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.