August 5, 2011

Why Bravo's 'Platinum Hit' Is No One-Hit Wonder

By Sean Martin, Contributing Writer

One of this summer's freshest competition series, Platinum Hit -- which unfortunately did not become a hit for the network -- comes to an end tonight at 8pm on Bravo. The three remaining singer-songwriters are incredibly talented and extremely unique. The finalists are Sonyae Elise, the R&B/Hip Hop writer from Newark, NJ, Scotty Granger, the Pop/R&B song writer from New Orleans and Jes Hudak, the Pop/Soul song writer from upstate New York.

Scotty Granger, Sonyae Elise and Jes Hudak

When Bravo announced Platinum Hit earlier in the year, I had my doubts. What would make me want to watch song writers write songs? How is that going to hold my attention? Luckily, the concept for the series turned out to be a good one. And the casting didn’t hurt either. The group assembled for season one was diverse, with a bunch of big personalities (a necessity for reality TV). More importantly, the group was talented and the viewing audience this summer was treated to some really fantastic songs and performances.

Before I jump into my favorite songs of the summer, I want to put it out there that I know absolutely nothing about song writing. Several times, my favorite song was the one the judges liked the least -- usually Kara DioGaurdi, who I felt was particularly nasty. I prefer how a song sounds -- not necessarily the thought behind the lyrics. I’m your average music listener, which I think is important for a show like Platinum Hit. Although, I guess that’s why Ellen Degeneres was brought on board for American Idol and we all know how that worked out.

So, with the show's finale dropping tonight I thought I'd share my six favorite songs from Platinum Hit -- in no particular order:

"City of Dreams" by Jackie, Johnny and Melissa

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not being impartial with this choice. I’m friends with Jackie Tohn, the contestant who came up with the hook for this song. This was her performance from the premiere episode. I was so worried that she’d be the first to get the boot. Not that I don’t think she’s talented; You just never know with reality TV. Her song ended up working out quite well and I still find myself humming along the melody sometimes. That’s a sign of a good song, right?

"Paint this Club" by Scotty, Nick, Melissa and Sonyae

This week, the song writers had to come up with a dance hit that got the clubbers out onto the dance floor. Do I even need to go into an explanation for this one? I am listening to this song as I write this and dancing at my desk. The lyrics (which are arguably the most important part for a songwriting competition) are fantastic. I love it so much I want to paint this song with amazing. And the rap is phat. Is that still a term the kids are using?

"The Road Is Where the Heart Is" by Jackie, Sonyae, Nick and Karen

This song was the losing song for this challenge. Ridiculous! I saw Jackie sing it live at a gig a few weeks back. She defended it completely and I agree. It’s a great song. The challenge was for the song writers to come up with a song for a "road trip." When I think of road trips, I think of fun, catchy songs that have an easy hook to sing along with. This song embodies that completely.

"Love You Down" by Jes and Scotty

In this challenge, the song writers came up with ditties for current artists. Jes and Scotty had to write for Justin Bieber. Watch this -- listen to the song -- and tell me you can’t hear Justin Bieber singing it. I think it’s perfect. It is 100% a Bieber song. And 100% a song I would buy on iTunes if Justin Bieber put it out. I’m a tween at heart.

"Exit" by Sonyae

I think my biggest issue with Sonyae is that I don’t love her voice. For me, personally, it’s hard to fully hear a songs potential when Sonyae sings it. “Exit” proved to be an exception. I love the hook. I love the melody. And it’s completely Sonyae. This was the final challenge and all of the artists wrote individually. Sonyae definitely belongs in the finals.

"Free" by Jes, Melissa and Amber

I like this song a lot more than I did when I watched the episode initially. It’s definitely not a road trip song. I went to Lilith Fair in 1998 and this song would fit in perfectly. It's really soft, really pretty, and a little bit sad.

The season finale of Platinum Hit airs tonight at 8pm on Bravo. But if you can't get enough of the new jams you can download the fully-produced singles on iTunes.

Sean Martin is a public relations expert, pop culture connoisseur and lover of large margaritas. Follow him on Twitter @SeanPMartin