Who wouldn't want to spend your Saturday night with John Barrowman? Our favorite multi-talented entertainer is showing off a whole other side of himself as the host of ABC's Sing Your Face Off, in which celebrities are transformed into various singing superstars. We couldn't resist catching up with John on Wednesday to ask him about getting to do something completely different, as well as his own forthcoming album.
Those of you who know John from Arrow or Torchwood might be thrown to see him as here, but his background is in theater; he made for an amazing Albin in La Cage aux Folles in 2009, to name but one example. When you know that fact, it's not surprising that he's the perfect master of ceremonies for this larger than life show.
"It goes back to when my nieces and nephews were younger and even now, we get together as a family, and we do dress up and we perform and we sing," he told us. "So to take all that and when a show comes on and I'm asked to host it...it's the perfect match, totally."
"And I get to host it and be John Barrowman," he added. "I don't have to be somebody else."
Being somebody else falls to the five participating celebrities - Skid Row's Sebastian Bach, the Toronto Raptors' Landry Fields, comedian and actor Jon Lovitz (NewsRadio), and actresses China Anne McClain (A.N.T. Farm) and Lisa Rinna (Melrose Place). Each week, they assume the identity of a music star and perform for a panel that includes Darrell Hammond (Saturday Night Live) and pop singer Debbie Gibson.
"Jon Lovitz is going to blow you away with one of his singing performances that I didn't think even he knew he could do," John teased. "Landry Fields, your jaw is going to drop, because he's a female at one point." You'll also see, among others, Lisa Rinna becoming Britney Spears and Sebastian Bach taking on The Voice's Adam Levine.
"You're looking at a pure entertainment competition," John told us. "We're not looking for a new famous star. We're not looking to create a recording contract with somebody, because all of these individuals are famous in their own right. It's a family entertainment show."
You can check out a preview for Sing Your Face Off at the top of this article.
John is not your standard TV host, either. Aside from his sparkling personality and years of hosting experience, he proved with his judging stints on talent competitions Any Dream Will Do, How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? and I'd Do Anything that he delivers great critiques. Does he get a chance to offer his astute opinions on Sing Your Face Off?
"Of course I do!" he enthused. "I do get to chime in a little bit. What's nice, having been a judge on shows like that before, I kind of know how to lead the judges here to say what they're really thinking."
The crazy productive multi-hyphenate is staying busy, having been promoted to series regular on The CW's Arrow and completing the third book in the Hollow Earth young adult series he co-writes with his sister, Carole. He's also about to release his next studio album, You Raise Me Up, which you'll be able to enjoy next month.
"It's done and it's available for pre-order on iTunes," he told us. "If you pre-order the whole album, you get the first track right now. It's officially out on June 30th in the UK and worldwide. It's been completely funded by the fans...I have chosen every song. It's from the heart." You can pre-order the album here.
With the record on its way, will we get to see John bring some of his music to the Sing Your Face Off stage? "Not on this one," he said. "What I'm waiting for is a musical to be done by ABC." Paul Lee, take note - you'd be crazy if you don't make this happen.
Sing Your Face Off premieres tomorrow at 9 PM ET/PT on ABC. For more on John, be sure you're following him on Twitter (@Team_Barrowman), visit his official website (johnbarrowman.com), and you can also read our feature interview with him from last May.