Game Show 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 FamilyNet in October 2011, while Canadian music channel MuchMore aired reruns of both the Wayne Brady and syndicated versions in the past.
Game Show Tropes in use:
- 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: A 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, top prize, etc. The set design can be excused as emulating the look and feel of its de facto sister show American Idol, however. The syndicated version uses a lower-stakes format with a top prize of $50,000.
This show provides examples of:
- Catchphrase: "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. Played with for Boys II Men's episode, where there just so happened to be a "Boys II Men" category on the board. Of course, they saved it for last, and sang a lot more than what they needed to win the $500,000.
- 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.
- 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).
- Spiritual Sequel: The show's structure is very similar to Fifth Grader.
- Theme Tune Cameo: The show's own theme, "China Grove", was an option in a TV theme songs category on one episode.
- Trailers Always Spoil: As with other Fox game shows at the time, Lyrics was notorious for dropping spoilers in commercial break bumpers and advertisements.