The Singing Bee (American game show)

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The Singing Bee
The Singing Bee title screen.
Created byPhil Gurin
Bob Horowitz
Presented byMelissa Peterman, CMT
Joey Fatone, NBC
StarringSteve Dorff and the Bee Hive, CMT
Ray Chew and the Groove, NBC
The Honey Bees, NBC
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons5 (total)
No. of episodes66 (final)
Executive producer(s)Phil Gurin
Bob Horowitz
Production company(s)Juma Entertainment
Singing Bee Enterprises
The Gurin Comnpany
Original networkNBC (2007)
CMT (2009–2012)
Picture formatNBC 480i (SDTV)
CMT 1080i (HDTV)
Original releaseOriginal series:
July 10, 2007 – December 28, 2007
Revived series:
June 16, 2009 –
July 23, 2012

The Singing Bee is a karaoke game show that originally aired on NBC and then CMT. Combining karaoke singing with a spelling bee-style competition, this show features contestants trying to remember the lyrics to popular songs. Originally slated to begin with a six episode season during late 2007, it launched early in reaction to FOX's competing Don't Forget the Lyrics!.[1]


CMT Version
Member Genre Role Seasons
1 2 3 4
Melissa Peterman N/A Host
Jared Johnson Country Music Singer
Bobby Tomberlin Country Music Singer
Kim Parent Country Music Singer
Roger Cain N/A Acoustic and Electric Guitarist
Steve Dorff N/A Pianoist
Scotty Kormos N/A Drummer
Tony Love N/A Bassist
Jeff Vincent N/A Pianoist
Kenley Shea Country Music Singer
Paula MacNeill Country Music Singer
Kimmy Keyes Country Music Singer
Storm Lee Rock Music Singer
Baylie Brown Country Music Singer
Beau Davidson Rock Music and Country Music Singer
Danielle Lauderdale Country Music Singer

Broadcast history[edit]

The Singing Bee premiered with a half-hour episode on July 10, 2007 at 9:30pm Eastern/8:30pm Central, beating Don't Forget the Lyrics! to the air by one day. The premiere episode was repeated the following night, July 11, 2007, at 8:30pm Eastern/7:30pm Central. On NBC, it was hosted by Joey Fatone. The house band, The Groove, was led by Ray Chew and features: Deanna Johnston, Paula MacNeill, Wes Quave, Tom Sartori, Storm Lee, Kelli Sae, Jeschelle Magbitang, Carmen Carter, Kara Shaw, Leah Shaffer, Karen Ashe, Christopher "C.J." Emmons, Vann Johnson and Chris "Breeze" Barczynski. The back-up singers were Toni Scruggs and Tanya Diona. Dancing to the band are the house dancers, The Honeybees: Ferly Prado Dunn, Monique Cash, Holly Cruikshank, and Lisa Byrne.

Melissa Peterman hosted the CMT version. The house band, Steve Dorff and the Bee Hive, also featured: Roger Cain, Scotty Kormos, Tony Love, and Jeff Vincent.[2] The singers were Jared Johnson, Baylie Brown, Beau Davidson, Paula MacNeill, Kim Parent, and Bobby Tomberlin.[3]

In each episode, six contestants (four contestants in season two) will be selected from the audience to play a series of games that test their knowledge of song lyrics. If a contestant makes an error, he or she will forfeit her chance to get into the "musical chairs". If a contestant is not in a musical chair when the round is over, he or she is eliminated.

In a promo for the show's launch, NBC revived their original 1983 slogan "Be There" as "Bee There".

Due to low ratings, and to make room for The Biggest Loser, NBC put The Singing Bee on hiatus for November sweeps. The Singing Bee returned on December 21, 2007,[4] and aired two new episodes each Friday, before being placed on hiatus again.[5] On April 2, 2008, NBC announced its schedule for the 2008-2009 television season. The Singing Bee was left off this list, and is officially canceled. A spin-off of the show, The Singing Office, debuted on June 29, 2008, hosted by Fatone and Mel B and airing on TLC.[6]

On April 29, 2009, CMT confirmed that it would revive the series in the summer of 2009 with Melissa Peterman as host.[7] The Singing Bee premiered on CMT on June 20 and will now air every Saturday at 9pm. Melissa Peterman confirmed the show was renewed for another season on August 24, 2009. In November, 2010 CMT reportedly picked up the show for a third season.[8] The show's last episode aired on July 23, 2012.


As mentioned, at the start of the show, the band plays a song and the host "randomly" gives audience members a chance to sing part of the song. If they sing it correctly, they become one of the contestants on the show. This part of the show is actually staged, and the contestants are preselected. During this part of the program, you can sometimes see (as the contestants run up to the stage) that the lyrics for the song are being scrolled on a banner over the stage so that the preselected contestants don't make a mistake.

