ABC Television Network’s show Jimmy Kimmel Live presented another star-studded version of its “Skype Scavenger Hunt” recently, when British boy band, One Direction, video-called live from dressing rooms at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. The pop group, who are currently on a 100-show tour of Europe, Australasia, and the US, split into two teams: Harry Styles, Liam Payne and Zayn Malik in one room and Niall Horan and Louis Thomson in another. Kimmel himself, broadcasting from his usual location in Hollywood, proceeded to set the young musicians three challenges: the most inventive facial hair crafted from toothpaste, the best American accent the Brits could muster, and the fastest placement of underwear over trousers.
The prizes the band was unknowingly playing for, faces dripping with blue moustaches and beards, were purity rings, accessories which are often in the news when it comes to rising music and television stars declaring their desire to remain ‘pure’, most notably the Jonas Brothers. Kimmel, with a wry smile, insisted they be worn until the boys’ 80s. Yet, the prize of purity rings can be taken in a multitude of ways. Rising to fame unstoppingly since their win in the British singing contest The X Factor in 2010, and with a movie of their success, This Is Us, out in August, One Direction could either take Kimmel’s joke as a nod to someone like Selena Gomez (whose ring magically disappeared), or to the success of Canadian electronic duo Purity Rings.
Kimmel is host and executive producer of the late-night show, which is now in its tenth season. The premise is to comically comment on the latest news and pop culture with a ‘just acceptable’ air of irreverence. The entertainer has been known to take advantage of his location in the heart of Hollywood and shut down streets around the studio where JKL shoots for ‘block party’ music concerts, which have seen artists Coldplay and Depeche Mode perform. This interaction between the famous and the ordinary is a key part of what makes Kimmel special, also doing comedy skits on the pavements with unsuspecting passers-by.
Skype, founded in 2003 by Dave Horstman and acquired by Microsoft Corporation in 2011, is available on most platforms these days, including Android, iOS, Linux, Symbian, and Blackberry OS. Its instant messaging and video conferencing features have seen it quickly spread its net in social media, frequently teaming up with public personalities to promote both the subjects and the technology company itself. To this end, Skype has been on YouTube since 2005.
Jimmy Kimmel has uploaded his shows to YouTube’s online video-sharing platform since 2009 with almost instant success. He has collaborated with Skype on the “Scavenger Hunt” sketches for some time now, usually featuring ordinary viewers in their homes. The split-screen interactive competition has also seen special editions with famous personalities, such as the NBA sporting legends James Worthy and Bill Walton, and run themed editions such as March Madness, Winter, and College Rivals. Technology and entertainment: may they play on.