SNL Musical Guests
The 40th season of Saturday Night Live is set to premiere this week on Sept. 27, and a host of exciting changes are in store for 2014. Past longtime cast member Darrell Hammond will take over as the show’s official announcer, and former The Daily Show correspondent Michael Che is set to join “Weekend Update” as co-anchor. This season, the upcoming SNL musical guests also will bring a series of firsts to the show.
The first episode this fall will mark the SNL debuts of two of today’s biggest pop culture stars, Chris Pratt and Ariana Grande. Parks and Recreation cast member Pratt will host for the first time following the blockbuster success of this summer’s Marvel feature, Guardians of the Galaxy. To date, the film has grossed more than $632 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo, and the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack has spent seven weeks as one of the top 10 best-selling albums in the U.S.
Ariana Grande also will make her SNL debut as the 40th season’s first musical guest. The Florida native has already earned two top-10 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 this year from her chart-topping sophomore album, My Everything. This upcoming appearance will precede the February launch of her 2015 arena tour, which will stop in more than 20 cities over nearly two months.
For the season’s second episode on Oct. 4, former SNL cast member Sarah Silverman will return to the Rockefeller Center studio for her first hosting gig on the show. She’ll be joined by four-time SNL musical guest Maroon 5. It’s been just over 10 years since Maroon 5 first appeared on the show in support of its debut album, Songs About Jane, but in the upcoming 2014 episode, the band will perform hits from V, its fifth studio album that dropped in late August. Like Ariana Grande, Maroon 5 also is set to appear on SNL months ahead of a North American arena tour planned for next spring.
The following week, the Oct. 11 episode will feature the return of beloved cast member Bill Hader in the role of host. Supporting in his first stint as SNL musical guest will be Hozier, the Irish singer-songwriter behind the international slow-burn rock hit “Take Me to Church.” As of Sept. 22, the track has enjoyed a steady climb to No. 69 on the Hot 100, and it shows no sign of slowing down. The SNL appearance will land in the middle of Hozier’s fall 2014 North American tour, but he also recently announced intentions to return to the continent in Feb. 2015 with additional concert dates.
Although the remaining hosts and musical guests for SNL Season 40 have not yet been announced, early predictions for host have included Jim Carrey, Bill Murray, and Jennifer Lawrence, who will appear in the forthcoming 2014 films Dumb and Dumber To, St. Vincent, and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, respectively. Billboard also has made predictions for potential musical guests during the iconic 40th season, including established stars with forthcoming albums (Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj), notable rock acts (U2, Spoon, Foo Fighters), and up-and-coming artists (5 Seconds of Summer, Charli XCX, Tove Lo).
Back in April, it was reported that a special Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special will air on Feb. 15, 2015, and though details have been scant thus far, it’s likely to feature a wealth of previous hosts and musical guests from throughout the show’s incredible four-decade run. In anticipation of the upcoming season, Grantland asked fans to vote for the best SNL cast member, with Will Ferrell beating out the late Phil Hartman for the title. On the flip side, Grantland staff writer Steven Hyden also recounted some of the oft-forgotten moments featuring SNL musical guests like Garth Brooks performing as alter-ego Chris Gaines, Zwan, and Karmin.