The current global pandemic has had a huge impact on people of all walks of life in many ways. When it comes to the entertainment industry, we’ve seen theatres shutting their doors, concerts around the world being postponed and festivals being cancelled.
However, in amidst the darkness, our favourite celebrities have been doing their best to shine a light into the world during this difficult time. From virtual performances to at home music videos, it seems that lockdown hasn’t stopped artists from getting creative and entertaining their fans in the way they know best.
We’ve rounded up five ways our favourite celebs have managed to raise spirits and keep us entertained during lockdown so far.
At home performances
Turning their homes into stages, the world has been treated to countless virtual performances over the past few months. Many of them have been made possible thanks to Global Citizen, who teamed up with the World Health Organisation to bring everyone together at home with a series of special concerts from our favourite artists including everyone from Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello to OneRepublic.
They also partnered with Lady Gaga to curate the One World: Together at Home live event. The eight-hour stream included performances from artists such as Billie Eilish, Adam Lambert, Sir Elton John and more, raising an incredible $127 million which has been split between the WHO’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and other crisis support charities.
TV talk shows have also had to go virtual, and whilst studio performances have been a no go, pop stars have still been delivering world class performances over video call. Dua Lipa performed her latest single ‘Break My Heart’ for the at home edition of The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon and went all out with dancers and special effects.
Homemade music videos
Due to lockdown conditions, many official music video shoots have had to be cancelled. However, that hasn’t stopped some of our favourite artists from thinking outside of the box and creating visuals in the comfort of their homes.
Little Mix had to abandon their official shoot for the ‘Break Up Song’ visual however, managed to transform their original concept into a spectacular part-animation offering. With half of the visual featuring felt versions of the girls, the other half saw Jade, Jesy, Leigh-Anne and Perrie glammed up in 80s outfits, performing the infectious song from their homes. It might not have been what the girls originally had planned but it’s certainly iconic.
5 Seconds of Summer went out of their way to ensure their fans had a music video for their latest single ‘Wildflower’. Shot entirely on green screen through a meticulously arranged process that involved transporting the disinfected green screen to each band member’s doorway in order to film their individual parts, the ‘Wildflower’ visual was one of the first homemade lockdown videos to grace the internet and we’re still obsessed with its nostalgic 90s vibe.
For her ‘Malibu’ video, pop queen Kim Petras called upon some of her famous pals to bring the song’s tropical vibe to life. Starring the likes of Demi Lovato, Paris Hilton, Charli XCX, Jessie J, Todrick Hall, Jonathan Van Ness, Madelaine Petsch, and Aly & AJ, this homemade video truly succeeds in bringing the party during this unprecedented time.
With the West End and Broadway shut for the first time in years, many theatre lovers have been craving their fix particularly when it comes to musicals. Whilst some musicals and plays have been made available to watch online, some of the best theatrical content during lockdown has come from the past and present casts of our most loved shows.
Reimagining the story of Romeo and Juliet for a modern audience, &Juliet questions what would have happened to Juliet had she survived Shakespeare’s tragedy. Soundtracked by some of pop legend Max Martin’s biggest hits from the past 30 years, the musical includes tracks by the Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, Demi Lovato and more. During lockdown, the entire cast of &Juliet got together to record a special performance of ‘I Want It That Way’ from their respective homes.
Six the musical is based on the six wives of Henry VIII and rightfully puts them in the spotlight as individual Queens who hilariously battle it out to see who lived the most difficult life at the hands of old Henry. The West End’s former super swing Grace Mouat and the current Catherine Parr, Danielle Steers, brought together past and present cast members from Six all over the world for this incredible performance of ‘Ex Wives’ and ‘Six’. This includes cast members from the original production and cast recording, the West End, UK tour, Broadway, Australia, as well as the Norwegian Bliss and Breakaway cruises.
Wicked is one of the most adored musicals around the world and just when we thought we couldn’t love it any more, this incredible video comes to light. It features 23 actresses who have played Elphaba or Glinda in the beloved musical singing ‘For Good’, including Kerry Ellis, Sophie Evans, Alice Fearn, Emma Hatton, Natalie McQueen, Laura Pick, and Rachel Tucker, as well as Louise Dearman who famously became the first actress to play both roles in the musical.
There have been plenty of laughs during lockdown too, particularly during BBC’s The Big Night In. The event was full of comedy sketches including Little Britain, Miranda, and The Vicar of Dibley, however, the most memorable sketch came courtesy of Catherine Tate and David Tennant.
Whilst many love Catherine and David from their Doctor Who days, you might remember that David once played the teacher alongside Catherine’s Lauren Cooper in a The Catherine Tate Show sketch. Fast forward to 2020 and the two reunited for a sketch where Lauren tries to get her teacher to do a TikTok with her. The whole sketch is packed with hilarious references, and spoiler alert: the end result is nothing short of phenomenal.
Over on Channel 4, the Stath Lets Flats crew have also joined in on the fun. The TV show follows incompetent lettings agent Stath who works for the family business Michael and Eagle, and six of the cast members have released a lockdown skit of the programme which shows what it’s like to be an estate agent during this time. If you’re a fan of the show then you’ll love this special video call edition.
Without doubt one of the best things to come out of this lockdown period has been the array of unexpected collaborations. Who can forget the moment that McFly’s Tom Fletcher and Danny Jones dropped this incredible rendition of ‘Shine a Light’ featuring Niall Horan, Olly Murs and James Arthur?!
Radio 1 managed to get a whole host of artists including Dua Lipa, Anne-Marie, Ellie Goulding, Rita Ora, 5 Seconds of Summer, and Mabel, together to record a version of the Foo Fighters’ ‘Times Like These’. The charity single, which went to number one in the UK, was released in aid of BBC Children in Need and Comic Relief to provide essential support to vulnerable people who are significantly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
Finally, we can’t forget Gary Barlow and his sensational Crooner Sessions. Over the past few weeks, Gary has been delving deep into his huge contact book and teaming up with a number of famous faces to deliver virtual collaborations. From his band mates Howard Donald and Mark Owen, and former band mate Robbie Williams, to artists including JLS, Beverley Knight, Cliff Richard, Shane Filan, JC Chasez, Niall Horan, Brian May, Katherine Jenkins, Olly Murs, and more, Gary has brightened up our lives no end with his Crooner Sessions.