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Ciro Nov 5, 2015  

Nicole Scherzinger has a goal: fun. Have fun on stage, have fun on screen, have fun off hours. When the singer-actress stopped by the Esquire offices on her day off from Best Time Ever, NBC and Neil Patrick Harris’ new variety show, we couldn’t start rattling off photos until the mood was set. We were going to have ​fun. What started with high-octane Spotify playlists ended with French braids and ramping up for weekend plans. Scherzinger was determined to turn our meeting into a sleepover.

The rambunctious commitment to having a good time comes naturally for Scherzinger. As she describes in her song “American Girl,” cowritten with Keane’s Tim Rice-Oxley, the Hawaii-to-Kentucky transplant has “soul music in my veins and country music in my brains.” Having jumped from reality show fame (she starred on WB’s 2001 series Popstars​, which spawned the short-lived Eden’s Crush) to theater (“[the stage] is my home,” she says), Best Time Ever is the latest outlet for this high-energy performance style. Harris, it turns out, is the perfect cohort. “He is a man of many trades,” Scherzinger says with a devilish smile. “He does everything. I always say he’s the male version of me because we’re both perfectionists… but he also has five Emmys and a Tony.”

What’s the hardest part of a weekly variety show, with its cavalcade of written-on-the-fly sketches and musical numbers? Sticking to script. Scherzinger comes to set with energy and improvisation comes easy. Reading off the teleprompter gives her “the heebie-jeebies.” She is not easily reined in. “When I do X Factor, or other shows where I’m mentoring, I’m never reading off a prompter. You’re just vibing. So I’m learning that skill. I’m just better when it’s organic and me.”


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