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“Lip Sync Battle” Hits All The High Notes

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson brought the stage to life with his rendition of “Staying Alive” on the premiere of Lip Sync Battle. {Image Credit: Spike/Scott Gries}

Jimmy Fallon is a smart entertainer who knows exactly what audiences want. Springing from a very popular segment on The Tonight ShowLip Sync Battle is a certified hit for Spike television. Drawing a total of 2.2 million viewers for its premiere on April 2, the numbers are incredibly big for an unscripted premiere on the newly re-branded television network that is now opening the doors of its boys club and courting the female demographic.

If you’re a fan of Fallon’s, you would know that the lip sync battles have been extremely popular for quite some time now, with many of the segments featuring huge stars lip-syncing their favorite tracks. Since first being introduced on the late night talk show a year ago, so many of these lip sync battles have since gone viral including Emma Stone’s with 48 million hits on YouTube, followed closely by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Stephen Merchant’s reaching nearly 42 million. After such success and the broad social medium helping to assess popularity, it’s no surprise Fallon figured fans would want more.

Directed by Beth McCarthy-Miller (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Brooklyn Nine-Nine) and executive produced by Stephen Merchant (Hello Ladies) and John Krasinski (The Office), Lip Sync Battle is hosted by LL Cool J and features color commentary by Chrissy Teigen.  In the premiere episode, Fallon faces off with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and the results are hilarious. The two pulled no stops and went all out with their performances. In the first round, they sang songs in a similar style seen from the segments on The Tonight Show. Johnson kicked the first round off with a little “Tay-Tay” (obviously, Urban Dictionary for Taylor Swift) and performed “Shake It Off” with the charisma and dance skills of a school girl. Fallon followed, and in his all boyish charms sang Harry Belefonte’s “Jump in the Line (Shake, Senora),” getting the audience to their feet and into a conga line.

Host of the The Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon preaching to the choir with his version of Madonna’s “Like a Prayer.” {Image Credit: Spike/AP Photo}

In the second and final round, the two return and really outshine themselves. Fallon comes in lip-syncing Madonna’s “Like a Prayer,” donning a robe and later joined by a gospel choir. The 40 year-old comedian is as fresh as he was in his Saturday Night Live days, going out all out and interacting with the audience. Johnson follows Fallon, lip-syncing to “Staying Alive” by the Bee Gees with female dancers gyrating on stage with him. It’s a likable performance that ultimately gives “The Rock” another championship title under his belt.

LL Cool J is perfect in these hosting duties as he adds enough wit to the playful rivalry between contestants and enables them to outdo the other. Chrissy Teigen comes off a tad nervous and flubs simple lines, but hopefully will open up and let loose like the contestants.

What’s interesting about Lip Sync Battle is that you never know who will show up and sing on stage. The pairings and possibilities for guests are endless. On its premiere night, an episode featuring Common and John Legend (husband of Teigen) followed in the 10:30 slot, with the two best friends and singers (and Oscar winners for Selma‘s Original Song, “Glory”) lip-syncing to some of their favorites. While the first round was fun and in the similar style from the first episode, the second round found Common and Legend giving it their best. Common sang Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long,” hopping and jumping on stage with a wig, while Legend performed to MC Hammer’s “Can’t Touch This” complete with haram pants. The two performances were equally amusing.

Summarized best by the show’s host, “Two stars perform two songs, each trying to out-sync and out-psyche their opponent. You go hard or you go home.” It’s a simple concept for a show, but one that definitely works. While Lip Sync Battle is pegged as a musical comedy, the comedy comes in the form of the personality seen on stage. What’s most entertaining about a show like this is that you will find yourself laughing and smiling at these stars lip-syncing, acting goofy, and getting out of their comfort zones. From Fallon’s first performance on the series premiere, you quickly realize what this show is really about. Though there is no real “grand prize” or official way to really declare a winner (determined by applause, with the victor holding a Lip Sync Battle belt), it’s entertainment at its finest and meant to be playful and fun. That’s what makes it so appealing too—the enthusiasm seen on stage makes Lip Sync Battle so much fun to watch, and enough to hold the attention of millenials and music junkies.

In addition to the ten episodes already taped, Spike has ordered another eight episodes. The next few episodes will feature stars from the likes of Anna Kendrick vs. John Krasinski, Terry Crews vs. Mike Tyson, and this week sees former co-stars of The Devil Wears Prada, Anne Hathaway and Emily Blunt going head-to-head and giving it their all.

Because there is no real competition here, Lip Sync Battle is a welcome and fun break from the reality competitions and music shows that tend to crowd prime-time. With familiar faces having fun and not caring who really wins, this show comes to life with its performers and the in-house crowd serving as judges. Fallon takes it back to audiences, proving how valuable they are to the social medium and that’s what makes this show so special.

Check out a preview for this week’s episode as Hathaway flips off Blunt while lip-syncing (and swinging) to Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball.”

Lip Sync Battle airs Thursdays on Spike at 10pm ET. Check your local listings. Follow the show over on Twitter and Facebook, and keep up with previews for upcoming episodes at their official website.

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Have you seen Lip Sync Battle? Who would you like to see hit the battle stage?

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  1. “Lip Sync Battle” Hits All The High Notes | westlifebunny - April 20, 2015

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