Michelle Royal vamps it up during the Quad Cities Lip Sync Battle.

Michelle Royal vamps it up during the Quad Cities Lip Sync Battle.

There’s something fun, relaxed, goofy and familiar about the Quad Cities Lip Sync battles that’s utterly charming, which is why, if you haven’t done so already, you really should check one of them out.

This weekend, the regular gigs at the Rock Island Speakeasy turn their spotlight on songs from Disney, so if you’re a fan of the house of the mouse and its signature showtunes, you can get on board Saturday night. But if not, make sure you make time at some point in the future to include these unique events on your planner.

I checked out the last Lip Sync event the first week in February and not only wasn’t disappointed, but was, honestly, surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

The show, for sake of familiarity and comparison, posits itself as similar gigs to those on Spike TV and “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.” Truth be told, it’s much more familiar in tone to Fallon’s stuff, and that’s much to its strength. While it does have some of the artifice of the Spike TV shows, it’s mostly just very good natured, loose and fun and has that same infectious spirit of goofiness as Fallon’s humor.

The shows are hosted by and created by Michelle Royal and Mac DeVille, of Bottoms Up Burlesque fame. They usually feature a recurring cast of characters, many of whom are familiar to people who have seen Bottoms Up or Blacklist shows, or other comedic gigs around the area. They’re similar in format to Bottoms Up, in that Royal and DeVille take on the roles of BU co-hosts Wayne Lyter and Josh Kahn and engage in loose, funny banter and goofy jokes in between introducing dance and lip sync acts. But the comparisons end there, as the dynamic between Royal and DeVille is different, more arch and sassy, and the lip sync acts are less overtly sexy than the BU acts. But like BU, these shows are all about just letting loose and having a good time, and those are the charm and strength of them.

The Lip Sync battles make you feel like you’re at a junior high slumber party, with a bunch of your friends, loaded up on sugar and pop, armed with a video camera and props, with the sole aim of cracking each other up. And I say that as a good thing, because I loved that vibe. I expected the show to be much more precious and calculatedly campy but it blindsided me with its relaxed infectious fun.
I’ll be posting an interview I did with Royal later on on the website, but for now, I recommend the show this weekend. Especially if you’ve had a hard week. It’s fun, it’s cotton candy light, it’s nothing but pure escapism and fun, and sometimes, that’s just exactly what you need. Check it out.


Quad Cities Lip Sync Battle Goes Disney
7 p.m. doors, 8 p.m. show, Saturday, Feb. 20
Circa ’21 Speakeasy, 1818 3rd Ave., Rock Island
$10 in advance, $12 at the door
(309) 786-7733, ext. 2
www.thecirca21speakeasy.com

Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written almost 30 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.