Can ‘Saturday Night Live’ win Best Song Emmy without Justin Timberlake?

Songs from “Saturday Night Live” have won two of the last five Emmy races for Best Original Music and Lyrics. However, both of those winning tunes — “D*** in a Box” (2009) and “Monologue” (2011) — featured performances by Justin Timberlake who also claimed Comedy Guest Actor for his hosting of the show in 2011. 

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This year, a song featured on the long-running variety show contends against three category newcomers and the Tonys, which was nominated just once before back in 1994. 

“I Can’t Believe I’m Hosting” was sung by “How I Met Your Mother” star Jason Segel in his opening monologue on “SNL.” While it’s cute that he’s joined by the Muppets for his performance, there’s no inventiveness to the lyrics and the humor comes from dialogue between Segel and the Muppets as opposed to the song.

The frontrunner in this race is “It’s Not Just For Gays Anymore,” the opening number from the 2011 Tony Awards sung by host Neil Patrick Harris, who also features on “HIMYM.” The song was penned by David Javerbaum and Adam Schlesinger. Javerbaum has won an impressive 11 Emmys as a writer and producer of “#The Daily Show with Jon Stewart#” and Schlesinger has been nominated for two Grammys as a member of the group Fountains of Wayne. The pair contended for a Tony Award in 2008 for the score of “Cry-Baby.” Given this category’s penchant for rewarding funny and sometimes raunchy tunes (“D**k in a Box” and “I’m F***ing Matt Damon”) this song sounds like a winner. (See the number in the video below)

Freshman series “Smash” goes behind the scenes of the making of a Broadway musical. Tony champs Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (“Hairspray,” 2003) penned “Let Me Be Your Star,” sung by Megan Hilty and Katharine McPhee. The song is a solid one but this category has not been kind to tunes from series outside the variety and animated genres. Yes, Randy Newman won for “When I’m Gone” from the comedy series “Monk,” two years ago. But prior to that it was way back in 1991 that a song from another scripted series prevailed; that too was a Newman tune — — from the short-lived “Cop Rock.”

“The Heart of Christmas,” is the title song from that telefilm that aired on GMC, a Christian entertainment channel. The song, about a young boy with a terminal illness whose family plan to give him one last Christmas to remember, was written by Christian pop artist Matthew West. It’s a pretty song but just doesn’t seem to fit with this category.

The comedy series “Raising Hope,” contends with “Welcome Back to Hope,” from their season opener. The song was a clever way for viewers to catch up on the previous season by having Hope’s daycare teacher sing a song about what’s happened to her in the past year. The tune is catchy enough but lacks the wit that usually shines in this category.

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