Starring: Trevor Penick, Jacob Underwood, Ikaika Kahoano, Paul Martin, Michael Miller, Ashley Parker Angel, Bryan Chan, Erik Estrada.
Boy band” reaches the status of laws and sausage in the list of things no one should ever see being made. “Making the Band” is exactly what it says it is: Auditions of 1,000 hopefuls from which five will be chosen to attempt to crash the boy band bonanza blazed by the Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync. Hourlong debut is numbingly dull and predictable, a combination of MTV’s “Real World” with “Behind the Music” lighting and a random public access “community auditions” show.
Lou Pearlman, the svengali behind Backstreet, LFO and others, organizes a nationwide talent-search — mostly staged at Hard Rock Cafes — and from these try-outs, he plans to take 25 dancing singers to Orlando to intensely train eight and then create a quintet. Pearlman and his army of judges watch performers in L.A., Gotham, Honolulu, Nashville, Orlando and Dallas, but rarely do we get their perspective on what they look for in a boy-toy wannabe. Vocal coach Mark Goff is the only one who provides any sort of perspective in this fly-on-the-wall docu.
Instead, the sound bytes come from the contestants, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to deduce who will be in the field of 25. Some, such as Erik Estrada (no relation to the “CHiPs” actor), beam with confidence and imply that destiny alone will land them in the final eight. Others debate their shortcomings. None, however, are physically outside the Boys-Sync mold.
Once the 25 show how well they can adapt to the pace of being a superstar act , the eight are selected, and cameras focus on abundant tears and hugs. The eight go home to gather their belongings and say goodbye to girlfriends and family — Feel the joy! Feel the heartbreak! — before moving into an enormous house in Orlando. (Hello, “Real World.”)
Episode one ends with the eight guys being scolded for showing up late to a singing lesson. No drama, no sense of a director’s control, no humor. It makes you long for the realism of “The Monkees.”
Show’s half-hour premiere begins March 31 at 9:30 p.m. and tackles gripping issues such as homesickness and flirting.