Chris Daughtry also joins the all-star jam online Friday from CollegeHumor, Lucasfilm and YouTube Space LA.
It used to be the suburbs, and now Ben Folds is rockin' the Mos Eisley Cantina.
The singer-songwriter donned an Imperial Stormtrooper outfit from the original Star Wars movie and joined fellow pop stars and musicians for a CollegeHumor video celebrating Star Wars Day on Sunday (May 4 — as in, "May the Fourth Be With You" to the sci-fi faithful).
The spoof, online Friday via StarWars.com and the Star Wars YouTube channel, is set at the notorious Tattooine bar, the "hive of scum and villainy" from the original 1977 movie. The alien cantina band The Modal Nodes are holding auditions for a new member; among those busting out their best intergalactic jams to win the spot are Chris Daughtry, Jordin Sparks, "Weird Al" Yankovic, Lisa Loeb, Liz Phair and Rick Springfield.
CollegeHumor is known for its Star Wars parodies, and the group figured friends such as Yankovic and MC Chris would sign on, says Sam Reich, head of video for the outfit.
"What we didn't expect is that so many other musicians would leap at the opportunity to celebrate Star Wars. Now that I've seen Ben Folds in a Stormtrooper outfit, I can die happy."
A partnership with Lucasfilm and the YouTube Space LA facility helped them up their game on the cantina set, where YouTube Nation and other channels filmed their own Star Wars-inspired videos. CollegeHumor transformed Yankovic into "a legit Twi'lek, with a veiny tentacle coming out of his trademark hair," Reich says.
And they were able to snag a vintage Stormtrooper armor — made of plastic — for Folds, who sports the Star Wars name "BF-1138."
"This (stuff) has been in a box since the last time they dragged it out," he says. "Some of the Velcro's not there anymore and it's duct-taped, and there's one guy who's kind of an expert at it who's put it together over and over again. It's pretty awesome."
The video gave Sparks, 24, the chance to finally dress up in some galactic gear as "Jor Din Sparks" while also poking fun at her American Idol days and singing into a lightsaber microphone. "I was so obsessed with it, they let me take it. It's one of my prized possessions," Sparks says with a laugh.
Everybody in her family is a Star Wars fan, and she recalls wanting to go as Princess Amidala to opening day of 2005's Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith but couldn't find a costume good enough. "My cousin was Obi-Wan Kenobi, and I just kind of twisted my hair on the side and put on a sheet" as Princess Leia.
An admitted nerd when it comes to comic books and Star Wars, Daughtry, 34, grew up with Yoda as his favorite character — "I had the Underoos," the rocker proudly admits — but for the CollegeHumor video, he let a makeup team put horns and red and black face paint on him for two hours.
The result was a transformation into a Darth Maul facsimile known as "Chris Darthtry."
He also broke from his usual rock vibe and channeled the amusingly dramatic style of Tenacious D and Jack Black. "When I think of cheese metal, nobody does it better," says Daughtry.
For his bluesy number I Shot an Ewok, Baby, Folds "put a couple songwriter adjustments" to the lyrical ode about a Stormtrooper who feels remorse after using a blaster on one of the furry fellas from the forest moon of Endor.
"That's some heavy guilt. Collateral damage is one thing, but when it's one of those little ridiculous Ewoks, it hurts," says Folds, 47, who saw the original Star Wars when he was 10 and found it "a mindblower."
His fellow Star Wars fans are a populous lot, and he doesn't rule out the possibility that his tune might go viral.
"You never know," Folds says. "Let's get it out there so it becomes a hit.
"That's just the kind of crazy thing it could be, and then I'll find myself on stage when I'm 75 with all these people going, 'Play the Ewok song!' "
An exclusive clip from a YouTube Nation video airing Saturday features a conversation with Earnest and team about him only seeing "Star Wars" via YouTube clips, and not any of the whole movies. The video is one of four created for Star Wars Day. YouTube/Lucasfilm