Ariana DeBose Brings Music to Her 'SNL' Debut Belting Out 'West Side Story' Tunes With Kate McKinnon
Ariana DeBose brought some West Side Story musical magic to her Saturday Night Live hosting debut. The Golden Globe winner took to the iconic Studio 8H stage in a shiny, pearl white suit and brought a measured confidence to her first-ever monologue.
"I am so honored to be here tonight. Wow! 2022 has already been an exciting year," DeBose began. "I am hosting SNL and I won a golden globe for my role as Anita in West Side Story."
"Not many people know this, but West Side Story is actually based on another classic tale of star-crossed lovers -- 90 Day Fiance," she continued. "But it is great to be here representing not only the Latino community as an Afro-Latina, but also the Broadway community."
As a celebration of Broadway, and it's "magical ability to bring people together," DeBose suggested that maybe she could sing a little something from West Side Story. Almost instantly, Kate McKinnon appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, to volunteer.
"Hi. I'm sorry. It's my favorite show. I've loved it since elementary school," an excited McKinnon gushed.
"Oh! Did you like the movie?" DeBose asked.
"I didn't see it," McKinnon admitted. "I don't leave the house because of COVID, and also because I don't leave the house."
“Well, in that case,” offered DeBose, "why don’t we bring out some stools and we can sing together?"
Despite faux-protestations, McKinnon quickly accepted the offer and soon the two were belting out some of the iconic musical's most beloved tunes, including "Tonight,” "I Feel Pretty," "Something’s Coming" and "America."
The pair also shared a truly delightful, empowering fist bump during "I Feel Pretty,” following the famous line, "I feel pretty and witty and gay!"
When DeBose complimented one of McKinnon's vocal runs, the SNL star explained, "I’ve been on Broadway... yeah, like the sidewalk."
It was a delightful opening monologue for the charming DeBose, and her instant chemistry with McKinnon was on full display throughout the night as the pair led several additional sketches side-by-side.
DeBose recently opened up to ET's Denny Directo about getting to host Saturday Night Live for the first time.
"I just wanted to be on the show, so SNL was on my bucket list. I was walking down the 48th street like five years ago and I was like, 'That would be fun to be on Saturday Night Live one day,'" she recalled. "I didn’t think it was coming this quick though."
The Prom star is ready to take over Studio 8H, admitting that while she's "sensibly fearful," "the cast has been wonderful and it's been a really fun process."
"I still have no idea what I am doing and I probably won't know until we go live, so it will be a surprise to me and you," she quipped.
Saturday Night Live airs live coast-to-coast at 11:30 p.m. ET, 8:30 p.m. PT on NBC.
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