Host: Joey Fatone
Executive Producers: Phil Gurin and Robert C. Horowitz
Series Premiere: July 10, 2007
Airs On: Tuesday nights from 8 – 8:30 pm Eastern
Top Prize: $50,000
Catch Phrases: "It's the Final Countdown!", "You don't have to sing it well, you just have to sing it right."
The Singing Bee combines retro-inspired family-style entertainment with a modern game show format. Hosted by former N'Sync member Joey Fatone, the show is both cheesy and surprisingly entertaining. Contestants are pulled from the studio audience and challenged to remember lyrics from popular songs spanning the past several decades.
A live band and a number of vocalists are on hand to provide the music. A portion of the song is played and then the band is silent, leaving the contestant to sing the next line of lyrics. The lyrics must be exactly correct for the contestant to move on – even the slightest error can cause elimination.
Four contestants start the game, and the first three to correctly remember the lyrics to a song move on to the Musical Chairs. The second round works in the same way, with one more person eliminated. The third round is called The Championship Round, challenging the last two contestants standing to sing the entire chorus of the song in question.
The Final Countdown:
The winner of The Championship Round moves on to The Final Countdown. Up to seven songs are played, and the contestant must once again correctly sing one line from each song. For each correct lyric, he or she wins $5,000. If the contestant gets five lyrics correct, the prize doubles to $50,000. For each wrong lyric, one strike is counted. The contestant gets a maximum of three strikes before this round is over.
Whoever wins the game also wins a Singing Bee trophy, and the chance to return the next week to defend their title.
Ray Chew and The Groove:
The theme song, musical interludes, and song challenges are all performed by the house band, led by Ray Chew and called "Ray Chew and the Groove." Chew is a jazz musician who previously appeared on television as part of the Saturday Night Live band. He also provides the music for Showtime at the Apollo.
The Dancing Honey Bees:
Adding to the theme and providing in-house entertainment are The Dancing Honey Bees, a group of four female dancers. The Dancing Honey Bees lead viewers into commercial segues, dance with musical guests, and perform a number at the end of each show.The Honey Bees are made up of dancers Holly Cruikshank, Ferly Dunn, Lisa Byrnes, and Monique Cash.
Pros and Cons:
The Singing Bee is light-hearted and entertaining, moving quickly throughout the rounds. Most of the fun comes from trying to remember the lyrics yourself as the game progresses, and laughing as contestants who truly don't have a clue about the lyrics make up some of their own.
Host Joey Fatone smiles a lot and works the crowd well, but sometimes seems stiff and uninvolved in the game. The band and the dancers add to the overall theme, which sometimes goes over the top but always provides good entertainment value for the 30 minutes invested in watching the show.