Does summer TV put winter into your heart? Do you find no joy when you’re out of school, get nothing out of the pool or the beach? Are you one of the vanishingly few people not yet sick of singing shows? E! and Nigel Lythgoe have a solution for your very specific problem with upcoming music show Opening Act, premiering July 9. Yes, another.
The gimmick here is that the show finds artists online and grooms them not for a grand confetti-strewn victory, but for an opening act spot with Nicki Minaj, LMFAO, Brad Paisley, Gym Class Heroes and Jason Mraz. It’s a gimmick I’m not sure can work. Yes, you’ve got the small screen/big pond element, where someone fantastic with video editing and lots of takes might become less fantastic live. But that happens with most of these shows. The thing here is that watching someone become an opening act for Gym Class Heroes or LMFAO, while undoubtedly a break for the artist, isn’t quite as exciting for viewers as, say, watching someone try for a $5 million recording contract. It’s like a guaranteed consolation prize right from the outset, and it’s about as exciting as yet another music-themed, possibly competitive show on TV.
But lets’s go over the details anyway. Producers are going to search through YouTube cover videos looking for people with lots of views. So far, so unremarkable. Getting discovered as a “YouTube star” (sigh) has never been as democratic and/or luck-based as people say. Then, after a lot of episodes which sound a lot like the filler segments of American Idol, with some sort of nebulous celebrity involvement by Mary J. Blige and non-celebrity involvement from producing team Rock Mafia’s Antonina Armato, they’ll get to be an opening act. There will be no judging, which is unchanged from Idol.