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 this talent competition is similar to the producers' popular American Idol. The judges do their fair share of infighting and mocking contestants' appearance, style, and talent. On the upside, the judges don't put their musical preferences ahead of their impartiality and seem to reward bands based on talent rather than sheer marketability and personal taste. Expect plenty of the emotional content that's the bread and butter of reality TV, as well as some bleeped language.
What's the story?
THE NEXT GREAT AMERICAN BAND is a reality talent competition for musical groups, who are competing not just for the prestigious title, but also for a coveted recording contract. The bands brave feedback from entertainer/music director Sheila E., rock singer/guitarist John Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls, and Australian Idol judge Ian "Dicko" Dickson. Contestants are chosen through an open casting call for video submissions, and competitors cross the musical spectrum from reggae to big band, country to heavy metal. The judges narrow the field to the final 12 competitors and the viewers then take the reins, voting on their favorites by phone or text message after each episode.
Is it any good?
If American Idol is your style, then The Next Great American Band is probably the next best thing for your craving. It doesn't pack the dramatic punch that the long-running Idol does, but it has a dynamic of its own that viewers might find inviting, and the well-rounded group of competitors offers plenty of variety for fans. But it's worth noting that the judges' comments can seem fairly harsh at times, and there's always the possibility of interpersonal conflict among competitors and judges. Strong language is sporadic, but present; the worst of it (multiple variations on "f--k") is bleeped.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the audition and judging process. Do all of the bands seem serious about the competition? Why or why not? Is the judges' criticism always helpful? How much of what they say to the contestants is for shock value and ratings? Teens: Have you ever been judged like these competitors? How did it feel? Would you ever want to compete on a reality show? Why or why not?