Once merely a staple of middle school talent shows, miming the words to popular songs has now reached an unprecedented level of mainstream popularity. NBC executives must be kicking themselves for passing on golden boy Jimmy Fallon’s Lip Sync Battle, a spinoff of a popular Tonight Show feature. Instead of airing on the Peacock Network, the star-studded show landed at Spike and has scored that cable channel’s highest ratings ever, thanks in part to appearances by certified A-listers like Anne Hathaway and The Rock. As The Hollywood Reporter points out, however, it is one particular celebrity appearance that truly signals the ascension of Lip Sync Battle. For a recent episode featuring Channing Tatum and his wife, Jenna Dewan Tatum, Lip Sync Battle managed to secure an appearance from Queen Bey herself, Beyoncé Knowles.
It is clear that Knowles is akin to a deity in the Lip Sync Battle world, with many contestants asking to use her hit songs on the show. “Since day one,” testifies executive producer Casey Patterson, “the most requested artist was Beyonce.” That was likely a key factor in Beyoncé’s decision to grace the basic cable series with her presence. In an impressive demonstration of organizational skill, the makers of Lip Sync Battle were able to keep Channing Tatum and Beyoncé separate until airtime, while Jenna Dewan Tatum was kept completely out of the loop. Her look of total surprise on the show is, therefore, genuine. The gambit has paid off handsomely for the series, with the Tatum/Knowles summit closing in on 20 million YouTube views in just one week. Are the makers of the show concerned about internet views stealing focus from the actual on-air incarnation of Lip Sync Battles? “They’re feeding off each other,” Patterson suggests, “but it’s a very fine balance.”