This summer sees the launch of The Singer Takes It All, a brand new singing game show hosted live by Alan Carr on Channel 4. But this is a talent show with one significant difference. For the first time ever viewers at home will take total control of a game show, becoming both judge and jury via a real-time interactive app.
We caught up with Alan Carr to find out more.
The Singer Takes It All is a talent show with a completely revolutionary concept at its heart, isn’t it?
Yeah, that’s right. I’ve never been involved with anything ground-breaking before! But this really is! That was one of the reasons I signed up to do it. It’s all interactive. Whereas with other shows you’ve got a judging panel and all of that stuff, with this, the people at home are the judge and jury, via this app - they press hit or miss – and that’s what I really like about it.
The show has a very unusual stage. How does it work?
While the singers are performing their song on the show, they’re standing on a conveyer belt called The Track. If you like them, you press ‘hit’, if you don’t you press ‘miss’. The more hits they get, they move towards the gold zone, where they could win up to £15,000. Or, if it’s all ‘Misses’, you could disappear backwards through the flaps to a life of misery. But people can’t vote unless they’ve downloaded the app. Well, they can shout at the telly, but it’s not going to make a blind bit of difference.
How is it determined how much the singers win?
It depends how long they spend in the gold zone, the money keeps going up and up and up while they’re in there. So if you’re belting out a Mariah Carey-style ballad and you’re note perfect, in theory everyone will say “Wow, this is amazing!” and press the hit button. And you can press it every 15 seconds, so if you’re killing the song, wonderful, you’ll go home with a lot of money. But if you’re tone deaf and it’s crap, you’ll go back through the flaps to a life of obscurity.
Some of the singing/talent shows can be a bit self-important. This sounds a bit more fun…
Yeah, we’re not making dreams come true on The singer Takes It All. I almost feel this is a bit more like Eurovision. People will come out and you just don’t know what you’re going to get. Some will be brilliant, some will be less than brilliant, and some will just be a bit bonkers. We’re not giving anyone a record deal at the end of this. It’s basically just a really fun singing show, except on this one the Great British public is the judge and jury. And there’s a live audience, everyone’s up for it, I’ll have a celebrity singer with me to give guidance and feedback. But I think, if you’re coming on this show, I wouldn’t book the Albert Hall just yet. We’re not looking for the next superstar.
Is it easier dealing with the general public, or with celebs?
I like the general public. I feel like, with The Voice and things like that, they tended to have the singers with a good nature, they didn’t really go for the nutjobs. I think a smattering of nutjobs is no bad thing, like a Wagner [from X-Factor]. I’m more drawn towards them.
And I suppose, when it’s the public voting people onto the show, there’s every chance you’ll end up with some of the more eccentric characters?
Oh I’m expecting sabotage! I know there will be lots of people just putting people through to the show because they want to see people disappear through the flaps. But I think once it settles in and people get into the spirit of the whole thing, I think it’ll be very entertaining. Everyone I’ve spoken to about it has had a smile on their face when I explain the show to them.
The show’s going out on a Friday night. It’s good telly to watch with some mates over, isn’t it?
Yes. It’s fun, it’s irreverent. It’s going to have new faces every week, so you’ll never know if the next person coming on is going to be brilliant or absolutely shit! There’s always something new. And what’s not to love about watching someone who’s murdering a favourite song of your disappearing out of view on a moving conveyor belt, never to be seen again! I’ve been on the conveyor belt, by the way, and it’s very off-putting. When it jolts when you hit a bum note and the audience decides that you’re rubbish, and it starts to move, it’s really tricky. I would wear flat shoes, that would be my hint. Or put some stones down your uggs.
Will there be a clock running? Will we know who the fastest person ever to be voted off is, things like that?
Oh yeah, yeah, they’ll be all of that. Cos also, we need to see how long the person who makes it to the gold zone is in there, to decide how much money they get. There’s a lot to think about. You’re singing a song live on telly, on a track that’s moving, and you’re at the whim of the Great British public. It’s very tense, it’s not for the fainthearted.
What made you want to get involved?
When they said it was a singing show, I thought “No, no, no!” But when I saw this app, I thought it felt really different. The thing with talent shows is you do quite often get the same old people turning up – like that woman on Briatin’s Got Talent this year who won Spain’s Got Talent last year. But this is different. It’s more like karaoke. We’re not saying “Ten million records.” If you can hiold a tune, come down. It’s got the same feel to is as when you do karaoke down the pub. There’s no pressure, just come and have a go. And there’s all of that rubbish on the talent shows of “I don’t lie you…[pause]… I LOVE you!” “You’re a dark horse.” “This competition just got exciting.” Here isn’t any of that, it’s stripped bare. Nobody’s cat has just died.
What’s your singing voice like?
Awful! Absolutely awful. If I do do karaoke I tend to do the more talky ones. I’m a bit like Rex Harrison, you know. Maybe a bit of Grace Jones. I’ve got no middle voice. I can either do really low, like Barry White, or high like the Bee Gees or Kate Bush. There’s no happy medium with my voice, I’m afraid.
If you had to choose a number to perform, what would it be?
I’d love to hear that.
Well, you never know, maybe I’ll get a bit tipsy on the show and sing it. Actually, I wanted to sing a song at the end of the show like Cilla Black did on Surprise, Surprise. Strangely, they said no.
The Singer Takes it All is on Channel 4 on Friday 1st August at 9pm.