A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that, aside from a few suggestive dance moves, there's not a whole lot of iffy content in this reality competition series. But the commercialism, while subtle, is insidious. Because competing groups perform covers of popular songs, the show basically helps best-selling artists (and the record companies who steer their careers) sell even more of their products.
What's the story?
In MTV'S TOP POP GROUP, nine amateur boy-and-girl bands compete for a $100,000 prize and bragging rights as America's next "top pop group." The judging panel includes Michelle Williams of Destiny's Child, Taboo of The Black Eyed Peas, and celebrity choreographer and music video director Brian Friedman -- but viewers at home ultimately decide the contestants' fate through call-in votes and text messaging. Mario Lopez hosts.
Is it any good?
This is a show with good intentions that ultimately fails to deliver when it comes to compelling talent. Some groups are so bad they're actually cringe-inducing. Others are passable but nowhere near ready for prime time, and only a few (OK, maybe one or two) have a polished, professional sound. If these are truly the best of the yet-to-be-discovered groups out there, we have good reason to be afraid (very afraid).
But never fear: There's an upside. The amateur abilities of these wannabe singers and dancers actually remind viewers that creating a pitch-perfect pop group (a la Sean "Diddy" Combs) is a lot harder than it looks ... and that maybe it should be left to the experts. For that, we're eternally grateful.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether any of these groups are actually ready for the big time. In terms of singing ability, dancing ability, and overall look, how would you compare them to more established pop acts like Destiny's Child, 'N Sync, or Danity Kane (who often have a team of producers, choreographers, and vocal coaches guiding their every move)? What does that tell you about the amount of effort that goes into manufacturing a pitch-perfect pop group?