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Don't Forget the Lyrics! (American game show)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Don't Forget the Lyrics!
GenreGame show
Created byJeff Apploff
Directed by
Presented by
Narrated by
Theme music composerThe Doobie Brothers (2007–09)
Opening theme"China Grove" by Rickey Minor (2007–09)
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons
  • 3 (Fox, 2007–09, 2022)
  • 1 (Syndication, 2010–11)
No. of episodes
  • 63 (Fox, 2007–09, 2022)
  • 160 (Syndication, 2010–11)
Executive producers
  • Brad Lachman (2007–09)
  • Jeff Apploff
  • Chris Coelen (2007–11)
  • Greg Goldman (2007–09)
  • Tony Yates (2010–11)
  • Julie Pizzi (2022)
  • Rupert Dobson (2022)
  • Garry Bormet (2022)
  • Niecy Nash (2022)
Production companies
Distributor20th Television (2010–11)
Original network
Original release
  • Original primetime series:
  • July 11, 2007 (2007-07-11) – June 19, 2009 (2009-06-19)
  • Syndication:
  • September 20, 2010 (2010-09-20) – May 27, 2011 (2011-05-27)
  • Revived primetime series:
  • May 23, 2022 (2022-05-23) – present

Don't Forget the Lyrics! is an American television game show in which contestants compete to win $1 million by correctly recalling song lyrics from a variety of genres.[1] The program originally aired on Fox from July 11, 2007 to June 19, 2009, hosted by Wayne Brady and produced by RDF USA, part of RDF Media. The premiere of the show prompted NBC to move up the premiere of their similar game show, The Singing Bee.[2]

On January 25, 2010, 20th Television announced the debut of a new syndicated version with Sugar Ray lead singer Mark McGrath as host. The show premiered in daytime syndication and in primetime on VH1 on Monday, September 20, 2010. It premiered in primetime on MyNetworkTV on October 5, 2010. On March 24, 2011, the show was canceled along with Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? due to low ratings.[3]

On April 28, 2021, Fox announced that it had ordered a revival of Don't Forget the Lyrics! with actress and comedian Niecy Nash as host.[4] It premiered on May 23, 2022.[5]


A contestant is presented with nine categories representing different genres, time periods, artists, or themes. Each category contains two songs to choose from. In each round, the contestant selects a category and song, and then begins a karaoke performance to a portion of the selected song. Eventually, the song will stop on a lyric displayed as a series of blanks on-screen. At this time, the contestant attempts to provide a guess as to what is the correct lyric.

After the performance, the contestant may review, amend, and lock in their guess, or use one of their "backups" to assist them in figuring out the correct lyric:

  • Backup Singer: The contestant can bring a supporter on-stage to perform the song again or otherwise provide their own guess for consideration.
  • Two Words: The contestant can reveal two words of their choice from the correct line.
    • On the 2022 revival, this backup is succeeded by Three Words, which allows the contestant to reveal up to three words throughout the game (rather than limiting it to two words on one song only).
  • Three Lines: Gives the contestant a choice of three possible answers, of which one is the correct line. This backup is not used on the 2022 revival.

Contestants progress up a money ladder for each correct answer given, ranging from $2,500 to $500,000 ($250,000 on the 2022 revival). As long as the contestant has not locked in lyrics for the current song, they may choose to walk away with their winnings so far. If the contestant locks in with an incorrect answer, the game ends and they lose any winnings they have accrued. If the contestant makes it past the fourth song, they are guaranteed to leave with no less than $25,000.

If the contestant makes it past all nine categories, they become eligible to play the final "Million-Dollar Song"; the song is always a number-one hit that falls within one of the nine categories, but is not revealed to the contestant in advance. The contestant may either end the game with their winnings up to that point, or risk it for a chance at the $1,000,000 top prize. Unlike the other rounds, the contestant is only allowed to use the Backup Singer, and cannot freely walk away: if they answer incorrectly or walk away, their winnings are reduced to the guaranteed $25,000. Later episodes of the original primetime run also added a $100,000 milestone.

Syndicated version

The syndicated version of the series uses a modified format: in each episode, a contestant plays four songs from four categories. Each correct answer progresses the contestant up a money ladder, ranging from $1,000 to $10,000; unlike the primetime version, answering incorrectly does not end the game, but does prevent the contestant from reaching the higher amounts. The contestant receives only one backup, Three Lines (referred to as the "Backup").

After four songs, the contestant is given the option to play a double or nothing "Encore" song: if the encore song is answered correctly, the contestant's winnings from the main game are doubled. If answered incorrectly, the contestant loses their winnings, and receives a portable music player as a consolation prize. If all four songs in the main game are answered correctly, the Encore is instead played for the top prize of $50,000, with a consolation prize of $1,000.

Money ladder

As contestants sing correct lyrics, contestants move up the progressive money ladder and their winnings increases; upon reaching a certain point in the game, their money is guaranteed and contestants keep their amount if they got any lyrics wrong, which indicated in bold.


