'Saturday Night Live' best host poll: And the winner is...

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…Justin Timberlake.

Timberlake’s episode, which featured him being inducted into the exclusive Five-Timers Club, had the look and feel of a coronation. The show occurred at the center of a Timberlake promotional blitz that was anything but subtle — he even spent an entire week on Late Night with his “History of Rap” partner Jimmy Fallon. On his much-hyped return to SNL, he dominated the cold-open as Elton John, reunited with Andy Samberg to meet two wild and crazy Czechoslovakian brothers, and brought his foam mascot get-up to Veganville. Even internet cynics struggled to complain.

Date of episode: March 9, 2013
Number of times he’s hosted: Five
On the show to promote…: The 20/20 Experience
Musical guest: You’re kidding, right?
TV ratings: 5.9/15
Special guests: Tom Hanks, Steve Martin, Dan Aykroyd, Alec Baldwin, Martin Short, Paul Simon, Chevy Chase, Candice Bergen, Jay-Z

Final Vote

Melissa McCarthy was the runner-up for the second consecutive year. (You know the saying, always a Bridesmaid…) But she’s certainly now on the short list of essential hosts, along with Timberlake, Fallon, Wiig, Zach Galifianakis, and Jon Hamm (who by the way, despite popping up for frequent cameos lately, hasn’t hosted since 2010). Of course, the person I’m already looking forward to hosting next season was a cast member just five days ago. Bill Hader will be missed, and I suspect he’ll want to take some time before he returns to the show as a host. Nevertheless, it’s tempting to circle Sept. 27 on the calendar, the day that Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 arrives in theaters.

When EW.com began this contest last year, we didn’t know what to expect. Would it become a simple popularity contest, with the celebs with the biggest Twitter followings dominating the race irregardless of their late-night performance? Two years in, though, it’s difficult to argue with the results. Sure, you can debate the merits of the finalists and even make a strong case for one of the hosts who didn’t make the cut. But our voters seem to be taking their task pretty seriously, as they should. None of the finalists they chose either year were lemons, and the two champions are all-stars in their SNL hosting primes. Sometimes, democracy does work. Raise your hand if you agree.

Thanks again for voting throughout the year, and congratulations to Justin Timberlake, Mr. Saturday Night 2013.

Read more:
‘Saturday Night Live’ finale recap: Ben Affleck shines, but Stefon and Fred Armisen steal the show
‘Saturday Night Live': A full directory of Stefon’s favorite clubs. (This post has EVERYTHING.)
‘SNL': Costumes of the Year!

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