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'Saturday Night Live' best host poll: Did Josh Hutcherson hit the bullseye? -- VOTE

Josh Hutcherson helped celebrate Catching Fire‘s triumphant opening weekend by hosting Saturday Night Live, and the 21-year-old actor most definitely didn’t coast. He was eager and playful, willing to poke fun at his slightly obscure character, Peeta, as well as his own slight physical bearing. EW’s Hillary Busis compared his performance to “one of those poor [Hunger Games] kids who dies in the melee outside the Cornucopia — just minutes after the Games begin,” but as Jennifer Lawrence demonstrated last January, hosting Saturday Night Live for the first time isn’t easy. There’s a steep learning curve, and if a first-timer can escape without any obvious oofs, while maintaining a sense of humor and enthusiasm… well, job well done.

Hutcherson has his work cut out for him, though, in our season-long contest to crown Saturday Night Live‘s best host. Lady Gaga debuted in first place after her appearance, pushing Kerry Washington and Tina Fey into second and third. Edward Norton edged out Miley Cyrus to stay alive for another week, meaning he’s basically pitted against Hutcherson — à la the Hunger Games — in a secondary clash between men while a woman takes the lead.

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'Saturday Night Live' host poll: Was Lady Gaga born to host? -- VOTE

If Saturday Night Live has an unofficial theme song this season, it might be “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” The female hosts have dominated so far, and Lady Gaga added another colorful performance this weekend. Me personally, I thought there was a little too much self-deprecating winking at the camera — Miley Cyrus leaned on that crutch a bit too — but Gaga took the job seriously and will certainly make her presence felt in Week II of our Ms. Saturday Night Live contest. (Guys… until you make your mark, it’s definitely Ms. SNL this season.)

Two weeks ago, we had our first round of voting for this season’s best host. Kerry Washington, the most recent guest, made an impression and scored more than half the votes. Tina Fey, who hosted the premiere, was a strong second, and Edward Norton edged out Cyrus for third place. Bruce Willis was eliminated, leaving Norton to face a quartet of talented ladies in this week’s poll. READ FULL STORY

'Saturday Night Live' best host poll: Kerry Washington or Tina Fey? Let the vote begin!

Saturday Night Live has been around for 39 years. Think about that for another sec. Johnny Carson hosted The Tonight Show for only 30 years. Both shows became late-night institutions, NBC breadwinners, and comedy king-makers. To be on Johnny Carson at the height of his reign was the ultimate for a young comedian, just as SNL‘s Lorne Michaels has plucked comedians from obscurity and turned them into stars who can eventually carry their own movies, sitcoms, and late-night talk shows.

Saturday Night Live is still the ultimate testing ground for comedy, and that challenge can be especially intimidating to a green guest host. Always has been. In less than a week, an actor, rock star, athlete, or — dear god — a politician has to metaphorically jump onto a speeding bus — a three-wheel bus, mind you, according to Alec Baldwin, “careening towards a blown-out bridge.”

Many are called, but few are called back. Those guest-hosts who ace the test join a certain club; not necessarily the Five-Timers, but a small fraternity of performers who did it right. Baldwin, SNL‘s current Joe DiMaggio of sorts, went on to tell Edward Norton that the guest needs to be “facile, nimble, ready for curveballs,” but it’s more than that. You’ve got to have the goods in the first place, because the SNL experience can be the cruelest example of the Emperor’s New Clothes in entertainment. No one wants to end up there buck naked.

For the last two years, Entertainment Weekly’s readers have selected the best Saturday Night Live host of the season in a series of weekly polls. That they chose Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake, two savvy, versatile entertainers, sets the bar for our third season. At the very least, we know what it means to be great at this. Now that we’re five episodes in to this new season, it’s time we begin our contest anew to see who’s got the goods and who’s just standing naked in the spotlight to a chorus of crickets.

Thus far, we’ve enjoyed Tina Fey, Miley Cyrus, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, and Kerry Washington. They all had their moments, but someone is doomed to go home. Our rules are simple: Who was the best host? More specifically, who looked like they belonged? Who surprised you with a side of them you never thought existed? Whose hilarious sketch did you post on Facebook? Whose show were your boss, your mom, and your roommate all giggling about on Monday morning?

Below, I’ve embedded one clip for each of the five hosts, just to remind you of their recent performances. Vote, and the host with the least support will be eliminated, and the other four will advance to compete against Lady Gaga on Nov. 16. Ultimately, we’ll eliminate the less memorable hosts and crown a new Mr. or Mrs. Saturday Night next May. Watch and vote below. READ FULL STORY

'SNL' premiere recap: Highlights, lowlights, and whatever Arcade Fire was doing -- VIDEO

The theme of Saturday Night Live‘s 39th season opener: “SNL is back… and starring a bunch of people you’ve never heard of!”

