Who would ever imagine the new Mary Poppins is afraid to sing live in front of an audience? On Monday’s episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Emily Blunt admitted that filling Dame Julie Andrews’ shoes for her new movie Mary Poppins Returns required “balls of steel” and was asked to confront her stage fright by performing with the Backstreet Boys. Leave it to host Ellen DeGeneres to set the stage for such an incredible, one-of-a-kind mashup.
As reported by People, when DeGeneres asked Blunt about her fear of singing in front of an audience, Blunt said, “I still think it’s not a natural thing for me. I find it very nerve-racking to sing in front of people, for sure.”
In response, DeGeneres pointed to a microphone and encouraged Blunt to try out her live performing skills on the studio audience. At first, Blunt hesitated, saying, “Don’t look at me like that! Oh, my God, guys!” But she got to her feet, ready to face her fear — though she also said she felt exposed standing onstage alone.
“What if we had the Backstreet Boys sing with you?” DeGeneres asked, and lo and behold, the boy band appeared onstage.
Emily Blunt singing "I want it that way" with the Backstreet Boys. pic.twitter.com/L4Pe1ZM9yn
— best of emily blunt (@badpostblunt) November 19, 2018
Twitter fan account @badpostblunt shared a clip of the actor singing with BSB. The group performed their iconic hit “I Want It That Way” a cappella, with Blunt singing the final line solo. When she realized she was alone, she yelled at Nick Carter, “You left me alone!”
He yelled back, “That was your part! That’s your part!”
He wasn’t lying. Prior to performing onstage, Blunt, Carter and his bandmates AJ McLean, Howie Dorough, Brian Littrell and Kevin Richardson all warmed up together and worked out how the performance would go — and she had to have at least some inclination that she’d be singing the line solo.
The same Blunt fan account shared a video of the rehearsal that happened just the day before and which appears to have been pulled from social media.
Emily Blunt singing with Backstreet Boys yesterday. 😍👏🏻 pic.twitter.com/qwK39dTRZV
— best of emily blunt (@badpostblunt) November 16, 2018
Blunt obviously has some chops (she wouldn’t have been cast as Mary Poppins without them), but we can understand that feeling of stage fright. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard her sing, though we’re still super-into it. Walt Disney Studios shared a video on Instagram in October of Blunt and her Mary Poppins Returns costar, Lin-Manuel Miranda, performing “A Whole New World” from Aladdin.
When the Mary Poppins sequel hits theaters on Dec. 19, fans can look forward to a lot more singing and dancing from Blunt and Miranda. We’re so ready.