See a promo and photos from the one-hour special, hear the duo's performance strategies, and more
Lip Sync Battle is about to get out of this world.
EW can exclusively reveal that Spike will air a one-hour special on Thursday, June 9 at 8 p.m. ET in advance of the 10th Annual Guys Choice featuring Star Trek Beyond’s Zoe Saldana and Zachary Quinto as the competitors at hand.
Hosted by LL Cool J and Chrissy Teigen, the episode will feature other celebrity guests and musicians, including TLC’s Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas as revealed in an exclusive promo, below. The promo also shows some high energy and playful competition, with Saldana playfully telling Quinto, “Kiss my a–.”
EW was exclusively on set in Los Angeles last month and caught up with the costars, who have been friends for more than 15 years and play romantic interests and U.S.S. Enterprise crew members Uhura and Spock in the Star Trek films. Here’s what they had to say about their feelings going into their battle, their strategies to beat the other, and the fun they’ve had on the sets of their intergalactic franchise.
FEELINGS GOING IN
Saldana had a case of the nerves in advance of her performances, though she looked nothing but confident during rehearsals. That, she explained, came from a show-must-go-on mentality. “The people coming together to make this show such a huge success, they’re having a blast [and] I don’t want to be the Debbie Downer that comes in feeling all insecure, needing so much affirmation,” she said. “I’m competing against a really good friend that I love and respect and he’s going to really bring it and give it his all, so the least I can do is do the same.”
Quinto, meanwhile, was somewhat stressed, but still having fun. “I feel a little bit daunted,” said the actor, who was going to turn down the opportunity, but his friends talked him into it and helped him brainstorm song selections. “It’s pretty high intensity, a lot of production elements, basically a live performance that I’ve had about two days to rehearse for, with a 700-person audience. It’s unlike anything I’ve done, which is why I wanted to do it, but I feel like I’m going to bring it.” Just as Saldana predicted…
STRATEGIES TO BEAT THE OTHER
So there was some anxiousness ahead of the taping, but strategies helped put the pair at ease. Saldana’s approach was, essentially, to clear her head. “I’m just going to do what I do best, which is to focus on myself and take it minute by minute and go with the flow. It’s like my husband says, take a breath and let it all go,” she said. “I keep forgetting it is a competition. I feel like Zach and I have been invited to have fun, and it’s not until somebody comes to me going [in a deep voice], ‘What words do you want to give Zach?’ and my first instinct is to go, ‘Kill it, buddy!’ Then I’m like, [deep voice again] ‘Oh yeah, I’m going to kill you! I’m going to…beat you?’”
Perhaps not as competitive, Saldana still had a lot going for her. “Zoe is no shrinking violet, so I know that she’s going to pull out her whole arsenal of performance history, and she’s an amazing dancer, which I’m certainly not,” Quinto predicted. “I’m definitely leaning into the lyrics.” Beyond that, he took advantage of rehearsal time. “She flew in last night or this morning and went right to rehearsal. I knew that she was going to be a tough opponent, so I came yesterday and Friday for an hour or so each day to work with the choreographers.” His approach, more directly put: “You got to throw yourself into it headlong, show up, and hope I don’t f–k it up.”
FUN ON THE STAR TREK SETS
Lip Sync Battle is a fun departure from the intergalactic life-and-death stakes that rule their cinematic world, but there’s plenty of fun had on the Star Trek sets too. “We were dub smashing a lot [while making the] next movie,” Saldana said about their time making Beyond, in theaters July 22. “Other than that we’re always sitting and sharing with each other — our dreams, our life, our accomplishments, our losses — and we’re supporting each other whether we’re on camera, behind the scenes, having dinner after we’ve wrapped. This is definitely a group of wildcats that I’ve enjoyed. It’s been an honor to age with them.”
Quinto echoed on the good times had behind the scenes. “This last movie we shot on location in Vancouver. It was literally like summer camp,” he explained. “We all get along and love each other and live to make each other laugh. I know most casts of big franchises probably say this, we love each other, but I really do believe that even just objectively, we are really, truly like a family and we love each other, so this kind of thing is really fun. Although the first thing Zoe said to me, she’s like, ‘We’re too old for this!’ And I was like, ‘Maybe you’re too old for this Zoe, but I’m ready to go.’”