'West Side Story' 's Ariana DeBose Shines in 'SNL' Hosting Debut and Sings with Kate McKinnon

"It is great to be here representing not only the Latino community as an Afro-Latina, but also the Broadway community," Ariana DeBose said during her Saturday Night Live opening monologue

West Side Story's Ariana DeBose Shines in SNL Hosting Debut
Photo: Saturday Night Live/Youtube

Live from Studio 8H, it's Ariana DeBose!

On Saturday evening, the 30-year-old actress made her Saturday Night Live hosting debut, where she shined in a night full of fun-filled and hilarious sketches.

At the start of the program, DeBose performed an opening monologue that celebrated her roots.

"It is great to be here representing not only the Latino community as an Afro-Latina, but also the Broadway community," she said. "Obviously, Broadway has been through a lot these last past couple of years ... but we are a community that perseveres."

"I believe Broadway changes lives, and hey, it changed mine," DeBose added. "Broadway has this magical ability to bring people together."

The actress then channeled her West Side Story character Anita and sang a selection of songs from the film alongside Kate McKinnon, including "Tonight" and "I Feel Pretty."

Later in the episode, DeBose performed alongside the SNL cast in a series of sketches, including an NBA on TNT halftime show and one where two parents attempt to offer their son as a date for high school girls renting attire from their dress rental shop.

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Another standout sketch saw castmember Chris Redd impersonate newly-elected New York City Mayor Eric Adams, while DeBose stars as his press secretary. "He will kick your ass," DeBose's character hilariously quips at one moment in the sketch.

In another segment from the late-night comedy series, DeBose spoofs the Sound of Music at a time when Maria (played by McKinnon) is "stretched quite thin."

Leading the von Trapp children with a lesson on how to sing, DeBose performs "Do Re Mi" with the inclusion of various pop culture references, including Queen Latifah, Ray Romano, and Homer Simpson.

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Earlier this month, SNL announced that the second half of season 47 would premiere on Jan. 15 with DeBose as host and Roddy Ricch as musical guest.

Ricch, 23, however, was forced to pull out from performing days later after he was exposed to COVID-19. He was replaced by Jack Antonoff's band Bleachers.

SNL previously closed out 2021 with a quieter show amid the spread of the omicron variant. As COVID-19 cases surged in New York City where the show is filmed, SNL slimmed down its Dec. 18 show with a limited cast and crew, as Paul Rudd celebrated his fifth time presenting.

Charli XCX, who was set to perform on Rudd's episode as the musical guest, had to cancel her set altogether.

Saturday Night Live airs weekly on NBC.

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