Dating back to the turn of the century, amateur singers and songstresses have had no shortage of platforms to showcase their vocal talents (or at least their supposed vocal talents, as is often the case). In 2002 "American Idol" launched its reign over American ear holes and became the first of many snowflakes to propel an avalanche of reality television crashing down onto unsuspecting viewers. Its success- along with that of its UK shadow "The X Factor" - provided opportunities for millions of vocalists to strut their stuff and maybe land a recording contract.
Flash forward a decade and there are more of these shows than ever. "American Idol
" is still doing its thing (with diminishing returns and an endlessly revolving panel of judges). "The X Factor
" has crossed over into mainstream American television. "Rock Star
" and "Rock Star Supernova
" found new lead singers for INXS
and the short-lived "supergroup" Supernova
, respectively. The Voice
, and to a lesser extent, America's Got Talent
, are all currently swarming for a share of the Reality Singing Competition market. Basically, if you've ever done karaoke, you've been broadcast on national television.
But there's a notable absence of other hopeful musicians. The ones who don't sing. I've been waiting to see an episode of "America's Got Guitarists", but must have missed it. Nor have I ever seen an ad promoting NBC's "The Fingers". Ditto for Fox's "The Amp Factor".
Sure, some shows have come close. Bands on the Run and The Next Great American Band both tried to incorporate more than just singers, but since everyone reading this article is currently wondering to themselves whether those actually existed or whether the author dreamt them up in a coke-and-rum induced haze, it's safe to say these attempts failed.
So why don't we have anything like this on television? Is it because TV executives are soulless, money hungry, narrow-minded rectal sores on the creative butt of the world? Or is it because viewers, though supposedly hankering for more stimulating and original content, could care less whose interpretation of "Purple Haze" would be declared the winner? (The answer is "yes." On both counts.)
Again, it hasn't worked out very well in the past. In fact, the makers of Guitar Hero were considering basing a reality show on their video game franchise as recently as 2009, but quickly pulled the plug on the idea. But that might've been a case of poor timing. Or maybe it's a bad idea to make people watch other people pretend to play plastic guitars in primetime!
Though, with a solid enough premise and the right sensibilities behind the scenes, there's no reason to think Pentatonics & Pinch Harmonics couldn't work as a reality show.
So if there are any executives reading this, we're don't want another Duets. Give us Two Frets. A show where up-and-coming axe masters can only use a tiny portion of their guitars to create a blistering solo. Or...ya know...something better than that. You get the idea.
Anyways, what do you guys think? Am I missing something or is this an untapped (pun!) part of the market?