Highlights include Saldana performing TLC’s 'No Scrubs,' with Quinto rocking Missy Elliott’s 'Get Ur Freak On'
Lip Sync Battle got a taste of space on Thursday, as Star Trek Beyond actors Zoe Saldana and Zachary Quinto, who reprise their roles as romantic interests and U.S.S. Enterprise crew members Uhura and Spock in the film, put on quite the performances.
Saldana delivered impassioned takes on Twenty One Pilots’ “Stressed Out” and TLC’s “No Scrubs,” her selection of the former coming from a personal place. “My niece is 13 years old and she’s so beautiful,” Saldana told EW exclusively at the taping of the one-hour special. “There’s a lot that’s going on in her life, she’s such a deep thinker, and her selection of music is something that I’m really admiring. She’s really keeping me current, and Twenty One Pilots is a band that she’s been following for a while.”
She continues, “Whenever I’m with her she plays their music and I read the lyrics out loud with her, and it reminded me of what I used to do when my sisters and I were that age, so I got to meet this band through her eyes and they’re wonderful. Their lyrics are so genuine and they’re connecting with a young crowd. It has a universal language that reminds you of how scary it was to be a young adult, to be a teenager, and to not have things figured out. I made a really conscious and beautiful decision to highlight this band. I think they’re going to continue blowing up, and they’re going to do great things.”
The TLC hit, meanwhile, came as a suggestion, but it was one she was also excited about, as she loves the group and thought it’d be “amazing” to have members Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas join.
In terms of how her shiny, silver costume and smooth choreography played into her performance, “It definitely helps you because if it’s just left to your imagination, and if you’re the kind of person like I am that suffers from massive stage fright and you don’t have choreography or a routine or wardrobe to stand tall with, it would be scary,” Saldana says. “I don’t feel comfortable in my own skin when I have all these eyes on me, but it’s very special to be on stage.”
Those performance elements really helped her bring it all together. “Once you have your choreography and dedicate the time that it needs, it reminds you what it was like to have those stakes be that high when you were growing up, when you were auditioning, when you really wanted that part, whether it was at a dance recital or for a movie,” she expands. “It keeps me grounded, to go through that process of a, b, c, d because when you do it all by the book, it’s like the reward, the outcome, the results are massive.”
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As for Quinto, he rocked to George Michael’s “Freedom! ’90” — supermodel Cindy Crawford, who was in the original music video, surprised the audience, joining the actor on the LSB stage — and Missy Elliott’s “Get Ur Freak On.” While he describes his “Freedom” number as being a bit simpler with some freeform movement and dancing, he pulled out all the stops for the Elliott track, wearing a wig, hoop earrings, red lipstick, and rhinestone denim suit, dancing out some high-energy choreography.
“I’ve loved Missy Elliott since I was a kid and I think [‘Get Ur Freak On’ is] probably the last song anybody would expect me to do because I’m like the white-bread-est dude out there, so I felt like that would be a great departure,” Quinto says. “Then I needed to find a balance and it was harder to pick the other song. I wanted to do something that was really contrasting and a little bit poppy, so we have a lot of fun with ‘Freedom’ too.”
The one-hour Lip Sync Battle special featuring Saldana and Quinto aired on Thursday, June 9 at 8 p.m. ET on Spike, and Star Trek Beyond blasts into theaters on July 22.