Jimmy Fallon knows what the Internet likes. While the Tonight Show host offers a barrage of viral-friendly segments on his NBC platform weekly, Fallon sprung an entire spin-off show on Spike TV called Lip Sync Battle. Inspired by the hilarious musical showdown between himself and [insert awesome celebrity here], two individuals rock the mic (without actually singing or rapping) for their songs-of-choice and create an entire production with props and costumes, in hopes of grabbing the Lip Sync Battle belt. There’s even a baby belt for the losers.
On Thursday night (April 2), the double-premiere of LPB proved we’re all winners. With host LL Cool J and colorful commentator Chrissy Teigen in the fold, the eye candy department is already handled. Still, it’s the random music selection that brings the show harmony (read: record ratings for Spike with 2.2 million viewers for its debut). Episode 1 tapped wrestler-turned-movie-star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who lipsynced a weirdly entertaining rendition of Taylor Swift’s (whom he refers to as “Tay Tay”) “Shake It Off.” Fallon then got the party started with his version of Harry Belafonte’s “Jump In The Line (Shake Senora),” even jumping into the crowd for an impromptu conga line. Round two delivered the better battle as The Rock put on his best John Travolta-esque suit and tackled the Bee Gees “Staying Alive” while Fallon brought in a choir for his take on Madonna’s “Like A Prayer.”
Sure, hunky male celebs singing unexpected karaoke jams, let alone Taylor Swift, is the stuff TV and YouTube thirst for but a major up-side is seeing actual entertainers flip their M.O. The second helping of Lip Sync Battle pit Teigen’s hubby, John Legend, versus his bro, Common, who traded genres for their respective sets. Legend curated a hip-hop parade with Juvenile’s “Slow Motion” (Chrissy’s reaction: *slapping asses slowly*) and MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This.” But the clear winner was Comm, who got on his R&B flow with The Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” just before slapping on a black, curly wig and busting out his dance moves for a funky rendition of Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long.”
Its menagerie of talent aside, LPB is a welcome break from other singing shows crowding primetime. With the in-house crowd serving as judges, the spirit of competition between both parties make it a fun-for-all. Big names aren’t necessary if the name of the game is having stars like Anne Hathaway pull a Miley Cyrus (which is actually happening next week). The expected variety is enough to hold both millennials and music junkies’ attention.