Darren Criss Translates a Britney Spears Hit Into ’70s Soul, New Wave & Heavy Metal for ‘That’s My Jam’

Darren Criss competed on NBC’s That’s My Jam on Tuesday (March 14) and was tasked with several new spins on “Toxic” by Britney Spears.


The challenge came when the actor was assigned the brand new game “One Song, Many Genres” by host Jimmy Fallon’s giant chrome microphone lever. “I did Glee; I feel like I’m prepped for this,” Criss stated. “It’s kind of a complicated song, I would fare much better if I did this with a guitar. Is that OK if I play guitar on this? … So if I can’t sing it, at least I’ll be able to play.”

After coordinating with the band on the correct key, the Glee alum launched into Spears’ 2004 single in the style of ’70s soul. “Baby can’t you see I’m callin’?/ A guy like you should wear a warnin’/ It’s dangerous, I’m fallin’,” he sang before quickly having to transition to heavy metal, complete with a throaty growl. “There’s no escape, I can’t wait/ I need a hit, baby gimme it/ You’re dangerous, I’m lovin’ it.”

From there, Criss cycled through a litany of wide-spanning musical genres, from new wave and ska to Brazilian lounge and Eurodance before finishing up the song as a bluegrass jam.

Elsewhere during the episode, his teammate Sarah Hyland performed Christina Aguilera’s “Genie in a Bottle” in the pop-punk style of Avril Lavigne for “Wheel of Musical Impressions,” while Billy Porter nailed a gospel version of Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger” and Patti LaBelle performed her own “Lady Marmalade” in a game of “Nonsense Karaoke.”

Watch Criss reinvent “Toxic” in seven different genres below.

Glenn Rowley