A singing game show that packs a visual punch
The format beat me if you can combines elements of a singing talent contest and a game show, and does so against the vibrant backdrop of colorful neon cabinets in a studio that houses the various contestants.
The concept comes from Gila Kantar, co-founder of Global Agency, which represents the format globally, who was inspired by a photo in a magazine of a woman looking at a building with many windows. The idea, instead, was to have the jury look at the array of windows, which have different contestants inside ready to compete against each other.
“I’ve been in this business for 16 years,” says Kantar. “I pitched a lot of formats. So I knew what customers were looking for.
Kantar, herself, is a fan of singing talent contests, so it was only natural that her first original creation would be in the musical genre. The concept was ready three and a half years ago, but in paper form it took time to interest the right buyer willing to take a risk.
“People liked it, but they said, ‘We don’t have the budget over a million dollars to pay. It’s a big risk for us. If you manage to sell it, come back to us,” says Kantar.
SBC in Saudi Arabia saw the trailer and decided to take a risk on the format, a risk that paid off in terms of viewership and viral social traction. “They were very happy with the results,” she says. “For example, some videos from the episodes have been viewed on TikTok over 7.5 million times, which is huge. For the grand finale, they did a live broadcast, so the whole country voted.
performance landed beat me if you can a second season order from SBC, which this time will prepare a pan-Arab version. “They will go from town to town, even the smallest villages, to find great voices,” says Kantar. “It will air in December but will be promoted this summer as a search with talent scouts.”
Each week, the prime-time series follows ten contestants – hidden away in neon-colored cabinets – take part in the show, with a jury of two celebrity singers. At the top of the episode, the candidates of the week are presented to the jury and the public by a previously recorded video. They’ll sing ten seconds of a song of their choice, which gives the jury an idea of this week’s nominees, but it’s a complete surprise who’s in which cabinet.
The contestants, meanwhile, have no idea when they’ll be performing, who they’ll be dueting with, or what song they’ll be performing. For each song, the jury will choose two candidates to compete against.
After each performance, the audience will decide who should leave the show and who will return to their cabinet and continue in the game. Whoever wins will award a point to that member of the jury, who will then have priority of opening the cabinet first for the next duel.
The winning candidate of the week will go to the grand finale. The winning jury member also has the chance to save two competitors, who will come directly next week. Thus, each week, two candidates will return from the previous week and eight new singers will be presented.
Kantar reports interest from France, Germany, the Netherlands and Russia to adapt the format. Her dream as a creator, however, is to land the series on an American broadcaster.
The response to the format at MIPTV has been enthusiastic, she adds. “We met many customers from all over the world and they really liked the idea; they find it unique. They mostly said that there are many shows in the market that repeat and resemble other ideas. This one is totally different.