Who Sings Bend and Snap in Legally Blonde
Uninhibited by the rum-based cocktails she had drunk, Smith suddenly jumped out of her seat and began to make an attention-grabbing move. She stretched out her leg, bent down as if to grab something, and then quickly straightened up. “I laughed so hard I almost fell off the bar stool,” McCullah says. “The bartender probably stopped talking to us because he didn`t know what we were doing.” Soon after, the two were in Platt`s office and showed him their idea. “I don`t mind making a fool of myself,” says Smith, who recalls Platt making fun of her. “I really felt like a dancer or a very rotten waver, and it was burping somewhere in my psyche.” Shortly after Platt approved of the turn and snap scene, Luketic began to think musically. The director had just finished his 1997 short Titsiana Booberini, a musical that debuted at the Telluride Film Festival, and was eager to incorporate Smith`s movement into a dance sequence. Luketic hired Toni Basil – the veteran dancer responsible for “Hey Mickey” – to choreograph the short scene. However, before she could start, McCullah and Smith Basil had to show off her move, so they visited her dance studio to perform the basic mechanics.
“[Toni] had other dancers there, and she said, `Okay, can you do it again? Watch! No more chicken wings at the top!` Smith recalls. “I thought, `What`s going on? It`s so crazy. Grande and Davis decided that a nail salon would be an ideal backdrop for parts of the video`s Legally Blonde tribute, and quickly built an identical set with the same hair dryers, trash cans, and paints. “In the end, we used trans light outside the windows to look like a street,” Davis says. “It took another time to watch the film and study the scene, and it was so much fun to go back and see it with new eyes.” With a variety of background dancers, Coolidge eventually joined the set — Grande had formed a relationship with her after Grande`s impression of the actress went viral — and suddenly, the “Bend and Snap” (renamed “Thank n Next”) got a new life. “[Paulette] took what she already had and applied it in a whole new way,” Davis says of aligning the scene with Grande`s lyrics. “That hasn`t changed; She just made a better version of who she was. Under the direction of director Robert Luketic, the spontaneous two-part seduction eventually became a musical number in its own right, words bending and catching in pop culture history books. The scene takes place in the middle of Legally Blonde, when Elle (Reese Witherspoon) wants to give Paulette (Coolidge) a boost of confidence after an unpleasant encounter with her delivery crush (Bruce Thomas). She shares a lesson from her mother, explaining the basics of “bending and slamming,” a maneuver that has a “98% success rate at getting a man`s attention.” (And, not to mention “when used correctly, an 83% return on a dinner invitation.”) Soon, she begins teaching the entire living room how to move, with a dance session (full of all sorts of curves and snapshots) bursting into a joyful celebration. In a matter of minutes, Legally Blonde transforms into a surreal panorama covered in candy. Although it leads to a hurtful reward in the story (Paulette breaks her nose but gets her husband), it presents itself as a stupid and participative punchline in itself, which has been repurposed and revived for theater shows, music videos, and even Italian gay nightclubs. To those involved in the scene, including a high-profile choreographer and several young actors and dancers, his creation feels just as magical, requiring weeks of rehearsals and filming to reflect McCullah and Smith`s unique vision.