First Review: The Singing Office

They sing everywhere these days from Idol to It Takes Two, from Rock Star to Operatunity. So it’s no surprise Foxtel was quick to pick up the Dutch format The Singing Office.

It’s a simple idea really. Can you take a bunch of non-singers and get them to warble and drive up your ratings? It worked pretty well for the ABC’s Choir of Hard Knocks. In fact it worked brilliantly.

This reality / game show hybrid chooses not to shoot so high. Nick Giannopoulis hosts the “live studio” segment of this one hour show where office and factory workers are culled by two singing team leaders to rehearse a number to perform before three judges and an audience.

The judges are Molly Meldrum and Tottie Goldsmith (both Foxtel stable favourites) and a guest judge (Ep 1: BB’s David Graham).

In the opening ep the teams are pulled from the staff at the Victorian Arts Centre and Four & Twenty Pies in Bairnsdale. In recorded footage, expect to see lots of attempts at singing in hurried snapshots. Julia Morris adds a lot of zest to this cattle call, and her opposition is pulled together by Gus Worland (An Aussie Goes Barmy). Singing tutors, choreographers and costumiers follow before the big night.

As it turns out, the big night isn’t really all that big. The studio set from Foxtel looks cheap, and Giannopoulis is overly earnest for what is essentially a karaoke night. As many karaoke patrons will tell you, they are great fun for those that are there….

The live performance element of Singing Office, with Meldrum and co looking on, looked remarkably like a performance ripped out of Countdown. The backing dancers were trying hard, the small audience was swaying along as instructed -but in 2007, music television that still looks like its in 1977 has its work cut out for it.

The two songs, Working Class Man and I Love the Nightlife (in complete Footy Show drag) were routine but the judges nearly had a hernia with their necessary enthusiasm. Molly knows a lot about music we know, but as he found out with Popstars, choosing when and where to show his expertise is a fine art.

By the end of it all, some team won, to be rapturously invited back for a final with some trophy. I can’t be sure if their boss gave them a pay rise.

Principally The Singing Office lacked the emotional through line of Choir of Hard Knocks. Like It Takes Two and The National Karaoke Challenge from SBS a few years back, there isn’t really a whole lot of outcome to this. At least in Idol the kids are offered a recording contract and a career shortcut.

This show might have more merit if it were 30 minutes shorter and if everyone involved treated it with the karaoke inanity it deserves. Or if Ricky Gervais had been involved….

If you love those Singing Star games on Playstation, this might be one for you.

The Singing Office premieres Sunday 9 Sept 6:30pm on Fox8.


  1. i like this show..
    but i think they could choose people with a bit more talent..

    but the people who won were good.
    but ithink the post office should of places they were pro..

    who did you guys like?

  2. just cant agree more that the show is full of complete old untalented has beens, the only credibility sadly is meldrum so i think that tells you something.

  3. Actually I’m quite pleased Singing Office has found some fans. Television is about different appeals for different audiences. What one person enjoys will not appeal to the next. I still stand by my review that this was too cheaply made and that it would be a better product with the emotional throughline that a show like Choir of Hard Knocks managed to find. Hope you keep watching it.

  4. Fair comment on the celebs, Tottie…..major has been, Nick…more suited his own material than scripted comedy……Molly…..well, he barracks for the saints!….and David…..he can’t dance so he’s hardly a judge of talent!…. Julia Morris is very funny though. But enough on those who were paid to do it!…..I know all the crew that sang for the ‘Curl………they put heart, soul and effort into it and that’s what counts….just ask Marcia!

  5. Woah hold up with the negative attitudes compadres!

    I loved the first episode of the singing office, unlike shows like Australian Idol the cast is of real people and they are portrayed as real people, the judges could be better but they did brilliantly with what they had. What I liked most about the judges is that there is nothing malicious about their comments, unlike shows that involve judges like ‘Australian Idol’ and ‘So you think you can dance’ who cold heartedly shatter dreams left right and centre.

    The cast may not be hugely talented, but that is what’s unique about this show. The show is all about putting ordinary people in a crazy situation, watching them try new things and having a blast whilst doing so.

    Nick Giannopolous is obviously a knob, but Julia Morris is a gem, she made me laugh so hard my belly hurt, it’s awesome to see her back on Australian TV!

    I don’t know how you can compare The Singing Office to karaoke, I don’t go through three days of an intense singing and dancing bootcamp to go out and sing karaoke, do you?

    It may not have all the glits and sparkle of the pretentious shows that crowd our telivision shows these days, but the people in it have character and the show is interestig, Looking forward to watching it again next week! I have a feeling it’s going to get better and better!

    – Up yours
    Singing Office Fan

  6. Disappointed…I won’t watch it again. They are obviously not looking for talent but who is most likely to make fools of themselves. Can’t they hear them sing? listen up guys, you are supposed to pick the winner that has the LEAST off key notes…DOH!!!

  7. Dude, your an idiot!

    From your commments it’s obvious that you didn’t even watch the show.

    Nick was a bit flat and obviously reading prompters (mind you – he wasn’t as bad as Jodhi Meers (sp?) on Modeul. Julia Morris was very funny so you should be ashamed of your comment!

    The judges did exactly what was expected of them.

    Personally, I would have like to have heard more about what was in store for the series (I’ve read the reviews, etc but would have liked a bit more).

    Let’s give it a chance – at least it’s different from the normal reality schlock that’s out there.

    Oh yeah… and Love My Way is a great show. It IS a real shame that they moved it to Showtime though which is totally pay per least on when it was cable it was accessible by a larger number of people.

  8. Nick Giannopoulis – A has Been.
    Julia Morris – A has been nobody.
    Molly Meldrum – Would attend the opening of an envelope.
    Tottie Goldsmith – Professional Non-Entity
    David Graham – 15 minutes of fame clinger.

    Gee – can’t wait for this…Reading the first article posted about “Singing Office” convinced me this show was a dud, but your latest review confirms it.

    Typical of Foxtel to throw together some cheap rubbish with “stars” from 20 years ago. You’d think with charging people to watch their shows (WITH ADS!) they would have enough money coming in to put something decent together.

    Thank god it’s on Foxtel, no one will see this nonsense. But it will probably win a Logie anyway (like “Love My Way” – which was seen by about 4 people nationwide yet won like a 1000 Logies!)

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.