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What’s At Stake for Justin Bieber on ‘SNL’

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Justin Bieber will host SNL on February 9. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

The double-booking of Justin Bieber to both perform on and host an upcoming episode of “Saturday Night Live” isn’t very surprising – the young star is an ideal get for the sketch comedy show.

But it’s not without its stakes. Bieber, 18, is currently caught up in a nightmarish news cycle.

There’s the leaked party photos of Justin holding a funny looking cigarette, and a revolting, maybe-hoax Twitter trend that urged his fans to self-mutilate to get the singer to stop his alleged pot smoking.

Then there’s his off-again status with actress Selena Gomez and the unfortunate recent death of a paparazzo that perished chasing down the singer’s car. “SNL” could provide the perfect change of pace or add momentum to his losing streak.

The Good: When a music talent can pull of hosting duties, the sky is the limit. Does anyone doubt that Justin Timberlake’s successful turns on “SNL,” fueled by the viral genius of Andy Samberg, gave him staying power in the movie business and upped his street cred?

If Bieber can resonate with audiences, it could open doors for him in a completely different sector of show business (and he’s already got a decent box office track record). Plus, he’s already got a flair for sketch – a Funny or Die viral video from 2011 showed he had some chops.

The Bad: He’s been an “SNL” target before.

Miley Cyrus famously portrayed the “Beauty And a Beat” crooner, ironically when she herself was under fire for a video that showed her smoking salvia from a bong.

And Timberlake, who lost out to musician Usher for the chance to bring Bieber mainstream years ago, took a swipe at him in an unaired sketch from May 2011.

“Why don’t you just put a wig on a chipmunk and train it to act like a black man?” he cracked (below).

The Potential: It’s war room time for Team Bieber. Going the Cyrus route and cracking fun at his smoking photos could show a decent sense of humor, or further disregard for his fan base.

A nod to Gomez isn’t out of the question, but if it’s not done delicately could look like sour grapes. And any Timberlake challenge could be revisiting bitterness past.

We’ll see how it shakes out when Bieber takes over 30 Rockefeller Center on February 9.

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