Platinum Hit: Long and Winding Road Trip

This week’s episode of Platinum Hit was more grating than a raspberry seed in the tooth. For starters, I’m irked by the fact that the show’s contestants always work in teams, allowing (possibly) weaker songwriters to hide behind their (probably) more talented counterparts. (I mean, can anyone remember anything Amber has done thus far? Also: That chick’s name is Amber, yes?)

Secondly, after repeated listens, I cannot fathom what the judges liked about Team Jes’ “Home for Me,” which sounded like something that got buried under a Lilith Fair side stage back in 1998 (and should’ve been left unexhumed).

And lastly, there’s the budding (and wholly contrived) showmance between Jes and Johnny. Children, please. If I want to bask in the spine-tingling goodness of verboten love, I’ll rewatch The Good Wife‘s season 2 finale on my DVR. I certainly don’t need to see some wispy-haired troubadour sliding down his door all googly-eyed after bidding adieu to his ladyfriend.

Okay, I’m done with my rant. Actually, that’s a lie. But here’s the good, bad, and hairtastrophes of this week’s shindig, which had our contestants writing songs and hooks about road trips.

* Okay, so everyone knows Nick is hoping to be appointed Douchemaster General of the United States of America. But methinks his near constant state of petulance — “I don’t work at Goodyear, and I don’t care about wheels,” he screeched about his assigned word for the road trip hook challenge — is more an attempt to score screen time than a genuine inner horribleness. Which raises the question: Is it worse to be a total prat because you can’t help it, or just act like one for attention?

* I’m liking a lot of head judge Kara DioGuardi’s feedback to the contestants, but I draw the line at “wisdom” like “life is a songwriting session.” Grrrl? No.

* I was glad Jackie and Johnny got rewarded for their best-in-show material in the hook challenge, but to my ears, the utter lack of a decent third candidate was further evidence that the judges need to let the little birdies fly solo to help separate the Dylans from the Ke$has.

* We have yet to see whether or not Melissa has any discernible songwriting chops, but I did get a chuckle out of her confessional boast about one area she is beating the competition: “I know how to spell!” (Alas, this probably won’t get her as far as it should in the world of modern music.)

* I know a lot of Team Jackie’s lyrics were trite, but I’d have still given top prize to “The Road Is Where My Heart Is” — the only track with a melody that stuck in my head five minutes after it got performed. As judge Keith Naftaly pointed out, that bridge was absolutely breathtaking.

* That said, I’m not too too mad at the judges for rewarding Team Johnny and the night’s best line: “Let those tire tracks talk dirt behind my back.” The little changeups in the melody on the repetition of the line “going where I need to be” were awfully sweet, too.

* Not to rag on Team Jes — actually, on second thought, this sentence is all about ragging on Team Jes — I’m not sure what Natasha Bedingfield and the other judges got out of lyrics that sounded like they came from the inside cover of an eighth-grader’s Trapper Keeper. “Faces pass like trees/ On the road to who I’m supposed to be”? Survey says: No!

* Sonyae is growing on me. I mean, yeah, she’s a little bit beastly, but she’s funny-beastly. Take the way she contrasted her work process against that of soon-to-be-ousted Karen: “I’m more of a thinker, and then a gem dropper. Karen is droppin’, droppin’, droppin’, but seldom a gem.”

* Or, as Kara pointed out to Karen, it’s not enough to speak truth in your lyrics, you’ve got to speak it interestingly.

* Finally, memo to Jewel: Your hairdresser is playing some “Foolish Games” atop your head! Those scorched, flyaway-heavy curls were not meant for you. Next time, follow your heart, and your intuition. Or wear a jaunty cap.

What did you think of this week’s Platinum Hit? Did the right song win? Did the right contestant go home? And are you sticking with the show through the rest of the season? 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. MEL31602 says:

    I think they are working in teams because otherwise it would be boring to see people just sitting and thinking about lyrics (like they do in the hook challenge).
    As for the rest of the show:
    I actually thought Jes’s teams song was the best, followed by Johnny’s. And I don’t mind their showmance since they and Jackie are my three favorites and they make a cute couple. I liked the end of Jackie’s team song but the beginning was kind of dull so that’s probably why they lost.
    It is hard for me to get fully into this show though because they don’t really let us get to know the contestants. But that might change once they get rid of more people, a fact that Kara confirmed on her Bravo blog.

