Simon Cowell is the mastermind of talent shows. He’s also not afraid to take risks. And he’s combined those two things for his brand-new ITV musical game show Walk The Line where acts are judged on their singing abilities as they battle it out for a life-changing cash prize of £500,000!
The six-part nightly series sees soloists, duos or bands take to the stage to perform, under the watchful eyes of panellists Gary Barlow, Alesha Dixon, Dawn French, and Craig David.
Here, the judges reveal what viewers can expect from TV’s toughest new talent show…
“I love working with undiscovered talent, I’ve always loved Simon’s shows and ITV have always been super kind to me, so I was happy to help,” says Gary. “Viewers can expect a fabulous display of diverse musical talent – from opera to pop to folk – and there’s the twist of a cash prize. I know all the judges, so it’s been great spending time with them. The panel is really strong.”
What advice would you give the acts? “Make music your sole reason to be here. Once that’s your anchor you should be able to deal with anything. Whatever happens, music will be there waiting for you. In showbiz, you should take what you do seriously – but never take yourself too seriously!”
“When Simon told me about the format I thought it sounded really interesting,” says Alesha. “It’s quite difficult to come up with ideas that are fresh because so many things have been done before but there’s something about this that feels different. Jeopardy is the best word to describe it because it has that anticipation in each show – what are they going to do?”
Alesha loves the risk element to Walk The Line. “We’re on the panel to critique but to encourage people to realise life is short, you’ve got to go for it. You’ve got to trust you have the ability and the talent to go all the way. Life is about taking risks. This show sums up that feeling all people go through in life; making important decisions, gambling with their futures, and not knowing what the future holds – but to feel the fear and do it anyway.”
“I’m not an expert in anything except for chocolate and I don’t think that’s very involved here although I’ve got some under our desk,” teases Dawn. “I see myself as the voice of the viewer because everybody else on the panel is in the music industry. I don’t know anything technical about music but I can watch and listen in the way a viewer would. I’m looking out for people’s stage presence and what really grasps my heart.”
And it seems there’s one act that got Dawn’s attention. “We have a group of drag queens who just lifted my heart for a million reasons. Since when did a group of drag queens come on and properly sing – not lipsync – with five part harmonies, look like a complete eye feast, sound fabulous and be completely entertaining? My heart just burst with happiness that they were there. It’s quite a TV moment.”
“Over the years, Simon and I have met each other briefly,” says Craig. “I’ve always been in awe of how he’s been able to go from being an incredible executive of a record company and then taking that into TV. It’s two very different worlds. Even his journey has evolved. It’s an honour when you get asked to be on one of his shows. So for him to call me up, I felt like I was ready for it.”
And Craig reckons viewers will be ready for Walk The Line. “I think it’s good having a music show back on TV in this way. These performers and artists have their destinies in their hands. With this show, it’s also pulling from a pool of artists who may have been backing vocalists for a very well-known star. Or it might be a new artist just starting off. I love the variety here.”
Walk The Line is a six-part show which starts on Sunday, Dec. 12, and will air every night of the following week at 8pm on ITV.