Behind The ScenesSportsCenter

Duncan’s #SCWalkupSong hits homers on social media

Elle Duncan interviews Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred on SportsCenter.
(Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images)

Elle Duncan loves being a SportsCenter anchor. She also loves singing. So she found a way to combine the two.

Duncan’s followers on Twitter and Instagram are familiar with her #SCWalkupSong, a sometimes comical ritual she started about six months ago on days when she anchors the program. With help from the show’s crew, she records a 10-15 second song on the set, sometimes including her co-anchors, and blasts it out on social media before the show begins.

“I’m singing all of the time,” said Duncan, who joined ESPN just over a year ago. “You can ask my co-workers and people who have known me since I was a teenager. And so it hit me and I thought this is kind of a fun, behind the scenes look at what we do and how we prepare and how crazy I am.”

The songs vary from genre to genre. Often it’s a well-known ditty with some clever wordsmithing to match a topic or guest on that day’s show.

On Aretha Franklin’s birthday, she sang “Respect.” She belted out “All By Myself” one morning when hosting the program solo. And on National Selfie Day, she poked fun at herself and vanity.

Ideas are often hatched when she and her co-anchor are sitting in the makeup room before a show. And any time she involves a co-anchor, she makes sure that person knows it’s coming.

While sometimes reluctant to Tweet, she’s found doing the #SCWalkup has been a way to enjoy social media while also helping promote SportsCenter.

“I understand the importance of social networking and I’m also not one of those people who have a lot to say,” she said. “Like I can’t imagine anyone cares what my dinner looks like or where I’m walking or what my outfit looks like that day.”

The singing has been well-received, with more than half a million impressions on her Instagram account. But she knows not to go to the well too often.

“I don’t want to oversaturate it,” she said. “I don’t want people to think ‘Oh my god, enough already, we’re tired of you singing,’ or anyone to think I’m trying to pursue a second career on American Idol because that’s not it either.

“There are times if I don’t feel like doing it, I won’t do it for a week, and then there are times when you’ll see me do it three days in a row,” she said. “There really is no rhyme or reason or method to the madness at all.”

<center><strong>Duncan briefly considered musical career</strong></center>

When Elle Duncan was a teenager, she flirted with the idea of a musical career.

“Little-known fact: When I was 19 years old, I had a record deal for like five seconds,” she said. “I used to write music and used to record with this group in Atlanta. And I sang in musical theatre in school and productions of The Lion King and things like that.”

So with some encouragement, she set out on the path to stardom.

“I had my own original song,” she said. “I performed at this club in Atlanta, I had backup dancers – and it was awful. It went so poorly that I quickly realized I don’t like the actual industry part of singing. I don’t think I have what it takes to be a professional singer. I don’t want to be a pop superstar. I just like singing. So after I decided not to pursue that any more is when I focused on the broadcasting side of things.”

The music industry’s loss was ESPN’s gain.

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