Bravo's new Platinum Hit competition celebrates musical idiocy in action while NBC's hit series soars on the strength of its savvy judges; which is kind of strange, given that Platinum Hit judges Jewel and Kara DioGuardi have each penned their share of good songs. So why does Platinum Hit suck so bad?
The answer can be summed up in four words: "L.A., my city."
That's the chorus for the composition that took first prize during the series' debut episode. Never mind that this "hook" reeks of inauthentic boosterism. More annoyngly, the winning team forced a weirdly accented rhyme into their tagline by pronouncing city as "ci-TAY."
Stephen Sondheim, who railed against "slant rhymes" in his excellent memoir, Finishing the Hat, would probably follow his brilliant West Side Story collaborator Arthur Laurents to an early grave were he subjected to such doggerel.
To be fair, asking three random strangers to sit in a room for a few minutes and create a quality pop number is about as reasonable as hurling eggs against the wall and expecting a fluffy omelette in return.
Still, Platinum Hit might slide by as a poor man's American idol were it not for NBC's riveting reality check, The Voice. The show runs circles around every other music series largely because its judges actually know what they're talking about.
Country singer Blake Shelton steers his proteges from the Bombast Zone if they start indulging in faux-soul logorrhea.
Christina Aguilera also gives shrewd notes to her divas-in-training as when she she advises one timid young singer to shed her insecurities and go for the emotional jugular. Rounding out the panel, Maroon Five lead singer Adam Levine and cuddly-quirky singer Cee Lo Green articulate their critiques with insights that bear the ring of hit-making truth.
It helps that The Voice competitors come across as sincere, humble and eager to learn from the pros. By comparison, Platinum Hit's wannabe pop stars seem callow, arrogant, and defensive. Then again, backstage rivalry makes for juicy reality-based dramatics. This judge's verdict: watch Platinum Hit for the dysfunctional personalities.
For smart music-making, listen to The Voice.
Platinum Hit airs Mondays at 10 p.m. / 9 Central on Bravo.
The Voice airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m / 9 Central on NBC.