A Skype-facilitated, musician-starring scavenger hunt took place on Jimmy Kimmel’s live ABC show the other night. The British band, One Direction, was split into two teams for the event: Harry Styles, Liam Payne and Zayn Malik in one dressing room at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee, and Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson in another. The split screen, live-feed competition saw Kimmel directing the boys to quickly sport the most imaginative toothpaste facial hair, attempt American accents, and wear their underwear as outwear (over their trousers). And the prize for all this fun? Purity rings, which the host jokingly insisted must be sported by the winning team (Harry et al) until their 80s.
Jimmy Kimmel Live, which broadcasts from Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, is now in its tenth season and has featured stars from the diversity of film and television, sport, and music – all in topically-based, comedic fashion. With past appearances by greats such as actress Meryl Streep and director Martin Scorsese, One Direction is in golden company. Indeed, the English-Irish pop group have seen a meteoric rise to the top ever since their win in 2010 on the British show The X Factor, helped in no small part by the boom in social media promotion. In the US, they’ve even been referred to as part of the musical ‘British Invasion’. Currently on a concert tour which sees them performing 100 shows in Europe, North America and Australasia, they’ve come a long way from failing the initial rounds of Simon Cowell’s talent-seeking contest. In fact, TriStar Pictures is releasing a movie about their success later this year: This Is Us will be in theatres from 30 August 2013.
Jimmy Kimmel is a big promoter of the music industry, and has even been known for closing down streets in Hollywood for ‘block party’ concerts, that have featured the likes of Coldplay and Lady Gaga. The launching of his YouTube channel in 2009 was an instant hit and it’s no wonder that Skype, which itself launched on YouTube in 2005, has publicly joined forces with Kimmel for its “Scavenger Hunt” series. The competition usually features regular viewers being Skyped in their homes and instructed to race around finding specific items, competing against another ‘team’ Skyping from elsewhere. Such was the Winter Edition, which saw snowed-in families from Massachusetts fight the boredom. However, in addition to One Direction’s latest contribution, the feature has also seen other star-studded competitions, such as the NBA themed editions which had sporting legends James Worthy and Bill Warton, and players Rudy Gay and Kris Humphries, battling each other in the interactive game. The formula is a winner, the themes seemingly endless.
Skype was founded in 2003 by Dave Horstman and later acquired by the Microsoft Corporation in 2011. Available over a majority of platforms, it is a worldwide means of visually communicating with people from afar. The company continues to spread itself into mainstream media industries very successfully and, in the case of Kimmel, most entertainingly.