In its 2007 debut, Don't Forget the Lyrics! averaged a 3.4 rating in adults 18-49.[6]

The 2022 version premiered to 2.08 million viewers with a 0.4/3 rating/share.[7]

Notable contestants

  • On October 11, 2007, Tony Gubelman became the first contestant to walk away with no prize money after he did not get the lyrics to the song "Piano Man" at the $25,000 level.
  • Dottie Harris became the first contestant to win $500,000, but opt not to risk $400,000 to attempt the Million Dollar Song.
  • Shamari Berkley became the first contestant under the age of 18, as he was 11 years old when he played the game with the rules changed slightly, in that, an incorrect answer meant no lost money and the $2,500 level was simply given to him. Many of the songs dealt with something kids would know, such as Take Me Out to the Ball Game and the Hokey Pokey. He walked away with $350,000 (the largest prize ever won by a minor on a US game show). Shamari is also a child actor.[8]
  • Boyz II Men appeared as celebrity contestants, playing for charity, on an episode aired on February 21, 2008. They won $500,000.
  • REO Speedwagon frontman Kevin Cronin appeared as a contestant on the March 27, 2008 episode. Like Boyz II Men, he ended the show with a concert, singing Roll With the Changes.
  • On April 17, 2008, season two American Idol contestant Kimberley Locke became the first contestant in the show's history to attempt the Million Dollar Song. Locke sang Ringo Starr's "You're Sixteen" as the final song, but chose to end the game without locking the lyrics and left with $100,000 that was raised for her charity, Camp Heartland.
  • On May 1, 2008, Poison frontman Bret Michaels won $200,000. He donated $100,000 each to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
  • On November 7, 2008, all four original members of R&B girl group En Vogue appeared to compete for the charities of their choice, winning a total of $350,000 for the Cancer Centers of America, St. Jude's, and RBI International (the $50,000 went to taxes).
  • On December 12, 2008, three Miss Americas, Kirsten Haglund (Miss America 2008), Heather French Henry (Miss America 2000), and Susan Powell (Miss America 1981) competed for the Miss America Scholarship Fund.
  • On January 16, 2009, Penn & Teller appeared on the show with Carrot Top as one of their helpers.
  • On May 22, 2009, Meat Loaf and his daughter Pearl appeared and got to $500,000 before opting to walk with the money and donating it to The Painted Turtle. They were the last players to win $500,000.
  • On October 5, 2010, four members of the Backstreet Boys appeared on the show. They won $5,000 for UNICEF after unsuccessful while attempting at the $50,000 encore song. Following the game, the group announced to donated an additional $5,000 to UNICEF[citation needed].
  • On October 12, 2010, season four American Idol runner-up Bo Bice won the grand prize of $50,000 for his charity, the MusiCares Foundation.
  • On October 18, 2010, rap duo Kid 'n Play appeared on the show. They won $5,000 to donate to The Red Cross fund for Haiti.
  • On October 21, 2010, actress Tia Carrere appeared on the show. She won $5,000 for her charity, After-School All-Stars Hawaii.
  • On October 22, 2010, comedian Margaret Cho appeared on the show. She won $5,000 for her charity, The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies.
  • On November 3, 2010, singer Elliott Yamin appeared on the show. He won $5,000 for his charities, JDRF and Malaria No More.
  • On November 5, 2010, singer Blake Lewis appeared on the show. He won $5,000 for his charity, The Seattle Children's Hospital.
  • Actor and composer Alan Thicke appeared on the show. His appearance was notable as he did not know the tune to some of the songs and more or less quoted lyrics rather than sing. He was the first celebrity to miss a song but still won $5,000 for charity.

Guest appearances

Winners and Losers

Penultimate song correct

  • Dottie Harris (first civilian contestant to win $500,000)
  • Boyz II Men (February 21, 2008; first celebrity contestant and first team to win $500,000)
  • Asia Craft (October 10, 2008)
  • Mark Weiser and J'Nae Fincannon (December 19, 2008)
  • Meat Loaf and Pearl Aday (May 22, 2009)

Final song incorrect

  • Kimberley Locke (April 17, 2008) - You're Sixteen - Ringo Starr 1974
  • Diana Drake (May 15, 2008) - Blame it on the Rain - Milli Vanilli 1989

Top prize winners

  • Karina Buettgenbach (October 4, 2010[9])
  • Bo Bice (October 12, 2010[10])
  • Sandra Benton (October 26, 2010[citation needed])
  • Regan Rothery (December 31, 2010)
  • Felice Schaeffer (January 11, 2011)

International versions

In addition to the basic show in the United States, there were many affiliated international versions of the show in many countries including Australia, Austria, Croatia, Denmark, Egypt, France, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Quebec (Canada), Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, Taiwan, United Kingdom and Vietnam.

See also


  1. ^ Fox Announces New Game Show "Don't Forget the Lyrics" Archived 2007-06-26 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 24 June 2007
  2. ^ Karaoke Wars: NBC Rushes 'Singing Bee' - Show moved up to beat FOX's 'Lyrics' to air. Retrieved on 24 June 2007.
  3. ^ ""Don't Forget the Lyrics!" and "Fifth Grader" Canceled". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved August 5, 2011.
  4. ^ Schneider, Michael (2021-04-28). "Niecy Nash to Host 'Don't Forget the Lyrics' Musical Game Show Revival for Fox". Variety. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
  5. ^ Del Rosario, Alexandra (April 5, 2022). "Fox Sets Summer Premiere Dates For 'So You Think You Can Dance', 'MasterChef', 'Lego Masters', 'Fantasy Island' & More". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 5, 2022.
  6. ^ "Hot too: Fox's 'Don't Forget the Lyrics'". Media Life Magazine. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007.
  7. ^ Mitch Salem (May 24, 2022). "Monday 5.23.2022 Top 150 Cable Originals & Network Finals". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved May 26, 2022.
  8. ^ "Shamari Berkley". IMDb.
  9. ^ "Don't Forget the Lyrics!: Karina Buettgenbach". Retrieved 2010-12-08.
  10. ^ "Bo Bice Wins 'Don't Forget The Lyrics'". 2010-10-16. Retrieved 2010-11-23.

External links

This page was last edited on 9 August 2022, at 00:00
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