that can be considered a modern take on Name That Tune
, where a single contestant tries to correctly guess the next line in a series of popular songs of the player's choice (given the number of missing words) to climb higher up a stereotypical money ladder with the help of stereotypical assists to win up to a stereotypical $1,000,000
. Each song is played as a karaoke-style performance (complete with a live cover band on the Fox primetime version), until the screen displays a series of blanks corresponding to each missing word, where the contestant must correctly guess what the missing words were.
The main game uses nine themed categories (usually dealing with a genre, artist, time period, etc) with two song choices each for the levels leading up to $500,000, followed by the Million-Dollar Song, an almost All or Nothing
gamble on a mystery song that had been a number one hit. Get it right (like nobody ended up doing) and you won $1,000,000, but lose and you drop back down to $100,000...or
you can always chicken out and leave with $500,000.
The show ran for a few seasons on FOX's primetime lineup from 2007-09. A syndicated version with a modified format and a $50,000 top prize ran from 2010-11, hosted by Sugar Ray
's Mark McGrath and was usually paired with sister show Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?
. Reruns of Lyrics
returned on Family Net
in October 2011, while Canadian music channel MuchMore aired reruns of both the Wayne Brady and syndicated versions in the past.
- Bonus Round: The Million-Dollar Song on FOX, the Encore in the syndicated run.
- Confetti Drop: Unlike most game shows, getting to at least $500,000 and walking away was enough to have confetti piled on top of you.
- Consolation Prize: An MP3 player on the syndicated version.
- Let's Just See What WOULD Have Happened: The Encore works the same way, but you actually get to play it to finish off the show, just to see how you'd do.
- Lifelines: Known as "Backups" here, and three in all — Backup Singer (send one supporter up to provide their own performance and guess), Two Words (expose up to two words from the correct answer), and Three Lines (changes it into a multiple-choice question with three possible answers; also the only Backup used on the syndicated version).
- Who Wants To Be Who Wants To Be A Millionaire: Played straight in the primetime version with its padding, lifelines, set, top prize, etc. However, the set design gets a pass for being more like a concert/American Idol-type stage and not just trying to imitate Millionaire. The syndicated version uses a lower-stakes format with a top prize of $50,000.
This show provides examples of:
- Casting Gag: Sugar Ray songs came up a few times during the Encore round on the syndicated run, one occasion leading to a $50,000 win.
- Catch Phrase: "Lock in those lyrics!"
- Celebrity Edition: Yes, with actual musicians too; such as Meat Loaf, Boys II Men, Kevin Cronin, and Brett Michaels. Sometimes the celebrity musicians even did a musical performance of their own at the end of the show. Subverted for Boys II Men; there just so happened to be a "Boys II Men" category on the board, so they saved it for last in a successful $500,000 win!
- Commercial Break Cliffhanger: Okay, let us see, is that word x? Shot of contestant, shot of the audience, shot of the board, commercial break with footage clearly showing a dollar amount much higher than the contestant is on.
- No Ending: Since no contestant ever won the million
- Product Placement: The syndicated version replaces the house band with plugs for MySpace Karaoke (MySpace was owned by a Fox subsidiary at the time, while Fox also handled distribution of this version. They don't own MySpace anymore, however)
- Real Song Theme Tune: "China Grove" by the Doobie Brothers on the FOX version. Yes, it actually turned up in a TV Themes category once.
- Spiritual Sequel: The show's structure is very similar to Fifth Grader.
- Trailers Always Spoil: As with other FOX game shows at the time, Lyrics was notorious for dropping spoilers in commercial break bumpers and advertisements.