The former teen idol, who will be the musical guest on the NBC late-night sketch comedy series for the second time this year, arrived at Rockefeller Center on Thursday to rehearse for Saturday night’s live episode, according to ET Online.
Strict safety protocols are in place on the set for the 46th season of the NBC series. ET noted that every staff member is taking daily COVID-19 tests. There are also COVID compliance officers on-site to ensure staffers and guests are obeying all the social distance rules and other guidelines.
In a new promo photo shared by NBC, Bieber was pictured in a face mask as he posed alongside host Issa Rae, who will make her debut on SNL this week. Bieber, 26, was pictured wearing a yellow mask with the logo of his fashion brand, “Drew,” on it.
His role as SNL musical guest comes hours after the release of his new single, “Lonely,” so it would be a surprise if he doesn’t perform that song on this week’s show.
As diehard fans expressed excitement for Bieber’s two-song set, others weren’t so happy. In the comments section to SNL’s Instagram post about the October 17 show, fans reacted to the return of the “Never Say Never” singer just eight months after he last performed on the series.
“Bieber again?” one viewer wrote.
“Begging y’all to stop putting Justin on,” another added.
“I second that. He was just on,” another commenter chimed in.
When one critic wrote, “Bleh Bieber!,” another responded that maybe the pop star’s SNL alter ego would take the stage.
“Think in a positive way: Might be Kate McKinnon tho,” a fan wrote.
It’s not surprising that some Saturday Night Live fans think it’s a bit soon for another round of Bieber.
This week marks the Grammy winner’s fourth SNL gig, putting him on the brink of Five-Timers territory. On February 8 of this year, he broke a seven-year absence from the show when he returned to perform his songs “Yummy” and “Intentions.”
“Yummy” was performed on a green-screen set with the singer wearing coordinating green pants, while “Intentions” used a low-key brick background as the singer was joined by Quavo. Bieber also sported a mustache during the February performance.
There have been few SNL musical guests between Bieber’s two appearances in 2020.
David Byrne and the Weeknd squeezed in appearances before production of the Big Apple-based sketch comedy was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The SNL @ Home episodes featured virtual performances by Chris Martin and Miley Cyrus.