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The 5 Must-See Sketches from the Surprisingly Great Ariana Grande Hosted 'SNL'

By Dustin Rowles | Saturday Night Live | March 13, 2016 |

By Dustin Rowles | Saturday Night Live | March 13, 2016 |

Good morning from SXSW, where I’m posting this later than usual because of the time-zone difference in Austin, Daylight Saving time, and the fact that the Keanu screening didn’t get out until after 3:30 a.m. It’s worth the wait, however, for five segments. The Cold Open and “Weekend Update” delivered some great political material, Ariana Grande was surprisingly great in her monologue and killed with musical impressions in “Tidal,” and the segment of the night was the pre-taped “This Is Not a Feminist Song.”

Carson Endorsement — Larry David continues to be this season’s extra cast member, coming in to do his Bernie impression (and make fun of Bernie’s limited fanbase), while Carson’s endorsement of Trump gives SNL another excuse to call Trump a racist, which they probably should have been doing before they asked him to to host the show. (Score: 7/10)

Ariana Grande Monologue — I don’t think I have ever heard an Arianna Grande song in my life, I have no idea what Nickelodeon show she was on, and until this song professed her lack of scandals, I thought she was the one who licked the donuts. (Editor’s note: That WAS Ariana Grande, you boob! — LB) That said, Grande is very good in this sketch and holds her own during the rest of show. She’s a near-natural as SNL host. I wonder if Lorne Michaels ever auditions? Or if he just knows when a celebrity is going to be a good host? (Score: 8/10)

Hillary Campaign Ad — Hillary is everything you want her to be, even if that means being Bernie Sanders. (Score: 6/10)

Kids’ Choice Awards — Red carpet correspondents Reece Better , Jesse Kerk-Fatone and Brynlee Dobbs try to fill time until the start of the Kids’ Choice Awards. It’s a one-joke sketch that goes on way too long. (Score: 3/10)

This Is Not a Feminist Song — Outstanding, and catchy enough that I’d actually listen to this Not-a-Feminist Anthem on the radio. (Score: 9/10)

Mermaids — Three sailors come face-to-face with their mermaid rescuers, and while two are beautiful, one of them is a hag. You know where this is going from the moment it begins, but it’s not bad. (Score: 5/10)

Weekend Update — Colin and Che continue to be on point in their jokes about politics (and Colin Jost’s Mitt Romney joke is subtle gold). Six months ago, Riblet was a welcome respite from Colin and Che, and now — even when Riblet is great, as he is tonight — I’d rather hear Jost and Che tell more jokes. (Score: 8/10)

Tidal — When Tidal experiences technical difficulty, Chloe the intern (Ariana Grande) steps in and performs hit songs from Britney Spears, Shakira, Rihanna and more. It’s basically an opportunity for Grande to do singing impressions, and she’s really good with them. (Score: 7/10)

Celebrity Family Feud — Another celebrity impression sketch. This one is fairly unmemorable, save for Grande’s weirdly excellent Jennifer Lawrence impression. Also, no one is happier than Kevin Smith that he is being impersonated on SNL by Bobby Moynihan, even if his one joke is, “I get high and do podcasts!”

Sound of Music — Sister Maria (Ariana Grande) catches her fellow nuns singing smack about her. This felt like it had the potential to be a top-of-the-show sketch, but it unfortunately just didn’t work. (Score: 4/10)

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.