Singles come out to step up their game

By Colin Shively

The dating world is always a game full of strategies, rules, losses and wins. Yet it is the competition of dating that can create an intense and fun atmosphere that gives single individuals the comfort they need to actually start playing. The name of the game now is Single Mingle.

Single Mingle, a brand new, live game show in Chicago, takes place at Spy Bar, 646 N. Franklin St., where single men and women of any sexual orientation can play to win the heart of another. Set up like the old-fashioned bachelor and bachelorette shows, Single Mingle kicked off on Jan. 21 with its head in the game.

Co-founders Mitchel Migliore and Tana Elise McFarlane came up with the idea of Single Mingle in August 2009 when they were casually talking about how fun it would be to get on a TV game show.

“We then started talking about being single and Tana put a twist on it to put it into a game show,” Migliore said. “These were all different conversations that we all kind of gelled together to form this one.”

Single Mingle is run differently than the traditional dating game show, McFarlane said. There are questions asked from the main contestant to three potentials, but the questions can be created by the bachelor/bachelorette, not just the host, and instead of one round, there are three.

“How, in 12 minutes, when asking questions to people you can’t see, can you get a good gist of who you like?” McFarlane said. “That is why we put in three unique rounds.”

The first round, playfully named “First Base,” is the basic question and answer portion of the game. The second round is the pop quiz, where the bachelor/bachelorette has the opportunity to ask anyone from the crowd who know the prospects any questions that come to mind, and anything goes.

“Everyone loves the third round, called ‘Blind Date,’” Migliore said. “We originally called it ‘Let’s Get Physical,’ but it has definitely changed to Blind Date.”

The third round happens when everyone who attends puts on a blinder and spins a wheel that has different lyrics labeled around it, McFarlane said. Once the wheel stops, they have to do the dance with their date. After the end of the routine, the audience decides who the best dancer is.

The bachelor/bachelorette is chosen after they have applied online and have gone through a compatibility test, and two in-depth interviews. After that, the rest of the applications are matched up to figure out who the main contestant will be and who the prospects are. The participants drink for free, which McFarlane and Migliore said they believe loosens the contestants up.

The great thing about Single Mingle is, even if someone is not chosen by the bachelor or bachelorette, they usually find someone in the audience who has taken interest after the game show, McFarlane said. There is a chance for anyone who comes to the show to either watch or participate, she said.

Single Mingle is advertised solely by social media and passing out fliers at parties, which got the show more than 100 applications for the first night alone, with many more submissions already in for the following show.

Their sponsors is what makes everything possible, MacFarlane said. Their first show was sponsored by Spy Bar, Rosebud Trattoria (who also hosted the after-party) and SEE. Through them, the free drinks and awards are possible.

The biggest show being planned right now is for Valentine’s Day. However, the final segments of the show have not been fully formed quite yet, though they are planning on having speed dating and random contestant picks to mix the game up a bit.

“We are very excited to do the show again after the first time,” Migliore said. “The first time is always a bit stressful, but it turned out to be amazing. We have our footing and are going to go from there.”