HuffPost recently announced the conceit of NBC's second new singing competition show, The Winner Is, which sounds pretty great and not remotely confusing:
The show's contestants, who will be comprised of all ages and include both solo acts and groups, will face an in-studio panel led by one celebrity judge while they compete for a cash prize of $1 million. Here's where the twists come in: the contestants can negotiate a deal with their opponent. Before hearing the results, contestants can choose to either leave the competition in exchange for a predetermined cash prize or stay in the game.
American Idol, The Voice, Duets, that karaoke one they tried for a while, and now this! As the exciting, money-driven twist on the classic formula proves, America can't get enough of singing competitions. And that's why so many new singing competition-based television shows are hitting the air waves in the next few months, and we're all excited.
On Discovery Channel there's Shark Sing!, where contestants will be lowered into the ocean inside a shark tank, equipped with only a microphone and a wet suit. Contestants then sing a song of their choice (as long as it's an R&B song from 1992-1994) using Underwater Technology. If the sharks like the song, they won't attack. If they hate it, well, you better watch your back, contestants, because these Tiger Sharks hate failure. Hosted by shark-lover and blonde human man, Hulk Hogan, it's Shark Sing!
Over at TLC, of course, there's PreNatal Jamz, a brand new singing competition with an even crazier twist: unborn babies are the judges! Budding singers will line up at hospitals around the country, doing their best to impress babies still inside their mothers' stomachs. A kick from the baby and you move to the next round, but if the baby does nothing then you better pack your bags, because you've been BABIED. That's the word this show uses for "Cut" and it's going to stick. The show is proudly sponsored by Pampers and Budweiser.
On the History Channel, it's World War Dance (And Sing), bringing together the coolest, brightest and strongest war reenactors in the country to sing pop songs while reenacting famous battles from various American wars. The first episode opens with the heartfelt story of Mark C. Winters, who has been portraying a union soldier in Civil War history films for the past two decades, yet his lifelong dream has always been to sing Rihanna's "S&M" while reenacting the Battle of Stones River. This show is his chance -- and yours! -- to World War Rock with the best of the best.
On the CW network let's not forget American Idol But With David Blaine. It's basically the same conceit as American Idol, except between performances, David Blaine will do some crazy shit, and then sing his favorite early 90s alt-rock songs.
On Pax The Voice: Of God has 20 born-again contestants pick their favorite golden oldie and transfer it to the sweet sounds of Christian rock. Some samples released to press: "Ticket to God," "Daydream Believer (of Jesus)," "All You Need Is Him," "Ruby Jesusday" and "Light My Fire (The Jesus Song)." Hosted by Kirk Cameron, the only judge is God himself, who will make special appearances in episodes 3, 6, and 9.
Perhaps the most promising contribution for our money is the Food Network's Singin' Eats, which pits your favorite all-star chefs against one another in a battle... of singing. A singing battle. You didn't know Emeril could kill Boyz II Men's "On Bended Knee," did you? And you should hear The Barefoot Contessa knock this Adele/Nirvana mashup out of the goddamned park.
The twist -- and there's GOT to be another twist! -- is that after these guys are done singing, they'll each make one of their signature dishes for Carson Daly, who will eat each one, and then he himself will sing a song of his own choosing, predetermined by the studio audience and 50 percent of the at-home audience's call-in votes. After he's done singing, one of seven political singing coaches (Joe Biden, Barney Frank, Laura Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, and three to-be-determined-later) tell Carson Daly everything he did wrong, at which point the chefs return to the stage for a medley of their favorite commercial jingles from the mid 1980s, accompanied by video clips of the top 10 YouTube videos of the hour.
As this lineup proves: singing competitions are here to stay. And they're getting more and more twisty! So tune in this fall to be deeply confused and maybe marginally excited all over again.
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