After last night’s very successful launch of The Singing Bee (Including some stunning 18-49 numbers) on NBC, there is a lot riding on this premiere of ‘Don’t Forget the Lyrics’ on FOX. Unlike NBC’s show, which is certainly a more traditional game show setup, FOX’s show is a combination of Deal or No Deal, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, and basically every single other recent reality show. With a Million Dollar Cash Prize dangling over their heads, and with producers picking the absolute worst possible singers to “showcase”, it’s everything that’s wrong with reality television in one little package. Looks like someone forgot the lyrics to a reality show that’s the least bit original.
Wayne Brady is an engaging host, as one would expect. However, my problem with the series is that it basically a combination of every other big stakes reality series combined with the embarrassment of American Idol auditions. On the one hand, I find karaoke to be incredibly fascinating and I thought that some of the contestants were actually kind of engaging. However, I couldn’t shake the fact that I’d seen it all before.
Contestants “lock in” their answers while moving up an incremental scale. Family members are standing by to offer guidance. The stage is metallic and circular. You move up to guaranteed cash amounts. It’s basically a carbon copy of Millionaire, Deal or No Deal, Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader, and everything in between. And sometimes, I like that kind of series as a diversion.
But they’re just a diversion: whereas a light-hearted game show where people aren’t over the top awful and instead faceless individuals can be watched without much care, this kind of overbearing program can only be watched so often. It’s all about cliffhangers and people throwing caution to the wind. My issue with this isn’t that it isn’t entertaining in small doses (It kind of is), but that it will get old. And fast.
Rather than being about people knowing lyrics, this is very much about people singing karaoke (badly) while knowing some of them. The songs go on too long, the format slows down too often, and I just feel like this is jumping on a bandwagon that is ready to burst yet again with the glut of Deal or No Deal/5th Grader/1 vs. 100. These series are going to fall out of popularity soon, and I wonder whether this series could ever survive.
Check back tomorrow afternoon when I’ll pit the two shows against one another to see which one wins the Karaoke Wars in this, the week one showdown.