In 2020 Jason Derulo emerged as an unlikely TikTok star, thanks to his charming and funny videos that quickly went viral. Interestingly, some of them happened to involve A-list actor Will Smith. though the actor didn’t seem as well prepared for the world of TikTok. And in one video, Derulo appeared to accidentally cause him a drastic injury.
The video in question was posted on August 9, 2020. In it, Smith and Derulo appear to be practicing golf together. They are seen standing on an indoor virtual reality golf course and practicing swings. But when you’re indoors, there’s obviously much less room to do that.
The clip shows Smith trying to help Derulo do a golf swing effectively. He stands next to him and says, “Wait, hold it. Don’t swing yet.” But alas, Derulo does swing, and he catches Smith square in the face with the golf club. The latter then turns around to the camera to reveal that his two front teeth are broken.
Derulo responds to this crisis with, “Put some ice on that,” and the injured Smith answers, “It’s my turn. It’s my turn. I only need one swing.” The star then begins hitting Derulo with the golf club, and the clip comes to an end. But surely the famously handsome actor hadn’t really lost his teeth, right?
When he posted the video to his Instagram account, Smith captioned it, “And we never saw [Derulo] again.” And the latter responded in the comment section with, “I know a good dentist…text me back.” Indeed, if this was a ruse, it was one they were very devoted to. The actor also shared a photo with the caption, “I gotta stop inviting [Derulo] over.”
Meanwhile, people in the video’s comment section pondered over whether Smith’s teeth were really gone or not. One person wrote, “I would have believed this if there was some bleeding,” while another said, “That’s so fake.” Glee and The Flash star Grant Gustin also dropped in to say simply, “I flinched so hard.”
Even CNN got in on the action, writing in an article, “Will Smith appears to have had his front teeth knocked out by none other than Jason Derulo… but it’s not clear whether the video is a joke, because we think it would be a bit more painful. CNN has reached out to Smith’s representatives for comment.”
However, Smith and Derulo had already proved they were masters of camera trickery. A Tiktok video posted on August 5 showed Smith throwing a shirt onto a table only to have it turn into Derulo. The actor posted it to his account with the caption, “Secret to [Derulo’s] silky voice? Fabric softener.”
And the August 5 video had garnered lots of interest from other celebrities as well as fans. Halle Berry, Priyanka Chopra, Rashida Jones and Vanessa Hudgens were just some who expressed their amusement. Meanwhile, at the time of writing it has gained more than two million likes on TikTok, so clearly it seemed that Smith and Derulo were onto something.
Derulo had however only really found TikTok fame in 2020, when he starting getting more attention for his videos on the platform. One clip of him turning into Spider-Man seemed to especially delight people. And by July of that year Derulo claimed that he was making at least $75,000 per TikTok video.
But Derulo refused to say exactly how much he was making from the video-sharing platform during an interview with Complex that month. He also said, “I feel like I thrive on TikTok because I can show me. TikTok is all about creation and I love building things from nothing.”
Derulo continued, “People started to call me the king of TikTok and I was like, woah, that’s a lot of pressure. But I decided to just wear it, to just wear that crown and just kind of be a leader and support the young creators, the early creators that don’t have huge followings.”
The singer also said that he considered TikTok to be “more of a community” than other social media sites. Derulo went on, “When you’re on Instagram, you post at a specific time and you’re like, ‘This is my good time. This is the time when I get the likes.’ On TikTok, it’s about posting repeatedly.” Furthermore, the star added that he tried to post at least four videos a day.
And the internet just exploded when Smith got involved with Derulo’s videos. It was most likely a dream come true for the latter, too; he had loved Smith’s work for a long time. Back in 2013 he told the Daily Record newspaper, “I went to college to study acting actually, so I’ve always been really into it.” Derulo added, “I really like how Will Smith does it, as he can play any kind of role in any kind of film.”
A few years later in 2018 Derulo’s admiration for Smith was very much still there. That year he told the Daily Star newspaper, “My biggest inspiration – and the person I’d like to watch the most – is Will Smith, because you can just watch him in anything. Whether it’s action or comedy, he just always has it.”
But had Derulo managed to accidentally smack his hero’s teeth out? Well, other videos the singer had posted rather indicated that no he hadn’t, it was all a special effect that he’d used before. One video the star did back in May showed Derulo eating corn off a spinning drill, then opening his mouth to reveal his teeth were chipped.
That video also garnered a lot of attention; Derulo’s teeth seemed to go back to being intact pretty quickly, but had he really broken anything? The celebrity website PageSix.com asked this of the singer on August 7, and he answered, “The world may never know. I got my smile, so I’m lit right now.”
Even the fact-checking website Snopes looked into the golf video. They concluded, “… Smith and Derulo have not definitively confirmed that no teeth were harmed in the making of these videos. [Though] given the fact that these musicians have posted several similar digitally altered videos… it’s safe to say that this is just a prank.”
And Derulo finally revealed all in an interview with the Metro newspaper published on August 17. And the singer had plenty to say about his newfound love of TikTok. He told the interviewer, “I’ve never looked at it as a real thing – but I’m thrilled my everyday life and creativity is being liked by so many people across the world.”
Asked, “Why do you love TikTok as a platform so much?” Derulo then answered, “Because anything goes. Whatever your interests, nobody is going to judge you. With other platforms I struggled because a lot of it was really superficial – ‘I’m doing this with this person, I have this amount of money and these cars and going to this country’ – and I never connected to that.”