    • Lee says:

      I’m with Mel. It would be boring to watch the songwriters write by themselves. Having them write their hooks solo is good enough. I mean, MANY elimination challenges are done in groups on Top Chef except for the Quickfire challenges (which are like the “Writing the Hook” challenges in Platinum Hit). The best known group challenge on Top Chef is Restaurant Row. So I’m fine with the contestants writing their songs in groups for the elimination challenges.

      I liked Johnny’s song the best. I felt it was the most heartfelt which has been sorely lacking so far this season.

  2. Leigh says:

    agreeing with you on all points Mr. Slezak! “The Road is where my heart is” was actually my fav of the three and while I still can’t figure Nick out, I can’t help but love him.

  3. Em R says:

    I still enjoy watching the show but there area lot to be improved if there is to be a next season. I agree, I HATE the showmances. Typically, I can swallow them but this one is so force fed and staged. I am still not a fan of how the performances are taped. The camera work, the panning into lights is very distracting. I don’t mind co-writes, but what I do mind is how much stereotypical character editing that goes into this show. You got the asshole, the country gal who has no brain (which I don’t think is true), nerdy/unassuming guy who has talent ect ect. I would like the focus to be more on the craft, but I’m not going to hold my breath on this one.

    One more thing, Jewel is still a horrible host.

  4. Lauren C. says:

    I know that Kara says contestants are judged solely on lyricism, but I find it hard to believe that their musical prowess isn’t taken into consideration. Otherwise, contestants could just talk their way through the lyrics and the hook winner’s final product wouldn’t be as impressive.

    • janie says:

      I think the only time that only lyrics are in consideration and not how it is sung/performed is during the hook writing process. once the top three hooks are picked then it is all about how they sell the song through performance, lyrics, music and everything.

  5. Al says:

    I think what lost it for Jackie was the mundanity of the melody of her song. IMO it sounded like songs I’ve heard a million times over. What was more appealing about Jes’ song was that it sounded original and fresh (though the lyrics did leave a lot to be desired). Johnny’s win was definitely deserved IMO, purely for the originality and creativity that showed in the lyrics. Overall, I thick that the only contestants that we haven’t seen a whole lot from are Amber and Melissa. It’ll be interesting to see how they perform next week.

  6. Emily house says:

    Platinum hit is really growing on me! I loved the road trip episode!! Can’t wait to watch next week!!!!!!!

  7. Cassandra says:

    Jackie’s team was my favorite. I don’t understand the judges putting it last

  8. renee says:

    really think they could benefit from doing what the next food network star did this week … the weak link on each team was up for elimination, and the weakest went home. def agree some folks are hiding behind stronger team players. what’s also hard for me is listening to how bad some of them sing. wow.

  9. donie says:

    I don’t watch this show but the recap is quite entertaining. Thx!

  10. V says:

    I disagree on two point. I loved Jackie in the first episode, but this week she came off extremely annoying. Her hook was blah, she DOES babble a LOT, she was a terrible leader in her songwriting session and she also denied all accountability on bad lyrics. She basically threw Karen under the bus because she wasn’t smart enough to write her own song the right way herself.

    Two, I think Free was a great song. Admittedly Amber had nothing to do with it, but it did sound like a Natasha Bedingfield song and it was touching. “The hardest thing I’ve ever done is try to find where I belong”. I have been playing it on repeat, and i can totally hear it being part of a great roadtrip movie soundtrack.

    We do agree that Nick seems to only “play” the bad guy for screentime. But that fake douchebag is actually a pretty good songwriter. He’s definitely growing on me lol. I found it extremely touching that he seemed to genuinely care about Karen.

  11. V says:

    I should add that Jackie had a GREAT hook. And a great intro. But omg the lyrics during the verse were uninspiring and confusing. I liked the bridge. I’m surprised at Sonyae’s ability to come up with such great words lol.

