Don't Forget the Lyrics

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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 Mark McGrath and usually paired with sister show Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?. Reruns of Lyrics will return on Family Net in October 2011, and Canadian music channel MuchMore still airs them (they also aired reruns of the Wayne Brady version too)


The following Game Show tropes appear in Don't Forget the Lyrics:
  • 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: An 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).
  • Personnel:
  • Who Wants to Be Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?: Played straight in the primetime version with its padding, lifelines, set, top prize, etc. However, the set design may also at the same time echo the stage designs of American Idol. The syndicated version uses a lower-stakes format with a top prize of $50,000.
Tropes used in Don't Forget the Lyrics include:
  • Catch Phrase: "Let's 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, or in the case of Boys II Men, save the category conveniently dealing with yourselves as your $500,000 song.
  • 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.
  • Dueling Shows: Lyrics waged a war with another lyric-based game show on NBC, The Singing Bee, which in comparison was a competitive show with much lower stakes, a more lighthearted feel, and a lot less cliche. FOX even pushed up the premiere of Lyrics to try and beat Bee to air. Ultimately, Lyrics lasted several seasons and then went to syndication, and Bee was canned after one season on NBC (but got Uncancelled by CMT).
  • Hey, It's That Guy!:
    • Wayne Brady is very well-known as a television comedian.
      • Also a pretty well known singer himself, which he demonstrated on the show more than once.
    • Mark McGrath is the lead singer of the band Sugar Ray, and also hosted other programs such as the syndicated entertainment show "Extra".
    • Rickey Minor, the leader of the house band on the FOX version, was also a music director on American Idol
  • No Ending: Since no contestant ever won the million
  • Product Placement: The syndicated version replaces the house band with free plugs for Myspace Karaoke (MySpace at the time, was owned by Fox, who also distributed this version)
  • Real Song Theme Tune: "China Grove" by the Doobie Brothers on the FOX version. The syndicated version dumped it for a new theme that may be a Jimmy Hart version of it.
    • This was also lampshaded when China Grove showed up as an option for a "TV Themes" category.
  • Shout-Out: Sugar Ray songs have sometimes shown up as encore songs on the syndicated versions, one occasion leading to a $50,000 win.
  • Spiritual Sequel: The show's structure is very similar to Fifth Grader.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: As with other FOX game shows at the time, Lyrics was notorious for dropping spoilers in commercial break bumpers and advertisements.
  • X Meets Y: Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? meets Name That Tune.