No Talent Required

The real musical challenge on TV's cringetastic karaoke shows is defeating embarrassment

Greg Gayne / FOX

I sing America. On Don't Forget the Lyrics , host Wayne Brandy does a duet with contestant Kate Moeser.

On American Idol, calling a performance "bad karaoke" is the worst insult the judges can hurl. It is also the greatest compliment they can bestow. Idol viewers, after all, have made the caterwauling audition episodes the highest-rated, except for the finale. In their eyes, karaoke is the Mae West of entertainment: when it's bad, it's better.

It was only a matter of time until some attentive reality producer figured out a way to remove all the bothersome competence from Idol and isolate an extract of 99.44% pure bad karaoke. Enter The Singing Bee on NBC and Fox's knockoff, Don't Forget the...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!