He’s still built like a WWE wrestler, but more recently, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson prefers to stage his battles with a microphone in his hand.
Johnson was the very first contestant on rapper LL Cool J’s wild and competitive series “Lip Sync Battle.” The program was inspired by late-night talk show host Jimmy Fallon’s immensely popular show segment of the same name. Incidentally, Fallon was to be Johnson’s lip-sync opponent on that night; it was a contest to remember.
— Lip Sync Battle (@lsb) March 25, 2015
As the cameras started rolling, LL Cool J’s studio audience was treated to 5 minutes and 43 seconds of unbridled, competitive, edge-of-your-seats entertainment.
The lip-sync battle competitors kept their song track cards close to their chests prior to the big night.
Johnson went first.
He announced that he had chosen “TayTay’s” (Taylor Swift’s) millennial anthem “Shake It Off” for round one of lip-syncing. It was a stroke of comic genius. An astonishing 61 million viewers have already seen Johnson’s performance on YouTube, attesting to its re-watchability.
Have you seen it yet?
Johnson’s shaking hips, exaggerated facial expressions, and sense of drama garnered comments such as “He rocked his performance” and “Dwayne Johnson is a national treasure” from delighted fans.
— Lip Sync Battle (@lsb) April 3, 2015
Johnson finished and blew kisses at a cheering crowd. Then host LL Cool J beckoned Fallon to come hither. “Jimmy,” he said, placing a friendly hand on Fallon’s shoulder, “you’d better bring it, because Dwayne just brought it.”
Fallon acted rattled by Johnson’s bout, but for a showman like Fallon, perhaps an act was all it was. He came back at Dwayne with Harry Belafonte’s lively salsa classic “Jumping the Line.”
And Fallon, a lover of props, had a few tricks up his sleeve. Not only did he borrow a maraca to use as a microphone, but he jumped into the crowd and started his own conga line. Johnson and host LL Cool J were in stitches at the epic improv’s flare, but after Fallon’s song was over, the consensus of the crowd told the host who the true victor was.
#ThrowbackThursday to when Dwayne The Rock Johnson channeled Taylor Swift. #tbt
It was Dwayne “Taylor Swift” Johnson with his perky pop stylings, of course.
The singing wrestler later posted a teaser clip of his Taylor “TayTay” Swift performance on Instagram, captioned: “Channelin’ my inner @taylorswift and comin’ to take the title from @jimmyfallon.”
Fallon, despite being a seasoned lip-sync veteran, conceded that Johnson’s performance was the bigger crowd pleaser on the night—but we think not by much considering the crowd reaction to Fallon’s improv expertise.
Johnson’s lip-sync victory was in the spring of 2015; does it stand the test of time? It’s always a good day when somebody goes out of their way to make people laugh, and with the combined comedic forces of Johnson versus Fallon, this is feel-good entertainment at its finest.