The first episode of Lip Sync Battle, the spin-off series based on Jimmy Fallon’s hilarious Tonight Show segment, featured the Tonight Show host facing off against Furious 7 star Dwayne ’The Rock’ Johnson, who declared their match as “the lip sync battle of all lip sync battles.” Accompanied by host of everything LL Cool J and color commentator/time filler Chrissy Teigen, each competing star “performs” two songs and the audience decides on the victor, who receives the coveted championship belt.
Johnson came out swinging (which, if you’ve seen his biceps, is nothing to mess with) by performing Taylor “Tay Tay” Swift’s “Shake It Off.” While the superstar nailed a couple of things, including the giggle at the beginning of the tune, he missed a few cues. Still, he gets bonus points for adding a little bit of edge by flipping Fallon the bird and for making a “T” and “S” sign with his fingers as a shout-out to T. Swift.
It was a performance to be reckoned with, and Fallon didn’t fail. He got the party started with Harry Belafonte’s classic “Jump in the Line,” and when the funny man jumped in the crowd and started a conga line with the audience, it was all over. In fact it was so energetic and fun, it left Teigen so breathless — or in her words, “breastless.”
Fallon used others for help during his second performance, too, having a gospel choir (or, as he referred to them, his entourage) back him up for his take on Madonna’s “Like a Prayer.” Complete with appropriately dramatic facial reactions and ’80s dancing, Fallon bragged that he had this thing in the bag. (The only thing that takes more nerves of steel than lip syncing in the goofiest way possible on national television, is smack talking The Rock.)
But you can never count The Rock out, and he came there to win. And it is awfully hard to top the macho athlete/actor in full disco leisure suit boogying down to The Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive.” Fallon had round one in the bag, but Johnson totally dominated round two. And that’s exactly what tipped the scales in his favor to emerge the first-ever champion of the Lip Sync Battle series, which he called “an honor.”
The second episode of the series was a much friendlier competition as it featured musicians and Oscar-winning collaborators Mr. Chrissy Teigen himself, John Legend, and Common. While Common had fun channeling Jackson 5’s “Want You Back” (even Legend and LL couldn’t help but dance along in the background), Legend dominated with his er, legendary, performance of Juvenile’s “Slow Motion.” Sporting a fake grill and miming grinding motions (much to the surprise of his wife, who watched just a few feet away), Legend got into character even if he, as he put it, has never been “somebody’s outside dick.” It was a whole new side of Legend, and it’s hard to tell who liked it more, the R&B star himself, or the crowd.
Round one clearly belonged to Legend, but Common pulled out the big guns for round two. And by big guns we mean a glorious curly wig for his performance of Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long.” With the help of some backup dancers, Common channeled the iconic singer in body and spirit. (One thing Lip Sync Battle definitely has over The Tonight Show is giving the celebs costumes, props, and backup dancers.)
While it was a noble and hilarious effort on Common’s behalf (he even threw in some breakdancing), Legend tried to one-up him once again by dressing up as MC Hammer to perform “U Can’t Touch This.” Really, you haven’t seen John Legend until you’ve seen him in Hammer pants.
Ultimately, Legend wasn’t untouchable. Even though it sounded like he had more of the audience’s support, Common emerged the victor. Lip Sync Battle isn’t necessarily appointment television (you know this stuff will all be viral by morning) but it is a fun, silly, pleasant distraction on a Thursday night. And let’s be honest, we’re all definitely tuning in to see Anne Hathaway perform as Miley Cyrus next week.
[Photo Credit: Spike]