TVOvermind Interview: John Barrowman Talks ABC’s Sing Your Face Off


Tonight on ABC, a new and exciting competition show begins, Sing Your Face Off, where celebrities get to be transformed into iconic singers. The show is judged by none other than Captain Jack Harkness and Malcolm Meryln himself, John Barrowman, and we recently had the honor to talk to him about what he loves the most when it comes to hosting a show, what fans can expect and we also get some Arrow talk out of him as well.

Andy Behbakht: I know you have hosted several shows before, so what is it that you enjoy the most about being a host for a show like Sing Your Face Off?

John Barrowman: Well because I get to have a lot of fun, I’m not playing a character, I’m being myself and that’s what I love about hosting. I can laugh when I want to laugh. I can feel sad when I want to feel sad so yeah it’s being myself and that’s what I enjoyed about this because this is a show where you will laugh either with them or you are going to laugh at them [laughs].

AB: I was just wondering when I was reading about the show was if you could be a participant, what singer would you want to be “transformed” into and what song and why?

JB: Oh gosh, well of course I would have to say something outrageous so let’s say Madonna and let’s do something like from the 80’s, either “Lucky Star” or something like that. If I was going to do another realm, like let’s say something like Elton John which is totally against, and when I say against, it’s like different from what I am, look wise. Then let’s also say if it was someone more current, how about someone like and this is the weird thing because I do sing, I do covers the music on my albums but like Michael Bublé would be fun.

AB: I would love to see you pull off “Vogue” from Madonna when you were mentioning her; it’s like one of my favorite songs of hers.

JB: Awesome! We’ll put that in, put “Vogue” in, that’s better!

AB: Sure deal! I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about Debbie Gibson and Darrell Hammond as the judges for the show?

JB: Well, they are really good because this show is an entertainment based talent show where we are asking celebrities to become other people, Darrell is right there because he is one of the great impersonators and impressionists from Saturday Night Live and you know, he is excellent at what he does so that’s his qualifications kind of in that aspect. Also Debbie being one of the biggest selling pop artists of the 80’s, I think somewhere in the mid to late 80’s and early 90’s, she is qualified to look at the singing.

And then we have a guest judge who we have on board who, you know, depending on the evening or the characters, the iconic singers that the contestants are becoming, they are there to show their expertise on certain areas too. For instances, we have RuPaul in it at one point and obviously that may be when people are crossing genders so it’s all relative and all fun, it’s all hysterical.

AB: What do you think the viewers will enjoy the most from seeing Sing Your Face Off?

JB: I think they will enjoy the fact that they can be entertained, the fact that they won’t have to sit back and don’t have to judge somebody and feel like they got to go out their album. This is a show where you are going to enjoy the performances that are happening, you are going to laugh, you are going to be able to sit down with your family and have a good time while you are watching this show. Again, like I said, you are going to either laugh with them or at them so that’s what I think the audience and the transformations, [hesitate], I don’t want to give it away: certain transformations are going to be just flabbergasted at them.

AB: There’s always so many of these music shows and I was wondering, what can you say that is special about this show compared to some of the other shows that you have hosted before?

JB: Well, this show is not a looking for a new star, this show is looking for someone who is basically there to entertain people and again, enjoy themselves. We are watching other people having fun doing this, we are not out to find a new singing sensation, that’s the major thing that’s different. It’s still a competition, you are still going to hear some good criticism, you are going to hear some funny criticism and you are going to some outrageous behavior from everybody, that’s what is going to be different. It’s not taking too seriously.


AB: For anyone who doesn’t know about the show and so on, why should they tune in for this show on May 31?

JB: It’s like I said, if you want to be entertained, you want to laugh, you want to feel good and you want to take yourself away from what is going on in your world and just enjoy yourself, that’s the main reason to tune in because you will, you will enjoy yourself. You will laugh and you will have a good time.

AB: And I know you can’t probably say too much the participants as of yet, but what has been the fun thing for you to see them transform into their respective artist that they are singing?

JB: Let me put it this way: Landry Fields, the basketball player, you are going to see him become an iconic female singer, which is just jaw-dropping and outrageous. Lisa Rinna is also going to cross genders, Jon Lovitz is going to sing something that will blow you away that you had no clue he had that in him.

There are other contestants like China [Anne McClain] and Sebastian Bach, a rock n roll singer, who are going to do just things that are completely opposite and out of their comfort zones, that’s what you are going to tune in to see: people being taken out of their comfort zones and basically like, it’s almost like putting a parachute on them and shoving them off a plane, going “Oh will it open?”

AB: [laughs], sweet and lastly, I’m very excited that you are going to become a series regular on Arrow next season, congrats to that first of all.

JB: Thank you!

AB: I know you can’t say much about it because it’s Arrow, a lot of it is a secret and so on, but what is the most exciting thing for you as an actor being able to join the show as a series regular now compared to season 1, season 2 and so on?

JB: Well, it’s a steady job! [laughs]

AB: Yeah, that’s true!

JB: What is most exciting about it is the fact that I will get to explore Malcolm Merlyn rather than just in four episodes or in two episodes or in three episodes, I get to explore him over the course of a whole season and also to bring more of his mayhem and his, shall we say, his craziness to the world of Arrow.  So I’m very looking forward to that and also to controlling the city and beating the crap out of Oliver.

AB: [laughs] Any more chaining Oliver up in the roof and taking his shirt off like you did in the season [one] finale?

JB: Listen, I have said in the contract that anything I’m doing with Oliver or Stephen Amell, it has to involve his shirt being off!

AB: Well, all of us viewers really appreciate it!

JB: [laughs], and that’s why I do it because I know you guys all want it!

Sing Your Face Off premieres tonight, 9/8c on ABC. For more information about Sing Your Face Off, please head over to ABC’s official website here. If you want to follow John Barrowman’s work and upcoming projects (such as his extended role on Arrow next season), check out his official website by clicking her as well follow him on Facebook and Twitter

[Photos via ABC]

Andy has contributed to sites such as KSiteTV,and It's Just Movies. While working as a TV Critic for TVOvermind, he is also a podcaster and podcast producer for as well as a moderator of and Andy is also the founder/owner/editor in chief of He has always had a big passion for writing and analyzing superhero, fantasy and sci-fi television. Follow him on Twitter @AndyBehbakht
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