I wasn’t sure I wanted to recap this show, but having watched the first real episode (alongside my husband, who HATES reality shows but likes this), I’ve decided yeah, I’m going to.
Note – it’s a Friday night so I will, at best, recap on Saturday night.
My dvr is going to get a workout this month.
So, the kids are kids – bright, funny, talented kids. You know they were picked for personality as well as talent – who wants to watch a reality show with tongue-tied contestants staring at the camera? And it’s paid off, I think. I’m keeping my eye on little ginger Grace, who steals the scenes just by being in them. And wearing inappropriate tutus.
They’re put in a van and taken to their very elaborate studio, which they find very cool. It includes a recording booth, a stage, a full band (just for them) and an area with a bunch of director chairs with their names on them called the “Classroom.”
I like that. It very much sets the theme for the series – not a competition so much as a seminar on how to be an entertainer, with the mentors – a choreographer (with assistants), a vocal coach, a music director (the band’s keyboardist) and the executive producer for songwriting help – more as teachers than anything else. I like that vibe VERY much. The choreographer, Alex Larson, worked for Beyonce and Spice Girls; the vocal coach is Debra Byrd, who works for American Idol (billed on screen, interestingly, as “Vocal coach Kelly Clarkson/Adam Lambert” Kelly is not supposed to be on this show), Paul Mirkovich, the musical director, has worked with everyone, and the two songwriting mentors are Evan”Kidd” Boggart and DQ Quinones.
Yeah, websites are useful. Mentors.
The kids get a hangout room called “the Hangout Room”. There’s also a milkshake bar. This also excites them – there’s a blackboard and a message board and instruments and couches and a computer on which to record video blogs. They sing together.
They have a songwriting session with Evan – handed a copy of an original song called “One World”, which they are invited to rewrite to make more relevant in a brainstorming session. Some of these kids are already songwriters, so this is a good thing for them – a touch of real world skills.
Choreography doesn’t go as well – these kids are young, few have had dance training and it’s a new world for them. Alex (who has an annoying to me habit of wearing beanies pulled over only one ear) has a big job. He does view himself as teaching them how to move on stage in general as well as for this particular song (which will be performed in six days in front of an audience), and I like that a lot, too.
They then meet Brandy (and recognize her and sing one of her songs with no problems.) Brandy, as a former child performer herself, is perfect for this. I THINK, although it’s not totally clear, that she’s going to be a permanent “major” in addition to the guest “majors” each week.
She meets and hugs the kids and signs their chair backs and they sign hers and hang it up in their hangout room, and they love her.
They have a couple of sessions with her – once, showing her what they can do, with a couple of kids singing their own original songs and then telling her how it feels to them when they sing on stage. She’s amazed at all their answers.
But, to me, the best was a session with DQ, Debra, Paul and Beyonce to do some work on their song. They listen to the kids, and what the kids have to say and encourage them to find places to show their points of view. One little girl messes up an attempt, and immediately, Brandy shows her how to achieve what she wants, and works with her. And that makes it all worthwhile. These kids are being TAUGHT, they’re not competing.
There’s also a cute session where they get fitted for their ear monitors and mics and get confused, and some mock suspense when Alex says they’re not ready to perform mere hours before they perform.
And the performance is cute. They sing well, and Grace wears a tutu over a pair of shorts so I’m pretty sure they picked their own clothes, but the sound mixing was such that I could barely hear the solos.
I think I like this and I want to see how far this goes.