Similar to "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?," a contestant eighteen years of age or older is selected to appear on the show and is given a choice of songs to sing, if they think they know the lyrics. They select the nine songs from a category list consisting of various genres or subjects (Pop, Rock, R & B, Divas, One-hit Wonders, etc). They are then given a choice of two songs per category, and the contestant picks the one they think they know. The melody to the chosen song is played by Rickey Minor and his band, while the lyrics are displayed in front of the contestant and audience. At a random point during the song, the melody will go away and the lyrics will be replaced with blanks. The contestant then has to sing the missing lyrics with the proper amount of words that equal the number of blank spaces (usually beginning with 3 missing words, but going as high as 13). The contestant can decide to tell the host, Wayne Brady, to "lock in those lyrics!" or use one of their three backups if they are unsure about the accuracy of the words they have just sung. The backups are as follows:
A "Backup Singer" (two people, usually a friend or relative accompanying the contestant for support). The singer picks one of the two vocal backups to sing the song with them, and hopefully they are able to supply the correct lyrics; "Two Words", where the contestant picks two words out of the number required that they want to know the correct lyrics to; or "Three Lines", where three lyric lines are displayed as choices A, B and C, but only one line is correct. If the contestant gets the lyrics to a song wrong before they reach the US $25,000 level, the contestant receives US $0. If they miss the lyrics to a song that is ABOVE the US $25,000 level, the contestant walks away with an automatic minimum of US $25,000. They also have the chance to take their money and quit at any time above the US $25,000 level.
After all nine songs are successfully completed, the singer is given the opportunity to remember the lyrics of a song that is worth US $1,000,000. If the contestant gets the song incorrect, they receive (at first) US $25,000, but if the contestant gets the song correct they recieve US $1,000,000. After a good deal of episodes passed and many contestants passed on taking a chance for the $1,000,000 prize, for fear of losing and leaving with just $25,000 and instead left with a guaranteed $500,000, the producers decided to raise the guarantee that if a player tried for the million dollar song and missed, he/she left with $100,000. If air time allows, a new contestant is introduced and the game starts all over again.