Verzuz: That’s why weekly battles on Instagram are such a hit

Verzuz: That's why weekly battles on Instagram are such a hit

The idea was simple: beat two of the biggest names in music against each other on Instagram Live for a friendly head-to-head battle. Nobody would actually be declared the winner. But fans could listen to their favorite songs and fight endlessly about who had better hits.

The performances are powerful, the format is sometimes glitchy and the audience is completely hilarious. In short, it’s a good time.

And given the tragedy that is unfolding around us, Verzuz is a welcome distraction.

Here are 5 reasons why the weekly showdown is a big hit.

It is a joke machine

The cultural jokes made in real time and after the live streaming are what makes the battles of Verzuz surprising.

Viewers tune in to the talent and the songs, but above all to the comments section, where they often make fun of the artists and their performances.

Whether it’s tech problems, song choice or even what artists wear, people on social media are ready with the jokes.
Like when Teddy Riley and Babyface have been roasted for their age and the inability to use Instagram during their first attempt in a Verzuz battle.

“It’s like watching old people using Jitterbug phones,” tweeted singer Toni Braxton during the April battle.

Nelly was roasted over Wi-Fi problems during his battle with Ludacris. Corey Townsend, writer for The root, compared him to that scene in Nelly’s music video for “Dilemma”, when Kelly Rowland wrote him an SMS on an old Nokia phone using Microsoft Excel.

“Kelly is checking if Nelly’s WiFi is okay,” Townsend tweeted.

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Even the people in the comments section are not safe. Remember when singer Tyrese lit up in a typos? The singer-actor commented “throw the card” during the battle of Babyface and Teddy Riley. He probably meant “towel”, but that day automatic correction was not on his side.

“Throw in WHAT Tyrese?” one person tweeted.

“” Drop the card … “- Tyrese. Lawd I can’t,” tweeted freelance journalist NatelegĂ© Whaley.

It takes us back in time

How old were you when Babyface fell “When can I see you, “or when Nelly’s”Warm in Herre“Was he blowing up continuously?

The songs played during the battles of Verzuz bring us all back to that moment when we either listened to the song for the first time or played it constantly on our MP3 or CD players, or even on our Walkman.

“I will never forget how gushy this song made you feel,” tweeted singer Jessie Woo during the battle of Nelly and Ludacris, referring to Nelly’s success “Dilemma”.

“Babyface’s music brings so many memories. On Saturday morning my mom was using the broom like a microphone, an old album cover for a dust pan and threatening to throw away all the toys we hadn’t come to claim”, ESPN analyst LaChina Robinson tweeted.

Even specific song lyrics led to unity during Verzuz. Many viewers were tweeting their favorite lines to hit the songs.

“EVERY SMALL STEP I TAKE!” one person tweeted as in hymn to Bobby Brown’s success “Every little step, “which was produced by Babyface.
There was also the virtual harmony of “GRIIIIIIIITS” when Jill Scott interpreted his success “Street“.

We see the stars interacting in real time

Of course, we all know that these stars have interacted in one way or another, but on Verzuz we can see it in real time.

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Sometimes it seems to intercept a private conversation. And when they express respect and mutual admiration for mutual work, feelings come into play.

“You inspired me,” Teddy Riley told Babyface during their live streaming.

“We keep ourselves on the alert,” replied Babyface.

Of course, frank conversations reveal some of the artists’ idiosyncrasies. When Jill Scott and Erykah Badu lost track of time while streaming, Badu admitted that it wasn’t new to her.

“I don’t have a conception of time. I don’t know what that means,” Badu told Scott.

Such moments are what makes Verzuz so special.

It brings us together

Verzuz’s biggest attraction is that it looks more like a house party than a competition.

Culinary vibes attract all different types of viewers, from Snoop Dogg to Michelle Obama.

“Our First Lady is chatting!” tweeted director Jennifer LĂ© in April during the battle of Babyface and Teddy Riley.

Live streams have also spanned generations. Many of those who commented on the battles admitted that they were watching with an older parent or relative.

“I told you all that Word Of Mouf was the first album that EYE bought. My uncle D and I used to do the relentless launch,” he tweeted Maura Chanz on the Ludacris album. He added that he was texting his mother on the livestream.

Others had to teach their parents how to use Instagram only for Verzuz’s occasion.

“I called and gave my mom a 10 minute intensive course on Instagram * only * so she could access this #Verzuz,” tweeted NBC correspondent Blayne Alexander.

And that’s the thing about Verzuz, it’s not just a Generation X or a thousand-year-old thing, it’s for everyone, in all generations, to come together. Flashbacks for some were new additions to playlists for others.

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It’s a break from the coronavirus

For many fans, tuning in and singing together was a welcome distraction from the scary news on TV. It transported listeners back in time – perhaps to a better time – when life seemed easier and more carefree.

As of Saturday evening, the United States has had more than 1.6 million confirmed coronavirus cases and over 96,000 deaths. After arrests lasting more than a month, states are finally starting to open up, but experts warn of a second wave.
“#Verzuz tweets made me HOLLERING. Damn, I needed this laugh,” he tweeted poet Saeed Jones.
“Yo, I haven’t laughed in two weeks. I needed it. Thanks #VERZUZ,” he tweeted the writer Sean A. Malcolm.

Journalist Yamiche Alcindor summed it up perfectly.

“Verzuz is literally saving the week,” he tweeted.

CNN’s Chloe Melas contributed to this report.


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