Only Channing and Beyoncé know the back and forth,” says Lip Sync Battle executive producer Casey Patterson of the high-stakes negotiations that led to Queen Bey’s appearance on the show last week. The whole thing started, apparently, with Channing Tatum sending her an iPhone video message two days before the show, asking her to appear. But the seeds, apparently, had been planted years before.
According to the story in The Hollywood Reporter, Beyoncé has been aware of the show’s interest in her since the show began, since she’s the most-requested artist by every star planning out the lip-sync performance. “We don't choose the songs for the performers — it's always their choice — and, since day one, the most requested artist has been Beyonce,” Patterson explains. “She's been the holy grail, and we've always been in contact with her camp. They know when we're gearing up for production.”
So while an iPhone video from Tatum might have come as a surprise, Beyoncé wasn’t totally unaware of the show when it arrived—and, being a canny pop culture figure, she surely knew of the Internet bonanza her appearance would yield. The show’s producers did, too; they went to huge lengths to keep Tatum and Beyonce from seeing each other until the moment they shared to stage, and to keep the cameo a surprise for Jenna Dewan-Tatum, who was competing against her husband. "That moment on air, that's the first time they ever met," Patterson explained. "He's dressed as her, dancing and singing to her song. We were just hoping he would keep dancing."
And as the gifs of Dewan-Tatum’s shock prove, it was worth it to keep the element of surprise intact.
Beyonce’s appearance was a blockbuster way to kick off the new season of the Spike TV series, which featured Olivia Munn facing off against Kevin Hart this week. With all apologies to them, though, we’re just going to watch the Beyoncé -Tatum glory one more time instead.