9 Times Miley Cyrus Was Great On SNL

This Saturday marks the return of Saturday Night Live, and Miley Cyrus is coming back to host for a third time. While Cyrus can be an exhausting pop cultural force, she's a pretty good SNL host.

The first time Cyrus hosted was in March of 2011, when she was coming off her relatively minor (in retrospect) salvia scandal. She came back in 2013, just a few short months after she made an impression — for better or worse — at the VMAs with her twerking and teddy bears. Now, this upcoming hosting stint comes after another notable VMAs gig and a reinvention. Cyrus has gone full-on freaky, Flaming Lips-inspired stoner.

When Cyrus hosts, many sketches tend to reference her personality, be that the cheery child star or the provocateur, but that that persona can be mined for good material. On top of that, she's nothing if not an eager-to-impress performer, meaning even if elements of the show fall flat she gives it her all. On the Today show this week, Weekend Update host Michael Che said that Cyrus is an "exciting performer" who "gets it and it's always fun to work with somebody that's like that."

In honor of Cyrus' return to the SNL stage, let's revisit some of her greatest humorous hits.
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The Miley Cyrus Show, 2011

When Miley first appeared on SNL she had just started to get a little wild. In December 2010, Cyrus was caught smoking salvia, a sign of drug-related exploits to come. That indiscretion was mentioned when she played Justin Bieber opposite Vanessa Bayer's (excellent) Miley on this incarnation of "The Miley Cyrus Talk Show" sketch. SNL relishes these moments — when a real celebrity comes into contact with his or her impersonator — so naturally this would occur when Miley came to host. Though Miley's Bieber isn't as good as, say, Kate McKinnon's, it's an admirable effort.
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2 of 9
Disney Channel Acting School, 2011

Was she/were we ever so young? Sure, at this point Cyrus was far enough away from Disney to riff on the fact that she got her start playing the perky Hannah Montana. Still, she was close enough to those days that this sketch, making fun of the Disney Channel's penchant for hyperbole, was seamless. Plus it stars former Nickelodeon star Kenan Thompson as Raven-Symoné.
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Beastly, 2011

Cyrus doesn't have a big role in this sketch. We're mostly including it because we want you to remember when the Vanessa Hudgens movie Beastly was a thing to be mocked.
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Cold Open: VMAs Backstage, 2013

The next time Cyrus showed up on SNL, a lot had changed. It was near the beginning of the show's 2013 season, shortly after her infamous VMAs act. The show dedicated its cold open to that performance, which, in SNL's version of events, caused the apocalypse. A flashback to the night of the VMAs had Bayer returning as old Miley to issue a warning to new Miley and give her an American Girl doll. Trust us, it makes sense.
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We Did Stop, 2013

The top sketch from Cyrus' second time hosting was the expert parody of her video for "We Can't Stop," in which Cyrus starred as Michele Bachmann singing about government shutdown.
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Mornin' Miami, 2013

Bobby Moynihan gets the best line in this sketch about disgruntled news anchors whose promos get progressively stranger. But Cyrus holds her own spitting out lines like, "Get on your camels or your significant others because it's hump day."
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Fifty Shades of Grey Auditions, 2013

Cyrus does her best Scarlett Johansson growl in this parade of impressions for Fifty Shades of Grey.
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"We Can't Stop" and "Wrecking Ball," 2013

When it came time for Cyrus to sing she did away with the antics, and instead showed off her chops. She performed "We Can't Stop" accompanied just by three guitars, and did an emotional rendition of "Wrecking Ball" that was just killer.
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"50 Ways To Leave Your Lover," 2015

Cyrus busted out a great cover of the Paul Simon classic during the show's 40th anniversary celebration. To do that when Simon himself was in the room took guts.
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