(Spoiler alert: Please do not read if you haven’t watch Thursday’s “Lip Sync Battle”)
Jimmy Fallon sparked a hot craze with his “Lip Sync Battle” segments on “The Tonight Show,” and on Thursday the spin-off series’ premiere on Spike got an equally warm reception.
Rapper/actor LL Cool J hosted with the help of “color commentator” model Chrissy Teigen, as first guest Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson took on Fallon in an epic competition that included plenty of killer moves and vicious trash talking.
“Furious 7” star Johnson combined his best WWE moves and his massive bulk to take over the dance floor with his debut performance of none other than Taylor Swift.
Smoothly moving his 6’5” bulk and offering up plenty of elaborate hand gestures and cheesy expressions, Johnson was somehow transformed in the pop star for the high-pitched hit, “Shake It Off.” He even nailed the speaking part as he bounced up and down like an excited teenager.
“You can tell that he’s done this before in his bedroom,” an impressed Fallon said, while LL Cool J thought it was “from the soul.”
Having to go head-to-head with his rival, Fallon had some catching up to do as he threw out “Jump in the Line” by Harry Belafonte, hopping energetically into the Calypso classic.
Teigen somehow fumbled her first line as a co-host by saying: “Jimmy left me breast-less,” as she attempted to pick Fallon as the winner.
In a “behind the scenes” video, Fallon went through his rigorous training regimen by revealing his use of extra lip movements and yodeling in front of the mirror.
The battle continued with Fallon’s rendition of “Like a Prayer” by Madonna, as he was joined by a full choir. Johnson then attempted to redeem himself by donning a white suit for a hip-swiveling performance of “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees.
His hard work and smooth moves paid off as The Rock was presented with a winner’s belt that was so huge that Fallon likely could not have hauled it over his shoulder.
“Lip Sync Battle” was announced in November and has Fallon teaming up with executive producers John Krasinski, Stephen Merchant, Casey Patterson, Jay Peterson and Rick Schwartz. Beth McCarthy-Miller of “Saturday Night Live” serves as director.
“Tonight Show” late-night battles on NBC have gone super-viral, racking up tens of millions of viewers and raising the recognition level of the game’s already-famous participants.