The Singer Takes It All

Can’t sing? Can’t dance? What can you do? You can apply for Channel 4’s new singing talent show. No experience (or talent) necessary!

It used to be really hard for poor Joe Public to get on TV. Getting stopped in the street by Esther Rantzen was probably your best bet, or if you had a modicum of talent you could apply for New Faces or Opportunity Knocks, but your chances were very slim. Nowadays it seems TV personalities are way outnumbered by the great unwashed who pop up on everything. Whether it’s selling old tat on numerous antique shows, participating in the ever growing number of quiz shows or flaunting your talents on Britain’s Got Talent, The Voice or The X Factor your highways to small screen notoriety are now seemingly endless. The latest platform for you to display your talents comes courtesy of Channel 4, with its new Friday night extravaganza, The Singer Takes It All.

Imagine if a group of 10 year olds overloaded with E numbers were allowed to create a concept for a TV show and you will have some idea of what this show looks like. It’s a singing show where a lack of talent is no barrier to taking part. Simply download the shows smartphone app, record yourself singing and others with the app vote for you. The people with the most votes appear on the show. Once there you stand on a conveyor belt catwalk, sing your little heart out and those self-same voters will vote again and, depending on their mood, you are either propelled forwards to the “gold zone” or backwards towards sliding doors where you disappear forever. The person who stays in the “gold zone” for the longest wins and sings again to win a top prize of £10,000.

It sounds as though it should work, but The Singer Takes It All fails on every conceivable level. The first problem is the contestants. In the first show none of them came close to holding a tune. The words appear on screen so that you can sing along at home, like your own private karaoke booth, and even though I’m tone deaf I swear I was better than anyone on the show. Song choices were also very incongruous, with the first contestant singing a song that appeared to be about a boy shooting all his friends in high school.

The app is the shows big selling point, but in the first show it wasn’t working, so we were told that a group of people in a back room were making the decisions (possibly the same 10 year olds that came up with concept.) People online using the app were tweeting that on the rare occasions the app did work its response time was so delayed it made it pointless to use.

What you need to rescue this calamity is a great host. Unfortunately Channel 4 chose Alan Carr. Great as a stand up, Carr has shown in the past that given live TV he tends to flounder, and here he flounders on an epic scale. With his eyes darting all over the place, possibly looking for his agent, he seems to know that he is fronting a turkey of epic proportions and is desperate for a way out. Sadly for him there is no escape, and nothing to do but try and crack jokes, consisting mainly of sexual innuendo, which are about as welcome as turd in a swimming pool.

I’m sure there is a TV show to be made revolving around karaoke, but this certainly isn’t it. Presumably aimed at 18-25 year olds, what it fails to realise is that its target audience is out getting drunk and performing their own karaoke on the streets of Britain. It takes a lot to make the show Your Voice Sounds Familiar look like quality television, but this manages it easily. If you are even slightly tempted to watch this, don’t; just put on your favourite song, stand in front of your mirror with a hairbrush and sing along, and already you are several steps ahead of The Singer Takes It All.

Duncan Stripp

Updated: Aug 15, 2014

Get involved
Continue the conversation over on The Digital Fix Forum
The Singer Takes It All | The Digital Fix