Jonas Brothers, BTS, Nipsey Hussle Tribute and Beyond: Memorable Musical Moments From 'SNL's' 44th Season

2:35 PM 5/22/2019

by Trilby Beresford

Adam Sandler's musical contribution and performances from Kanye West, Halsey and Miley Cyrus also stood out.

From left: BTS, Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus
From left: BTS, Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus
Getty Images

From the highly energetic, record-breaking, world-sweeping K-pop phenomenon that is BTS to a perplexing performance from Kanye West dressed up like a beverage bottle, NBC's Saturday Night Live offered a impressive menu of musical artists for its 44th season. The recently reunited Jonas Brothers performed their hugely popular "Sucker," while the legendary Paul Simon graced the stage with the sweet and familiar sounds we know best.

And then there was DJ Khaled's tribute to the late Nipsey Hussle, which provided one of the most emotional moments of the season. "Long live Nipsey Hussle," the rapper declared, who was joined onstage by fellow musicians John Legend, SZA, Meek Mill and more. "The marathon continues." The group went on to perform "Higher," a track off DJ Khaled's new album, which features Hussle.

But who could forget Adam Sandler's heartbreaking musical tribute to the late SNL castmember Chris Farley? The actor kept himself together with poise and dignity, calling his friend "sweeter than honey" and recalling his past sketches and characters on SNL and his life in comedy. Definitely a moment to reach for the tissue box.

Of course, Halsey and Miley Cyrus gave slick performances that must also be relived. Bring on the lights, music, dance, spectacle, nostalgia, and get your boogie on. 

  • Jonas Brothers

    "Sucker"

    Newly reunited, the Jonas Brothers performed their hit single "Sucker" on SNL during the week Emma Thompson hosted. Surrounded onstage by a sea of colorful balloons, the brothers wore red and black ensembles and exhibited showmanship of the highest order. 

    Having embarked on a hiatus in 2013 for reasons related to complications within the group, the Jonas Brothers' fast-paced pop track is their first single in six years. Ahead of their new album, Happiness Begins, and tour, a personal, behind-the-scenes documentary about the brothers will be coming soon to Amazon.

  • Miley Cyrus and Mark Ronson

    "Nothing Breaks Like a Heart"

    Following an introduction by host Matt Damon, the stage lights illuminated a sparkly silver sports ensemble, and then the body within it, Miley Cyrus. "This world can hurt you, cut you deep and leaves a scar," she sang, her shirt missing. "Things fall apart, but nothing breaks like a heart."

    On the screen behind her, the words "Nothing gonna save us now" appeared in giant bold lettering, intercut with worldly images of bustling highways, people juxtaposed with environmental landscapes, scenes from outer space and shooting bursts of color. 

  • Kanye West

    "I Love It"

    Many of Kanye West's actions are perplexing, but appearing as a giant Perrier water bottle and rapping, "I'm a real freak, I need a real freak" during an SNL performance of "I Love It" may be one of his most curious moves of 2018.

    Beside West, Lil Pump was disguised as a bottle of Fiji water, and together the two shuffled around the stage, dancing as best they could with restricted body movements. Behind the pair, a video of their collaborator Adele Givens loomed large.

    In the official music video for the song, West and Pump are surrounded by mannequins.

  • BTS

    "Boy With Luv"

    This appearance from K-pop sensation BTS was highly anticipated and well received from the #BTSARMY and beyond. With colored hair, matching suits and cheeky winks toward the camera, the guys performed their record-breaking hit "Boy With Luv" complete with energetic, signature group choreography. 

    Earlier in the promos for this episode, host Emma Stone exhibited her inner fangirl when gushing over the group and chatting with the ladies of SNL.

    BTS' latest album Persona: Map of the Soul debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 charts and marks their third No. 1 in less than two years. The group is currently on an extension of their "Love Yourself" tour.

  • DJ Khaled's Tribute to Nipsey Hussle

    "Higher"

    On the 44th season finale of SNL, musical guest DJ Khaled paid tribute to Nipsey Hussle.

    Joined onstage by SZA, Lil Wayne, Meek Mill, Big Sean, J Balvin, Lil Baby, John Legend and Jerimih, Khaled called out to the crowd, "Long live Nipsey Hussle!" An image of the late rapper was superimposed on the stage behind.

    He added, "The marathon continues," implying a look to the future. The group then performed "Higher," from Khaled's new album Father of Asahd, which dropped Friday and features Hussle. 

    Hussle was killed March 31 in a shooting outside his Los Angeles clothing store. Since his death, numerous musicians and Hollywood stars have expressed shock and outrage over the incident and the loss of such a young performer.

  • Halsey

    "Without Me"

    After an introduction by host Aidy Bryant, Halsey stepped out in a red wig and off-shoulder sequenced dress to perform "Without Me," which was the singer's first No. 1 single. The simple stage backdrop displayed sprawling graffiti style lettering and words relevant to the pain and torment of the song, such as "I cheated."

  • Paul Simon

    "Bridge Over Troubled Water"

    Summoning a mellow mood, Paul Simon and his accompanying orchestra gave an emotional performance of Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" the night that Seth Meyers hosted the show. Simon first appeared as a musical guest on SNL in 1975 and has graced the stage seven times since, while also taking on hosting duties four times. 

  • Adam Sandler's Tribute to Chris Farley

    "Chris Farley Song"

    During Adam Sandler's SNL hosting duty on May 4, the actor and comedian sang an emotional tribute to his late friend and SNL colleague Chris Farley.

    "The first time I saw him he was sweeter than honey," sang Sandler at the top of the song. The mellow performance took SNL fans down memory lane, recalling Farley's characters and sketches and mentioning how Sandler now shows his kids clips of Farley's work.

    During an interview with The Dan Patrick Show, Sandler spoke about rehearsing for this performance: "I couldn't really sing out loud. I was kind of mumbling because his image and stuff was making me upset."