Round 1[edit]

The host would provide the year the song was released, the performer, and the name of the song. A portion of the song is performed, and then the contestant has to attempt to sing the next line of the song. If correct, they advance to the next round, and a new song is introduced, which the next contestant in line must attempt; if not, they have to step back, and the next person in line tries the same song. A song is thrown out if none of the remaining contestants get the lyrics correct. The first four people (three people in season two) who get a song lyric correct move on to the second round, and any contestant who hasn't had a chance loses and returns on a future episode.

Round 2[edit]

The contestants who advanced go up in pairs to play a mini-game. The winner of the game advances to the championship round. In the CMT version, all four contestants play 3 mini-games for points, the two players with the most points moves on to the Chorus Showdown.

  • "Scrambled Lyrics" (Renamed Random Shuffle): To play "Scrambled Lyrics," while the band is performing, words from the next line are shown scrambled on screen. The contestant is required to sing the line in its correct order. When one contestant is correct and the other is wrong at any point, the one who was correct moves on to the Championship Round. On the CMT Version, each correct answer is worth five points
  • "Karaoke Challenge": To play "Karaoke Challenge," while the band is performing, the contestant sees the words to the song in karaoke fashion. As the contestant sings the song, he or she will also see blanks, each representing a word in the song. The player who fills in the most blanks correctly (out of a possible 15) wins and goes on to the Championship Round. This round is similar to FOX's Don't Forget the Lyrics! because the contestant is the lead singer in this round. In the CMT version, each blank is worth two points (30 maximum).
  • "Blind Start": To play "Blind Start," the band plays the beginning notes of a song. When the band stops, the contestant must sing the opening line correctly. One of the three contestants is eliminated from the second round.
  • "Playlist": To play "Playlist," the three contestants are given 6 categories of song which have comical titles. Whichever two contestants have the most points after the 6 songs move on to the next round.
  • "Singing with the Enemy": To play "Singing With The Enemy," the band plays part of a popular song. The first contestant must do the next line when the band stops playing. The band then picks up with the line the contestant said and stops. The next contestant continues on with the song. This goes through 3 passes. The two with the highest score move on. On the CMT version, up to 15 points are possible.

Chorus Showdown[edit]

This follows a similar format to the first round, but instead of singing a line, the contestant is required to sing the entire chorus without mistakes from the song performed. If both are correct or incorrect (sometimes after two rounds), then they go to a tiebreaker, where they are given the year and the name of the performer and the first person to buzz in will be given the option of singing or passing. If the singer is correct, they win. If the singer is wrong, the other contestant wins.

The winner moves on to the Final Countdown.

In the CMT version, Peterman gives the year, artist, but not the name of the song just yet. Then, the contestant in the lead gets the choice to play that song or pass it, then they give the name of the song.

The Final Countdown[edit]

Ray Chew introduces this concluding round by announcing in song: "It's the Final Countdown!" Up to 7 songs are performed in a similar manner to the first round, but the contestant knows nothing about the song, (artist, title, year) and thus must use the lyrics in order to win the big money. For each song lyric that is sung correctly, the player wins $5,000. If the player gets five right, then they win $50,000. However, if they sing a lyric incorrectly, a strike is given. If three strikes are given at any point, the game is over, but the contestant still wins whatever money was accumulated up to that point. Beginning in the second season, the winning contestant also defends as champion title to face three more challengers. On the new CMT version of the show, correctly guessing a song earns $500, and getting five wins $10,000.

Changes for One-Hour Shows[edit]

The above format is the standard for a 30-minute episode of the show.

In a one-hour show, several changes are made:

  • There are two qualifying games.
    • In each game, six players (only 5 for season 2) are picked from the audience to play Round 1, however, the first three to complete a lyric (only 5 for season 2) advance.
    • The three players then compete in a Round 2 game. Play continues, including a tie-breaker if needed, until one player remains. In season 2, three rounds are played until three contestants are eliminated.
  • The two survivors of the qualifying games play the Chorus Showdown, the last player standing plays The Final Countdown.
  • Beginning on August 21, in between some breaks, host Fatone goes into the audience to give an audience member a chance at $500. A question about a song is asked, and if the player gets it right, he/she wins the money. On December 28, two audience members were challenged to the same lyrics. The contestant who will wait is given headphones so that they cannot hear the other contestant until the song is completed. If both contestants are correct, both win $500. If only one is correct, that contestant wins $1,000.


The first episode premiered with 13.1 million viewers. It was the biggest summer premiere since ABC's premiere of Dancing with the Stars.[9] The debut episode finished second for the week of July 9–15, 2007, by an extremely close margin. The number one program, the 2007 MLB All-Star Game, beat "Bee" with an 8.4 rating, to the game show's 8.1[10]

However, The Singing Bee hit an all-time low in the ratings with a 1.7 rating, on October 30, 2007. On December 28, 2007, the show scored a 3.7/7 rating, and came in second place behind Ghost Whisperer, before NBC announced its cancellation. The show would be eventually revived by CMT in 2009, running until 2012.


