Empire season 2 has been one hell of a ride so far, and chances are that it’s only going to get better once the season starts up again on March 30, 2016. One of the best (and most talked about) parts of the series up until now has been seeing the non-stop run of A-list celebrities making guest appearances on the hugely popular series. So, to help you get pumped for the second half of Empire season 2, we’ve rounded up a list of the most memorable guest stars so far.
1. Marisa Tomei: For Empire season 2, the actress took on the recurring role of a lesbian business tycoon named Mimi Whiteman. She’s a powerful venture capitalist worth billions who winds up getting involved in the Lyons’ family drama. In addition to mastering the part, Vogue has also praised Tomei for pulling off her character’s immaculate sense of style in the show, so much so that she gives Cookie (played by Taraji P. Henson) a serious run for her money as the show’s reigning fashion queen.
2. Chris Rock: The comedian appeared on the premiere for Empire season 2 as Frank Gathers, a deranged inmate (with Lucious) and former drug associate that Cookie and Lucious Lyons (played by Terrence Howard) used to work with. It was definitely a different character than we’re used to seeing from Chris Rock, but he pulled it off well. Unfortunately however, Frank gets killed off in the same episode after Lucious has him offed by his own men.
3. Alicia Keys: Keys stole the show in Empire season 2 episode 9 playing the part of Skye Summers, a spunky, purple-haired pop singer who teams up with Jamal (played by Jussie Smollett) on a new track. The episode ends with the pair kissing, which was unexpected because Jamal announced at the end of season 1 that he was gay.
4. Rosie O’Donnell: This was an unexpected casting but a good one nonetheless. Also appearing in episode 9, O’Donnell played the role of Pepper O’Leary, a former cellmate of Cookie’s. In the episode, Pepper helps Cookie navigate through a rough part of town to find her car and the two women bond over their old prison days.
5. Ludacris: The rapper-turned-actor transformed into Officer McKnight for the second episode in Empire season 2 and has a run-in with Lucious while he’s in jail.
6. Vivica A. Fox: The 51-year-old actress appeared in the eighth episode of Empire season 2 as Cookie’s stuck-up older sister, Candace, who lives in the suburbs with her rich husband and kids. She shows up suddenly in Cookie’s life to let her know that their other sister, Carol, has gone missing.
7. Kelly Rowland: The former Destiny’s Child member had a pretty surprising role in Empire season 2—a younger version of Lucious’ mother, Leah Walker, in flashbacks.
8. Andre Royo: He may play a former heroin addict in The Wire, but on Empire season 2, Royo is a shady defense lawyer who helps Lucious get out of jail by bribing the judge with incriminating photos. He’s also now working as an employee at Empire Entertainment.