How Does E!’s New Show ‘Clash of the Cover Bands’ Actually Work?

Corey Cesare
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Clash of the Cover BandsCasey Durkin/E! Entertainment

The show that seemed too good to be true has officially premiered on E! Clash of the Cover Bands is a love letter to the bands that created today’s iconic music. It strives to bring tribute bands head-to-head for a prize of $10,000 as well as a performance on The Jimmy Fallon Show.


Now that this show has premiered, we can finally break down exactly what happens when you compete. To begin, each episode features only two tribute bands. Considering the show only has two bands, it has a shorter run time than most of our favorite shows, only 30 minutes. This show feels like it moves a bit quickly, but seriously has a way to keep you invested.

What are the Judges Critiquing?

In each episode, the two cover bands begin by performing separately for the judges. The judging panel consists of Adam Lambert, Meghan Trainor, and Ester Dean. After their original performance, judges give notes to the bands.

The notes to the band consist of any and everything that the judges feel will help them improve to be more like the band they’re paying tribute to. The point of a tribute band is to make the audience feel like they’re watching the original artist.


From there, the groups are given coaches to work with. The coaches are determined based on what the judges decided the groups need to work on most.

How do You Win ‘Clash of the Cover Bands’?

After working with coaches, the bands return to the stage and battle head-to-head. For the head-to-head round, they are on two separate stages, one for each band. One band kicks off the battle by playing a song by their respective group then part way through the other band takes over. The two bands go back and forth for a handful of songs.

Once their head-to-head battles conclude, the judges tell each band what their strong points were after their coaching sessions. Once again, this judging round is not primarily about how well the groups did vocally, instead the judges consider aspects like stage presence and overall resemblance to the original group. The key thing judges are determining is the authenticity of the tribute group’s portrayal of the band. This is definitely a show where improvement is what will win you the prize.


From all of those key factors, the judges determine who walks home with $10,000 and a performance on The Jimmy Fallon Show. On top of the money, they walk away with the night of their performance, they’re also in the running to be the best cover band of the season.

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