Fox’s karaoke version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” opened on a sparkling note Wednesday thanks to an effervescent contestant and the smooth emceeing skills of Wayne Brady. Simple concept of the show — keep singing the four or five words in a song that come after the band stops playing — makes it easy to digest and fun for those singing along at home. This could be dangerously contagious.
As opposed to recent efforts such as “Deal or No Deal” or “1 vs. 100,” this game is a conceptual no-brainer. Provide the missing lyrics to 10 different songs in nine different genres and win $1 million. Along the way, help comes in three “backups” — the equivalent of “Millionaire’s” lifelines; the show’s first guest used only one of them as she worked her way up to 50 grand.
First two were simple: She had to fill out choruses on “I Just Called to Say I Love You” and Hoyt Axton’s “Joy to the World,” the hit for Three Dog Night. On “Material Girl” and “Walk Like an Egyptian” the song stopped in a verse, and on the Jackson 5 hit “ABC,” the song was deep into a later verse when she came up with “how to get an A.”
The college student continued her run on Thursday’s show. A sorry excuse of a singer and a self-described nerd — she loves knitting and tap dancing and is studying bugs in college — she is one of the most adorable personalities in any gameshow’s debut. Only old boyfriends, if there are any, might be rooting against her.
The number of people on the casting staff far outnumbers any other department in the credits on “Lyrics,” and if they do their job this well on successive shows, there’s a strong chance they’ll be singing “No time for losers, ’cause – – – – – – -.”