A perfectly passable show that needs to find a life and energy of its own rather than taking liberally from Beat Shazam.

GOLDEN MEDLEY January 9, 2021

Review: Name That Tune

A perfectly passable show that needs to find a life and energy of its own rather than taking liberally from Beat Shazam.

From the start a new version of Name That Tune on Fox did not make a lot of sense. They already have Beat Shazam, which is as close to Name That Tune as you can get but updated for modern times. Updated quite well, mind you. Unfortunately our concerns were validated and it doesn’t do enough to be distinctive. Frankly, that’s probably the point. It’s a perfectly show that needs to find some life and spontaneity.

Each episode of Name That Tune sees two separate half-hour games like many modern game shows. Each half has two contestants facing off against each other trying to name a song as fast as possible for cash. The first round switches up between games. The second round is the classic Bid-A-Note round where a clue is given and contestants say how many notes they can name the tune in. The player with the most cash plays the Golden Medley where if they can name seven songs in 30 seconds they win an additional $100,000.

Starting with the good: the show looks very nice and the Australian production feels top-notch. The contestants have been likable and entertaining. I’m glad they have some variety in the rounds so it’s not the same thing each game. I’m also quite impressed by the selection of music. They didn’t go with only songs from the past decade. They went back quite a bit and it’s appreciated. The $100,000 Golden Medley round has always been exciting and there was no exception here as well. It’s one of the all time great bonus rounds and why mess with it?

One thing we did want to mention is the slightly awkward hosting of Jane Krakowski. This isn’t on her necessarily. The show tethers her to a prompted so much that it takes out any of her personality, and she comes off more as her 30 Rock character Jenna. Jane is incredibly talented and funny, and when she’s not forced to say every line the writing team gives her she does fine. This isn’t an isolated issue, either. Producers need to trust their hosts more. The assumption is they were hired for their talents. Let the hosts display them.

In essence there is no difference between Name That Tune and Beat Shazam other than utilizing the license that many people are aware of. Unlike Beat Shazam, though, Name That Tune‘s game is a mess. They either did the show an enormous disservice in editing or they need to actually say what’s going on. In game one the first round’s scoring was $1K/$2K/$4K/$5K/$6K and Bid-A-Note had 4 songs at $10K/$15K/$20K/$25K. In game two the first round’s scoring was $1K/$2K/$3K/$4K/$6K and Bid-A-Note had three songs at $10K/$15K/$20K. Logic would say that they’re editing out songs that people miss. There’s a lot of filler in this show. They could afford to leave in wrong answers and give the home audience the satisfaction of knowing answers the contestants do not.

Name That Tune is perfectly passable game show material. It’s not broken. It’s just edited poorly and they really need to let Jane Krakowski be herself. Luckily these are all things that are easily adjustable if they get a second season, so fingers crossed they have a chance to improve.

Photos courtesy Fox