Here in the U.S., John Barrowman is best known for his roles as Malcolm Merlyn on "Arrow" and Captain Jack in "Doctor Who" and "Torchwood," but in the U.K., the Glasgow, Scotland-born actor spent a good deal of time on TV as a presenter.
"The thing I like about presenting is I get to be myself," said Barrowman, who will be the host of ABC's new series "Sing Your Face Off," premiering on Saturday, May 31. "I get to not play a character, not pretend to be a bad guy or a sci-fi hero, I get to be John Barrowman. I get to get involved and actually laugh with the contestants, laugh at them, be spontaneous, and do silly things. I get to be myself and that is what attracted me to it."
"Sing Your Face Off" features several celebrities who are transformed and trained to perform as a legendary musical icon. Over the course of the series, the five celebrities -- Sebastian Bach, legendary rock star from the band Skid Row; Landry Fields, from the NBA's Toronto Raptors; Jon Lovitz, comedian, actor, singer; China Anne McClain, who stars in Disney Channel's "A.N.T. Farm;" and Lisa Rinna, Billie from "Days of Our Lives" -- will take on the identity of an iconic music performer. The celebrities could find themselves transformed into someone far older, younger or even someone of the opposite sex.
And there will be gender crossing with males performing as female artists, and females as male artists.
"It's not about putting someone in a dress to be outrageous and stupid," said Barrowman. "All I will say is Landry Fields, our basketball player, gets to become a female iconic singer. He does a brilliant job at it. My comment to him afterwards was, 'You're going to find it tough in the locker room after this, aren't you? Because they are going to want you to dress up as her.'"
Barrowman, who has spent more than 15 years on stage in London and on Broadway in musicals such as Miss Saigon, The Phantom of the Opera, Sunset Boulevard and La Cage aux Folles, says if he were a performer on "Sing Your Face Off" instead of the host, he would want to take on Madonna's "Vogue" because it is "outrageous."
"I do covers of Michael Bublé numbers, but I do my interpretation of them," he says when asked which male artist he would perform. "I think it would be fun to try to be Michael Bublé, who moves in, what I call, an awkwardly awesome way."
Fans of Barrowman as a singer can pre-order his new You Raise Me Up album, which will be released on June 30.
"It is different in the sense that it is all covers of famous songs that are out there already, but I was not under the thumb of a record company because my fans funded this album," he says. 'They allowed me to chose songs that represent moments in my life that are happy or sad, or moments that are celebratory, songs that I have always wanted to sing. I recorded them. I think it is my best album so far."
Tune in on Saturday, May 31 at 9 p.m. ET/PT when "Sing Your Face Off" premieres on ABC.