30th Sep2020

‘Sing On: Season 1’ Review (Netflix Original)

by Rhys Payne

I have to be honest, on paper the new Netflix original game show series Sing On is my type of show! The whole premise of the show is that a group of singers compete to find the best karaoke singer in a sing-off with the most accurate singer going through each round. Additionally, this show is hosted by the icon that is Titus Burgess and to me, he is the perfect host for the show. All this combines together to make the wonderfully calm style of show that I personally love crammed full of incredible songs and performances throughout.

I absolutely LOVE Titus Burgess and really enjoy the camp energy he brings to the show. He is just his character from The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt who is incredibly sassy and wonderfully flamboyant that everything he does is iconic. Not only is he entertaining in this role, but what people have to remember is that he is a Broadway performer and has appeared in many Broadway shows including The Little Mermaid, so he is actually a good reference point for singers in the show. He uses his talent through the show as he performs an opening song (which the contestants later join in with), which sets up the energy for the show, and also performs the selections of final songs that the most accurate performer can choose from. I love that the host actually showcases the skills that the contestant are being judged on you – don’t tend to see that on shows nowadays (can you imagine if they criticised Paul Hollywood’s bakes in the Great British Bake-Off?) which I imagine makes the performers feel more comfortable and at ease. I have to say that I really want to hear the full versions of Titus singing “Eye of the Tiger” and “I Will Always Love You” as these two performances really stood out and sounded incredible. Despite my love for Titus, I did have a few issues in the way the show was edited. Firstly, there were a few awkward pauses after contestant told Titus about what they did and he had no instant retort. Additionally, there were a lot of moments on the show where the camera wasn’t on Titus but his voice was played over which is somewhat distracting.

The premise of Sing On is that the more accurate the performer is to the original song, the more money they can grab so potentially there is $60,000 up for grabs. How do they judge how accurate the performer was I heard you ask? Well, they have a tool called the vocal analyser who assessed how close to the song was originally performed. Imagine, the classic PlayStation 2 game SingStar but with a big cash prize attached to it for the eventual winner. The overall, most accurate, performer of each round automatically goes through each round and the remaining performers decided who they “think” was the least accurate performer. I say think because none of the singers actually know who was the most accurate, which leads to some very dramatic and tense scenes where the wrong person goes home. This suddenly changes after the third elimination when Titus reveals who the least accurate performer was and they automatically goes home. This was a little confusing as the rules appear to randomly change and removed the excitement for the drama of the wrong person going home. The performances themselves are done almost like a karaoke performance with the selection of who sings which lyric being randomly selected, which brings even more excitement and energy to the show. A little aside… I also appreciated the fact that there were constant Cher impressions by both Titus and the contestants and I have been known, on occasion, to bust out my best “Oooh” with a hair flick as a homage to the icon herself.

Additionally, to the $60,000 cash prize for the overall winner, there are also some smaller prizes available for specific things from someone performances. There is what is known as the “Titus Prize” which is $500 for the person who ‘performs’ the songs the most entertaining manner (e.g. dancing, stage presence etc). On top of this there is also a golden note prize, which at first is introduced with no descriptions or context but after a while, the viewers are informed that it’s a prize given to whoever in the top three can hold a specific note from the song. Whoever holds the specified note they win $1000 each – so potentially someone could go onto the show not win the final prize but still walk away with a guaranteed $1500 which is great; and I love that the show gives away so much money as it really creates an exciting atmosphere.

On top of Sing On being a show that revolves around karaoke, it also has a live band. I love that a live band is utilised in Sing On but I also love the fact that Titus acknowledges the band, as I personally know how difficult performing live music is – so thanking and appreciating them is very important! I also love the fact that the show has an audience that is encouraged to sing along at certain points in the songs. It appears that the audience are having so much fun during filming (because why wouldn’t they be with such a fun host in Titus?!) and I really hope that one day I and some of my friend are given the opportunity to be in the audience, as we would have so much fun and we would love it. What I didn’t particularly enjoy about this show was that they included infographics about the songs that were about to be performed with interesting facts which I found distracting at times. The actual songs on the show change from episode to episode due to the overall theme.

I love that Sing On opened with a party playlist themed episode which contained all the camp energy anyone could want! I hope that the team behind this show actually created the playlists and have made them accessible on Spotify etc., as it was just so much fun! My personal favourite episode was the movie night themed episode as the iconic songs being covered by different talented performers spoke to me emotionally. My favourite performance specifically, however, was the finale of the summer-themed episode as the two performers used each other to portray the song through performance as well, which was not done in other episodes. I think this interaction on top of the incredible vocals really helped this performance stand out as one of the best in the entire series.

Overall Sing On was a super fun show that ticked all of my personal boxes. It’s perfect for a friends night in which is great especially during lockdowns. This is a show I want to be apart of in the live audience as the camp energy it gives off is EVERYTHING! Titus was the perfect choice for the host as he was both super fun but also someone who is known for singing which is great.

**** 4/5

Sing On is available to watch on Netflix now. There are also regionalised versions available, via Netflix, in Germany and Spain.


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