Game Shows Wiki
Wayne Brady (1st FOX version)
Mark McGrath (SYN)
Niecy Nash (2nd FOX version)
Mark Thompson (1st FOX version)
FOX: 7/11/2007 – 6/19/2009
Syndication: 9/20/2010 – 3/24/2011
VH1: 9/20/2010 – 5/27/2011
MyNetworkTV: 10/5/2010 – 5/27/2011
Don't Forget the Lyrics 2022 alt.png
FOX: 5/23/2022 - present
Apploff Entertainment
Brad Lachman Productions (2007-2011)
RDF USA (2007-2011)
Bunim/Murray Productions (2022-present)
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 was prompted to complete song lyrics for increasing amounts of money. After each correct answer, the contestant could continue playing, risking what has already been earned, or quit the game and take home all the money he or she had already earned. If the contestant continued playing and correctly completed all the song lyrics, he or she was given a lyric from a number 1 hit to complete. If the contestant completed the final lyric correctly, he or she won the grand prize.

The primary difference between Don't Forget the Lyrics and other music-based game shows was that artistic talent (such as the ability to sing or dance in an aesthetically pleasing way) was 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 Version[]

Correct song lines Prize (1st FOX version) Prize (2nd FOX version)
1 $2,500
2 $5,000
3 $10,000
4 $25,000
5 $50,000
6 $100,000 $75,000
7 $200,000 $100,000
8 $350,000 $150,000
9 $500,000 $250,000
10 $1,000,000

The structure of the show was similar to another FOX game show Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?. Contestants were given nine categories (such as "pop", "The Rolling Stones", or "divas"). Contestants would pick one of the categories. They were then given a choice of two different songs. The contestant then chose one of the songs and were told how many many missing words they would have to provide. The band would start to play the song and the lyrics were displayed on large monitors in front of the contestant, who would sing karaoke style. At some point, the lyrics were shown as blank spaces and the music stopped. The contestant then filled in those blank spaces. They could then decide to "lock in" the lyrics (which was the same effect as saying "Final Answer" on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?), choose one of the "backups", which were answer-assistance options that were similar to lifelines, or choose to walk away with the money they had won to that point.

Lyric Colors[]

  • When the music played as they sang, the lyrics were white.
  • Lyrics were initially filled in with yellow text
  • As each lyric was locked in, the text changed to blue
  • Lyrics then revealed to be correct turned green
  • Lyrics that were incorrect turned red, which ended the game

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


Similar to the "3 lifelines" concept from Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, there were three answer-assistance options, or "backups", that the contestant could use for help if they were stumped.

  • Backup Singer – Allowed one of the contestant's two friends or family members the opportunity to help them by singing along with the contestant. Afterwards, the contestant was given the choice of sticking with their lyric or going with their backup singer's lyric if it was different.
  • 2 Words – Allowed the contestant to choose any two of the missing words after they had answered but before the answer was locked in, and they would be told what those words were. When the player used this backup after selecting a word that was incorrect or missing as one of the two, it would automatically be corrected. This was removed for the 2nd FOX version.
  • 3 Lines – Gave the contestant a choice of three possible answers, of which one was the correct response. If the choices had common words within them, the lyrics would have the common words automatically turn green.

Each backup could only be used once, and while the backup singer would still be available for the Million-Dollar Song (if it had not been already used) the other two backups would be revoked. Contestants could be required to use up their backups on the ninth song if they had not done so already, because there was a warning that, if a backup wasn't used on the ninth song when the backup(s) was/were available, the remaining unused backup option(s) would be automatically used (except for the backup singer) after the lyrics were locked in.

Million-Dollar Song[]

Contestants who answer the first nine songs correctly could risk the money for the Million-Dollar Song. There was no other information on the song revealed to the player other than that the song was a #1 hit from one of the nine categories featured in their game. On the first FOX version, the $25,000 guarantee was immediately increased to $100,000. Any remaining backups (excluding the backup singer) were revoked (taken away or out of play) after locking in the ninth song, and the other information was only revealed if the player decided to go for it. After the contestant sang, they could change it if they wanted, but they had the option to lock in something or walk away. If the lyrics to the Million-Dollar Song were incorrect or the contestant opted to walk away by not locking in the lyric, the contestant would leave with the guaranteed money. If correct, the contestant won $1,000,000.

On the first FOX version, no contestant won $1,000,000, but seven players reached the final level. Two decided to play for the Million-Dollar Song and failed, while the other five (including one team) decided not to play the Million-Dollar Song and walk away with $500,000. A different sound was used for locked-in incorrect lyrics on the Million-Dollar Song.

Syndicated Version[]

The format was based on the syndicated changes to fellow 20th Television game show Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?. One contestant played the entire show, and would play four songs from four different categories. Each song correctly increased the player's winnings as follows:

Correct song lines Prize
1 $1,000
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 Song[]

After playing all four categories, the player could attempt the Encore Song or stop. If the player won $10,000 at this point, the Encore Song was worth $50,000 if sung correctly, with a $1,000 guarantee in case of a miss. If a contestant gave an incorrect answer at any previous level, the player's winnings would be doubled should he/she correctly sing the Encore Song. Again, the song was a #1 hit from one of the four categories and a loss of $5,000 or less gave them a custom MP3 player (this was 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)

Poster for the Nash era[]

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Main Theme - "China Grove" by Rickey Minor


CBS Television City

International Versions[]

Countries that have done their own versions of Don't Forget the Lyrics! include:

  • Austria
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Croatia
  • Denmark
  • Egypt
  • France
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Malaysia
  • Mexico
  • Montenegro
  • New Zealand
  • Nigeria
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Russia
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Spain
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Tunisia
  • United Kingdom
  • Vietnam


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Similar Show[]

The Singing Bee


This was the first game show to have a black man (Brady) to be replaced by a black woman (Nash).


FOX version {Brady era} (via Internet Archive)
Syndicated version {McGrath era} (via Internet Archive)
Casting sheet for the Nash version
FOX version {Nash era}