Formats: Sing Your Face Off Thailand

The Thai version of talent show Sing Your Face Off breaks the ceiling on the number of celebrity participants, with a line-up of six famous Thai faces – Es Kantapong, Mac Verakhanit, Eaky Ekachai, Tubtim Anyarin, Grace Glanklaw and Bifern Pudsakorn.

The 13-episode Thai version of Endemol Shine’s Your Face Sounds Familiar took six months of planning. The show premiered on 13 June and airs on terrestrial network Channel 7 at 3.45pm on Saturdays.

Costing about US$1.7 million to produce, the show involves four commentators and a host. This is less than half the budget of 2012’s US$4 million charity reality show Game Ne Ra Mit.

Sing Your Face Off has no elimination and the weekly winners are judged by home viewers’ SMS votes. The weekly prize is THB100,000/US$2,960 and the grand prize is THB1 million/US$29,604. Cash prizes won are donated to charity organisations, pre-selected by the celebrities.

Varavuth Jentanakul, chief executive officer of production house Zense Entertainment, says the secret sauce is chemistry between celebrities, hosts, commentators, plus the ability to compromise. And lots of rehearsals. 

“Many things had to be changed to suit Thai tastes,” he says. 

Other than changing the name, customisation for Thailand included reducing the number of contestants from eight to six (to fit into the 75-minute slot). 

In addition, the title “weekly winner” was changed to “most popular” performance of the week (to avoid labeling the celebrities as winners/losers) and renaming the season’s “winner” as “Sing Your Face Off of the Year”. 

The transformations were perfected by, among other magic, sending mold’s back to the U.S. tor a team of Hollywood prosthetic professionals, before shipping them back to Thailand. Jentanakul says feature-film-quality special effects were deployed to deliver a sense of realism.

Half way through production on the 13 episodes, Zense is considering a ‘live’ broadcast for the final episode “so that the last minute SMS scores from audience at home can be real time”.

Rating wise, the first episode garnered 2.2 TVR and the second episode on 22 June scored 2.4 TVR. The highest TVR recorded for an international format remake by Zense is 10.8 TVR for an episode of The Money Drop Thailand aired on 20 December last year.

Is a second season on the cards? “We have not yet decided,” Jentanakul says, adding: “It all depends on audience response and overall ratings of this season”.