Bruno Mars had his hands full as both the host and musical guest on Saturday Night Live this weekend, but the multi-talented singer didn’t let down on either front.
The show itself earned good reviews — and a surprise visit from Tom Hanks — but it was Bruno Mars’ singing that brought the surprise of the night. As The Hollywood Reporter noted, the crooner made a surprise performance of Green Day in one of his skits, and did a pretty spot-on job doing it.
In the episode, Bruno Mars joined other recent hosts like Justin Timberlake and Mick Jagger who also covered singing duties. Mars acknowledged that the show was his first acting experience.
“I’ve never even done a shampoo commercial, which is crazy,” he said, asking the audience to be forgiving before break, and broke into a song that started off self-effacing, but grew into a confidant riff on how he was going to be an amazing host.
“But please be gentle,” he sang at the end, “because it’s my first time.”
In one skit, Bruno Mars found himself in the offices of the streaming music service Pandora, where executives forced him to sing in the style of Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong after the bands songs where somehow taken out of commission. He does a good job with Green Day before moving on to imitations of Aerosmith, Justin Bieber, and Katy Perry.
Overall, Bruno Mars’ performance on Saturday Night Live won the praise of television critics. The Houston Chronicle noted that the singer seemed at ease on stage, even if it was his first performance.
The Houston Chronicle wrote:
As it turn out, Bruno Mars is quite the performer, if not quite a Timberlake, and he handled himself admirably in the sketches. In part, this was because the writers clearly went out of their way to give Mars material that he would be comfortable with — the Pandora sketch, which is not available on SNL‘s website (stupid copyright law), being the most obvious example. But be sure to give credit where credit is due: Bruno Mars was charming, had an entertaining opening monologue, and seemed natural and at ease, which is not a given for even the most capable of performers. (JANUARY JONES, YOU KNOW TO WHOM I AM SPEAKING.)
The ultimate test of Bruno Mars’ performance will come next year, when it’s seen if he’s asked to host again.