Jimmy Fallon may be the best thing to have ever happened to NBC’s “The Tonight Show.” Since his debut as the sixth host of the long-running show in 2014, Fallon has grown the show’s ratings as well as his share of audiences in the 18-49 age range.
What appears to be making the greatest difference is Jimmy’s savvy use of vaudeville and variety show inspired segments that go beyond the stale format of interviewing a celebrity and showing canned reels of soon to be released movies.
“Lip Sync Battle” pitted celebrities against one another to give the best lip dub performance of hit pop songs. Audiences were drawn in because they couldn’t wait to see what outrageous levels the performance would reach.
Performances were also uploaded to YouTube where each was viewed and shared millions of times. This move in turn exposed new audiences to “The Tonight Show” who would otherwise have had no interest in or awareness of what was happening on late night television.
The latest hit from Fallon and his brilliant team is called “Wheel of Musical Impressions.” In this segment, celebrities are called upon to sing in the style of a famous performer while covering a song from a completely different genre. For example, Jamie Foxx was challenged to sing the Toys “R” Us jingle in the style of John Legend.
The results are surprising and impressive. In addition, it is delightful to watch the successful performances as much as those that don’t go so well. In part, because Jimmy and the celebrities are so fun loving and humble as they take on each challenge. This is a different and more fun side of entertainment that seems to be really successful in engaging audiences of all ages.
Here are a few of our favorite “Wheel of Musical Impressions” segments from “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”