Friday, November 23, 2012

Killer Karaoke: Singing plus humiliation plus Steve-O equals fun!

Killer Karaoke is part The Voice, part Fear factor, and all guilty pleasure.

Posted By on Fri, Nov 23, 2012 at 4:00 AM

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There's something wildly entertaining about watching people make complete asses out of themselves for a chance at winning a small sum of money. It probably has to do with being a 21st-century American living in a society that gets its jollies from the humiliation of others. And so we have Killer Karaoke (9 p.m. Fridays, premiering Nov. 23 on TruTV), the new game show hosted by Jackass' loveable self-torturer Steve-O, because why not?

Killer Karaoke claims to be the only game show to ever combine the art of singing with Fear Factor-esque challenges. (I didn't fact check their claim, but I take them at their word.) Three pairs of contestants are faced with the task of singing a song while performing a stunt — walking through a patch of cacti with impairment goggles on, getting immersed in a tank of snakes, then getting immersed in a tank of larger snakes, etc. — for just the chance of winning up to $10,000. If instead you end up winning a shade over $5,000 for your troubles, what's the difference really? We're basically splitting hairs. The live audience votes after each challenge for which of the two contestants should move onto the final round, where the remaining three compete for the cash.

I'm just as surprised as I imagine you'll be when I say Killer Karaoke may have the legs to be relatively successful. Self-deprecation is funny, and it's even funnier when the people doing it are failed musicians trying to keep their singing dignity intact while walking into pits of fish guts and maggots. The makers of Killer Karaoke know this, and spend their time thinking up creative ways to humiliate the contestants rather than attempt to draw some misguided empathy from the viewers. Steve-O is both likeable and random enough to serve as the host, giving the show a solid C-list (too generous?) celebrity to carry it along.

The biggest thing Killer Karaoke has going for it is that it's on truTV, a cable network that has a low threshold for success when it comes to viewership numbers. And considering the success of similar slapstick competition-based shows such as Most Extreme Elimination Challenge and Wipeout, it's not hard to imagine that there's a particular audience out there waiting for a show like Killer Karaoke. I anticipate flipping through channels late at night sometime in the near future and settling on Killer Karaoke, shamelessly chuckling at my TV and content in the knowledge that this show is exactly what's wrong with America.

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