Another music competition – this one is about songwriting, something I need to keep in mind because there’s a lot of singing and that shouldn’t affect results. Although, yes, it will.
A dozen songwriters with all sorts of genres and names converge at the Grammy museum in LA – Jackie, Scotty, Nick, Sonyae, Nevin, Brian, Karen, Jes, Blessing, Amber, Johnny and Melissa, plus Blessing’s Guide Dog Tommy.
Jewel, who likes the shiny, welcomes them to LA and then tells them they need to write a hook – the catchy part of a song – in 30 minutes. Their subject? Los Angeles. So, they separate out to find instruments and/or microphones – except for Nick who writes HIS hook before Jewel sends them on their way.
Nick is obnoxious, and Sonyae isn’t much better. Lots of big egos here. Confidence is good, ego is not.
The “hitmakers” (really, Bravo? Okay) converge again, and they meet their head judge – Kara DioGuardo. Yeah. I’m beginning to see something here. Kara and Jewel are to pick the best four hooks out of the lot. To my ears, the best was Jackie’s.
Jackie Tohn’s, to be exact. You might remember her. She made it to the group rounds in Season 8. Yeah. Later, we find out that Scotty is Jordin Sparks’s creative director. And there’s one more surprise, but that comes later.
I hate Sonyae’s but the judges like it. A lot. So much that not only is she part of the top four, she’s the top. The others are Jackie, Nick (of the instant hook) and Scotty. And their prize? Picking teams to make full songs out of their hooks. Sonyae went first, and picked Blessing solely because he played an instrument. She then picked Amber who didn’t want to work with her, but had no choice. Jackie picked Johnny and Jes; Scotty picked Brian and Nevin and Nick picked Karen and Melissa. Well, Nick had no choice about Melissa.
They have eight hours to write their songs.
They all work together in differing ways. Sonyae quickly realized she should have put some thought into her choices, Scotty worked better with Brian and Jackie worked really well with Johnny – in fact, I can sense a showmance here.
Be warned. I adore showmances.
Nick was just Nick.
The judges for the song round are Jewel, Kara, and Trevor Jerideau, who is the A&R guy for RCA/Jive, who also give the winner a song contract. Guest judge is Jermaine Dupri, who is a songwriter for major R&B works. (Edited for actual information)
Lots of Idol here – a former judge, a former contestant, someone who works for an Idol and the old record company. I find that interesting.
The teams sing. The first three are all pretty good, and I want to hear more of Jackie’s. Sonyae is NOT good. Also, unlike the others, but with her team’s blessings (yeah, yeah, Blessing. What can I do?)Sonyae sings alone – no back voices, no instruments, just a backing track. She also shouts. But it’s NOT a singing contest so her vocals shouldn’t matter. Yet, they do.
Top two are Nick and Jackie, and Nick wins. Nick’s song was good and it was catchy. So, okay. I still like Jackie’s better.
So it’s Scotty and Sonyae for bottom two, with one member of the losing team going home. Sonyae misses the bottom by a hair and a pretty melody. That leaves Nick, and the fact that he alienated his listeners with “they” and didn’t emotionally connect with the song – his pretty vocals didn’t help it. The judges pick Nevin (whom I suspect was born James Nevin, not Nevin James, but I could well be wrong) to go home. He believes he has something to show the world of music.
I…think I like this show. It’s interesting to see even a highly dramatized version of the song writing process – like the creation of fashion for Project Runway and the creation of dishes for Top Chef. It’s very much a Bravo show, in fact. And we know that songs can be written in about that time span, so it’s not even that unrealistic.