Seven's new singing contest tunes in to diversity
AFTER hosting RocKwiz and the Eurovision Song Contest for SBS, Julia Zemiro's next musical show had to be something special.
The TV presenter, actor and comedian returns to commercial television in Seven's All Together Now.
The new reality singing show follows solo singers and groups as they try to impress The 100, a panel of singers and music industry experts, for a shot at a $100,000 grand prize.
"When I saw the English show I said to (production company) Endemol Shine, 'The English do this really well. They cast for real diversity. It will make me really sad if I meet all our contestants and they're all young and white,'" she tells The Guide.
"I was pleased to see they were from everywhere. There were different sizes, shapes, genders - there was everything. I was really thrilled about that.
"This is a chance for non-professionals to get up there. One of the things I liked about it is the prize is just cash, not a record contract where you will be doing things you might not be happy with and it may not get you anywhere anyway."
The show features an impressive six-storey wall of seats for The 100. Helmed by captain Ronan Keating, the panellists turn their lights on and stand up for the acts they find impressive.
Singers are scored based on how many panellists they get up and dancing, with the best acts across seven heats progressing to the grand final.
"The first day on set when they had plugged in all the lights and I walked on there I felt like I was on Eurovision," Zemiro says.
"I get to play on a big enormous set where the lights come up out of the ground and there's this incredible panel with six storeys' worth of judges.
"What's different to the English version is all of our judges really can sing and they do a song at the beginning of every episode. It was so much fun."
Zemiro says the feel-good show nurtures talent and even those who are eliminated walk away with valuable feedback.
"I visited most of the contestants before they went on stage and I was always quite surprised at how chilled they were," she says.
"Some of them were like 'I'm ready to do something scary' and some just wanted to see what 100 very different people think of their work.
"These are new voices you haven't heard before. Coming from RocKwiz I know there are some voices in rock 'n' roll that people would judge as being not good voices. It's not always how perfect the notes are. You can be the most brilliant technical singer but can you entertain and connect with an audience?"
All Together Now premieres on Sunday at 7pm on Channel 7.