Darren McMullen hosts the TV series The Big Music Quiz.
Darren McMullen hosts the TV series The Big Music Quiz. Channel 7

Darren's back on song in The Big Music Quiz

HIS departure from The Voice may have been quiet, but Darren McMullen has a fun new gig to shout about from the rafters.

The Scottish-born TV presenter hosts Channel 7's new entertainment show The Big Music Quiz.

The show's premiere last week was a surprise hit for Seven, rating better than The Block and Australian Survivor.

Each week eight celebrities, who range from actors and comedians to athletes and musicians, face off in a game of general pop music trivia.

"This is the big, shiny-floor, prime-time version of Spicks and Specks," he told APN's The Guide.

"It's a high-energy show; there's a lot of getting up and dancing."

Adapted from a French variety show, the series is loud, bright and fast-paced.

"The French show goes for two or three hours late at night, so it's a bit risque," McMullen said.

"Our version is different enough to be classified a different show. It's a fun, family-friendly show with songs from every genre and era. Our hope is it can be one of those shows families can play along with."

McMullen took up residence in Melbourne with his girlfriend, American actress Crystal Reed, for the series, which was filmed in front of an 800-strong audience.

The couple lives in Palm Springs, near LA, where McMullen currently has two travel shows in development.

"It's nice being with a foreigner who hasn't experienced your country before," he said.

"When you see it through their eyes, you fall in love with the place all over again."

The Big Music Quiz doesn't just have an enthusiastic audience. It also gets its celebrity guests out of their chairs.

"I meet all of the guys before we film the show and I say 'have fun, be crazy; you're not locked in your chair'. But I don't necessarily expect them to do it," McMullen said.

"A lot of people in this industry are quite precious and they don't want to let the wall down, so I was shocked by how quickly the walls went down and the guests embraced this show.

"Every single person pretty much said 'Can I please come back on this show? I loved it'."

The panel quiz show also brings together unusual celebrity pairings. Rebel Wilson and Bindi Irwin, for example, will team up on the show tonight.

"Rebel's hilarious. It's very hard to not laugh when she's talking to you," he said.

"She has this perfectly dry delivery and her comic timing is just spot-on.

"Denise Scott was someone I'd seen on telly a few times, but I was surprised to see how quick-witted and self deprecating she is.

"A lot of our guests are actors or morning show hosts and people like that, and we're only used to seeing them a certain way. To see them outside the box was one of the most fun parts."

It doesn't take long for the competitive spirit to kick in amongst the celebrity guests as they take on deceptively difficult questions.

"I played the game once during rehearsals and I was absolutely useless at it," McMullen laughed.

"The executive producer took my spot so I could have a go and I was absolutely terrible. It's really hard. We have DJs and musicians who pride themselves on music trivia who struggle a bit.

"You might know the name of the song but the artists' names can be tricky. I think of it as a bit of a musical master class."

The Big Music Quiz airs tonight at 7pm on Channel 7.

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