Slotted between beloved K-pop idols BTS and the newly-reunited, all-grown-up Jonas Brothers on the final episodes of this Saturday Night Live season, Shawn Mendes is like the Justin Timberlake of Generation Z. He's a pop star who launched his career on the now-defunct video app Vine and slowly transformed into tasteful, largely PG-13-rated maturity without the growing pains that so often dictate boy-band pivots into adult heartthrob-dom.
Now, at just 20-years old, Mendes perfectly plays the role of pop's resident heartthrob, singing innocuous sweet nothings in a Timberlakian falsetto with his ruffled hair forever slicked back.
"If I Can't Have You," the first of two songs he performed on SNL (and a new single that debuted this past week), is more in line with the driving, guitar-heavy romantics that Mendes traffics in and got a fairly standard performance. But "In My Blood," a wise-beyond-his-years anthem for anxiety and the definitive hit from his 2018 self-titled album, was given the grand treatment — cellos, a single spotlight on Mendes and a decidedly Springsteenian look, sleeveless shirt and all.