When I arrived at a recording of The Big Music Quiz some months ago, the audience was already on its feet dancing.
Either I had missed one helluva warm-up by Michael Pope or somebody forgot to give me my glass of red cordial. Or had they all been trucked in from a recording of You’re Back in the Room? As the show progressed, and the dancing continued, I knew this had to be seen through the small screen, to see if the experience on the couch matched the one in studio.
Several months on I’m still thinking I missed the red cordial. The Big Music Quiz is no Spicks and Specks, but then it really isn’t trying to be. Humility is left at the door in place of ‘par-tay time!’ It’s less about the questions, more an excuse to boogie to nostalgic pop tunes. Does it really matter if celebrities cheat in order to get the answer, does it really matter who wins and loses? Not here where playtime takes priority over gameplay.
In the first episode Lawrence Mooney, Emily Taheny, Melanie Vallejo, Kris Smith, Giaan Rooney, Alec Snow, Dave Gleeson and Ella Hooper face off as two teams, in a series of simply-themed trivia rounds. In every round the answer has to be the artist, which is supposedly harder than naming song title. Multiple choice options kick in after a short think time, but are worth less points. As music tracks play those at home have ample time to beat the stars.
Rounds are also varied as music is performed via obscure musical instruments or badly sung by people wearing headphones, but the end point is the same -to name the artist of each tune. However at the end of every question we get post-mortem comments from the celebs along with dancing from the audience. Everyone in this show is here to party more than they are to tackle trivia. It’s a bit rude of questions getting in the way.
Most (but not all) of the undemanding questions were based on 80s music or later. Lawrence Mooney served up his share of gags, Giaan Rooney was surprisingly strong with her music knowledge and Kris Smith looked just too pretty for his own darn good.
I’d like to say host Darren McMullen keeps things moving, but the format requires him to halt the gameplay in order to party. On the day I attended there was even a conga line with audience members and stars together -I guess points for audience participation. The arena set resembles a giant walkman and headphone jacks (I think) and plenty of coloured lights. No making the mistake of The White Room here.
But at least this is trying its hand as family entertainment, it’s really hard to strike a balance between smart and entertaining telly that hits all the demos (Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation, Thank God You’re Here you are both missed).
While Spicks and Specks and RocKwiz have enjoyed long runs thanks to their charm and chemistry, The Big Music Quiz pumps up the volume in an effort to keep the ball in the air. The show is definitely more fun to play as participant than to watch as spectator. Were this a pub night then everybody would go home happy. But I suspect it will polarise its audience into those who have a great night in and those wanting more questions, less nonsense and a quicker pace. As I am clearly a party pooper who just didn’t get it I fall into the latter camp. But whaddo I know? Pour out the red cordial and try it out for yourself.
The Big Music Quiz airs 7pm Sunday on Seven.