Sing it Back



JK and Joel (Jason King and Joel Ross)


Adjudicator: Paul Gambaccini


ITV1, 7 - 21 July 2007 (3 episodes)


1939 gave us Musical Bee. Wind forward some 70 years and we end up with this format that's been sold and copied around the world even before it's been aired.

As with many ITV shows, we begin with Far Too Many Contestants (12 in this case) vying for one of the six spots up for grabs in the next round. Paul Gambaccini gives us a Name That Tune-style cryptic clue about the piece of music involved which any of the competitors can buzz in for. Then it's revealed whether they really got the tune right. Either way, they have to sing the next part of the song when the music stops. If they get the lyrics right, they're in round 2; if not, they're frozen out of the next question, which isn't really a harsh enough penalty.

Round 2 features fewer songs but several different lines are tested to each of the six contestants in turn. One point for each green light and happy SFX. The two with the lowest scores are out, leaving four for the semi-final which is pretty similar to round 1 but features first lines.

The final is a 12 Yard-patented shootout but this time the players have to come up with the line before the one you hear. Clever and undeniably testing. The most right wins a musical-related holiday and the series winner becomes Lyric Champion 2007. Ooh, feel the prestige.

The casting of JK and Joel as the next Ant and Dec is reasonably successful, and Gambo is great in his adjudicator role. However, the whole thing has a sense of over self-importance, and Asian territories already have formats like this featuring knockabout celebrities and have much more fun to boot. It also suffers from the Scourge of the First Person Interviews. Do we really need to know every single reason why someone buzzed in. Because they knew the answer, p'haps?


Nathan Ashman


Based on The Singing Bee by Phil Gurin and Bob Horowitz.

Theme music

Sing It Back by Moloko, funnily enough.

Web links

We might have a link to Wikipedia here, except they deleted the article.


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