What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Next -- which features popular regional vocalists being mentored by celebrity singers -- is pretty family friendly but is heavy on product placements. The audience is encouraged to use Twitter, iTunes, and Cricket Wireless to show appreciation for the artists. There are a few mild references to drinking, and occasional images of people sporting weapons (during home visits).
What's the story?
In THE NEXT, musical performers who have large regional or social media followings vie for a major recording contract. Singers Gloria Estefan, Joe Jonas, John Rich, and Nelly appear on the doorsteps of four local popular performers in cities like Orlando, Chicago, Dallas, and New York to spend 72 hours mentoring them while sharing in their day-to-day activities. The four vocalists from each city then perform live on stage in front of the mentors, host Allison Hagendorf, and a live local audience, who votes on who will represent them in the semi-finals. Those who don't make it can still be voted into the finals by the TV audience, where they'll face off on stage with the other finalists until one contestant remains. The winner receives a recording contract with Atlantic Records.
Is it any good?
Like the popular series The Voice, this sing-off features lots of vocal talent that national audiences wouldn't likely be exposed to if they weren't picked to be on the show. What makes The Next different is that the featured singers have some experience with performance and fandom, just not the opportunity to headline or break into the larger national spotlight.
While the vocal performances are fun, what makes the show especially entertaining -- and sets it apart from other popular singing competitions -- are the videos featuring the mentors spending time with contestants at home doing everyday things, like mowing lawns and babysitting. Watching some of the different motivational tactics they use to help their protégés might make you chuckle. Overall, this is an upbeat and positive show that definitely hits a high note.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about what it takes to become a singing star. Why isn't just having a great voice enough? How much pressure does the media put on performers to have a certain image? Or do performers use the media to create an image?
What's the difference between constructive and destructive criticism? What are some of the ways that people can motivate people to feel good about what they do while still pointing out things that need to be improved?
How does this series compare to other televised talent contests? What do they have in common? How do they differ?