Determined to help Make-a-Wish Foundation grant as many wishes as possible, former on-air personality Danny-Joe Crofford promises fun + friendly competition at this year’s Lip Sync Battle.
By Barrett Gay | Photography by Jacob Allinson/ThinkDero, Inc.
“If you can help people and make a difference, then you should.” Danny-Joe Crofford’s mentor and longtime radio co-host Tommy Smith offered this advice, and it stuck. Danny-Joe, the business development manager at the Little Rock Marriott and former talk radio host at Magic 105 and later The Buzz, has worked diligently to live by that motto.
The former Magic 105 team of personalities had a well-established partnership with the American Cancer Society – hosting and supporting various fundraisers throughout the years for the organization. In 2015, a new show on Spike TV caught Danny-Joe’s attention: Lip Sync Battle. A spinoff of the popular recurring sketch on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, each episode featured two celebrities competing to win the best and most entertaining lip sync performance. Danny-Joe believed this idea, if localized, could create lots of excitement – and make a difference in the community, helping improve the lives of fellow Arkansans. He partnered with American Cancer Society to host the Lip Sync Battle fundraiser, which showcases local personalities and business leaders giving equal parts ridiculous + hilarious performances, competing for the coveted WWE Championship Belt and generating support for ACS.
The event was wildly popular, and this year’s third annual Lip Sync Battle, hosted at Robinson Center, will benefit Make-a-Wish Foundation. “I saw a story by Alyson Courtney on Channel 7 about a young gentleman named Keagan. He had gone through several operations, and I thought, ‘I really want to do something for the kids.’ I was touched by it, and it made me think about my own children,” Danny-Joe remembers.
A heartwarming highlight at this year’s LSB is the Wish Kids’ Choice Award – in addition to the championship belt and the People’s Choice Award. “We’re going to have a group of Make-A-Wish kids, and they’re going to get to vote for their favorite performance. I think that’s going to be the one that will touch everyone’s hearts,” Danny-Joe says.
The Mid-South chapter of Make-a-Wish was founded in 1986 and has granted more than 5,000 wishes to children in Arkansas, North Mississippi and West Tennessee. The communications manager for the Mid-South chapter, Amanda Wiig, says that granted wishes can actually help change the outcome of a child’s circumstances. “Wishes are very critical for children with life-threatening medical conditions. Through a number of studies, we’ve learned that wishes actually help children keep fighting to get well. And in many cases, after a child’s wish, he or she is actually able to overcome his or her condition or illness.”
Armed with his trademark visor, Danny-Joe has big dreams for the fundraiser. He plans to increase its attendance, and consequently, its impact. “We’re going to try to grant as many wishes as we can.” In addition to bringing the community together for an evening of fun + friendly competition, Danny-Joe promises some show-stopping performances not to be missed. “All I want is for people to have a good time,” he says. “Get ready, because there are going to be big surprises.”
Danny-Joe: The Details
Favorite Song: You Shook Me All Night Long by AC/DC
Favorite Artist: Prince – I have 3 replicas of some of his most famous guitars: the White Cloud, featured in the movie Purple Rain; the Love Symbol guitar that he used in Superbowl XLI; and his favorite guitar, the Hohner Telecaster
Self-Described: loud – and loyal
Life Motto: “To be the man, you gotta beat the man.” – Ric Flair