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

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Don't Forget the Lyrics!
Created byJeff Apploff
Directed byRon de Moraes
Presented byWayne Brady (Fox original)
Mark McGrath (Syndicated)
Niecy Nash (Fox revival)
Narrated byMark Thompson (Fox)
Theme music composerThe Doobie Brothers (Fox)
Opening theme"China Grove" by Rickey Minor (Fox)
ComposerDavid Vanacore
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasonsFox: 2
Syndicated: 1
No. of episodesFox: 54
Syndicated: 160
Executive producersJeff Apploff
Chris Coelen
Greg Goldman
Brad Lachman
Tony Yates
Production companiesRDF USA
Apploff Entertainment
Distributor20th Television
Original networkFox (2007–2009, 2021)
Syndicated (2010–2011)
Picture format720p HDTV
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:
  • TBA
External links

Don't Forget the Lyrics! is an American sing-along game show that 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. It spawned the Don't Forget the Lyrics! game show franchise, and the launch of the show prompted NBC to move up the launch of their similar game show The Singing Bee.[1] The show's contestants compete to win $1,000,000 by correctly recalling song lyrics from a variety of genres.[2]

After a year off the air, on January 25, 2010, 20th Television announced the debut of a new syndicated version with Sugar Ray lead singer Mark McGrath as host in September 2010. Taping of the show's third overall season, and first as a syndicated show, began on June 15, 2010. 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, it was announced that the show would be revived for Fox, with comedian Niecy Nash as host.[4]


In this show, a single contestant is prompted to complete song lyrics for increasing amounts of money. After each correct answer, the contestant can continue playing, risking what has already been earned, or quit the game and take home all the money he or she has already earned. If the contestant continues playing and correctly completes nine song lyrics, he or she will be given a lyric from a number 1 hit to complete. If the contestant completes the final lyric correctly, he or she wins the grand prize, which was $1,000,000 on the Brady version, and is set to be $50,000 on the McGrath version.

The primary difference between Don't Forget the Lyrics and other music-based game shows is that artistic talent (such as the ability to sing or dance in an aesthetically pleasing way) is irrelevant to the contestants' chances of winning. In the words of one of their commercials prior to the first airing, "You don't have to sing it well; you just have to sing it right."

The producers of the show are RDF USA, Apploff Entertainment, and Brad Lachman Productions.[5]



FOX version (2007–09)

The structure of the show is similar to another FOX game show Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?, Lyrics's cousin game show. Contestants are given nine categories (such as "pop", "The Rolling Stones", or "divas"), and each category contains two songs to choose from. After choosing the category and the song, they were informed on how many missing words they will have to provide. The band starts to play the song and the lyrics are displayed on large monitors in front of the contestant, who sings along, karaoke-style. At some point, the lyrics are shown as blank spaces and the music stops. The contestant then fills in those blank spaces, then decide whether to "lock in" the lyrics (which is the same effect as saying "Final Answer" on Millionaire), choose one of the "backups", which are answer-assistance options that are similar to lifelines, or choose to walk away with the money they have won so far.

Syndicated version (2010–11)

The format is based on the syndicated changes to fellow Twentieth Television game show Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?. One contestant plays the entire show, with one song each from four different categories. They are then given a choice of two different songs. Each time a contestant answers a song correctly, he/she earns money; if he/she misses a song, except for the Encore Song, those winnings remain intact. There is also only one "backup"; the three lines, which may only be used once.

Progression 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.

Lyric colors

Four colors are used for the lyrics in-game:

  • Lyrics are initially filled in with yellow-colored text;
  • As each lyric is locked in, the text's color changes to blue;
  • Lyrics then revealed to be correct turn green; and
  • Lyrics that are incorrect turns red.

Sometimes a few words turn green at a time rather than all of them at once, creating suspense; this is often done if one or more words will turn out to be wrong, and the incorrect word or words generally will show up in the final reveal. If the words are all correct, the contestant's winnings increases, accompanied in the 2007-09 version by music previously used for a correct answer on Show Me the Money (a shorter version of that music accompanies a revealing of part of the lyrics, and the 2010–11 version uses a variation of the correct answer sound from Duel).

Any incorrect words that turned red (though correct words are still shown in green) can have negative impacts depending on the version. In the 2007-2009 version, any incorrect lyrics results in a game over and the contestant left with either nothing (if they miss the lyrics within the first four songs), $25,000 (fifth to ninth song) or $100,000 (final song; see "Final Song" below). In the 2010–2011 version, the contestant directly plays the final song bypassing any remaining songs.

In celebrity games, the host is allowed to help the celebrity contestants out up until they reach the $25,000 level on the 2007-2009 version or the $5,000 level on the 2010–2011 version.


