TVMichael Phelps Fulfills His Destiny and Tackles Eminem's 'Lose Yourself' on Lip Sync Battle
Finally, a use for that hooded scowl on dry land.
Michael Phelps' recent Olympic finale was remarkable for several reasons. Of course his athleticism is astounding, blah blah blah. But he also developed a reputation outside of "best swimmer of all time who loves to smoke weed," largely thanks to the instantly memeable shot of him brooding intensely before a race (and his sense of humor about it since then). These days, Phelps' public persona is a far cry from the cringeworthy charisma-less performance we saw at SNL in 2008.
Last night, continuing his streak, he graced Lip Sync Battle, which at this point is kind of a celebrity personality rehabilitation machine. His song was "Lose Yourself" by Eminem, presumably chosen because of its pertinence to his pre-race-grimace, and not for any talent in rapping or lip syncing.
The performance was fun and kind of adorable. In an age where we have celebrities whose only talent is their personalities, here is a celebrity whose only talent is really his talent, and it shows. The guy is 80% of the way there with stage presence, but very strategically blocks his mouth with the microphone to cover that he does not really know the words. In fact, Olivia Munn, his opponent on the sidelines, seemingly has a greater handle on the words than Phelps, but we can cut Phelps some slack because first of all, he's been a little busy breaking records and raising a kid so of course he doesn't have every word of "Lose Yourself" memorized, and also, this is a fake competition that really doesn't matter.
The performance ends with a couple dozen dancers who rush the stage in a moment that surprisingly made me well up (I am very moved by bodies moving in unison, even if they are just pumping their arms and nodding their heads like idiots) and then a massive American flag which we will allow, because duh.