Platinum Hit Recap: So They Think They Can Write Dance Music?

Here’s hoping American Idol judges Randy Jackson and Jennifer Lopez were tuning in for the sophomore outing of Platinum Hit, Bravo’s new reality competition for the songwriting set. Judges Kara DioGuardi, Jewel, Trevor Jerideau, and special guest Donna Summer provided the kind of succinct, specific feedback that was all too infrequent during Idol‘s recently concluded 10th season.

Monday night’s episode found the 11 remaining contestants writing hooks for a pre-recorded dance track; the winning three composers then chose teams from the remaining songwriters and hit the studio to create full tracks that were road-tested for a crowd of L.A. clubgoers.

I’ll admit I had some doubts about Scotty’s initial hook — or more specifically, his corny title “Paint This Club With Amazing.” But by the time incredibly annoying Nick and resident diva Sonyae added a counter melody and some holleration to the mix, I was ready to add the finished product to my Calorie Burner playlist. As Donna pointed out, the group (which also included milquetoast Melissa) managed to fill every moment of the track with something interesting. Bonus points for a slow and low delivery of the word “mojo,” although did anyone else think it a little odd that Scotty is even eligible for Platinum Hit, considering his boast about having written seven No. 1 hits in Europe? (Maybe it was only Lichtenstein?)

This week’s runner-up, “My Ridiculous,” had the unlikely distinction of rewarding Brian for finding artistic inspiration in Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy.” I liked the scrappy wordplay he concocted with Jackie and Jes, but I disagreed with the judges that the team should have recorded the track with Brian’s low voice. I actually really dug the way Jes’s airy vocals added an ethereal quality to the chorus, especially the “hey, baby” line.

And then, of course, there was the losing team of Karen, Blessing, Amber, and Johnny. I realize Karen failed to heed Donna’s advice to punch up the uniqueness of her lyrics and transform her soaring melody line from something downright “stock,” but hey, at least she contributed something to the mix. Kara’s feedback, that lyrically, the team never delved into the message of the song’s title, “Make It Easy,” was not only appropriately critical, but gave the remaining players food for thought in future rounds. And ultimately, I felt like the judges made the right call in sending home Blessing, who essentially shrugged off his responsibilities in the studio on account of his lack of connection to dance music, and whose initial hook, “Dance Romance,” was a musical abomination. “You can’t just opt out of a songwriting session,” huffed Jewel. Indeed! I hate to agree with Nick on anything, but the competition isn’t supposed to reward “the best blind guy with a dog who can sing.”

What did you think of this week’s episode? Did you enjoy it more than last week’s season premiere? Do you have a favorite contestant thus far? Sound off below, and for all my reality recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Jason says:

    Loved it. The ratings seem to bomb, but I think it’s unique. Kara is an excellent judge and seems to be in her element with this show. I hope more people start tuning in. Nick makes for a fantastic villain. He even has two-toned eyes! I mean come on, that’s villain excellence.

  2. Lauren says:

    I enjoyed this episode more than last week. It was interesting to see a lot of the writers out of their comfort zones and how they reacted to it. And I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Donna Summer as a guest judge. The last time I remember seeing her was playing Steve’s over-weight aunt on “Family Matters.”

  3. Noeladd says:

    I’m really liking this show. I wasn’t a fan of Kara’s when she was on Idol but I think she is really in her element when it comes to judging songwriting. I’m also impressed with how quickly the contestants come up with their hooks.

  4. J says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who preferred hearing Jes’s high vocals on “My Ridiculous.” I think that, in order to use Brian’s low voice in the chorus, the entire song would have had to be sung by him, because it would have lost energy in going from the female voice in the verses to a low male voice in the chorus.

  5. jessica says:

    I doubt Randy Jackson and Jennifer Lopez care about this flop.
    Already talking about canceling it haha.

  6. Elle says:

    I’m loving the show it breaks up the 7 days I have to wait for the next Voice (what can I say I’m addicted!) and it is good to see the writing process.Really enjoying Scotty and Jackie hope one of them wins!

  7. Charlie says:

    “My Ridiculous” gave me chills at the beginning of the chorus with the “Hey Baby”s, and the verses were strong as well. I thought it should have won.

  8. Lee says:

    I think the main reason Karen’s team lost is attributed to her selection of teammates. I mean, she confessed that she likes country music (she’s from Nashville!) and didn’t really know anything about dance music. Well, after she picked Blessing as her first selection, I thought: “Why is she picking a guy who is into big band, jazz, and R&B and probably has not frequented a club in ages? She should pick someone who is familiar with dance music or at least looks like they have gone to a club–someone like Nick or Sonyae. I have no idea why they were picked last but if you don’t know anything about dance music–wouldn’t they be someone you would want on your team?” I predict that Hawaii chick will get eliminated next unless she gets lucky again and winds up on a winning team. I still don’t know what contributions she has made. So far, I’m liking this show. I like the contestants, judges and challenges. Although it looks like Nick is a frontrunner–I don’t think he’ll win. He seems like the type of guy who knows all the mechanics of songwriting but is unable to make the song sound personal with real feelings and emotion. Brian and Jackie impress me the most so far.

  9. beth t says:

    I admit I’m biased because I’m such a fan of Jackie already. ;) I was happy for her when Donna said Jackie’s hook gave her goosebumps. I’m with you in liking the girls’ voices bettter on the chorus of My Ridiculous, but I did think the better song won. (Even though I detest Nick and his attitiude.)

    I’m probbaly one of the few who actually likes Melissa and hopes she gets a genre a little more suited to her style before she has to go home. :)

    I think Kara and Jewel and Trevor are really good judges. I’m very sorry to hear this show isn’t getting the ratings, becasue I find the songwriting process fascinating!

  10. Abe N says:

    A lot of you (and Michael Slezak himself) are WAY judgmental after 2 episodes.
    1. As Beth T comments, the competition thus far has been skewed to those who are familiar with certain genres (like dance). These people shine while others come across as mild. If Challenge 2 was in Blessing’s R&B or big band genre preference for example, you would probably have watched contestants like Brian and Karen stumble with Blessing easily rising to the top.

    2. Reality shows like this are HIGHLY edited and contrived story lines. Best way to judge ACTUAL writing talent and artistic ability/personality is to look these artists up online. By judging based on drama-filled Bravo creations, we really can’t tell who is an actual songwriter and who actually has potential to succeed in the music industry.

    Nick, for example, has nothing of quality to hear online, while Johnny, Melissa, and Amber all have released at least one quality full length record.

    I will admit, of course, that Nick gives great one-liners for Bravo to work with.

    SO, I guess there are two kinds of talents going on here–reality show talent and musician/songwriting talent.

    There you go.

  11. chad says:

    So are the ratings really that bad? It’s not my favorite show but it shows an interesting process with songwriting. Hopefully Bravo will see its potential and give it time to develop. Better than more real housewives bs.

  12. Jay says:

    I really enjoyed this show. It’s very fresh! I hope it gets better with the rating.