Lip Sync Battle returns this week looking a little bit more fabulous than usual. Five times more, to be exact.
Queer Eye‘s Fab 5 — Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown, Tan France, Antoni Porowski, and Jonathan Van Ness — compete on the season 5 premiere, and EW has an exclusive first look above as Brown and Van Ness perform Beyoncé and Lady Gaga‘s “Telephone” — which will no doubt have the Beyhive and Little Monsters everywhere screaming “Yass, Queen!”
“I’m not sure if I’m 100 percent buying it that this is his first day in heels,” Queer Eye‘s grooming expert Van Ness tells EW backstage after filming their episode, pointing to culture expert Brown. “I think there could be a pair of heels stashed at home. You’re so confident and so comfortable and so gorgeous in them.”
“The thing that I got out of this the most,” Brown jumps in, “is that I am going to bow down to any women, drag queen, or gender non-conforming person who wears heels on a daily basis or someone who is just fabulous because I never understood how hard it is to walk all day in heels!”
While Brown was living his best life, not everyone was feeling so assured.
“I was petrified beforehand,” fashion expert France admits when asked who was most nervous, “but as soon as we got on that stage it felt incredible.”
The Paramount Network series breaks from tradition for this episode: The show usually pits two celebrities against each other in solo battles, but here, the Fab 5 open the show with a Beychella-inspired performance before splitting off into two teams — Brown and Van Ness vs. Berk, France, and Porowski, who perform a Britney Spears mashup.
“These guys are very close-knit, there’s five of ‘em, so we knew it was going to be two-on-three and be a different vibe,” host LL Cool J explains. “So we said, ‘Let’s give them a big performance, let them have some fun, let them live the dream, and then we go into the competition.'”
And the guys are living that dream thanks to Chrissy Teigen, the show’s color commentator and Queer Eye super fan. She personally requested an episode featuring one of EW’s 2018 Entertainers of the Year.
“I’m so proud of this! I was on vacation, laying in Bali… and I was binging Queer Eye for the second time,” she tells EW, explaining that she reached out to executive producer Casey Patterson to get the ball rolling. “I follow all of them, and you feel like you know them because that’s how great of people they are — they welcome you into their lives and they feel like your buddies. Even seeing them on set, it was like I knew everybody. So yeah, I’m happy they said yes and I think I say it to everybody, I’m like, ‘Thank you so much for doing this,’ but I’m really like, ‘Oh my God, I feel like this is my show!’ I love it!”
“It’s was good and crazy, great performances, great costumes, great music selection,” LL Cool J says, revealing that he’d love to see a Barack versus Michelle Obama episode, or even Barack Obama versus George W. Bush.
Filmed in September, the episode was a nice distraction from the fact that the next day was the Creative Arts Emmys — their show was nominated in four categories, winning three, including Outstanding Structured Reality Program, where their competition included, yep, Lip Sync Battle.
“That’s the crazy thing,” food expert Porowski says. “It’s one exciting thing after the next and I think I speak for everyone when I say we try to enjoy all of these beautiful little successes and accomplishments and things that we’re so grateful for, and the next thing keeps coming along.”
Watch the exclusive first look above for more, and tune in to the Lip Sync Battle season 5 premiere on Thursday, Jan. 17 at 9 p.m. ET on Paramount Network for the entire fabulous performances.