Pretty much everyone knows six songs, but is that enough to lead to $1 million?
Contestants on "The Winner Is," premiering tonight (July 11) on NBC hope their singing and their ability to gauge competitors' performances and handicap their odds lead to the prize.
"If you can imagine 'The Voice' and 'Deal or No Deal' having a baby, that is 'The Winner Is,' " says host Nick Lachey.
The summer show had a sneak peek in June and begins its regular run this week.
"It is a head-to-head singing competition," he tells Zap2it. "After they perform, the 101 people in the audience vote."
Lachey starts by offering contestants $10,000 to leave. Each episode showcases six contestants, and one advances to the final.
"You have to believe in yourself," Lachey says. But as much as performers need confidence, they also need to "be objective and say, 'I won't win that one,' and there is a mental warfare."
Though every singing competition has its moment where fans complain that the wrong person won, the way this is set up could lead to more such questions. The best singer could misinterpret audience reaction or lack confidence and take the money and run.
The singers could say, "You know what? I feel I did not win the 101 [audience members] over," Lachey says, "And then found out they had won. That has happened, and the person with the lower score ends up moving up."
Auditions were held in five cities around the country and online. The show taped in the spring before an audience of music bloggers, critics and DJs. Singers ranged from 10-year-olds to the elderly and from soloists to groups.
"You need confidence, but you also need perspective," Lachey says. "The shame is when someone has been beaten, and they refuse to come to terms with it and leave the show with nothing. I have seen people leave $50,000 on the table. You also don't want to take the money and tap out and find out you could win. It is a real tricky thing."