It's quite possibly the singing competition we deserve, just not the singing competition we need right now. No other singing competition would feature master thespian Jon Lovitz as Pavarotti performing "La Donna è Mobile." They just wouldn't.
In case you haven't been paying attention to the vast wasteland that is currently network summer television, the premise of Sing Your Face Off is this: five celebrities (or "celebrities") compete to win… something (a trophy, maybe?) by performing musical numbers while impersonating the singers who originally made them famous. The contestants are comedian Jon Lovitz, jack-of-all-trades Lisa Rinna, Skid Row lead singer/Gilmore Girls star Sebastian Bach, Disney star China Anne McClain, and Toronto Raptor Landry Fields. Be honest, only knowing the premise and without even knowing who was on the show, you assumed one of those first three would be on it, didn't you?
Watching the episode, there's a lot of asking, "Does ABC even know they let this show finally air?" The show was obviously created with a weekly schedule in mind, if the constant unedited reminders that something will happen next week (and showing us a "last week" card literally ten seconds after the first episode aired) are any indication.
But now it is being burned off, two episodes at a time on Saturday night. Isn't that how you know the show's D.O.A? Nothing is on Saturday night. Not even in the summer. In a world where the Friday Night Death Slot exists, Saturday night is such a wasteland it doesn't even warrant an ominous nickname.
The judges are Darrell Hammond, Debbie Gibson, and apparently depending on the week, either David Alan Grier or RuPaul, two individuals who are not really interchangeable (being used as interchangable individuals). John Barrowman is the host, which, what?!? That's an entirely different topic altogether.
Fun fact: Barrowman's "fun fact" introduction of Darrell Hammond having been the longest staying cast member of Saturday Night Live is the most depressing "fun fact" since the double-dose of E!'s fun facts about Robert Redford and Michael J. Fox. What is this show?
This show is an excuse to have Sebastian Bach talk about being too rock and roll for everything every other second while making him dress like Lady Gaga—
—or a wax version of Adam Levine (by way of Joey Lawrence).
It's an excuse for Lisa Rinna to make everyone around her (and everyone watching at home) uncomfortable.
It is also an excuse for a poorly lit Harry Hamlin to awkwardly wave from the cheap seats.
There is no reason for any of this to be happening, but ABC already filmed all the episodes, so the least they could do is let the world see the finished product. The wonderful, horrifying, finished product. There is no constructive criticism, and as of right now, the points system doesn't have any one getting below a seven (out of 10). Everyone is in a tie at all times.
The show is reminiscent of the days of VH1's But Can They Sing?, but strangely Sing Your Face Off isn't concerned with making the celebrities look bad. The show is strangely earnest, which kind of makes it even more ridiculous. So much effort was put into something so absurd (seriously, why was any of this happening?), it's fascinating. This is a show with a magical elevator that transforms celebrities called THE FACELIFT, and somehow it managed to get Tabitha (one half of NappyTabs, a mainstay on So You Think You Can Dance) to teach choreography like this:
That woman in the corner is praying to God and thanking Him for all that He has given us with this show.
Is it really the Batman of singing competitions? It depends on which version of Batman we're talking.
(We're talking Batman & Robin, ice puns and all.)
Maybe the world just isn't ready for their faces to be sung off. David Alan Grier's reaction to the show's title in the first episode implies that he thought this show would be a literal Face/Off situation.
Hopefully you're all watching this, so five years from now when someone asks why there hasn't been a show where celebrities impersonate other celebrities for unclear reasons, you'll just chuckle then tell them the story of that time Jon Lovitz was the most terrifying version of Elton John possible.
They'll thank you for that.
[Image via ABC]
Morning After is a new home for television discussion online, brought to you by Gawker. Read more here.