Congratulations go to Sonyae Elise for winning the first season of Platinum Hit. It’s questionable whether the show will ever be renewed for a second season. The show had a very interesting concept, fitting the mold of Project Runway knockoffs like Work of Art and Sheer Genius, but didn’t seem to connect with viewership. The fact that it was left to die on Friday nights was a bad sign of Bravo’s confidence in the show.
There is no real reason why the show didn’t connect like Top Chef. It followed a similar formula beginning with a minor challenge leading into the major challenge.
There was enough villainous character in Nick that people had a person that they could hate, but his music ability was strong enough to keep him around. The music performances were strong and they were available for download on iTunes just as they’ve been on the hit series American Idol and The Voice. Yet the show faded into obscurity.
If the show does get a shot for a second season, here are a few suggestions for improvement:
A solid Tim Gunn-type – When the show began, I was hoping that Kara Dioguardi was going to be more involved in the show, outside of judging. There were a few times when she showed up near the end of the season, giving the contestants advice on how to fix their original idea. In the final episode Evan “Kidd” Bogart was probably the reason why Sonyae kept the title “My Religion” and went on to produce a song with better direction. Either or Kara or Evan arriving during the music sessions would have shaped their music better instead of having the judges complain about the music afterwards.
Other Singers – The judges emphasized that the songs were being judged by the melodies and lyrics, but not as strongly with the performer. A lot of guest judges, like Leona Lewis, said that they would perform the songs. Why not have a challenge where different singers come in and perform the music the songwriters created. There must be enough ‘American Idol’ contestants to agree to perform a song for a basic cable show for extra exposure. This would prove that the songs that were created during challenges were legitimately usable for a singer.
Duets – If songwriters are writing in groups for most of the season, why not have them write duets? The duets don’t necessarily have to fall under the genre of love songs and it would show that songwriters understood how to write for two different voices with different emotions. For example, Sonyae’s music was quintessentially Sonyae, so I’m not sure if she would have been able to think of a duet by herself.
An Unconventional Challenge – Shows like Top Chef and Project Runway have the ability to create an unconventional material challenge. This could translate to Platinum Hit in so many different fashions that I’m surprised they didn’t have anything too hard for the contestants. One example would be unconventional instrument challenges; could Scotty create magic with only a kazoo? Another would be if they were all forced to use the same exact backing track or same hook. Finally, make the songwriters write a children’s song aimed at a Nick Jr. toddler audience and judged by the little kids and their families. Contestants need to push harder so that they can evolve as songwriters.
A Live Band – Similar to having a different singer, the use of the live band in the final episode changed the dynamic of the final three songs completely. Most of the contestants in the first season produced songs with really generic backing tracks; that would have changed if they had the ability to work with a full band. It would be interesting if a whole band competed instead of individuals because of the dynamic.
I hope that Platinum Hit gets a second chance on Bravo because there were some amazing songs created through the show and it was a concept that could pick up. I’ll accept that Jewel’s camera style was a bit wooden if we could get Kara to be more involved with the contestants.