Possibly because I am living a sad homebound life these days, I’m watching theShow (formerly theshow, and before that The Show) again. A few observations as we chew our way through the first cull:
–All of the vestiges of cruelty that marked its most successful seasons are pretty much gone. There is no Designated Professional Asshole (or asshole of any kind) among the judges; they’re all successful musicians and they know what it takes to make it.
That doesn’t mean they’re all sunshine and nonsense; they just know that this is a tryout, and that even great people fail tryouts — often many, many times — before things fall together. In these tough times, optimism with underlying honesty is exactly what’s needed. I inevitably nod my head and agree with their praises and criticisms.
–This is a show for artists now, not karaoke singers or pageant kids or the rawest of the raw. Sure, all of these latter categories get some representation early on, and last year’s winner was a subway singer, but most of these people just get trimmed prety quickly.
So many of the best tryouts I’ve seen this year come from polished, instrumentally talented, vocally accomplished musicians who are obviously accustomed to playing in public (albeit not at the big-concert level). And a lot of them write good original music, too. And theShow dropped its overemphasis on oldies and standards long ago, which punishes the mere decent singers and pushes up the artists.
–This is a great crew of judges: Affable, but not too much so; empathetic, but with little patience for nonsense or people who aren’t serious about their music; honest, but not brutal. You never know how much of this is because of the Magic of Editing, but they genuinely seem to like each other, too. They’re watchable, which is a good thing as this drags on for week after week.
So I’m on for the ride again. theShow (I’ve added a capital letter back because it’s earned it) is scheduled to run through most of May unless the network trims the schedule. Here’s hoping it makes it.