This story about Lizzo and “Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls” first appeared in the Down to the Wire: Comedy issue of The Wrap’s awards magazine.
Music superstar Lizzo may have a shelf full of Grammys, a BET Award, a Billboard Award and countless other global honors, but getting six Emmy nominations for her Prime Video reality dance competition series “Lizzo’s Watch Out For The Big Grrrls” was still a really , really “big” deal for the artist.
“Are you f—ing kidding me? I was absolutely blown away,” she told TheWrap when asked about the nods, which included the Outstanding Competition Program one that made her show the first series to be nominated for its debut season in 16 years. “One [nomination] is incredible, let alone six,” she said.
“I’m so proud of everyone because everyone works so freaking hard on this show,” she added.
Across eight episodes, all directed by nominee Nneka Onuorah, “Watch Out for the Big Grrrls” featured 10 voluptuous and curvy dancers competing for a chance to join Lizzo’s Big Grrrls dance group that would perform with the “Juice” singer at her Bonnaroo headline show . And from the premiere episode, the show proved it wasn’t any ordinary dance competition. Lizzo, who was ever-present, hired one woman at the conclusion of the first episode for her current tour of her; another installation saw a technically talented dancer sent home for clashing with housemates; and by the finale, the multi-hyphenate found several women not just to perform for Bonnaroo but also to join her de ella on tour and at high-profile performances in the months following the show.
“Sydney [Bell] and charity [Holloway] have been in music videos, and they did ‘SNL’ with me,” she said of the contestants.
Ashley [Williams] and Kiara [Mooring] have been dancing with me pretty consistently onstage. Jayla’s [Sullivan] been booked and blessed, honey,” she laughed, thinking of a competitor whose freestyles always fired the crowd up. “I tried to fly Jayla in, Jayla says, ‘I’ve got a gig.’ I said, ‘OK!’ …Jasmin [Morrison] performed at the BET Awards with us. I mean, I have girls to call now.”
It’s worth noting, though, that none of the women on the show actually made it to Bonnaroo. The gig they were all auditioning for — the big prize of the season — was canceled when Hurricane Ida led to intense rain and flooding in Tennessee.
“You literally cannot write that kind of suspense,” Lizzo said. “We had to make a really quick decision, and the girls took it really well. We went to Minneapolis [on another tour stop] and we played an incredible show. And it all worked out. But yeah, that was a TV moment that you can’t make up.”
Reflecting on the experience, Lizzo said she’s grateful for the attention the show received after she put it together to make sure “women who look like me” get representation.
“They’re actually, literally getting representation,” she said. “We’re getting nominated. We’re getting our flowers.”
In the run-up to the Emmys, Lizzo will be in the “Lizzoverse” promoting her just-released fourth album, “Special.” But the entertainer plans to attend the September ceremony — and she can’t wait, knowing it’ll put her in the company of so many respected artists.
“I keep talking about how Nicole Kidman might be there and it’s, like, blowing my mind,” she said. “I’m in the music circle. And even when I’m not, I don’t really hang around anybody. I’m normally at home with my roosters, so it’s just gonna be incredible to be around all of these legendary, prestigious people that I never ever get to see outside of my TV screen.
“So, listen, let me tell you about me,” she continued. “I’m always gonna have a good time. I’m gonna have my flask. I’m gonna have my gown and I’m gonna be running up to people and taking selfies for my mama.”