WALK The Line viewers who tuned in to the first episode of Simon Cowell's latest TV venture all had the same question.
Viewers watched Maya Jama host the new ITV singing competition and introduce the judges, one of whom had fans scratching their heads as to why she was there at all.
Music icon Gary Barlow, award winning performer Alesha Dixon, comedy legend Dawn French, and chart superstar Craig David are on the stellar judging panel.
The show sees musical acts – be they soloists, duos or bands – take to the stage to perform for the nation and the judges.
But to win the prize money, talent alone isn’t enough.
The contestants will need nerves of steel as they determine whether to cash out or physically Walk The Line and risk it all to stay in the competition.
The act that finishes at the top of the leaderboard then progresses to the next night’s show, where they will face a new line-up of performers.
The longer they can stay in the competition, the bigger the prize pot.
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Walk The Line's first episode attracted mixed reviews, but many viewers wondered why Dawn was a judge on a music show.
Dawn is best known for her comedy and acting, including in Vicar of Dibley.
"I’m just here trying to figure out why is Dawn French doing on a singing show," wrote one fan on Twitter.
Another added: "Love Dawn French, but why is she a ‘judge’ on a singing competition?"
And a third wrote: "Has #dawnfrench wandered into the wrong studio?"
Even host Maya made a dig at Dawn for her seemingly lack of singing expertise.
"Dawn French the icon! Now you are the only one on the panel who's not technically a singer," she said in her introduction.
Dawn replied: "That's rude! Excuse me Maya, may I correct you a moment? I've had a very illustrious career in singing, roll VT!"
The VT showed Dawn in multiple singing skits as the audience cheered.
Maya then retracted her comment: "I mean I take back everything I said. That proves your place on the panel perfectly."
Many viewers loved Dawn's contribution to the show, with one fan writing: "I’m saying this now & I’m saying it with total confidence. I think @Dawn_French may have single-handedly saved the talent show format. I haven’t watched any since #TheCircle (which should never have been cancelled… SEND!). Dawn – you are JUST what the nation needs #WalkTheLine."
Dawn who studied at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama alongside longtime collaborator, Jennifer Saunders, can in fact sing but sometimes her nerves get the better of her.
She revealed she was guaranteed in the hit film Mamma Mia! but stumbled during her singing audition.
“I was asked to read for the part and was told it was pretty much mine, I just had to do a musical audition but it was definitely in the bag," Dawn said on the Graham Norton show in 2017.
“Everyone at the audition was lovely and chatty with me until I sang.
“I was so nervous that I couldn’t sing at all – it was terrible and as I left the room, all those people that had been so lovely to me were just staring at the table and no one said a word.
“By the time I got downstairs my agent had texted to say, ‘This just isn’t going to work love’!”
Walk The Line airs at 8pm every night on ITV until Friday, December 17, 2021.
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