Here we are, down to the final five on The Next Great American Band, the most watched network band competition since Rock Star: Supernova. FOX is merely being polite in letting this first and likely only season of American Band finish on the air. We saw the same politeness with last summer’s On the Lot, who finished its seemingly unending season despite abysmal ratings. The common thread between American Band and On the Lot? Executive producers with clout (Steven Spielberg and Mark Burnett for On the Lot, Simon Fuller and Nigel Lythgoe for Band). 19 Entertainment probably is still holding out hope that the winning band will sell a bunch of records, but that’s probably unrealistic. If Jordin Sparks can only sell one hundred thousand records, what chance do The Clark Brothers have?
Whatever misgivings one has about The Next Great American Band’s season thus far, it’s certainly not the worst thing on TV (I Love New York 2 is) and a few of the finalist bands have undeniable talent. In a perfect world (or better yet, my perfect world), this would be my top 5: Franklin Bridge, Tres Bien, The Clark Brothers, Sixwire, and Dot Dot Dot.
I omit Denver and the Mile High Orchestra because I have absolutely no interest in their music. They play their music, and it’s nice and safe and well-played. Great. That doesn’t mean I have to like it. The word has spread in recent weeks that Denver is a Christian band who have even received radio play on some Christian stations. Again, good for them. But, I don’t think FOX or 19 Entertainment want to attempt to mass-market a band who’d fit right in on The Lawrence Welk Show.
Light of Doom is the other omission, and I shouldn’t need to explain that. The kids are pretty remarkable musicians for their age, but you don’t get a handicap in the music world. I wish people would stop voting for them.
The winner, unless the voting is so obscenely awful in the coming weeks that Light of Doom or Denver wins it all, will be either Sixwire of The Clark Brothers. I’m not a country fan, but I understand the potential of Sixwire. Just a solid band, who can do it all musically. Their success going forward is wholly dependent upon their original music, of which the snippets we’ve heard have been really good. The Clark Brothers, however, are probably the odds-on favorite to take the crown and win that record deal. They have it all, except for a drummer.
The inherent flaw on The Next Great American Band is the lack of original material performed by the bands. Since the top ten, the show has become America’s Best Cover Band. I like cover bands, but there’s a reason cover bands are cover bands – they can’t write their own music. Had Light of Doom and Denver been forced to perform their own stuff throughout the season,they’d probably be gone. Likewise, Franklin Bridge and Tres Bien are two bands who would have been helped by more original performances.
Oh, well. Let’s hope that America came to its senses last Friday and voted off Light of Doom. We’ll find out in a few days.
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of FOX)