Wayne Brady (FOX)
Mark McGrath (SYN)
Mark Thompson (FOX)
FOX: 7/11/2007 - 6/19/2009
Syndication/VH1: 9/20/2010 - 5/27/2011
MNT: 10/5/2010 - 5/27/2011
RDF USA/Apploff Entertainment/
Brad Lachman Productions
20th Television

Don't Forget the Lyrics! was a sing along game show where players have to fill in missing lyrics to win big.


In this show, a single contestant is prompted to complete song lyrics for increasing amounts of money. After each correct answer, the contestant can continue playing, risking what has already been earned, or quit the game and take home all the money he or she has already earned. If the contestant continues playing and correctly completes all the song lyrics, he or she will be given a lyric from a number 1 hit to complete. If the contestant completes the final lyric correctly, he or she wins the grand prize.

The primary difference between Don't Forget the Lyrics and other music-based game shows is that artistic talent (such as the ability to sing or dance in an aesthetically pleasing way) is irrelevant to the contestants' chances of winning. In the words of one of their commercials prior to the first airing, "You don't have to sing it well; you just have to sing it right," a quote also used by The Singing Bee.

FOX VersionEdit

Correct song lines Prize
1 $2,500
2 $5,000
3 $10,000
4 $25,000
5 $50,000
6 $100,000 (when contestant loses on million dollar song)
7 $200,000
8 $350,000
9 $500,000
10 $1,000,000 (Top prize)

The structure of the show is similar to another FOX game show Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, Lyrics' cousin game show (except there is no $1,000 level, and the $2,000, $175,000, and $300,000 levels are raised to $2,500, $200,000, and $350,000, respectively). Contestants are given nine categories (such as "pop", "The Rolling Stones", or "divas"). Contestants pick one of the categories. They are then given a choice of two different songs. The contestant then chooses one of the songs and are told how many many missing words they will have to provide. The band starts to play the song and the lyrics are displayed on large monitors in front of the contestant, who sings karaoke style. At some point, the lyrics are shown as blank spaces and the music stops. The contestant then fills in those blank spaces. They can then decide to "lock in" the lyrics (which is the same effect as saying "Final Answer" on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?), choose one of the "backups", which are answer-assistance options that are similar to lifelines, or choose to walk away with the money they have won so far.

Lyric ColorsEdit

  • When the music plays as they sing, the lyrics are white.
  • Lyrics are initially filled in with yellow text
  • As each lyric is locked in, the text changes to blue
  • Lyrics then revealed to be correct turn green
  • Lyrics that are incorrect turn red, which ends the game

Sometimes a few words turn green at a time rather than all of them at once, creating suspense; this is often done if one or more words will turn out to be wrong, and the incorrect word or words generally will show up in the final reveal. If the words are all correct, the contestant's score increases to a higher amount, accompanied by music previously used for a correct answer on Show Me the Money (a shorter version of that music accompanies a reveal of part of the lyrics). Lyrics that turn red are incorrect (and if any are shown, this is accompanied by music previously used for an incorrect answer on Show Me the Money) will result in different situations depending on version. If the contestant locks in incorrect lyrics before hitting the $25,000 mark, all money earned so far is removed from the contestant; going for $25,000 after winning $10,000 is the last point in the game at which a contestant can leave with nothing. After passing the $25,000 mark, the contestant is guaranteed that amount; incorrect lyrics between the $50,000 and the $500,000 songs will knock the contestant's winnings down to $25,000. After nine correct answers, contestants can choose to go for the "Million-Dollar Song".


Similar to the "3 lifelines" concept from Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, there are 3 answer-assistance options, or "backups", that the contestant can use for help if they get stumped. "Backup Singer" (analogous to the now-defunct "Phone a Friend" lifeline on Millionaire) allows one of the contestant's 2 friends or family members the opportunity to help them by singing along with the contestant. Afterwards, the contestant is given the choice of sticking with their lyric or going with their backup singer's lyric if it is different. "2 Words" allows the contestant to choose any two of the missing words after they have answered but before the answer is locked in, and they will be told what those words are. When the player uses the "2 Words" backup after selecting a word that is incorrect or missing as one of the two, it will automatically be corrected. "3 Lines" gives the contestant a choice of 3 possible answers, of which one is the correct response. If the choices have common words within them, the lyrics will have the common words automatically turned green. It is possible to get the full line of the song correct with both the "3 Lines" and "2 Words" backups. Each backup may only be used once, and while the backup singer will still be available for the Million Dollar Song (if it has not been already used) the other two backups will be revoked. Contestants may be required to use up their backups on the $500,000 song if they have not done so already, because there is a warning that, if a backup isn't used on the $500,000 song when the backup(s) is/are available, the remaining unused backup option(s) will be automatically used (except for the backup singer) after the lyrics are locked in.

Million-Dollar SongEdit

Contestants at the end of reaching the $500,000 level can risk the money for the Million Dollar Song. There is no other information on the song revealed to the player other than that the song is a #1 hit from one of the nine categories featured in their game. Also revealed is that if the player does go on, the $25,000 guarantee is immediately increased to $100,000 (this is not so on 5th Grader because some contestants have already attempted the million-dollar question and lost, whereas no contestant ever attempted the Million-Dollar Song; prior to January 2008, the contestant would drop down to the $25,000 mark with an incorrect answer to the Million-Dollar Song; during this time, no one attempted it). Any remaining backups (excluding the backup singer) are revoked (taken away or out of play) after locking in the $500,000 song, and the other information is only revealed if the player decides to go for it. After the contestant sings, they can change it if they want but they have the option to lock in something or walk away. If the lyrics to the Million-Dollar Song are incorrect or the contestant opts to walk away by not locking in the lyric, the contestant leaves with $100,000 (This happened only twice). If correct, the contestant wins $1,000,000.

No contestants won $1,000,000, but seven players reached the final level. Two decided to play for the Million-Dollar Song and failed (Losing $400K), while the other five (including one team) decided not to play the Million Dollar Song and walk away with $500,000. A different sound is used for locked-in incorrect lyrics on the Million-Dollar Song.

Syndicated VersionEdit

The format is based on the syndicated changes to fellow Twentieth Television game show Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?. One contestant plays the entire show, and will play all four songs from four different categories. Each song correctly increases the player's winnings as follows:

Correct song lines Prize
1 $1,000 (guaranteed only if a contestant wins $10,000)
2 $2,500
3 $5,000
4 $10,000

If any incorrect lyrics were sung, no money was won or lost.

The 2010 version only used the 3 Lines backup.

Encore SongEdit

After playing all four categories, the player may attempt the Encore Song or stop. If the player wins $10,000 at this point, the Encore Song is worth $50,000 if sung correctly, with a $1,000 guarantee in case of a miss. If a contestant made an incorrect answer at any previous level, the player's winnings will be doubled should he or she correctly sing the Encore Song. Again, the song is a #1 hit from one of the four categories and a loss of $5,000 or less gives them a custom MP3 player (this is the only way to leave with no cash).


A Board Game based on the FOX version was released by Parker Brothers in 2008. (NOTE: Wayne Brady is on the cover of the game)

An iOS game based on the FOX version was released by Hands-On Mobile in 2009. (NOTE: The game features a simulated Wayne Brady as its host)


Main Theme - "China Grove" by Rickey Minor


CBS Television City


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Similar ShowEdit


FOX version (via Internet Archive)
Syndicated version (via Internet Archive)