Similar to the "3 lifelines" concept from Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, there were three answer-assistance options, or "backups", that the contestant can use for help at any time:

  • "Backup Singer" - Allows one of the contestant's two friends or family members the opportunity to help them by singing along with the contestant. Afterwards, the contestant is given the choice of sticking with their own lyrics or going with their backup singer's lyrics if it is different. The contestant usually chooses to go with their backup singer's lyrics.
  • "2 Words" - Allows the contestant to choose any two of the missing words after they have answered but before the answer is locked in, and they will be told what those words are. When the player uses the "2 Words" backup after selecting a word that is incorrect or missing as one of the two, it will automatically be corrected for the contestant.
  • "3 Lines" - Gives the contestant a choice of three possible answers, of which one is the correct response. If the choices have common words within them, the lyrics will have the common words automatically turned green.

Each backup may only be used once on any level except the Million Dollar Song (in which only "Backup Singer" is still available, while any other backups are forfeited); contestants may be required to use up their backups on the $500,000 song if they have not done so already, because there is a warning that, if a backup is not used on the $500,000 song when the backup(s) is/are available, the remaining unused backup option(s) will be automatically used (except for the backup singer) after the lyrics for the $500,000 song are locked in[citation needed].

The 2010 version only uses the "3 Lines" option, and after several episodes this became the GEICO Backup in a limited number of episodes[citation needed].

Final song

Identical to 5th Grader's Million Dollar or 5th Grade Bonus Question, the contestant that makes it to this level must decide whether or not to either end the game with the winnings won or risk it to attempt the final song.

In both versions, the final song is a number #1 billboard hit song featured from one of the categories in the game, with the name of the song only shown once the contestant decided to attempt the final song; if the contestant ends the game, the final song is not revealed in the game.

2007–2009 version

The final song is referred as the Million Dollar Song. During early versions, the $25,000 guarantee is not raised but later raised to $100,000 as of January 2008;[citation needed]) the contestants risks $400,000 upon attempting the song, and only Backup Singer is available to use during the level. After the contestant sings, they can change it if they want but they have the option to lock in something or walk away.

During the show's run, none of the contestants won $1,000,000; seven contestants made it to the final level but two contestants went on to attempt the song and were unsuccessful[citation needed]. A different sound is used for locked-in incorrect lyrics on the final song[citation needed].

2010–2011 version

The final song is referred as the Encore Song. The value for the Encore Song is dependent on how many songs they got it before making a mistake; if the contestant misses in any one of the first four songs, the final song is worth double of the contestant's winnings, but the contestant will risk everything to attempt the final song; if they miss, the contestant leaves with a customized MP3 player as consolation[citation needed]. If they sung all the first four songs correctly, the contestant is guaranteed $1,000 (of $10,000) and the final song is valued at the top prize of $50,000. During celebrity games, the house minimum in all cases is $5,000.

During the syndicated run, five contestants won the top prize of $50,000.


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

Since the show's debut, FOX had reordered two additional runs of 13 episodes each during the 2007-2008 television season.[7][8]

Over the Fox version of 57 episodes, a total of $10,735,000 has been given away, with $2.3 million being won by celebrity contestants for their charities.

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 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.[9]
  • 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[10])
  • Bo Bice (October 12, 2010[11])
  • Sandra Benton (October 26, 2010[citation needed])
  • Regan Rothery (December 31, 2010)
  • Felice Schaeffer (January 11, 2011)
  • There were also five wins on the French version (€100,000), two wins on the Polish version, including five for nonprofit organizations (4 in France, one in Poland).

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 and the United Kingdom, Vietnam.

See also


  1. ^ Karaoke Wars: NBC Rushes 'Singing Bee' - Show moved up to beat FOX's 'Lyrics' to air. Retrieved on 24 June 2007.
  2. ^ Fox Announces New Game Show "Don't Forget the Lyrics" Archived 2007-06-26 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 24 June 2007
  3. ^ ""Don't Forget the Lyrics!" and "Fifth Grader" Canceled". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved August 5, 2011.
  4. ^ Schneider, Michael. "Niecy Nash to Host 'Don't Forget the Lyrics' Musical Game Show Revival for Fox". Variety. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
  5. ^ Wayne Brady to Host Fox's Don't Forget the Lyrics! Trivia Game Show Archived 2007-06-26 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 24 June 2007.
  6. ^ Media Life Magazine - Hot too: Fox's 'Don't Forget the Lyrics'
  7. ^ Don't Forget the Lyrics gets a second season - TV Squad
  9. ^ Shamari Berkley
  10. ^ "Don't Forget the Lyrics!: Karina Buettgenbach". Retrieved 2010-12-08.
  11. ^ "Bo Bice Wins 'Don't Forget The Lyrics'". 2010-10-16. Retrieved 2010-11-23.

External links

This page was last edited on 26 May 2021, at 05:32
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