Music of the Night: Jamie Foxx Lays Down Some ‘Beat Shazam’

Beat Shazam - Jamie Foxx, highlights

Fox’s tuneful new competition series pits pairs of contestants against each other as they vie to be the first to correctly identify hit songs, with the victors facing off against Shazam, the popular “What’s that song?” phone app. The music cred will be provided by Grammy- and Oscar-winning actor and musician Jamie Foxx, who certainly knows a thing or two about beats. The Ray star shares his thoughts about joining the game-show-host ranks and why it’s OK to get a little emotional.

Why did you want to be a part of Beat Shazam?
I love music. And running my mouth. I love bringing the party.

What have you done to prepare? Have you been playing with the app Shazam?
I’ve been going to rehearsals! At first I was like, “Rehearsals? It’s a game show!” When you’re doing the show and you don’t know what you’re saying, what you’re doing, [plus dealing with] standards and practices—it’s a lot.

Which classic TV hosts have you been looking to for inspiration?
My favorite is Richard Dawson of Family Feud. He was the greatest—especially when you got the wrong answer. And Don Cornelius from Soul Train. I’m just watching them and getting tips. A little old-school Johnny Carson as well, you know what I’m saying?

What part of you are we seeing now that we might not have seen before?
We definitely make sure that the focal point is the contestants. You’re going to hear stories about them. One guy in rehearsal said, “I never got the chance to take my wife on a honeymoon.” So that “Awww man”—you’re gonna root for them.

How are you keeping yourself from getting too involved in the contestants’ backstories?
I just get attached. I’m emotional! Sometimes I break protocol, but that’s the fun of it. Being attached is good.

Beat Shazam, Series Premiere, Thursday, May 25, 8/7c, Fox