to a tweet from the rapper (who also could have been referring to girlfriend Kim Kardashian’s due date). Either way, the rumors around Kanye have helped generate buzz around an already hyped SNL finale.
Former cast member Kristen Wiig returned to host on May 11, as did Vampire Weekend for its third stint as musical guest. The band performed “Unbelievers” and “Diane Young,” which both appear on its latest album, “Modern Vampires of the City,” released on May 14. The appearance came just ahead of a world tour that will take the group through North America, as well as stops overseas.
Looking back on the rest of Season 38, the list includes a wealth of noteworthy performers, including 2013 Best New Artist GRAMMY nominees like The Lumineers, Alabama Shakes, Frank Ocean, and New York City-based band, fun., which won the award. Former Beatle Paul McCartney graced the Studio 8H stage on Dec. 15, to promote his album, “Kisses on the Bottom,” while also performing his classic holiday tune, “Wonderful Christmastime.”
For the year, three hosts doubled as musical guests, as Bruno Mars kicked off the trend on Oct. 20, followed by Justin Bieber on Feb. 9, and the one and only, Justin Timberlake, on March 9. Timberlake’s appearance on “Saturday Night Live” marked his fifth time hosting, and he brought along Jay-Z for his performance of “Suit and Tie.” The Timberlake-Jay-Z duo sets off on the Legends of the Summer Tour in July, while Timberlake recently announced the second half of his latest album and a solo tour will be unleashed this fall. His hosting cohorts also have summer travel plans: Mars kicks off The Moonshine Jungle Tour on June 22, while Bieber is in the midst of his own Believe Tour through August.
Lead singer of Maroon 5, Adam Levine, also hosted on Jan. 26, less than two months after his band performed as musical guest. Maroon 5 plans to team up with Kelly Clarkson for the Honda Civic Tour starting in August. Mumford & Sons, which performed on Sept. 22, will soon embark on its own summer trek before headlining the Gentlemen of the Road Stopovers.
Additionally, fans also were treated to performances by Passion Pit, Muse, Rihanna, Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Miguel, Ne-Yo, and Of Monsters and Men, all of whom have a handful of upcoming shows in the U.S. over the course of the year. Browse our complete list of concert tickets to find the best seats for these budding artists as they travel across the country.