The last few SNL episodes have been pretty widely-panned — though we thought Jennifer Lawrence’s gig had some good moments, even though we might be a trifle biased. But last night Justin Bieber‘s delivery as both the host and the musical entertainment is deserving of praise, even though the Biebs carried many of the skits due to his vocal skills, pretty-boy good looks, and toned stomach.
Bieber spoofed his status as airhead-y teen heartthrob in his opening monologue, demonstrating that sometimes ruthless self-deprecation is the best way to win the audience’s favor. Along with cast member Keenan Thompson, he attempted to sexily serenade female audience members while simultaneously educating them on important themes in African-American history as a credit to Black History Month. But he wound up making a string of inaccurate pronouncements — Maya Angelou and Denzel Washington inventing the peanut, for example — much to Thompson’s frustration, and the audience’s delight. The scene culminates in Bieber landing on Whoopi Goldberg as the ultimate subject of his affections, and the actress is later responsible for introducing him to perform “As Long As You Love Me.”
He didn’t have to play anyone but himself, however, in what we thought was the best skit of the night: Jason Sudeikis as an overzealous bodyguard, determined to protect the megastar’s safety by employing a number of decoy Biebers to distract menacing fans. Virtually all of the cast members turn out clad in matching white tees, black hoodies, and trademark swooping hairdos, with their faces twisted into mock-celebrity smirks. A sing-off with with Taran Killam, a dance-off with Keenan Thompson, and an ab-off (what else do we call it?) with Bobby Moynihan prove what we’ve known all along: there’s only one Bieber.
Watch our favorite clips below, and let us know which skits you thought were hits.