Both Paula Abdul and Kara DioGuardi were awarded the Head Judge title after leaving “American Idol,” but neither of their new endeavors — Abdul’s “Live to Dance,” and now DioGuardi’s “Platinum Hit” — stray far from that deep-rooted tree. A talent competition for aspiring singer-songwriters, the show has a touch of “Project Runway” in its conception but the usual assortment of stock Bravo “characters,” each striving not only for the prize but eager to tell the camera how deserving they are. While a little tinny in the execution, at least the series exalts the hard work of crafting pop hooks.
In addition to DioGuardi, Jewel serves as host and judge, a role the singer handles with considerable ease. Beyond these two, other music figures — including Leona Lewis, Natasha Bedingfield and Donna Summer — will appear as guest judges, which should provide a hint of freshness each week.
Alas, that’s the only fresh ingredient in the series, from the format to the cast, with a dozen participants — all in their 20s and 30s — who arrive spouting the usual “I’m here to win” platinum-plated platitudes. A challenge to write a song with L.A. as the theme in the premiere also yields pretty painful results. Where’s Randy Newman when you need him?
For all that, the series does seek to explore the songwriting process in a way that’s seldom shown, suggesting that crafting a catchy melody or memorable lyrics isn’t as simple as it looks. The divergent musical styles are also interesting, with contestants vying for $100,000 and a publishing deal.
Bravo hasn’t exactly been blazing new trails development-wise, repeatedly returning to familiar templates. In addition to “Hit,” for example, the channel introduces “Million Dollar Decorators,” whose title almost preempts any need to watch, unless you’re terribly into color swatches.
Of course, the music-competition genre is so saturated producers have nearly exhausted ways to slice the apple, so at least this variation provides a hook, even if it’s a flimsy one.
Then again, to borrow a Jewel song, the dreams of songwriters will last even after Bravo’s “Hit” is gone — proving, once again, all that glitters is not, er, platinum.