Jul 30, 2015

    Good for a laugh, but needs more juice soon

    HOSTED by LL Cool J, Lip Sync Battle is an American musical comedy series that has two celebrity contestants each week - such as Dwayne Johnson, John Legend, Justin Bieber, Anne Hathaway and Emily Blunt - duking it out to determine who is better at lip-syncing.

    The prize? A Lip Sync Battle belt and, well, possibly the ego boost that comes with beating your opponent (okay, so there isn't much at stake).

    Lip Sync Battle started out as a recurring segment on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, before being developed into a half-hour show comprising two rounds. The first is a pure display of lip-syncing ability where contenders will pick a song and mime to it.

    An element of showmanship is added in the second round. On top of lip-syncing, contenders can choose to include costumes, props, dancers, Jennifer Lopez and anything else that could make the crowd go wild.

    Oh yes, the show's live audience ultimately decide who walks away with the belt, determined by the level of their cheers for each contestant at the end of both rounds.

    It is fun to watch your favourite celebrities cutting loose and making fools of themselves like this.

    Seeing actor Terry Crews - who has starred in TV comedies Are We There Yet? and Brooklyn Nine-Nine - do this is one kind of funny. But seeing his opponent, the fearsome former boxing champion Mike Tyson, do so takes it to a whole new level.

    I have also come to look forward to the pre-recorded segments that supposedly document the contenders' "struggles" as they prepare for the lip-sync performance of their lives.

    You will see the show's colourful commentator Chrissy Teigen in behind-the-scenes footage, face scrunched up in concern for the apparently reclusive Hathaway, saying: "I accidentally walked into her wardrobe room and there were, like, cloaks."

    Teigen is actually quite funny but is, unfortunately, very underutilised in the show. She does not do much except groove to the music as the contestants perform, and she gives her (very brief) two cents' worth.

    Come on, she needs to be bumped up to co-host at least.

    Lip Sync Battle is perfect when you are just looking for a good laugh. The celebrity appeal of the contestants has helped the show do well at this formative stage, but more elements need to be introduced soon.

    After all, even star power can only take a show so far.

    Rating: 7/10


    Lip Sync Battle airs every Tuesday on Singtel TV Ch 324 and StarHub TV Ch 516.