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TV Review: The Singing Bee – Filling in the Blanks

Creators: Phil Gurin and Bob Horowitz

Airs: Tuesday at 9:30 on NBC

It’s easy for a game show to get bogged down by its contestants’ uninteresting backstories, especially when they’re given unlimited time to answer questions or ponder which number looks the nicest on a shiny silver briefcase that may or may not contain one million dollars. When you have the attention span of a bumblebee, or one of the scantily dressed women on NBC’s ‘The Singing Bee’ who’s supposed to resemble one, however, dull contestant backstory and long stretches of thinking time are not issues. ‘The Singing Bee’ is concerned with, and only with, finishing the lyrics of pop songs quickly and perfectly: Miss one ‘the’ or mistakenly add an ‘a’ and you’re done.

Finality on ‘Don’t Forget the Lyrics,’ ‘Bee’’s drawn-out, less fun Fox counterpart, is much harder to come by. Second chances abound in this annoyingly generous version of finish-the-lyric, which showcases its contestants and not its game. ‘Don’t Forget’ would benefit from the grade school Bee format, playing multiple contestants simultaneously, though then there’d be no difference between it and ‘The Singing Bee.’

‘The Singing Bee’ buzzes with just the right blend of tasteless excitement and vaguely able contestants vital to any game show looking for longevity in a post-‘Deal or No Deal’ landscape, even if Joey Fatone occasionally comes off as that annoying little brother who’d do anything to get your attention.