'Sing Your Face Off's' John Barrowman: Brilliant, funny musical transformations

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"Sing Your Face Off" is a new reality competition coming to ABC Saturday (May 31) and hosted by John Barrowman ("Arrow," "Doctor Who," "Torchwood"). But what is this strange hybrid of singing and comedy? Find out what you need to know from Zap2it's chat with Barrowman.

Zap2it: So what is this "Sing Your Face Off" show?
John Barrowman: If you want to sit back, have a bowl of popcorn with your family and be entertained on Saturday, then this is the show to watch. You are going to see some transformations from people that are going to be not only brilliant but also outrageous and hysterically funny.

How does all of this insanity actually work then?
In a nutshell, the celebrities who are involved gave us a list of iconic performers they would like to portray. Then as a production we took other iconic singers, mixed it up together. And then on a wheel, at the end of each performance -- first performance it's chosen for them, and then every show they choose who they're going to do in the next show. So it's at random.

The thing that's amazing is women become young men or men, and young girls become older men and men become women. We cross all barriers and all boundaries and do it in an exceptionally tasteful and fun way that everyone at home is going to have a great laugh.

How did you get involved, and how do you see your job as host?
I've been hosting -- as you call it here -- or presenting shows in the U.K. for the past 20 years, and I knew one of the executive producers here. ... You can drive a show. If it starts to get a little bit out of control, you can rein it in, you can drive it back. And you can control the judges, most importantly.

Will you join in on the singing?
I will not be singing, no, in this. Whereas these celebrities will be impersonating or taking on the personas of these iconic singers, I won't. I won't be jumping in at this point. Perhaps if we do a second series, I might jump in with some iconic character performances. I'll let my first album come out here in the U.S., to let people know that I actually am a singer, before pretending to be somebody else.

Which participating stars are standouts?
I don't want to tell you who they are, but what I can say is you will be bowled over by Landry Fields, the basketball player. You will be shocked by Lisa Rinna. And you will be amazed by Jon Lovitz. Oh my gosh! And some of those performances -- you're either going to sit back and laugh with us or you're going to laugh at them, which is amazing.

Do the stars have to be good singers or just people willing to be crazy on-camera?
Some of it is the willingness to be crazy, but most of these people can sing. But what the challenge is -- you can have a singing voice, but the challenge is singing and sounding like somebody else. Because you have to take on the way they pronounce their vowel sounds, the way they move they're body. So it's a completely different thing. It's not just coming out there, being yourself and doing an interpretation of them. So it's a great transformation to watch!

"Sing Your Face Off" premieres Saturday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. Zap2it also talked with Barrowman about Season 3 of "Arrow."

Photo/Video credit: ABC