There are two key ingredients to the basic American Idol recipe: there's music, and the audience picks the winner. Idol is the biggest thing on TV, but Fox's attempts at separating the two elements that make it so successful haven't worked out so well — On the Lot, all voting and no music, limped to a finish, while Nashville, all music and no voting, was the first of the fall's new shows to be pulled.
But both parts of the Idol formula will be in full effect tonight during the premiere of The Next Great American Band, essentially a large-scale battle of the bands. Like Idol, the show is starting with several two-hour audition episodes that will narrow the field to 12 finalists. And, also like Idol, the audience will eventually have a say in which band wins. There's one key difference from Idol, and it's the thing I think could make the show kind of cool: The bands are playing their own music or selecting their own cover tunes, not using songs or genres chosen by producers. I'm hoping that carries through all the way to the finals, because I never want to hear a band called Zombie Bazooka Patrol take on Whitney Houston ballads.
I still don't know how smart it is to put a show that relies on audience participation on a Friday — and it's hard for me to imagine that Fox has much faith in it when, as of this writing, the network still hasn't built the show a proper Web site. (Update: A real site is finally up.) What do you think? Are you willing to give The Next American Band a shot? To watch a preview clip, just
Photo and video courtesy of Fox