Wednesday, June 1, 2011

This Is Platinum Hit

Platinum Hit Sneak Peek [HD]     Bravo's newest reality competition show is Platinum Hit. With echoes of Project Runway in the manner in which the contest happens, though every week is group work week, Platinum Hit sets itself apart from the other music competitions like American Idol and The Voice because contestants are judged not on how well they sing, but on how good they are at writing songs. The series begins with 12 hopefuls, and in the first contest, each are assigned thirty minutes to write a tag for a piece about Los Angeles. Four tags are chosen, and then those four winners choose two others to help them write a full song based on the tag, with eight hours to do so. The four trios perform their songs, and the judges send one contestant home. They are told that every week will be a collaborative effort, though it's probably safe to assume that won't be the case once the field narrows considerable.

     The results are mixed, though some pretty decent music comes out of the challenge. The winning song, conceived by Nick Nittoli, is wonderful, as is the runner up. But the two songs in the bottom are both dreadful, drawing a distinctive line in the sand. A contestant is eliminated from the losing team. While the two assistants try to pin the blame on the guy that wrote the original tag, host Jewell has none of it, demanding to know what each member contributed, and reminding them that all of them have responsibilities. Ultimately, the one that goes home is the guy who contributed very little, Nevin James, rather than the team leader.

     The host of Platinum Hit is Jewell, and she is tough as nails. Not only does she work with the contestants to explain the challenges, but she also sits with the judges and freely comments. She is outspoken, but fair. While in other reality shows the host is not really a participant, it is already clear this will not be the case with Jewell, and why not? She knows the industry, and what it takes to make it.

     Kara DioGuardi, who you may remember as an American Idol judge, shines much brighter in this series. She is a song writer herself, and really brings that knowledge and talent together in a way that will help these aspiring authors. Without having to compete with Simon and Randy, knowing she is the main voice of the judging table, Kara comes across as much more competent than in her previous television work. While Jewell is also a strong voice, the two have a good chemistry and working relationship, and these women run this show. In fact, it's hard to even remember after who the other judges are.

     The contestants are mostly complete unknowns, though a few have some visible work. Scotty Granger has been on Wipeout and The One: Making a Music Star, so he's practically a professional reality TV contestant. Amber Ojeda was in several episodes of Veronica Mars as different characters, and then recently appeared in an episode of Terriers. Jackie Tohn has the longest credit list, with spots on CSI: NY, Memphis Beat, The Closer, Angel, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Veronica Mars, Strangers With Candy, The Nanny, and The Sopranos, as well as making it Hollywood on American Idol's eighth season.

     This series is new, original, and has fresh voices. While some of the gooy Bravo directing and music bring it down slightly, it is worth watching this summer, far better than The Voice or other reality shows. Give it a chance. Platinum Hit airs Mondays nights at 10 p.m. ET on Bravo.

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     Click here to watch the first episode of Platinum Hit streaming for free, and click here to buy the music featured this week.

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