The interviewer inquired, “You’ve done a few posts with Will Smith – is he a [friend]?” And Derulo responded, “Will Smith is probably my favorite person on the planet outside of my family. I’m so inspired by him. You have to be able to change with the times to remain successful and he does that.”
Derulo went on, “[Smith has] captured a new audience with social media. We have so many videos, including one where the whole world thought I’d accidentally knocked out his teeth with a golf club, which I think is pretty funny.” And that was it – confirmation that it had just been a well-executed prank.
But Derulo had more to say about TikTok. He was then asked, “Is there anyone else you want to get on your posts?” And the musician answered, “I’d love to do something with Kevin Hart because he’s hilarious!” Derulo added, “And I’d love to get The Rock — those kinds of people that don’t normally tap into the social media world.”
Derulo concluded the interview with, “I think the balance is going to be important and finding it is going to be tricky. I love social media and the short gratifications of creating those moments and I’ll always make music, but the ultimate dream right now is television shows or movies. I really hope to make a significant impact on the film and TV industry.”
And soon, Derulo was back to making funny videos with Will Smith. On August 18 the latter posted a clip of the pair of them lifting weights, but with a twist of course. In the clip, Smith and Derulo are lifting weights together, but then the latter gets too close and the former’s muscles fall off – revealing they were green-screen special effects.
As soon as the “muscles” fall off, Smith is left standing there in a T-shirt holding sandwiches. He yells at Derulo, “Yo man, watch what you doing. I’m an action hero!” He then attempts to tear off Derulo’s muscles as well, but nope, it appears that those ones were in fact real.
Then Smith tries to put the greenscreen material back on and get his CGI muscles back, but he puts it on upside down. Derulo tries to turn it the right way up again, but the actor snaps back at him, “Worry about your muscles. Worry about your own muscles!”
Smith posted the clip on his Instagram account as well, alongside the caption, “You ain’t even seen leg day, [Derulo].” The latter then answered, “If there’s one thing you taught me… Always trust your gut.” Famous celebrities including Dwyane Wade and Taraji P. Henson left amused comments on that one.
On August 21 Derulo gave an interview to Billboard magazine about his ever-increasing TikTok fame. The piece revealed that just a few months before Derulo began conquering the platform, he’d met with a woman called Isabel Quinteros – the senior manager of artist relations and music partnerships for the U.S. version of TikTok.
Quinteros had schooled Derulo in the most important rules of TikTok success – apparently telling him to “have fun, be consistent, and collaborate.” She told Billboard, “When Jason commits to something, he commits 100 percent. Once he decided this was going to be his platform, he told me, ‘I want to be number one.’”
Billboard magazine noted, “Since [Derulo] started posting on the platform regularly at the end of 2019, his follower count has skyrocketed from 6 million… to more than 33 million.” That made Derulo one of the biggest creators on the entirety of the TikTok app, and Will Smith was also on that list.
In fact, Smith might be the biggest celebrity earner on the platform. In April 2020 the website Online Casinos claimed that the actor was most likely earning $107,500 for every sponsored post he released. He had 21.5 million followers at the time, too. Meanwhile, Dwayne Johnson was second on the biggest-earners list, and Derulo was sixth.
Derulo clearly considers TikTok a big step forward in his career. He told Billboard, “It’s important to reinvent yourself as much as possible, otherwise people just get tired of it. I’ve tried everything under the sun at least three times.” He added, “I have a creative vision that is unlike any other artist. You have to be able to move and mold with me.”
The platform seemed to have come along at just the right time for Derulo. The actor had taken a bit of a hit with the failure of a 2019 movie he starred in called Cats. It was absolutely mauled by critics; Rotten Tomatoes punningly named it “a clawful mistake that will leave most viewers begging to be put out of their mew-sery.”
But Derulo – who played Rum Tum Tugger in the film – stood by the movie even as it was trashed. In December 2019 he told the website TMZ, “It’s an incredible, incredible, brave piece of art, and it’s always been that way… I’m just excited for the people to actually see it because reviewers, what the hell do they know?”
Unfortunately, nothing Derulo said could get critics to like the film. In August 2020 he confessed to The Daily Telegraph, “For the longest time, I was trying to figure out what’s the perfect first role. Cats checked all the boxes…Even when I saw the trailer, I got chills down my spine! I thought it was gonna change the world.”
So for Derulo, performing on TikTok was the ideal showcase for his talents. He told Billboard magazine about why he liked the platform so much, explaining that while Instagram could be “superficial,” TikTok was “like, ‘Take me as I am.’ Anybody can be tomorrow’s great. The app is creating a new rockstar.”
Derulo said he believed the app was opening doors for new performers. He told Billboard, “I have seen a slow shift in artists trying to do [TikTok]… You’d be crazy not to want to pick up the app that is running your industry.” But the star did add that he believed it took more than just talent to succeed on the platform.
Overall, Derulo seemed very pleased about how his career was going. He told the magazine, “We couldn’t have guessed TikTok was going to happen in that way, but now that we have it as a backbone, it’s a really different conversation.” Naturally, the CGI and prank videos were of course a big part of that.
Both Derulo and Smith are still making impressive special-effect videos on their TikTok accounts, and they’re teaming up to do more. In fact, their bromance has become so entertaining that some people are wondering if they might do a movie together one day – they would certainly have an audience for it.