When I first saw the clips of the UK series All Together Now I didn’t really get the show.
A singer stands on stage and sings to 100 vocalists and if they like what they hear they stand up and join in. That’s it. Sometimes succinct pitches are the best ones (“Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny DeVito. Twins”) and while bigger isn’t always better, this show makes no apology for its simplicity.
Unlike other talent shows, this offers no recording contracts, no confected judge drama and no contestant sob-stories. At the end of the 8 part series somebody walks off with $100,000 -so does that make it a game show / reality show or entertainment show? I’m not really sure….
Like the short-lived Battle of the Choirs, this is less a singing show than a sing-along show -not that there’s anything wrong with that. In a studio more sparkly than a Crown Casino foyer, it looks like a good time was had by all who left the Dance Boss auditorium. No question it would have been fun to be there, but can it spill over to the living room couch for Seven?
All Together Now has give-me-your-huddled-masses inclusivity everywhere you look. Points to the casting team for a 100 strong chorus including pop, rock, opera, music theatre, cabaret, rap, glam-rock, impersonators, karaoke judge, agent and then some. It has solos, duos, trios, drag artists, Indigenous, trans, gay, older and if I’m not mistaken, disability, amongst them.
Similarly the contestants are diverse in styles and backgrounds too, but the level of talent varies wildly as most unleash party anthems and crowd-pleasers designed for maximum impact in minimum time. If it weren’t for the blinding lights and 1 vs 100 set, you’d swear this was pub night (again, not that there’s anything wrong with that).
Effortless host Julia Zemiro keeps the ball in the air, traversing a 6 level set for one-liners from the likes of Rhonda Burchmore, Mark Seymour, Sylvie Paladino, Maria Mercedes, Lucy Holmes, Lara Mulcahy, Michael Dalton, Sister Doll, Shauna Jensen & more. Zemiro works the optimism without ever being condescending, with Ronan Keating to add some marquee status as 100 Captain.
High-scoring acts must wait beside the stage to see if their score will be bettered, which somehow doesn’t feel as cruel as Dance Boss (they did the same to the lowest-scoring acts). I still can’t work out why the end round is a sing-off between the highest acts, as opposed to the lead scorer automatically proceeding to the grand final, other than to ensure they are not a one-hit wonder.
Seven hasn’t had much luck with its recent shiny floor shows and this one surely faces stiff competition. But it is an easy watch with broad family appeal, reminding us that music is the great leveller.
7pm Sunday on Seven.