Avoiding the bells and big notes of talent franchises like X Factor and Got Talent, the stage of this Māori Television series is Aotearoa’s streets and night markets. Passing punters hit the mic to see if they can make it through three karaoke rounds to win $1000. It replaced long-running studio karaoke show Homai Te Pakipakai, and is hosted by Te Hamua Nikora and Luke Bird. Created by Bailey Mackey (The GC) and Jonathon Urlich, the format sold to global company FremantleMedia. Raved The Spinoff writer Madeleine Chapman: "Sidewalk Karaoke is so simple it’s genius."
Thanks partly to enthusiastic host Te Hamua Nikora, Homai Te Pakipaki soon won a keen following. Over nine years the sometimes rough and unrehearsed karaoke contest became a Friday night staple on Māori Television — encouraging young and not so young to shine, as they performed and competed for a cash prize, sometimes to studio audiences numbering as high as 3000. Alongside Nikora, the band of hosts included award-winner Mātai Smith, 2008 series winner Pikiteora Mura-Hita and radio's Brent Mio. In 2016 Nikora returned to co-host follow-up show Sidewalk Karaoke.