“The moment you take this show seriously, we’re losing,” revealed “Lip Sync Battle” creator and executive producer John Krasinski at a panel discussion for Emmy voters on Tuesday, June 14 (listen above). “We want everybody to have fun, and watch the show thinking, and hopefully doing in their living rooms, their own version of this because it’s just fun for everybody to do.” Kraskinski was joined by host LL Cool J, color commentator Chrissy Teigen and executive producers Casey Patterson and Jay Peterson at the Saban Media Center in Los Angeles.
Each week this Spike TV reality show pairs up various celebrities to do battle through lip syncing, leaving it up to the audience to choose a victor. It started as a recurring segment on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” brainstormed by Krasinski, his wife Emily Blunt and Stephen Merchant, who also serves as an executive producer, before Krasinski’s appearance on that show. In that initial battle, “The Office” star waged war against the late night host with renditions of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream,” the classic tongue-twister “Peter Piper,” and Boyz II Men’s “I’ll Make Love to You,” while Fallon retaliated with Melissa Manchester’s “Don’t Cry Out Loud,” Das EFX’s “They Want EFX,” and “Over the Rainbow” from “The Wizard of Oz.”
From that humble beginning came a phenomenally successful series. “What makes it special is that whole family environment,” said LL Cool J. “The whole vibe is right, from when you walk through the door to when you leave at the end.” This helps calm the nerves of the many stars who come to participate. “A lot of times, the biggest challenge is just getting these A-list celebrities to understand it’s going to be okay, that you’re not going to ruin your career, and just show the world that you have a heart.”
“I personally want to be surprised,” added Teigen, who avoids reading scripts and attending rehearsals because “I like to feel what the audience feels. When I see something for the first time, it makes it that much more fun.”
Part of the show’s success comes from its tendency to go viral online. “The format was built to travel,” explained Patterson. “We want people to share this, and the best thing that we can do is just get out of the way.” Unlike most reality competition shows, “Lip Sync Battle” does not have prizes or varying stages of competition to keep audiences interested, opting instead for the maximum number of performances and behind-the-scenes footage. “There’s no filler,” she added. “The format’s so clean and pure, and it’s built so that everything can travel.”
“Lip Sync Battle” will compete for Best Structured Reality Program at this year’s Emmys. Krasinski was a previous Emmy nominee for Best Special Class: Short Form Nonfiction Program for producing “The Office: The Farewells,” while LL Cool J was nominated for hosting the 54th Grammy Awards in 2012. Listen to an audio recording of the full panel discussion above, which also included friendly barbs between Teigen and her husband, Grammy-winning singer John Legend, who was in the audience.
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