  12. Brenda says:

    Hmm, saw a promo for this & DVR’d it but haven’t watched it yet. After reading comments, wondering if it’s worth it… But, as always, got a hoot out of your blog on it, Michael. Will check back in after I view it.

  13. kate says:


  14. ryeo says:

    When I watched the episode, I was like torn. In one case, Jes’ song for me was the best to date. But in another case, I really want Jes’ team to be put into elimination. I’ve been longing for so long to see Melissa and Amber out of the competition. Seriously, they even did not distribute a thing, well especially Melissa for 3 weeks in a row. Please, be gone by next week!

  15. carol says:

    How can I submit my songs?

  16. Blank Slate says:

    Road trips are supposed to be freeing and, hopefully, ending up in a better place from where you began.

    If the producers took me from the Studio apartment set to that roach motel where 3 girls shared a standard bed, I would have said “Thanks, but no thanks.” And no, I’m not that freewheelin One Nation, Paul Revere-challenged Sarah Palin. :}

    Nick is a riot. How much do they get paid to play these roles? You know they are feeding him the arrogance persona drip by drip, script by script.

    I’m enjoying the show. It’s definitely low-budget but fun to watch. I love watching the songs coming together although I think they have to switch up how teams are picked.

    On a side note, as long as Jewel’s appearance was raised, I have to ask: WHAT did she do to, er, enlarge herself? No way she has looked quite so over the top, if you know what I mean.

    Oh no. Help. Two references to Alaskan women in one message. I need a life!


    • janie says:

      she had a baby!! actually this may have been filmed at the beginning of her pregnancy before she was showing

      • Blank Slate says:

        Really? Baby Jewel’s out there?

        Okay. I stand corrected. Thank you. I had no idea.

        Pregnancy definitely gave her body a lift in all the right places!

  17. Michael says:

    I guess I am the odd man out, but I loved the Lillith Fair ditty, but mostly because Jes’ lilting voice is tremendous. I thought that it was a beautiful song. I actually loved all three songs, so maybe I’m just not all that discerning when it comes to music.

  18. Jay says:

    I agree with a lot of what you said except that I really thought that Free song is the best song. It would have won if it’s not a road trip challenge. The winning song is really good. I actually thought that all of the songs are good. There’s no real miss. I am loving this show. I hope it’s got more viewers.

  19. andy says:

    The show is complete and utter trash!
    Quite clearly low budget!! Awful hosts,
    Boring, uninspiring songwriters who are too old and not even all that talented! God save us!!!! What a load of crap!

  20. LauraHolt says:

    While we were often on the same page with AI we have two totally different opinions of this show.

    I rather like it.

    I think it’s because I had extraordinarily low expectations. Given the time constraints, I aniticipated an abundance of ridiculous, half-assed “songs” in the vein of last year’s America’s Got Talent hopeful “I, be in my studio. Studio. I, be in my studio. Studio. I be *pregnant pause* In my studio” With such low standards, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the the contestants.

    Yes, the shomance edit was pretty lame. Yes, Nick’s lack of emotional intelligence and his inability to school his face in to an appropriate expression upon hearing that he is not always the best ‘got real old real quick’. Plus it creeps me out that he looks way TOO much like my baby bro, If my baby bro were to let a child cut his cut & style his hair.

  21. HomeforMe SuperFan says:

    You’re crazy. Home for me may just be the most beautiful song I have ever heard. It was the first thing I had ever heard on this show – I turned it on by chance. I got goosebumps and cried through the whole thing. It should have won.

    Jackie’s song was crap. Who are you?

    Also – comparing Bob Dylan and Ke$ha? Really? I’m guessing that was an attack on Ke$ha – tell that to her sky-rocketing album sales. I own both :)

    This show is a gem. It has a spark and makes me want to start writing again.

  22. Erin says:

    Michael, what happened to your recaps of Platinum Hit? And when are you going to put up your interview with Casey on Idoloonies?

  23. Kathryn says:

    Hey Michael – why did the Platinum Hit recaps end so suddenly? Not enough people watching the show?