Nick Cannon on New Nickelodeon Series 'Lip Sync Battle Shorties': 'It's All About the Kids'
Perpetual kid at heart Nick Cannon will take the mic as host of Nickelodeon’s just-announced Lip Sync Battle Shorties, a spin-off of sister network Spike’s Lip Sync Battle series, and Cannon tells Billboard working with the young performers is what excites him the most.
"It's all about the kids. To be able to tap into these young people who are obviously beyond talented and have just bounds of energy… I feel like you just kind of turn on the camera and let them do their thing," he says.
The 10-episode series, which features kids lip-syncing pop songs, will premiere in early 2018, with Halloween and holiday specials set to air later this year. Joining Cannon to provide commentary on each performance is 14-year-old social media maven JoJo Siwa.
Cannon has a long history with Nickelodeon, starting on All That back in 1999 as a teenager and serving as host of the network's Halo Awards and currently as chairman of TeenNick and a creative consultant. This is certainly not Cannon's first hosting rodeo either: He's been in the judge's seat on series including NBC's America's Got Talent and Caught on Camera With Nick Cannon and MTV improv series Wild N Out. Although he recognizes the airwaves are rife with music shows, he says there's room for all.
"I do feel like there are some similarities among some of the shows, but it’s all in perspective. Each network has their vision, and everyone really feels like there's enough room to play. We've seen the Idols, the Got Talents, the Voices, and now we're seeing the Lip Sync Battles. We can have Wild N Out and [new TBS series] Drop the Mic," he says. "Audiences can see people display their talent -- that’s ultimately what entertainment is about. You can take it all the way back to the vaudeville days and Ed Sullivan. People just love to see talented people onstage."
Cannon is also putting his own music center stage. He tells Billboard he’s about to start shooting the video for single "Dream Girl," featuring Jeremih, Quavo and Ty Money. "It’s not going to be the typical just guys in a club standing around a bunch of pretty girls," he teases. "Being able to direct, I like getting a little creative and use my music videos as places to explore and do different things."
The video is slated to drop in September, Cannon says, around the time Republic will release Model Music, Cannon’s latest project, which he describes as a mixtape of songs "that will make every woman feel like a supermodel."
Timed to coincide with New York Fashion Week, "It’s really like a laid-back vibe," Cannon says. "I wanted to build a body of work where I can just inspire women and make everybody feel good when they listen."