Described as ‘really groundbreaking’ by its host, Alan Carr, new interactive talent competition-cum-gameshow The Singer Takes It All began on Channel 4 tonight and saw an indifferent celebrity panel of two, some technical problems and a mixed reaction from the Twittersphere.
Despite my faith in Channel 4’s golden boy, Alan Carr, and inference from the much-shown trailer that The Singer Takes It All would be one of the few talent shows that was just out to entertain and wouldn’t take itself too seriously, I was worried. It just seemed to smack of failure straight away – a show that would be much-hyped in the days and weeks leading up to its debut, get a few column inches afterwards thanks to TV critics, and whimper out in six weeks’ time with only a fraction of its original audience, and perhaps someone expecting to see 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, tuning in.
Of course, it remains to be seen whether or not my prophecy about its fate will come to fruition but I have to say that I enjoyed the first episode. Obviously there are a few teething problems: I’m not quite sure about Lips (the commentator and score deliverer, voiced by 2005 X Factor semi-finalist, Brenda Edwards) and think that the interactive app – which determines whether or not a singer stays or goes, and is arguably the epicentre of the show – should have been tested more thoroughly beforehand. Oh, and I have a hunch that the conveyor belt gimmick will wear thin ten minutes into next Friday’s episode.
The format itself, however (a singer taking to the stage and, depending on whether the majority of the public deems them to be a ‘Hit’ or ‘Miss’, sailing through to the Gold Zone or being put in reverse, and disappearing through a cloud of smoke) is a pleasing one – but it’s not being used to its full potential! I, like many other viewers, found it quite amusing when CCJ and Tara Newton-Wordsworth (no relation, to my knowledge) were put in reverse and vanished through the smoke and agape doors. They weren’t bad singers – they perhaps just failed to live up to people’s expectations or hit a bit of a bum note. It seems that this format was made for bad singers, though: so where were they? The problem appears to be that because all of the contestants are on the show because they uploaded an audition clip to the The Singer Takes It All app and were voted for by its users, we only tend to see good singers, who, more often than not, sail through to the Gold Zone. We, the viewing public, must start to make a few maverick moves and press ‘Hit’ on the app for singers who aren’t as vocally talented (and know they aren’t; I’m not advocating any X Factor-style false hope here) so that we get extra laughs by more people disappearing through the doors, and the format can be used to its full potential!
Thankfully, to the more casual viewer, many of the holes in the show might not have been all that noticeable, thanks to the perfect selection of Alan Carr as host. He injects his trademark cheeky humour at every opportunity – which very few other hosts, even comedians, could have managed, I’m sure. His unwavering enthusiasm kept the fledgling show afloat – just – and he dealt with the all-too-frequent technological failures involving the app (to reiterate, very much the focus of the show) extremely well.
The Singer Takes It All may have received a mixed-reaction on social media as the TV snobs came out in force and condemned it for being too frivolous and ‘stupid’, just because it had the gumption to buck the talent show trend and not have a panel of judges, or promise of a recording contract for its winners, or wish to do anything other than entertain, but a lot of people seem to be having fun with the app – so perhaps the programme has legs. Or the app does, at least. People just need to approach The Singer Takes It All sensibly: if you’re looking for a serious singing competition, get yourself onto YouTube and watch clips of The Voice, but if a typical Friday night of rowdy fun and interaction is what you’re after, you’re in luck.
The Singer Takes It All is on Fridays at 9pm on Channel 4
What did you think of The Singer Takes It All? Do you agree or disagree with my review? Please comment below or tweet me – @UKTVReviewer