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Tom Holland’s iconic Rihanna Lip Sync Battle was almost a Britney Spears tribute – red catsuit and all

Josh Milton May 15, 2021
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Side-by-side of Tom Holland posing on the red carpet and in a black bob wig

Tom Holland in his show-stopping 'Umbrella' lip-sync. (Getty Images/YouTube/Paramount Network)

Tom Holland’s iconic Lip Sync Battle performance of Rihanna’s “Umbrella” was almost switched out for a rendition of Britney Spears’ “Oops!… I Did It Again”.

Instead of a very, very wet Tom Holland, the world came close to being gifted with the actor donning a red latex catsuit – the very same Spears threw on for the 2000 music video.

In 2017, the Spider-Man actor threw on a pair of black latex shorts and a black bob wig to gyrate, flex and thrust on Lip Sync Battle.

You certainly never forget where you were the first time you watched the now legendary performance. But, it’s been revealed, the entire thing hinged on getting Rihanna’s express permission.

Wary of her refusing, the show’s producers and choreographers arranged a “backup” routine with would have seen the 24-year-old shimmy to Britney instead – and might have included the singer herself making a cameo.

Creatives on the show told Insider that they prepared for both options complete with costume and choreography. A brief seen by the outlet showed that Spears would have appeared for the number dressed as an “astronaut”.

“We actually created two different sets of costumes for him and all of the dancers. Just in case ‘Umbrella’ didn’t go through, we had a backup performance,” costume designer Jeanie Cheek said.

Executive producer Casey Patterson added: “We would clear song by song and have to go to each artist.

“We’d say we have Tom Holland coming on the show, and Rihanna would need to bless it. It’s never a given.”

“I don’t remember [the backup Britney song] at all,” admitted choreographer Danielle Flora.

“I’m sure I choreographed it. And I’m sure that it was traumatic for me at the moment, choreographing two numbers and not knowing which one.

“I think we always wanted it to be ‘Umbrella’.”

While it seems that everything worked out in the end, we really did come very close to seeing a latex-covered Holland.

The Cherry star told PEOPLE in 2017 that Rihanna didn’t give her blessing “until, like, five hours before we did the show”.

There was a third reality where Holland performed to neither Spears nor Rihanna.

Holland’s father, Dominic, urged him not to go through with it, concerned it was too “risqué”.

Thankfully, in our timeline, Holland did do it. “Look, I am really glad I did that show and I had a lot of fun,” Tom recalled.

“It was incredibly stressful. It has been incredibly successful and has been a really great thing for my career.”

Related topics: Britney Spears, Rihanna, spider-man, Tom Holland

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