Saturday Night Live Power Rankings: Vanessa Bayer Makes Her Mark

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Rightly so, most of the conversation surrounding this weekend’s Bryan Cranston hosted episode of Saturday Night Live has revolved around Kanye West’s next level performances of “Power” and “Runaway.” Now that you’ve had enough time to digest those, we figured it was high time to start breaking down this week’s Saturday Night Live Power Rankings for you. After all, it was the first time that one of the newbies got an opportunity to play the lead in a sketch and, much to Lorne’s delight, it was totally F-Bomb free! So, please follow along and find out where Vanessa Bayer and the rest of her SNL brethren landed on this week’s Power Rankings.

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE POWER RANKINGS: 10/2/10 (Host: Bryan Cranston; Musical Guest: Kanye West)

1. Andy Samberg (49 points): Before this season began, there were tons of rumors swirling around Studio 8H that two-thirds of the Lonely Island trio –specifically, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer — would not be returning this season. However, cooler heads ultimately prevailed and the fellas made the wise decision to return to the show. This week, the guys made their first Digital Short impression of the season with Rescue Dogs 3D, which, along with the news cycle, helped to propel Samberg to the top of the pack this week. Our only question: Will this be the last we see of his admirable portrayals of both Rahm Emanuel and Cathy?

2. Kenan Thompson (39 points): Oooh, whee! After spending the first week of the show’s 36th season in Lorne’s dog house, Kenan returned to his winning 2009-2010 form this week. Specifically, he ignited the crowd when Deandre “What Up With That?” Cole made his first appearance of the season, much to “93 year-old sex machine” Ernest Borgnine’s delight.

3. Fred Armisen (28 points): “I sent a bottle of sparkling apple juice to your house. Did you get it?” Armisen proved himself to be the consummate pro with this winning number, especially when you consider that host Bryan Cranston nearly derailed this bit in the sketch’s opening seconds by singing the wrong line TWICE (!) in a row.

4. Bobby Moynihan (26 points): This was Moynihan’s second appearance as “second-hand news correspondent” Anthony Crespino. He was able to land a few decent sized laughs from the crowd this week, but nothing really stood out. Here’s hoping we get to see the return of Mark Payne this season.

5. Taran Killam (16 points): Killam benefitted from ubiquity in this week’s episode, as he played supporting roles in the monologue, Shanna and “What Up With That?” Regarding the latter, we were hoping he was going to bring something new to the announcer character that Will Forte pioneered, but sadly, it was just more of the same.

6 (tie). Bill Hader, Vanessa Bayer, Nasim Pedrad (14 points): Wow! Thanks to her “pretty cool” impression of Miley Cyrus, Vanessa Bayer has quickly established herself as the stand-out talent of the crop of SNL freshmen. Pedrad, meanwhile, struggled with her new character Henry, a nerd that seemed a bit too close to her Bedelia character for comfort.

9 (tie). Abby Elliott, Jay Pharoah (12 points): Not much to say about either one of these folks this week, although Pharoah’s portrayal of a Bootsy Collins-esque character was highly entertaining. Also, were those his voices in the i-Sleep Pro commercial that Kenan starred in? We think so, so we’re giving him the credit.

11. Jason Sudeikis (10 points): Not quite sure where Sudeikis was this week but, as always, his B-Boy moves in “What Up With That?” are nearly as essential to the ongoing success of that skit as Kenan’s work as Deandre Cole.

12. Paul Brittain (9 points): What a terrific Johnny Depp impression! Unfortunately, that was about it for him this week.

13. Kristin Wiig (8 points): Is Kristin Wiig over? Of course not, but we can’t help but feel like her schtick is starting to run thin, both with Lorne and audiences alike. Her portrayal of the sexy-yet-not Shanna was her only appearance on the show this weekend, which is very strange considering the heavy lifting she’s done as a castmember over the last seven-plus seasons. We’ll be keeping a close eye on this one.

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE POWER RANKINGS: SEASON 36 TOTALS
1. ⇑ Andy Samberg (74 points; Last Week: #4)
2. ⇓ Fred Armisen (64 points; Last Week: #1)
3. ⇑ Kenan Thompson (53 points; Last Week: #10)
4. ⇓ Bill Hader (50 points; Last Week: #1)
5 (tie). ⇑ Bobby Moynihan (42 points; Last Week: #9)
⇓ Kristin Wiig (42 points; Last Week: #3)
7. ⇓ Jason Sudeikis (35 points; Last Week: #4)
8. ⇓ Abby Elliott (33 points; Last Week: #6)
9. ⇓ Vanessa Bayer (31 points; Last Week: #8)
10. ⇓ Jay Pharoah (30 points; Last Week: #7)
11. Taran Killam (29 points; Last Week: #11)
12. Nasim Pedrad (28 points; Last Week: #12)
13. Paul Brittain (20 points; Last Week: #13)

Reference Materials:
Need a refresher on the Scoring System?
Here’s this week’s sketch-by-sketch breakdown:

Also, did you know that we’re showing classic episodes of SNL every night on VH1? It’s true!