Jimmy Fallon got the prime post-Super Bowl spot on NBC Sunday night, and he made the most of it with a live edition of “The Tonight Show” broadcast from the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix.
With a wild crowd, clamoring for on-stage action as exciting as the football game, Fallon staged his most epic lip-sync battle yet. With guests Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart, this had everything -- props, exciting stage lighting and even a surprise celebrity cameo.
After this, how does Fallon ever plan to top it back in New York? He can’t.
The rules of these “Tonight Show” lip-sync battles state that each participant can pick his or her own songs and plan the staging, but no one else can know what is being prepared.
Ferrell kicked things off with a stirring rendition of Beyoncé's “Drunk in Love.” Energetic, as per the usual Ferrell performance. But pretty straightforward.
Fallon followed up with Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone,” which included impressive stage lighting and a glove prop. A slightly unfair advantage playing on his own show, but still acceptable. However, intentional or not, he left the microphone stand too tall for the diminutive Hart, which threw the performer off just a bit before his first song.
Hart came third with a soulful performance of John Legend’s “All of Me,” which started off slow, but built into a brilliant bit of improvisation between Hart and Ferrell.
Then Ferrell returned with his interpretation of Idina Menzel’s “Let It Go,” which gained a bit from moves obviously taken from the animated counterpart and a handful of glitter at the end.
Not to be outdone, Fallon reserved his secret weapon for Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes’ "(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” from “Dirty Dancing.” No, he didn’t perform both parts himself. Instead he called on friend and former costar Drew Barrymore to come out from backstage and perform with him. They even attempted the “in flight” dance move made famous by Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey in the film.
After that, it was up to Hart to do his best with Katy Perry’s “Roar,” which had no special effects other than Hart’s enthusiasm.
So who won? Fallon didn’t ask for a judgment call, but from the at-home seats, it seemed like Hart’s ability to improvise and his enthusiasm won out over celebrity cameos and a handful of glitter.
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