The Hills Are Alive - August 3
There seems to be a pattern brewing. One
production company comes up with an idea for a game
show. One that is fresh, exciting, and a surefire
winner. And then Mike Darnell realizes that he's going
to be beaten to the punch, so he slaps together a
copycat idea that feels like yet another retread. That
situation has played out over this summer as The
Singing Bee and Don't Forget the Lyrics!
compete, albeit indirectly, for your viewing time.
hosted by former N*SYNC member Joey
Fatone, is something new. Six contestants compete in
three elimination rounds, where the lone survivor tries
to win $50,000. The overriding concept is a simple one:
when the band stops playing, sing the next line,
sometimes the entire chorus. The band is competently led
by Ray Chew, and the vocal range of the singers is
far-reaching. Whether the next song up is a power
ballad, stadium anthem or pop standard, the singers are
on the money. The different games keep things fresh and
interesting. It is nice to see a show that has
contestants playing against each other in a fun
That is the point where Don't Forget
the Lyrics! fails. The game is Karaoke
Millionaire in a nutshell. Contestants choose a
category from a stable of nine, and when Rickey Minor
and the band stop playing and lyrics disappear from the
giant screen, the contestant must fill in the blanks.
But wait! The contestant has three backups to assist:
enlist-a-family-member, fill in two words, or pick from
three. Each correct answer allows the solo contestant to
move up the money ladder to a final Million Dollar Song.
Wayne Brady is decent, but the music is of the same
period as Singing Bee, and the whole operation
seems thrown together, rushed and trite.
Kudos to Phil Gurin, who has thought outside the box and
given the viewers a fun half hour of television to enjoy
over the summer. Copious amounts of curses to Mike
Darnell. It's bad enough that the show he's producing is
a copycat of one of his own shows, but it uses the same
tired reveal-stalling, poorly edited voice-overs, and
other clichés that have caused the genre to go into a
collective tailspin. Singing Bee is well worth
your time. Don't Forget the Lyrics should have
never gotten past the pilot stage.
Travis Eberle can name that tune in
seven notes. Send him an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org,
as long as you promise not to remind him that neither
show employs a Bid-a-Note round.