This meta focus made sense — as Tina Fey(‘s plastic surgeon) said in her monologue, this is a “rebuilding year” for NBC’s sketch series. But even though the show seemed determined to remind us about how much it had changed, the premiere was a fairly smooth ride from start to finish. Maybe that was due to a longer rehearsal period than usual; maybe it was the steadying presence of Fey herself, who always seems to have a blast when she returns to her TV home. Or maybe it’s because SNL itself has become a well-oiled machine, one built to survive any major departures — except perhaps that of Lorne Michaels himself.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s pull back and discuss the show itself — its best moments, its worst moments, and… whatever you’d call Arcade Fire.

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Tina Fey hosts tonight's 'Saturday Night Live' premiere: Talk about it here!

Tonight officially marks the beginning of SNL‘s next era.

Now that Bill Hader, Fred Armisen, and Jason Sudeikis are gone — on the heels of Andy Samberg and Kristen Wiig, who left in 2012 — SNL‘s mid-aughts dynasty has finally taken its final bow. In its place, we’ve been left with a cast that has less collective SNL experience than any other in recent memory. Currently, the sketch shows featured players — who include six new performers — outnumber its full cast members nine to seven. That disparity will grow even larger when Seth Meyers departs for Late Night in February 2014.

Big changes are happening behind the scenes as well. READ FULL STORY

More 'SNL' promos, featuring Tina Fey and Arcade Fire at its most terrifying -- VIDEO

Who is Arcade Fire? Here’s a hint: It’s the band that’s haunting your dreams. Not due to their lush melodies and evocative lyrics, but because seeing the band’s members wearing giant facsimiles of their own heads is legit scary.

Really:

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Tina Fey talks nip slip, her adorably weird daughter on 'Late Night' -- VIDEO

Hold up: Did you hear that Tina Fey had a slight wardrobe malfunction at last Sunday’s Emmy Awards?

Yeah, that topless shot in her last batch of SNL promos wasn’t totally without context. “If you videotaped it and like, slowed it down for one second, when I went to hug my friend Tracey Wigfield, who I won the Emmy with, I guess there was a little momentary situation,” Fey explained to her longtime pal Jimmy Fallon on Late Night yesterday. Only “some creeper” would have thought to look for it, Fey said — and if you want to be that creeper, you’re welcome to scrutinize Fey and Wigfield’s acceptance speech.

In less naked news, Fey and Fallon also spent a good portion of their chat talking about their kids. Specifically, newish dad Fallon asked for advice from Fey, who by now is an old pro at raising daughters. Her best words of guidance: “You just want them to be little fun weirdos and nerds for as long as possible.” And if the stories Fey then told about her oldest daughter Alice are any indication, she’s certainly fomenting a wonderfully weird environment. (Also: Is it just me, or does Fey’s imitation of Alice make her sound an awful lot like Nasim Pedrad’s SNL character Bedelia?)

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'SNL' premiere promos: What's the only thing better than host Tina Fey? VIDEO

That would be the promise of a few cool cameos from the cast of Breaking Bad, which Fey slyly implies as a possibility in the promos below. Sure, she immediately backtracks, admitting that Saturday Night Live has no such thing planned — but we can dream, can’t we?

In any case, watching these promos sort of feels like coming home to the old Fey-era SNL — a comforting notion, considering how much the show will change this year. (The countdown to Late Night with Seth Meyers begins… now.) Sure, any Fey-hosted episode will necessarily feature plenty of big-name cameos (Amy?!) and callbacks (Palin?!) — but more importantly, it’ll have a backbone formed by Fey’s strong writing and zillion years of SNL experience. And if the promos are any indication, she clearly hasn’t lost her touch since 30 Rock ended.

Watch here — especially if you’ve ever wanted to see blurred footage of Fey’s chest. I know, I really buried the lead.

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Emmys 2013: Kevin Spacey and other Hidden Gems

If you were too caught up in the mandated Death Grip of the 2013 Emmys, you may have missed its most sparkling moments — its hidden gems, if you will. (Hidden Gemmys? No! Terrible!) After the break: Claire Danes cackling behind Amy and Tina, choice reaction shots from Jeff Daniels, Bryan Cranston, and Aaron Paul, Kevin Spacey’s show-stealer, and more… READ FULL STORY

Emmys 2013: Neil Patrick Harris kicks off the show with help from former hosts (and one Paula Deen joke)

And we’re off! Neil Patrick Harris kicked off the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards with a host-filled opening number. What started with an over-complicated binge-watching bit (that made at least one viewer very dizzy), turned into a bit of a rough start on stage for the usually musical host.

Shying away from said musical talent, Harris wasn’t exactly on his game when he first came out on stage, trying too hard to make a joke about the way “kids” watch television nowadays. But after the first Paula Deen joke of the night, Harris was joined on stage by previous hosts Jimmy Kimmel, Jane Lynch, Jimmy Fallon, and Conan O’Brien, who picked up the tempo (a little) with gender jokes, tap dancing, and those always funny 2002-was-so-long-ago jokes. READ FULL STORY

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