Dayton musician competes on ‘We Are Family’ TV game show



Dayton musician Nick Testa’s love of music and pop culture manifested itself into an opportunity to appear as a contestant on “We Are Family,” a new music game show airing Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on Fox.

Hosted by Anthony Anderson and his mother, Doris Bowman, “We Are Family,” which debuted Jan. 3, is a fun and breezy blend of “The Masked Singer” and “Claim to Fame.” The hour-long, 10-episode show centers on non-famous relatives of celebrities performing duets with their hidden famous family member. Testa is among 100 contestants vying for a chance to win up to $150,000 if correctly guessing the secret celebrities with help of various clues.

“This show piqued my interest in a lot of ways because it hit different aspects I enjoy,” said Testa, 41. “I love pop culture and music and it was also a guessing game. But my favorite part of the whole experience was seeing how it all worked. I’ve watched countless game shows and television shows and I’ve always wondered how the cameras work and other (elements) of production like lighting. It was great to see how everybody was in sync and on time. It was really cool. Anthony Anderson was also funny, friendly, professional and efficient.”

Having hosted a pop culture trivia night at Blind Bob’s in the Oregon District many years ago, Testa says he was excited to audition back in 2022 for what was then an untitled show simply about pop culture.

“I’ve always been really into popular culture — celebrities, movies, music, TV, comics and video games,” he said. “A friend of mine sent me an Instagram post asking if I was interested in being on a pop culture trivia game show. I (applied) just to see if it would work out. I did a short video and they called me that day — I didn’t expect that. After a very long process of auditions and a lot of ups and downs, I found out on my birthday, Sept. 13, that they actually needed me for the show, which was filming on Sept. 20.”

When he arrived on set in Atlanta, he says he still did not know what the show was actually about.

“They were very secretive about everything,” said Testa. “None of the applicants knew about the premise at all.”

When the taping began, he says he wasn’t completely thrown for a loop with the task of guessing celebrities musically. Placed in the top row of the second of four sections and referred to as Nicky due to two other contestants named Nick, he enjoyed the magnitude of the celebrity reveals and the overall format.

“I was surprised but not in a bad way,” said Testa. “It was definitely an interesting (premise). I like live music of any type so I was very happy to see people singing and listening to different voices. There were some really talented singers. And I really was surprised about which celebrities would be (revealed). I had no clue.”

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

During the three-week taping, he also enjoyed the camaraderie among the contestants, who were housed together in a nearby hotel. He was impressed in particular by the amount of diversity and representation which sweetened his gratefulness.

“I got to meet people from all across the country and of various ages, backgrounds and ethnicities,” said Testa. “I met people I never thought I would be able to meet. There were several days we didn’t tape at all. I was several hundred miles away from my family as well so it was nice for those who were more outgoing than I am to invite me to hang out with them at a baseball game, go to an aquarium and do other fun activities.”

Testa also says the connections didn’t stop when the taping ended.

“I developed actual friendships,” he said. “For instance, I still talk every day with the small group of people I opened up to.”

When he isn’t absorbing pop culture, Testa finds artistic comfort and release on stage as he plays guitar and sings with NightBeast, a pop punk band formed in 2011, and DJs on weekends at Hole in the Wall in the Oregon District.

“Music gives me a feeling of freedom I don’t have anywhere else,” he said. “Music is an expression just like dance, art or other hobbies. It’s also a chance to get out all pent-up aggression or ill feelings. It’s very therapeutic.”

In addition to working at Miami Valley Meals, which distributes food across the Dayton region, he lives in Washington Township with his wife, Jaime, and their 10-year-old son, Harvey.

Credit: Will Smith

Credit: Will Smith

As “We Are Family” continues, Testa hints that the Jan. 31 episode could potentially spotlight him. Above all, he hopes the series provides audiences with cheerful moments of joy.

“It’s just nice to watch something pleasant on TV that’s really funny and has a lot of good aspects,” he said. “This show is an hour of escape and I think a lot of people need that right now.”

To view the season premiere, visit

How to watch

What: “We Are Family”

When: 9 p.m. Wednesdays on Fox and streaming Thursdays on Hulu

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