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You would think the gimmick would get old after a while. You can't just take any given pop song, play it on schoolhouse instruments, and be totally charming… right? Wrong. Jimmy Fallon and The Roots prove nightly that they're capable of being adorable and entertaining under pretty much all circumstances, and when you add Robin Thicke and "Blurred Lines" into the mix… good Lord. That little rainbow xylophone has never been used so well.
If this setup seems familiar, it's because they did the same thing with Carly Rae Jepsen for "Call Me Maybe" last summer, and with Mariah Carey for "All I Want For Christmas Is You" last December. It is, without fail, always great, both because they pick songs that everybody can sing along with, and because the stars themselves always seem to be enjoying themselves so much. Thicke has rocketed to fame this summer almost as quickly as Jepsen, and he seems just as delighted to be in this goofy company-- even though his reputation is a whole lot less clean-cut than the "Call Me Maybe" girl's.
That's a big part of what sets this "Blurred Lines" rendition apart. Both the song and discussions about its sexism are inescapable this summer, and it's become harder to enjoy the song without getting stuck on its sleazy lyrics ("You know you want it/ You're a good girl/Can't let is past me"). But it's so damn catchy, so I've caught myself dancing and singing along with everyone else, while wishing Thicke could put those talents toward something a little less aggressive. Then you team him up with Fallon, and all that nastiness instantly disappears. Fallon is about as different a public personality from Thicke as you can get, cuddly and eager and completely non-threatening; even though Thicke is sitting right next to him in this video with his slicked-back hair and sharp vest, Fallon's adorability takes over. "Blurred Lines" isn't an aggressive dance-floor come-on. It's a party! Everybody get up!
Fallon is famously a pretty terrible interviewer-- "softballs" doesn't even start with the questions he lobs at his guests-- but his skill seen here is a lot more rare and powerful. He can make anybody likable. At least, anybody with the right pop hit to back them up.
Here's the original video for "Blurred Lines" if you want to remember why Robin Thicke is actually kind of gross, but I recommend re-watching the schoolhouse instruments version as a palate cleanser afterward.