It was a strong week for music on TV. There are now three shows heavily based in music airing in a two day period: Platinum Hit, America's Got Talent, and The Voice. There's also the return of So You Think You Can Dance, which is always good for an overdubbing controversy. On Platinum Hit, four songs were written about Los Angeles. Sketchy Details' favorite Jackie Tohn (with teammates Johnny Marnell and Melissa Rapp) did a really nice nice mid-tempo acoustic song called "City of Dreams." It was perhaps a bit too laid back to catch the judges' ears for the win, but it's got a catchy hook and a cohesive sound.
The winning team from the challenge (Nic Nittoli, Sketchy Details' favorite Jes Hudak, and Karen Waldrup) wrote this rock song that to me just feels oddly dated. I want to say it feels almost a bit late 90s emo in style but I know that's not what I'm trying to describe. It's like then Dashboard Confessional covered now Panic! at the Disco. Maybe more like Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. But that's all in the arrangement. The song itself and performances are strong.
And then this happened. Sonyae Elise went on stage by herself with a digital synth backing track for a song she wrote with Blessing Offer and Amber Ojeda. It's just strange. The lyrics are very literal and the melody is non-existent. Yet somehow the judges saved this team from elimination because of one vocal phrase: "Love it or hate."
How bad did the other team do to deserve losing the challenge? Try poor use of African-drum, whispered vocals, and no energy in the arrangement of their song "No One Again." It's boring. You know what's worst than bad in the music industry? Boring. It sounds like the hippies who show up in the city park and start jamming away until the police chase them off.
On America's Got Talent, we saw a mediocre rocker faux-Pearl Jam his way through Sarah McLachlan's "Angel." If only he played guitar, he'd be guaranteed to win the show.
More importantly, we saw a trio of elementary school rappers perform an original song about the importance of studying in school. They have great energy and when you can make out the lyrics (like "and G stands for Genius") it's a very good family friendly rap song.
And a technology driven dance troupe made one of the new Black Eyed Peas songs a bearable experience. The woman at the laptop programmed the light show and choreographed the routine. It's impressive.
Finally, on The Voice, a bunch of talented singers lost battles to more commercially appealing singers. This was the most egregious example. The shorter girl, Cherie, is a professional songwriter and back-up singer. She wrote Reba McEntire's hit "Turn On the Radio." The other girl has pitch problems throughout the song until the glory note on the bridge and wins for having cool red shoes. At least that's what Christina Aguilera says. Take it away, Team Christina.