American Idol pol pot Simon Fuller, fresh off cementing Clay Aiken to late life career of panty-wetting Manliow-esque arena tours, has greased the wheels of fluff-pop further by unleashing Idol spin-off The Next Great American Band on unsuspecting FOX viewers in dire need of their Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader? fix.
Instead of chirpy Mariah clones ransacking stanzas for superfluous melisma, The Next Great American Band forks over well coiffed Nickelback facsimiles and calls it even.
Band cribs an entire chapter from the American Idol playbook with an acid tongued old codger in the “Simon” role (Australian Idol’s Dicko Dickinson), a sympathetic sister-in-arms in the “Paula” role (Shelia E.) and Goo Goo Doll Johnny Rzeznik filling Randy Jackson’s nonsensical blather. Below, I've charted the show contenders.
Light of Doom
The Skinny: A butt-rockin’ fivepiece comprised of 12- and 13-year-olds with wispy golden locks and vapid Children of the Corn gapes, Light of Doom has been panned by online tropiocolotes as a “metal Hanson.” The parents of these sleaze glam guttersnipes have yet to tell them that Superunknown snuffed Whitesnake’s career.
Vegas Odds: 8:1. Dicko calls them, “creepy and gimmicky,” but the aw-shucks factor is hard to resist.
Dot Dot Dot
The Skinny: A synth-riddled mess, Dot Dot Dot’s fashion-challenged frontman liberally dabs eyeliner on his painfully emo peepers and hops around onstage like Crispin Glover on Ritalin. Their frenetic midtempo take on Elton John’s uber-ballad “Your Song” could be considered a form of torture under some bylaws of the Geneva Convention.
Vegas Odds: 15:1. We’ve already got a Brandon Flowers. We sure as hell don’t need another.
Denver and the Mile High Orchestra
The Skinny: The swing music revival crumbled with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s This Beautiful Life, but Belmont University music business alums Denver and the Mile High Orchestra have yet to receive the oxidized memo. Lead vocalist Denver Bierman lays on the schmaltz extra-thick with a cavalcade of brassy horn arrangements punctuating his every calculated over-emotion.
Vegas Odds: 10:1. Judge Shelia E has nearly pegged Denver and the Mile High Orchestra as the second coming of Chicago. But we can’t take Ms. E too seriously. She was the TV bandleader for The Magic Hour.
The Skinny: Warner Bros. Nashville evictees Sixwire smidges a tweak of twangy git’tar and then lobs almost criminal Appalachian a cappella harmonies down our willing Sing Out throats.
Vegas Odds: 2:1. For unleashing the banal countrypolitan vanilla better known as Carrie Underwood, it’s the least Mr. Fuller could do to let those Sixwire boys win.