Season First Aired Last Aired Episodes Network
1 July 10, 2007 December 28, 2007 18 NBC
2 June 16, 2009 August 15, 2009 10 CMT
3 January 22, 2010 August 20, 2010 18
4 April 8, 2011 June 17, 2011 10
5 April 20, 2012 July 23, 2012 10

International versions[edit]

     Currently airing franchise
     Franchise no longer in production
Region/Country Local name Network Main presenter Date aired
 Australia The Singing Bee[11] Nine Network Joey Fatone October 7, 2007 – 2008
 Belgium Singing Bee vtm Walter Grootaers
 Brazil Qual é a música SBT Silvio Santos
 Chile HIT, la fiebre del karaoke Canal 13 Sergio Lagos January 2, 2008
 Colombia Dígalo cantando Caracol TV 2007
 Denmark Magi i luften TV3 Robert Hansen February 2008
 Ecuador Dígalo cantando TC Televisión Sergio Sacoto and Pierina Uribe 2008
 Finland Biisikärpänen MTV3 Sanna Hirvaskari, Lari Halme and Vexi Salmi 2008
 Germany Singing Bee ProSieben Senna Guemmour
Oliver Petszokat
September 2008 – 2009
 Greece Θα πείς κι ένα τραγούδι
Tha peís ki éna tragoúdi
Alpha TV 2007
 Hungary Popdaráló TV2 Áron Kovács
 Iceland Singing Bee Skjár einn Jón Jósep Snæbjörnsson September 19, 2008
 Indonesia Happy Song Indosiar Choky Sitohang 2008
Singing Bee Indonesia RCTI TBA 2018
 Israel תשיר את זה
Tashir et zeh
Channel 2 Assi Azar ?
 Italy Chi fermerà la musica Rai Uno Pupo February 2008
 Japan title unrevealed Fuji TV 2010
 Jordan غنيها صح
Ghaniha Sah
Ro'ya TV Haitham Baroudi May 2019
Lebanon Lebanon طنة وغنة
Tanneh wo ghanneh
Future TV Razan Moghrabi Septembre 2012
 Morocco فاصلة
2M TV Imad El Natifi 2005
September 2007
 Netherlands Singing Bee RTL 4 Gordon Heuckeroth December 31, 2007
 New Zealand The Singing Bee TV2 Jordan Van der Made
 Norway Singing Bee TV3 Åge Sten Nilsen
 Philippines The Singing Bee ABS-CBN Cesar Montano April 21, 2008
Amy Perez and Roderick Paulate November 16, 2013
 Portugal Chamar a Música SIC Herman José May 18, 2008
 Romania O-la-la Pro TV Andra October 18, 2008
Za Za Sing Antena 1 Liviu Vârciu April 5, 2017
 Russia Можешь? Спой!
Mozhesh? Spoy!
Perviy Kanal 2008
 Spain Al pie de la Letra Antena 3 Javier Estrada December 24, 2007
 Sweden Singing Bee[12] TV3 Hanna Hedlund January 13, 2008
 Turkey title unrevealed Show TV
 Ukraine Пой, если можешь
Poj, esli mozhesh
Novyi Kanal 2007
 United Kingdom Sing It Back: Lyric Champion* ITV1 JK and Joel July 21, 2007

*Prior to the premiere of the American version, British Network ITV had its own version of the show titled Sing It Back: Lyric Champion. 2M TV in Morocco already had their own version of the show since 2005, called Fasila, but since September 2007 they changed the rules into that of the American version.


  1. ^ Karaoke Wars: NBC Rushes 'Singing Bee' - Show moved up to beat FOX's 'Lyrics' to air. Retrieved on 24 June 2007.
  2. ^ "THE SINGING BEE/MUSICIANS". Country Music Television.
  3. ^ "THE SINGING BEE/SINGERS". Country Music Television.
  4. ^ -The Singing Bee
  5. ^ "NBC TO WRAP 'JOURNEYMAN,' REVIVE 'BEE' IN DECEMBER". 2007-11-29. Retrieved 2007-11-30.
  6. ^ The Singing Office
  7. ^ "CMT revives 'Singing Bee'". The Live Feed. April 29, 2009.
  8. ^ "CMT Renews 'Singing Bee' For Season 3; Co-Creator Phil Gurin Signs With CAA". Deadline Hollywood. November 21, 2010.
  9. ^ 'Bee' soars on NBC, 13.1 million viewers. Retrieved on 11 July 2007.
  10. ^ ratings sheet, 7/9-7/15/07 Archived 2005-10-01 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Channel Nine smash hit new series The Singing Bee. Retrieved on July 14, 2007.
  12. ^ World Screen - Home

External links[edit]