It is a Pavlovian reflex. When this video appears on the Internet, we are forced to watch it. When it’s over, we have no choice but to start over. We can know it by heart, impossible to resist. I am obviously referring to the now legendary video in which Tom Holland dances “Umbrella” by Rihanna.
Two minutes and twenty two seconds of pure excitement. 142 seconds capable of curing a depression, inverting the unemployment curve and perhaps even resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A mixture “fuck the gender” of romance, sports performance and umbrellas. The golden age of the internet is definitely behind us (and so is the golden age of the real world).
But there is one thing that can never be taken away from us, under any circumstances, as long asElon Musk won’t have bought YouTube, and it’s the video of Tom Holland dancing to “Umbrella”. It’s only been five years since it first aired, and yet it’s hard to imagine a world in which it doesn’t exist.
To find inner peace, some turn to ASMR, yoga or therapy. I, to Tom Holland dancing in “Umbrella.” When I’m sad, I watch the video of Tom Holland dancing to ‘Umbrella’. When I’m tired I watch the video of Tom Holland dancing to “Umbrella”. Rihanna. When it rains and I peel them in an open space heated to 19 degrees, I watch the video of Tom Holland dancing to “Umbrella”.
We won’t lie to each other: in 2023, I’ve already watched it more times than I’ve brushed my teeth. And speaking of toothI defy anyone to watch this performance without smiling: it’s scientifically impossible.
This hip hop has been approved as a flu remedy by 100% of doctors.
The explosion of androgyny
Let’s go back a bit: this video comes to us from “Lip Sync Battle”, a spectacle in which celebrities compete by dancing and imitating the lyrics of famous songs and that no one will remember, if not for these 142 seconds of triumph. This now cult episode, which aired in May 2017, pits Tom Holland and Zendaya, who at the time shared the poster in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Tom Holland, known at the time as the latest incarnation of Spider-Man, had debuted in the title role. of the musical Billy Elliot. In addition to being a young actor with an irresistible charm, he is also a talented dancer, who hides behind his youthful air a dose of quite exciting bravado. And he will reveal this to the whole world during this historic show.
In a delightful introduction, the actor dressed in a suit and top hat twirls to the famous tune of Singing in the rain. Then the video plays. With a hair transition link e 2001, a space odyssey, the music takes us through fifty years of history in a second and transports us from Gene Kelly to Rihanna. The first notes of “Umbrella” sound, accompanied by “Uh-huh, uh-huh” by Jay Z. Zendaya, stage left, already hallucinating. And then Tom Holland shows up.
At this exact moment, we are all Zendaya.
The actor has an outfit and a black wig identical to those of Rihanna in the “Umbrella” music video. He wears lipstick. A tight satin jacket. Fishnet stockings. And a lace mini-short. What can be treated as a mouthful of suggestions transphobic (“haha, a man disguised as a woman!”) is, on the contrary, endlessly sensual.
Tom Holland, who was only twenty years old at the time, is known for playing a high school teenager in the movies; this may be the first time the world has seen it this way. (Via “this way”, I mean the one that produces uncontrollable giggles). On stage, a dozen women in mini-shorts dance alongside Tom Holland, but no one is watching. L’actor it’s magnetic, and all over the world, men and women are considering a sexual reorientation in the face of this explosion of androgyny.
Ecstasy and perfection
We’re fifty seconds into the video. Tom Holland, behind, waves to the beat with his umbrella. The chants of the delirious crowd confirm it: we are witnessing the D-Day of lipsync, the Gettysburg of televised racing. I never stopped, but there, I stay.
Emotional ecstasy is combined with technical perfection: the fan blowing right on the actor’s little wig, the synchronicity of the movements, Exercising virtuoso that unites on the same plane the skill of Tom Holland and the wonder of Zendaya.
Tom Holland leading the people.
Overwhelmed by the confidence and control of this seductive spider-man, Zendaya collapses to the ground. And she still hasn’t seen anything. As Tom Holland continues to rock, rain it starts to drip on the TV. And then come the sparks.
A moment almost as historic as the storming of the Bastille.
We are close to sensory overload. Zendaya is so blown away by the power of the show that she looks away for a moment and looks at the audience, dazed, as it were. “Do you see what I see?”. We mere mortals will never be able to identify with Zendaya, the 1.78 meter goddess, movie star and icon of fashionexcept at this moment, where we simultaneously realize with her that her future boyfriend is making history.
Oh yes. If the video deserves to be preserved in a museum, it’s not just for its tens of millions of views, its general public eroticism, or its reversal of gender codes. We also get to see the beginnings of what will become the most adorable “power couple” on the planet. Their cooperation is clearly visible in the video. Two months after the broadcast, when rumors are already rife, a first People article will pretend that Tom Holland and Zendaya are together. But the two stars will continue to deny it, until an unexpected confirmation in 2021 – a cursed year on all counts except this one.
Of course, Tom Holland won the “lip sync battle” that night. But above all, it has won the hearts of the Internet. When I go to purgatory, Ted Danson you will tell me without a doubt I begrudgingly watched the video of Tom Holland dancing to “Umbrella” 25,871 times, wasting precious minutes of my life. And I will tell him that I have no regrets.
Find out every week friendspodcast of Anaïs Bordages and Marie Telling in which they (re)discover cult series or movies.