Some musicians should just stick to the music, you know?
While countless TV shows and movies have become household must-sees thanks to their star actors, once in a while, other big names drop in for surprising cameos fans usually can’t get enough of. Some of the most extraordinary moments in television history stem from celebrity cameos, from out-of-nowhere improvised scenes to hilarious plot twists. So many celebrities have no problem guest-starring as themselves in a popular TV show. And, more often than not, seeing big-name celebrities play small cameo roles just hits differently.
There’s something about watching a show you know and love, only to suddenly see a famous musician, actor, or politician pop up on the screen when you least expect them to. These celebrity TV cameos that made an impact are unforgettable — for reasons both good and bad. From Taylor Swift on New Girl to Ed Sheeran in Game of Thrones to reality stars like Kristin Cavallari on Veronica Mars, these are the iconic celebrity cameos you have to revisit.
1. Taylor Swift as Elaine on New Girl
In New Girl’s 2013 Season 2 finale, “Elaine’s Big Day,” Cece and Shivrang’s wedding day arrived, but was stopped when Shivrang’s ex, Elaine (Swift), confessed her love for him. Although Swift’s appearance was pretty brief, it was apparently especially significant to the New Girl’s creators, who are huge fans of the pop singer.
2. Ed Sheeran on Game of Thrones
Ed Sheeran is an incredible singer, but does he know how to act? The songwriter had an unforgettable cameo in Game of Thrones back in July 2017, but his appearance didn’t receive a great public reception. He played the role of Eddie in Game of Thrones in Season 7 Episode 7 "Dragonstone," and while he wasn't the first musician to have a cameo in Game of Thrones featured appearances from Coldplay, Mastodon, and Bastille) fans had a particularly harsh reaction to Sheeran’s guest spot, so harsh in fact, haters assumed Sheeran quit Twitter over the backlash. However, the singer addressed his haters to clear that up, writing, “Last I'll say on this. I came off Twitter Coz [sic] I was always intending to come off Twitter, had nothing to do with what people said about my 'Game of Thrones' cameo, because I am in 'Game of Thrones,' why the hell would I worry what people thought about that. It's clearly f---in' awesome. Timing was just a coincidence, but believe what you want.”
3. Gigi Hadid on Netflix’s Never Have I Ever
After Chrissy Teigen dropped out of the show in March amid a bullying controversy involving Courtney Stodden, Hadid took over her role in Season 2, Episode 3. The supermodel narrated the internal monologue of Paxton Hall-Yoshida (Darren Barnet), and she did a great job.
4. Shawn Mendes on The 100
The “Stitches” singer was in the Season 3 premiere of The 100 in January 2016, where he sang a brief track with star actress Lindsay Morgan. She told Teen Vogue, “I loved working with Shawn,” she said. “He is a total natural and was just full with so much enthusiasm. He was awesome on set. We became friends pretty immediately.”
5. Tyra Banks on Gossip Girl
The America’s Next Top Model alum played Ursula, Olivia’s best friend, in Season 4 of Gossip Girl and worked alongside stars Hilary Duff and Blake Lively. Banks already had a history of acting in films like Life-Size and Coyote Ugly. So with an innate talent like hers, it’s no wonder she slayed in her role as Ursula.
6. Britney Spears on Sabrina the Teenage Witch
Aired on Sept. 24, 1999, Britney Spears appeared on Sabrina the Teenage Witch alongside Melissa Joan Hart. In the episode, Sabrina thinks about moving to Paris after high school, and Britney (as Britney) is there for support. Even back in 1999, before she made her acting debut in Crossroads (2002), Spears proved that she could dance, sing, and act.
7. Kristin Cavallari on Veronica Mars
Laguna Beach and The Hills star Kristin Cavallari played a closeted lesbian cheerleader who turned to Veronica (Kristen Bell) to take down an Internet blackmailer who threatened to reveal her secret along with the rest of Neptune High’s closeted students.
8. Joe Biden & Michelle Obama on Parks and Recreation
The former first lady and current President Joe Biden obviously know how to capture an audience. Both her and Biden appeared in an episode of Parks and Recreation as slightly funnier versions of themselves. Did I mention that the main character, Leslie Knope, had an intense crush on Biden?
9. Kesha on Jane the Virgin
In October 2015, the pop singer played a small role as Annabelle, Jane’s neighbor, in Season 2, Episode 2, of the series. Kesha acted as a wannabe rockstar who played so loudly she kept the new mom (Gina Rodriguez) and her baby up all night every time she practiced.
10. Prince on New Girl
Season 3, Episode 14 of New Girl was called “Prince,” and had the world-famous musician as a guest star. The crew actually wrote the episode around him, and Prince even added some of his own ideas for the script. In the episode, he gave Jess a makeover and asked for the party scene to be similar to his own real house parties. In addition, Prince added his own personal swag in terms of wardrobe and hairstyles, and are you really surprised? “Prince” ended up being the most-watched episode of New Girl.