Beat Shazam logo
Release Date
May 25th, 2017
Binge time
8.25 hours 

As a music, quiz and game show lover, I decided to delve into new territory and give Fox’s new app-inspired music-quiz Beat Shazam a go. Hosted by Jamie Foxx (Baby Driver, Django Unchained), Beat Shazam requires teams of two to listen to snippets of songs and give the title as quickly as possible in order to win (really) big bucks.

For the first section of the game there are five rounds of four songs, each with its own musical category. The beautiful October Gonzalez hits the decks one song at a time, each with four answers to choose from. The team that gets it right the fastest gets some money in the bank.

Each correct song per round is worth an increasing amount. The first round is worth $1,000 then $2,000, $3,000, $5,000 and finally the fifth $10,000. On top of that the “fast track”, or final song of each category, is worth double. Basically, there’s just a whole lot of cash being thrown at these guys constantly.

However, after the third round, the team with the least amount of money in the bank says an emotional farewell and leaves with nothing. At the end of the fifth round, the team with the least goes home with half of the money they have accumulated, leaving the leaders to face the almighty musical app itself.

The all-knowing Shazam app in Beat Shazam

Shazam, the app that made having a nameless tune stuck in your head for weeks a thing of the past, is not only the inspiration for the show but also the final boss. In the “Beat Shazam” round, the final team plays for a potential one million dollars (as they constantly remind us), by guessing five more songs, without multiple choice answers, before Shazam does.

Jamie Foxx lets it be known that Shazam’s average guessing speed is between 2 and 5 seconds, which is pretty darn fast. Each correct answer is worth $25,000, but one wrong or missed song means there’s no chance at the later million for those players.

Finally, in a “deal or no deal” turn, players are offered a sixth song and given the category in which only one team member can play, and then must decide if they will risk having their prize doubled with a correct answer or cut in half with a wrong one. And if they have beaten Shazam on every other song so far, this sixth song is where they are offered the $1,000,000.

The way the money is given out here is so stupidly confusing, and took me several watches to understand. But once again, all you really need to know is that these people are just being offered ridiculous amounts of money for doing very little.

Jamie Foxx and guests in Beat Shazam

It’s a whole lot of energy, and singing, and dancing, and screaming answers into Jamie Foxx’s face. Jamie Foxx is a mediocre host, in my opinion, who comes across as thinking he’s hilarious (and isn’t) and has somewhere a lot better to be than hosting a weirdly niche game show. I reluctantly agree with him.

In fact, it appears that app-inspired game shows are the trend of 2017. In July CBS released Candy Crush, hosted by Mario Lopez: a physical game show set in a huge arena where the mobile thumb-swiping game is somehow transformed to be played on giant screens. Additionally, in June The Game Show Network released Emogenius, which was not only my nickname in high school but is also a show in which contestants win money by writing and deciphering messages made out of emoji characters, because even with emoji plushies and the Emoji Movie coming out, the world still just wants more!

Other shows aside, if you like over the top nonsense and loud noises and bright lights then Beat Shazam is a win. If I was there in the audience I would be having a great time. It looks impossible not to. But watching from home, for someone like me, there’s just not enough challenge to go along with the rave atmosphere; if you do the maths there are really only 25 or 26 couple second-long song snippets per 45-minute episode, which makes you wonder how on earth they manage to fill up the rest.

On the plus side, I did really well playing along at home and I’m pretty sure I would’ve won the million on a number of occasions, so that’s something at least.