NBC’s debuting the new one-hour variety show I Can Do That on May 26, 2015 at 10pm ET/PT with Marlon Wayans as host and Joe Jonas, Ciara, Alan Ritchson, Cheryl Burke, Nicole Scherzinger, and Jeff Dye competing for the title of ultimate entertainer. The show challenges the six entertainers to attempt to master new skills – including song and dance numbers, and even magic acts – over the course of a week and then perform them in front of a live audience.
Days before the series’ premiere, Joe Jonas, Ciara and executive producer Audrey Morrissey took part in a conference call to discuss I Can Do That and provide a little insight into the challenges they faced while taking part in the comedy/variety show.
Joe Jonas, Ciara, and Audrey Morrissey I Can Do That Interview:
What was the skill you had to perform that turned out to be your favorite?
Joe Jonas: “This show threw me into situations I really never thought I would do. I was able to learn quite a bit of stuff. And for me personally, I’ve worked on some aerial stuff that was kind of blowing and painful. That was probably one of my favorites.”
Audrey Morrissey: “Well I didn’t learn any skills because I was the producer, but I learned vicariously. What was my favorite? I guess, to be honest, the truth is all of them are great because what I really enjoyed most about the show was seeing all the talent – the players – really extend themselves and really work hard beyond my expectations and I think theirs. I think they were really surprised with how challenging all the performances were to learn and how much they got into it, and were excited about it and took on the challenge and basically conquered it every single time, even when they were really fish out of water, when they really thought, ‘There is no way I can do this.’ And they did. That was really just a rewarding and exhilarating part, like everybody bonded deeply because of it.”
Joe, why did you decide to do this show?
Joe Jonas: “The reason I decided to do this show… I think it was probably the fact that when I sat with Audrey and we kind of talked the concepts, it was something that I never heard anyone has really done. It was bringing all of my favorite shows together. You have little pieces of The Voice; you have America’s Got Talent. And the cast is really fun and new friends of mine. It’s being thrown into situations that you wouldn’t do unless there was a camera in the audience and saying, ‘All right, I have a week to learn this stuff and conquer them.’ I really enjoyed the challenge.”
Are any of the new skills you’ve learned during the process of filming I Can Do That things you can use for future performances or in your career?
Joe Jonas: “Yes, it’s funny. A lot of the musicians on the show, we’ve been talking about how we’re going to incorporate things we’ve learned into live concerts or award shows, things like that. Some, I would say, magic stuff that I learned on the show I think visually would be really exciting to put into a performance.”
Audrey, was there any time you were worried you were asking the talent to do too much that was out of their comfort zone?
Audrey Morrissey: “Yes. I think Joe will remember something he and Nicole [Scherzinger] did which was very physical. They were roller skating on roller skates and doing crazy positions and moves. And, yes, there was a time where I thought, ‘Well, we’ve really reached the edge here and this is either going to be incredible or I’m being irresponsible, I don’t know.’ [Laughing] But I guess I shouldn’t be saying that.
But yes, to answer your question, yes. I think what’s exciting about this show is we took it right up to a line, and then made sure we were inside the line. It was really inspiring to see what they were able to achieve. I think some of the aerial stuff…I mean, these guys got beaten up – I mean bruised and battered. And what was crazy is they wanted to go beyond. They’re all so competitive and they’re all pros and they all want to excel. You would sort of lay out the routine: ‘Here’s what you have to do.’ And then they would come to you and say, ‘Well how do we better this? How can we make it even more spectacular?’
We even surprised some of the trainers. Like, ‘Really? You want to take that on? That takes years to learn.’ And they’re like, ‘Try me, let’s try, let’s swing for the fences.’ So it was great.”
Ciara, did you find yourself outside of your comfort zone very often?
Ciara: “There were definitely quite a few moments that pretty much I think in a sense every moment was kind of outside of my comfort. You know, there was some things that were like, of course, the idea of doing them were familiar because it’s a part of performing. But my thing is with this show what I really wanted to do was I wanted to do things that I felt would be challenging. They all are challenging as they come on the stage but there are some things where it’s like it’s really way more closer to what I do as a performer. I want to challenge myself. I think that’s what made it so much more exciting in the process because I really did walk away from this experience feeling like I grew. I walked away like, I don’t want to say a whole new person, but there was definitely a whole new layer added to me to how I kind of look at things now and how I approach things because it really is a mental thing when you think about it.
In my world as a performer, we don’t really have to express beyond our music. We do interviews here and there and our songs kind of speak for us. But in this case, we’re very vulnerable. You get to see us mess up and try to kind of figure something out, and you get to see how we really are just like everyone else because we do get challenged. You see our flaws in the process. And so for me, I really took away a very cool feeling, personally. It was kind of like I really felt I grew from everything that we did.”
Will you incorporate any of your new skills in your performances?
Ciara: “Yes, I definitely can say that I was very super inspired. Leaving this show, I have to say first we’re very blessed. I have to say a big thanks to the whole NBC Team because we’re all so very spoiled in the sense with all the production and stuff that was happening. I’ve always been a big dreamer, but my dreams were even bigger after leaving this show. Now you really get to see a whole level of production that you don’t see every day in all of our performances, doing our shows here and there around the world. It’s just such a high level of production too that you do walk away as a performer like, ‘Okay, I want to be swinging from this part of the stage to this and this.’ Like it definitely makes my brain turn a lot for sure.
