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Dua Lipa Wrote "Dance the Night" to Match the Barbie Cast's Moves, and the First Version Was Way Darker

The "Houdini" singer also joined Jimmy Fallon for some Christmas carols in character as holiday lounge singers Hal and Val. 

By Samantha Vincenty

Dua Lipa's "Dance the Night " is a major musical moment from 2023, and part of the Barbie movie's major cultural impact: While "I'm Just Ken" was a surprise hit that was kept under wraps ahead of the film's release, Dua Lipa's disco track was teased in the trailer, building excitement for what unfolds in the movie's first big scene.

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During a December 4 visit to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, the "Houdini" singer described what it was like making the song with the soundtrack's producer Mark Ronson, who also co-wrote "I'm Just Ken". Basically, they crafted it to match the Barbie cast's dance moves. 

The original idea for Lipa's Barbie song was a little different, she told Jimmy Fallon. "Originally, when we had the brief from [director Greta Gerwig], it was that Barbie was heavily influenced by disco. And we wanted to make it a fun disco song," Lipa said. Except as anyone who has seen the movie knows, Barbie's disco dance party turns dark when she shares her looming thoughts of death. 

RELATED: Jimmy Fallon Crashed The Voice to Impressively Sing a Tony Bennett Classic

Dua Lipa on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Episode 1883

Dua Lipa and Mark Ronson's Barbie disco song was made to match the cast's dance moves

"In that moment, it's like, 'how do we create a song that encapsulates a really fun disco party, but at the same time has these underlying..shaky feelings?" Lipa added. "Initially, we leaned into much more turmoil." (Anyone else want to hear this o.g. emo-disco version of "Dance the Night"?)

Once they saw some Barbie footage, it was clear they had to pivot. "We changed the lyrics quite a bit," Lipa said. "Then, we started to write it like a score. So as we were watching the picture, then we were watching the cast do dance moves and pairing lyrics to the moves."

One example: When Margot Robbie's Barbie beckons with her hand while dancing. "And it's like, 'Okay, let's put in 'come along for the ride' here, and then 'turn the music up'—trying to match it to the film," Lipa told Fallon. "It was unlike anything I'd done before."

Lipa also surfaced periodically in the Barbie movie, playing a mermaid Barbie. "I loved it," she told Fallon. "Being in a fishtail? I'd do it more often. I was being carried around everywhere because I couldn't move."

Dua Lipa and Jimmy Fallon are Hal and Val, holiday lounge singers 

Val and Hal, Holiday Lounge Singers with Dua Lipa

Fallon couldn't let Lipa leave without making some music. The two teamed up to play a bantering musical duo named Val and Hal, an act reminiscent of an SNL Christmas sketch