E!'s new singing competition series pits world-renowned tribute artists against one another to compete for a cash prize and a live musical performance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. But first, these fierce contestants must win over audiences—and their A-list judges; Grammy winner Meghan Trainor, Queen frontman Adam Lambert and "Song Factory" songwriter Ester Dean.
All performers in their own rite, Meghan, Adam and Ester share their superstar experiences to also coach the Clash contestants. The trio exclusively dished to E! News what fans can expect from the electric new series, premiering tonight on Wednesday, Oct. 13 at 9:30 p.m. Plus, which real-life artists are their go-to karaoke picks? We'd totally pay to see these iconic mash-ups!
Check out what the Clash of the Cover Bands stars had to say below.
E! News: Why should fans be excited for the show?
Meghan Trainor: Because finally we have a platform to show off cover bands...the unsung heroes!
Adam Lambert: I think it's really exciting because some of the impersonations are literally like doppelgängers. I had friends that watched the teaser that was out and there was a flash of a couple of the artists and they were like, "Oh, did J.Lo come on the show?" They didn't understand. I was like, "No, no, no. That's not her!" They were like, "What?!" I think people are going to be really, really fascinated by the likeness of some of these people, both the way the look and the way that they perform, their sound. We just had a lot of fun. In addition to all of that, there's really something for everybody on the show. We have current pop divas, we have bands from the '80s and the '90s, we have classic icons. It's sort of like something for everybody, which I love.
Ester Dean: It's paying homage. They're fans of J.Lo, they're fans of Céline Dion, they're fans of U2. So when you see another fan who took it to the extreme, to even start a cover band for the same band you love, and now you're hearing the songs and you're watching their dedication and everything you've put into it, just as much as what you would put into it, it's kind of like, "Girl, if I was Tina Turner, I would have done that too!" Like, if I loved Tina Turner that much, I would do that too, so I really feel like sometimes you get to sing karaoke and sometimes you get to close your eyes and close your ears and still see that artist. When you close your eyes, you can see feel J.Lo up there. When you close your ears, you can still see the Dolly Parton up there.
E! News: Can you tease any performers or performances that particularly blew your mind?
AL: I was really blown away by the Tina Turner contestant. She just blew my socks off. She has the "it" factor as far as that fame. It's hard to put your finger on.
MT: Rus Anderson's performances covering the music of Elton John.
ED: They all blew my mind. I think you will see that. You get to pick who's blowing your mind, and I think that's what's so dope about this show. You get to be the fans of your artists and see who has really put the dedication into it, and everybody was really, really good. It was clothes change, hair change, it was really amazing, actually. I feel like I was at the ultimate awards show, for the performance part.
E! News: If you could cover any other band or singer's music for one night, who would it be?
ED: If I had to pick, it would have to be Tina Turner because I'm in love with Tina Turner and I actually sound like Tina Turner. I've been watching it for so long and I actually have the same rasp and her mannerisms as a vocalist, so I was like, oh my goodness, I would actually be Tina Turner.
MT: ABBA, because they wrote some of my favorite songs of all time. I'd be Agnetha [Fältskog]!
AL: I mean, Queen obviously kind of takes that place. Who else would I want to cover?
E! News: What is your go-to karaoke song and why?
ED: Anything by Tina Turner. I sound just like her!
MT: Anything from the early 2000s and any of my songs!
AL: I haven't done karaoke in a while but back in the day, if I was feeling sort of mischievous and sassy, I would probably do "Tell Me Something Good" by Rufus. And then if I was feeling emo and sort of wanted to get a little sympathy out of the audience, I would do "Can't Make You Love Me" by Bonnie Raitt.
E! News: Is there a song you'd never dare try to sign during karaoke? Why?
MT: Anything by Whitney Houston.
AL: Justin Bieber. Just me singing Justin Bieber, no one wants to see that.
ED: When it comes down to Céline Dion, I love all those songs but I've got to sing those songs in my heart. I've got to sing them in my head because she reached notes, and I'm like, "How is she belting those out?!"
E! News: What's your favorite karaoke memory?
MT: My first date with my husband! Daryl [Sabara] sang "Your Song" by Elton John and I sang "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls.
E! News: If you could create your own cover band with a few artists, either dead or alive, who would they be?
AL: I mean, again, I'm getting to perform with the members of Queen. I'm sort of halfway there, but we're not doing covers obviously, those are their own songs. To be totally fair and not negative, I don't think I would do a cover band. It's not for me. I'm here to pass judgment. I'm here to coach them to be better cover bands. I would love to watch plenty of cover bands.
E! News: Can you share any behind the scenes moments at the judges' table?
AL: We had so much fun. I think we all try to out-glam each other every day which is really fun. We'd all get ready in our trailers and then walk out for the day and be like "Ooohhh, look at you, sparkly!" It was like, "Who was wearing more sparkles?" It was a glam fest, so I think people will enjoy watching that.
I love how opinionated both Meghan and Ester are, it was great. We all had our own thoughts, and I felt like we were really constructive which was cool. We really tried to help these acts be their best. Definitely at the end, Meghan and I sort of clashed—pardon the pun—on some of our favorites at the very end. We definitely went head to head on our opinions and it was pretty funny because it got slightly heated, but the kind of way like a brother and sister get slightly heated with each other. We love each other.
ED: It's a full dynamic because it's Meghan, Adam and tWitch. It's like watching people playing. You see Adam have so much fun and always has a wisecrack joke and is so cute, and then Meghan always has great girl talk and tWitch is always dancing on the stage, so I feel like I'm surrounded by love. I really, really felt that. And then you just see every cover band come out and they just take your breath away because you love these songs already and they're singing them just like them, they look just like them, it's really amazing.
E! News: How do you say your tastes differ?
AL: I'm kind of partial to the divas. I think that's sort of my soft spot. I actually think Meghan and Ester might agree. We had a Britney, a J.Lo, we had a Celine, we had Tina, we had Dolly. These are these iconic women. I have to say, I really enjoyed the bands too that came on the show. We had Depeche Mode, Bon Jovi, Ozzy. That was a lot of fun too. It's interesting because those artists are from a specific time. It was funny. We even got to the point where it was so specific—I know a lot of the bands but I don't know if they were as well known to the other judges. I had like an inside track during these performances, I think.
ED: I think that's what's so cool about it because we were able to tell them what would make a better version of their cover band, so if it was hair, if it was an outfit or if it was dancing, we have Kurt Korrell who also tells how they should sing more like that artist. So it was a lot of expertise that went into it as well, like, how would J.Lo sing it? How would U2 perform? They all have different mannerisms in their voice and in their performance style.
Look out for the COCB truck this Friday, Oct. 15 in L.A. and NYC followed by a special Clash of the Cover Bands concert at CityWalk Universal Studios Hollywood this Saturday, Oct. 16 at 3 p.m. PT.