But, honestly, it was the coolest experience. I’m truly so glad that I pushed myself and I actually got to be a part of it. Because I do believe as an artist, it also allowed me to grow; as an entertainer, it allowed me to grow. And I walked away like, ‘Wow, I do now know I can do.’ I’ve always believed in myself. You do know you can pretty much do almost anything, at least that’s how you feel leaving the show.”
Audrey, can you talk about what Marlon Wayans brings to the table as the host?
Audrey Morrissey: “Oh, we are so happy and lucky to have Marlon as our host. We wanted this show to have a freshness kind of as a humor, a (comedic) sort of late night spontaneous feel to the show and bringing that feel into primetime. We really wanted somebody with a strong comedy muscle and we got it in Marlon.
So much of the show beyond everything we’ve just discussed about how rigorous and challenging all the performances are, there’s also a lot of heart and there’s also a lot of fun. It is really great to see your fellow players cheer you on, support you, also be a little jealous because everybody is trying to win. They often can find themselves in some silly situations because some of the acts are very, very fun. Joe, Ciara, they’ve been in some really funny ones. Jeff Dye, a comedian, did a routine and he was in like a lucre bodysuit which made him slightly uncomfortable on stage. Those moments – or Alan [Ritchson] shirtless all the time – Marlon was great to be quick-witted and bring the humor, so he’s been fantastic.
He also, by the way, would pop up during the training sessions which was also something that was incredible to have from the host.”
Joe and Ciara, what’s it like working with each other and some of your other costars?
Ciara: “Oh, it’s so much fun. I can say for myself I think maybe a few people on the cast actually didn’t work with each other on other stuff, but for me I never work with anyone that I work with during the season and it really was fun. I think when you get to meet people that you know their work but you don’t really get to know them, but then when you get together you have such a great time and you get to see what cool people they are. You know, like Joe and I, we joke about it but we really are friends beyond the show. I think that’s so amazing about experiences like this is that you get to grow within your own world of what you do but you also get to meet really amazing people that could inspire you, that you also become support for one another in what you do in different fields. And, honestly, it’s like experiences like this, I really took it all the way in and for every aspect of what it was beyond my personal part of just my challenges as an entertainer. But really, the friendships that I was able to build were really awesome and it also added to the experience and makes it that much cooler as well.”
Was there anything on the show that you thought would be easy that turned out to be harder than it was? Was there something you thought would be harder that turned out to be easier than you thought?
Joe Jonas: “I think there wasn’t really anything that we were approached with that was easy. Even if it was say something that was singing or dancing, it was different than what we’ve known. I don’t want to speak for you Ciara, but I think for us it’s something that we kind of would be able to figure out, or you go, ‘Okay, I can do this in a week.’ And then you’re like by day two your body is falling apart, you’re freaking, and you’re like, ‘Can we actually do this?’ So, it was definitely a learning curve.”
Ciara: “Absolutely. I can agree with Joe. Yes, I agree with him 100%. Every week it really was challenging. […] I got to learn in the process everything really is super – no matter how fun it looks – it still is super challenging because we’re all still stepping into territories that aren’t familiar, that we don’t do every day. For example, I can’t give it all away but there was one of my performances that I did that it looks like so much fun, but my legs really felt like I couldn’t even [move]. I was holding onto the wall to move through my house when I leave from work. Or like when I had to get in my car to drive home, it was like I had to take like baby steps. But the actual things that I was doing was so much fun and so cute, but it’s very painful, you know? It could have looked easy but really everything is really challenging in its own way.”
Of the six celebrity contestants, who do you think has the best chance of becoming the ultimate entertainer?
Ciara: “I can speak from my point of view. I’m sure Joe would concur. I think that everyone is really able to show how there is so many layers to a performer. I think that is a beauty of a show like this. As it is challenging to all of us, it gives you the opportunity to show your range. And even for the guys that, like for example, with Jeff, he’s a comedian, but you get to see the range that he can go in as an entertainer. I think everyone is honestly the ultimate performer. Everyone is an ultimate performer on this show. That’s what I personally think.”
Was there ever a point where after taking on a challenge you thought to yourself, “What have I gotten myself into?” And if there was, can you elaborate a little bit on the task?
Joe Jonas: “Yes, I think that happens every week. […]There were some that were actually like dangerous and scary, some that were kind of like, ‘Okay, if I do something wrong this could be embarrassing.’ But that was part of the fun of the show was just being thrown into it and doing it.”
Ciara: “Absolutely. I actually agree with Joe. I could definitely say that there were moments too because, again, where you may have had to do something that you were like, ‘Oh, why didn’t I run up the stairs a little earlier?’ And then when you’re doing good, you’re like you also get to say not only like, ‘Okay, well what am I getting myself into?’ but then you also discover like, ‘Hey, this actually turned out really cool.’ You know, there’s moments like that as well.”
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