Bruno Mars on 'Saturday Night Live': 5 Things We Want to See

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
Bruno Mars performs onstage during Rock in Rio USA at the MGM Resorts Festival Grounds on May 16, 2015 in Las Vegas.

This week, Bruno Mars returns to the Saturday Night Live stage as a musical guest, accompanying first-time host Emily Blunt. (Just for the record, Billboard totally called Mars’ appearance last month.)

The Grammy-winning artist has performed double duty before, hosting-slash-performing on SNL as recently as 2012, so how will he make his mark strictly as a musical guest? Well…

Mars will perform brand-new music: “24K Magic,” Mars’ newest smash, debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard + Twitter Top Tracks chart. It’s pretty much a lock for one of the two songs he’ll perform. This begs the question: What else will he do? Considering Mars has a new album on the horizon, the SNL stage could be an ideal opportunity to debut a new track. It may even be the first song of the night, to keep early viewers hooked until he plays “24K Magic” -- or something else entirely. Like maybe…

He could “Uptown Funk” us up:  OK, pardon the terrible pun. But seeing as how it’s been two full years after Mars released “Uptown Funk” and the Mark Ronson collaboration is still irresistible, he really might perform it as the second song of the night. However, SNL marks the beginning of Mars’ promotional tour for his upcoming album, so it wouldn’t quite make marketing sense to play a hit from 2014. What might he choose to do instead? A medley. He’s got the showmanship, the energy, the attention-grabbing quality and a catalog of previous hits. Why play just one when he could have the opportunity to dust off a few, particularly when that would have the greatest chance of going viral? Plus, a medley would keep all eyes on him -- unlike “Uptown Funk,” which may call for a cameo by Ronson.

He’ll act: This week’s host, Emily Blunt, is much more than The Girl on the Train. (Fans of musicals will recall her performance in 2014’s Into the Woods, for which she earned a Golden Globe nod for Best Actress.) Last week was a noticeably theater-heavy episode, but with Blunt and Mars on deck, SNL could definitely go for a singing sketch. Just one. Any more than that would be insane. But even if they don’t spring for a musical vignette, Mars should make a guest appearance. Audiences will kind of expect it, and, realistically, it’s what the people want. 

Idea lightning round: Apart from debuting new music, resurrecting “Uptown Funk,” or singing with Emily Blunt, what might Mars get up to? A digital short, in the key of Lady Gaga’s everlasting “3-Way”? Maybe SNL will let him perform three songs, like they did with Coldplay that one time! Or instead of singing, he’ll get to be in the game show sketch and play a totally diva’d-out version of himself!  Actually, that would be pretty fun. But whatever he gets up to on Saturday night, Billboard is looking forward to it.