TV

Leno's 'Pumpcast' singing couple insists it wasn't staged

May 15, 2013 at 10:12 AM ET

Sheesh! You show up to pump some gas, belt out a Bon Jovi song, and the next thing you know the video of the routine goes viral and the whole world thinks you're just some staged gimmick.

Such was the story of Will and Monifa Sims, who appeared on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" last week. The couple sang for the show's hidden-camera "Pumpcast" segment and turned out to have great camera presence and better-than-average voices. Leno invited them on the show and they sat in with the band.

Then websites like The Smoking Gun got in on the act and declared that since the couple (who work as a bartender and fitness instructor) had moved to L.A. to get into showbiz (and Monifa had been on a previous "Pumpcast" segment), it must have all been staged.

But on a visit to TODAY Wednesday, the singing twosome insisted the segment was not rigged. When Matt Lauer asked if they'd gotten a tipoff that "Pumpcast" would be at their local gas station on that day, Monifa said, "No. How would I know? That's just the gas station I go to get gas every Wednesday after I train my clients. That's what I do."

That said, Monifa did admit she wasn't a newcomer to "Pumpcast." "I was in it," she said, later noting that her previous appearance was two years ago. She added, "I even didn't see (Will) get out of the car. He's singing like he always does. When I heard him, I looked and said, 'Oh, no! This cannot be happening again!'"

"I always sing," said Will. "When I wake up I sing."

"This is a blessing we did not plan," said Monifa.

Then Jon Bon Jovi popped up in a pre-taped segment from South Africa. He said, "I just received word of the viral craziness you caused singing 'Livin' On a Prayer' while pumping a tank of gas.... We really do appreciate it. Hope to see you on the road sometime."

So was that a job offer? Stay tuned, possibly at your local gas station, for more.

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