'SNL' best host poll: And the winner is...

Justin Timberlake was voted the best host of the 2012-2013 season of "Saturday Night Live" by EW.com readers.

Story highlights

  • EW.com hosts a best "Saturday Night Live" host poll
  • Readers chose Justin Timberlake as the best host this year
  • He beat out Melissa McCarthy, who came in second place
This is how it generally works: Jay Pharoah or Jason Sudeikis screams "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!"
The house band kicks in, the immortal Don Pardo announces the cast. And then, the stage door opens, and a smiling celebrity walks out towards the camera. You try and gauge her body language because what you really want to know is: Is this going to be funny? It's late on Saturday night and you just need to know whether you're going to watch this from start to finish right now ... or whether you should go to bed and simply scan through "Weekend Update" tomorrow on the DVR.
Like a football or basketball game, a host can't "win" "SNL" with a great opening monologue, but he or she sure can screw it up. So it's no surprise that the best hosts typically come out of the gate revving on all cylinders. Good jokes help, and so do pratfalls, but the best of the best remind us that this is live television. It can be messy, and it can even be a trainwreck. But whatever it is, it can't be boring.
For the second straight year, EW.com readers have voted to determine who was "SNL's" best host. Throughout the show's season, the most recent host was pitted against the four most popular previous hosts in a vote, and the one with the least number of voters was eliminated while the four survivors advanced to the next week. Like any democracy, it's a system that's not without its flaws.
This year, we rigged modified the system with what I call the Barabbas Addendum, which restored a previously eliminated host to the final vote. The electorate rescued Seth MacFarlane to join our final five: Martin Short, Justin Timberlake, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig and Ben Affleck.
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