Although I had never seen or heard of the game show Name That Tune before, a tempting ticket offer brought me to the Imperial Palace. This show is an audience participation game show. Like other television game show based shows that are playing in Las Vegas the show strives to allow as many members of the audience to participate as possible.
The advertisements for Name That Tune promote that fifty audience members are used during every show. Since turn out for the 7:30PM show on Friday October 14th seemed dismal I decided to count the audience to figure the probability of being called to participate. There were 48 people in the audience. The turn out was very depressing, the show room at the Imperial Palace did not even open their bar service for the dismal crowd. Before the show began I asked the manager if everyone would get to participate since the signs advertise fifty people for every show. Unfortunately, not all of the audience signed a waiver that would allow them to participate so the show was run in its abridged format: thirty contestants making my chances of being called on stage approximately 60%.
Name that tune opens with a short video describing the history of the show, as well as some clips of the older episodes. The two hosts are then introduced: Zowie Bowie and Marlie Taylor. Zowie may be a familiar face to the readers of this forum as his old show was also reviewed. The two sing a duet that could pass as a catchy jingle to advertise the show. A DJ is set up on the left of the stage. He serves as the person who selects the contestants as well as playing all the music that people have to name.
The first round occurs and ten people are called up on stage. Two rows each, containing five buzzers on pedestals, are on separate sides of the stage, with a dual podium buzzer in the middle. Parts of a song are played and the first person to recognize the song hit buzzer and was asked to name it. Each time the person guessed correctly they received one point. After getting two points, they were allowed to move on to the next round. The music played was mostly older songs, pre 1990. Since there were no show tunes or dance music I did not recognize any of the songs, I figured I was in trouble if I was selected for the second or third round. About four of the people in the first round scored points, with two of them being allowed to move to the next round. There were three rounds where two people from the first and second and three people from the third were allowed to move to the next part of the game.
To my delight, I was chosen on the second round. Ascending the stage with the other nine people I had high hopes for the $10,000 grand prize or one of the other consolation prizes. The first song played was the ABBA classic Mamma Mia. I smashed the buzzer with all my might, but to my demise someone else had buzzed in before me, but I believe the buzzer was not working as I hit the button only after two seconds. One other song that I was beaten to was Mocking Bird. Those were the only two songs I knew out of all of the ones played. My group took a little longer to select the people to move on to the next part of the game. Each person called on stage that did not advance was given a key chain as a consolation prize.
The next part of the game would be more familiar to people who used to watch Name That Tune. Unlike the television show where they had to name the tune in a certain amount of notes, they had to name the tune in a certain amount of seconds. The ten people who moved onto the next part of the game returned to the ten buzzers and were faced with the person on the opposite side of the stage who had the corresponding buzzer: the person closest to the middle had to face the person on the opposite side of the stage who was closest to the middle, etc…
Zowie read a clue about the song and one person had to say how many seconds they could name that song. If the other person believed they could name it in less they would counter the offer. The limit was between ten and one second. The person who would wager first alternated between the left and right side. Only two clues read would have allowed me to name the tune immediately. The first was "This 80's song by AH-HA won awards for its unique music video" Obviously it was Take On Me. The second was "This Goo Goo Dolls song from their album Dizzy Up The Girl opens with a woman blowing smoke into a balloon." I knew right away it was Black Balloon. From the ten people that participated in this round five people were selected to move to the third round. The consolation prize for this round was two tickets to the Rat Pack show at the Rio.
The third round was the mash-up round. The DJ played a thirty-second clip containing ten songs by one artist. Although some may think this artist would have been an easy win for me I am not a fan of Lady GaGa. They played the mash-up twice as the participants seemed somewhat clueless, as dance music tends to sound the same. Only one person was able to name all ten songs. The audience was invited to play along as a prize was offered to anyone who could name all ten songs. Since nobody was able to they scaled the requirement to eight yet this did not yield any winners either. The participants in this round were given tickets to Frank Marino's Divas.
The final round was a "beat the clock" game where the person had to correctly name fifteen songs in less than a minute. They were given two lifelines: a pass and a poll the audience. Oddly the rules of the game required the person to poll the audience first. The grand prize was $10,000, which was displayed in a plastic box. It was very obvious the money was all in dollar bills since $10,000 in hundreds would not make a very grand display, similar to the million dollar display being mostly in dollar bills at Binion's. The first song he was required to name was I Got You Babe. The only other song he was able to name was the Tracy Chapman hit Give Me One Reason. Although he did not win the grand prize, he was given a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon and a spa gift certificate.
Name That Tune was a very fun show, it is something one can attend more than once and have a great time. Zowie and Marlie often did small musical numbers together, such as Summer Nights from Grease as it was one of the songs from the first round. Zowie was very engaging with the audience. After asking where one of the contestants was from the man responded Salt Lake City. One man from the audience yelled, "Is he Mormon?" to which Zowie did not seem sure what to say, but laughed as the man from the audience then yelled "More man that I can handle?" Zowie did say it was the final Friday night show and the performances would continue daily except for Friday at 4:00 PM. Although there are not huge prizes that can be easily won, Name That Tune is quite an enjoyable experience. Each person leaving the theatre was given a coupon for two free tickets for a future show and encouraged to return. Perhaps they are hurting for audience members so it is advisable to go soon as the show may not play for much longer.
Name that Tune
Sat.-Thur., 4:00 PM