Joe Jonas spent years performing in stadiums for thousands of screaming fans as frontman for Jonas Brothers, but even Jonas is still impressed by his new show, I Can Do That.
The NBC series puts Jonas, Cheryl Burke, Ciara, Jeff Dye, Nicole Scherzinger and Alan Ritchson to the test as they compete to be crowned the “greatest entertainer of the pack.” In each of the show’s six episodes, the star-studded cast is presented with three different acts to try—from aerial dancing to a Harlem Globetrotters routine—pairing up and spending the next week learning whichever they chose of the three. At the end of that week, the pairs perform in front of a studio audience, who then votes for which group best executed what they learned.
Jonas called up EW to give us the scoop on the new variety show and how the show made him a Joe of all trades.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What would you say the most exciting part of the show?
JOE JONAS: I think the most exciting part of the show is going to probably be the banter between all of us. We have fun with each other and we mess with each other a lot. We all became really close on the show and we still spend a lot of time together.
Did you discover a skill that you didn’t think you had before?
There are some tricks up my sleeve now that I never thought I’d be able to do. Now I can say I can do quite a bit of stuff—from intensive drumming with the Blue Man Group to catching paintballs in my mouth.
Speaking of those paintballs in your mouth, a promo shows that you had to spray paint with your mouth—how was that? Did you get to keep your paintings?
That was crazy. It’s really intense…I probably—no joke—swallowed at least a gallon of paint that week. (It’s edible paint.) I’m a hypochondriac so I was really nervous about how it was going to go down, but they were really cool like, “Look, you’ll be fine, we do this every day. Don’t sweat it.” And I have kept a couple paintings. But I kept one,…one I was super proud of. It’s in my house—it’s a cool memory.
Another promo shows you in a trick with Penn and Teller—what was that like?
It was so cool. I’ve been such a fan of them for so long and I respect them so much. What they’ve been able to achieve and accomplish over their career is crazy. And I think everything people think is the way they do their tricks—they’re definitely wrong. It is a lot harder than you think. I was very mad when the cast was like, “This is how you do that trick!” and I’m like, “NO!”
Was there a talent that was super difficult for you?
I don’t want to give anything away—but there’s one I actually got pretty badly injured. I pulled my arm out of my socket. I was definitely in pain, but that was the least of some of the things that happened to some of the cast members.
How intense was the training? Did it consume your life?
Oh yeah. I’ve been in the recording studio, I had to take a complete break from that just so I could do the show. We’d wake up, get to the set probably by 7 or 8 a.m. and then you’re leaving at 11 p.m. just because you’re working and rehearsing. It was very intense—and we don’t half-ass it, everybody gave it their all.
Who did you think your biggest competition when you started the show?
I thought my biggest competition was going to be Alan Ritchson, because he’s such an athletic person and strong guy that I was kind of like, “All right, let’s see.” But some of the challenges aren’t even about strength—sometimes they’re about smarts, sometimes about wit, sometimes it’s about being comedic—so you never really knew what you were walking into.
What would be your challenge if you were one of the acts for the cast to try?
I’m really good at balancing things. I’ve learned that I can balance a bike, I can balance any chair. So I think I’d probably do some sort of balancing routine. I’ve balanced things on my nose, my chin, my foot. It’s the most hidden talent I have.
Is there anything you wouldn’t do?
There wasn’t much I would say no to, to be honest. I kind of went for it. I didn’t shy away from much. Every once in a while there was a few things that I was a little bit hesitant, but I was never against it. A lot of the aerial stuff I was like, “There’s no way. Don’t even ask me.” But that was the part that was fun—you would just go for the stuff that you wouldn’t typically go for and it ended up being really exciting and fun.
What the best thing about being part of I Can Do That?
A lot of things are so put together in the business that we’re all in, and this way it’s like, you can’t do that. You just have to go for it and have fun and just be yourself. I think for me it was meeting new people and being able to put myself in positions that I never would’ve done unless there was a camera and an audience—things that you might have had on your bucket list but never had the opportunity really to go for. And now I can confidently say that I’ve achieved those things.
I Can Do That premieres May 26 at 10 pm ET. See a preview of Joe’s training with the Blue Man Group below.