ET's Rachel Smith talked to the 30-year-old singer on Thursday in London about his role in the highly anticipated Cats, where he also discussed the racy underwear picture he shared on Instagram last month that generated plenty of opinions. In the photo, Derulo wears nothing but tiny black briefs, and although his abs are definitely impressive, it's his noticeable bulge that had fans commenting. He later unhappily shared that Instagram ended up taking the picture down.
"F*k u mean? I have underwear on... I can't help my size.." he wrote.
Derulo tells ET that he definitely didn't anticipate the response he received over the photo, which included comments such as, "? My kind of man ??? lol xx," and, "I don't even know who dis is... but godayuuummm señor ?."
"I knew it was a thirst trap picture, but I didn't think when I posted it that it was gonna be my most liked photo in that first couple of hours," Derulo tells ET. "I didn't think it was going to, like, be taken down by the 'gram. I didn't think it was gonna cause, like, this much thirst. Like, I mean, c'mon. When I was posting it in the morning, I was like, 'Oh yeah, women might like this one,' you know what I'm saying? Like, 'Yeah, this is a good photo,' but I wasn't like, 'Yo, this is about to be crazy' -- post. Nah, not at all."
"The polarizing response is what you want on anything, you know?" he muses. "You want people to get aroused by something and to me, you can either take the criticism and you know, change some things that you want, or you know, you can just roll with the vision that you had, but I think it's all positive in the end. I think Cats is probably the most talked-about film right now."
Derulo plays Rum Tum Tugger in the Tom Hooper-directed film, which he says is a return to his "musical theater kid" roots. He also talks about the CGI suits he had to wear for the movie, and notes that it was like being naked but "not in a good way."
"It held you in, like, weird areas and in some areas it was loose," he says of the suits. "So, in the stomach area it was loose here and it was tight in other areas, but it's just not flattering."
"But we were all naked. Balls everywhere," he cracks. "Balls and bulges everywhere."
Cats, which features a star-studded cast including Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson, Idris Elba and James Corden, hits theaters on Dec. 20.
In August, ET spoke with Corden about the intense social media reaction to the Cats trailer. Watch the video below to see his response: