You gotta be Canadian to watch Big Machine Label Group honcho Scott Borchetta’s new competition reality series The Launch. The new show premiered on CTV Wednesday night (Jan 11). And while I was unable to find a full version of the episode online, official videos–and even the winners song–are available worldwide. Why not check it out?
The former American Idol mentor told the Toronto Star that he first got the idea during his mentoring days on Idol trying to figure out how to shake up the format.
The show competition runs for 6 weeks. There are thirty total artists. In each episode, five acts vie for the opportunity to record a song. By the end of the episode, the winning act’s version of the song will then be released worldwide and launched immediately to Canadian radio. Here’s how Borchetta described the format to Billboard Magazine:
Five artists. We pick two to record. They both perform. We hear the rough mix of the song before the performance, so we have a really good idea how they did in the studio and then that final vote, if you will, is how good are they live. And so if we’re launching an artist, it’s more than just the song, and then, yeah, it goes to radio immediately. At the top of the hour, that song’s playing.
The process seen on the show takes about 48 hours.
The mentors who work alongside Borchetta will change each week and include Fergie, Shania Twain, Alessia Cara, Boy George, Nikki Sixx of Mötley Crüe, Julia Michaels, Jennifer Nettles and Ryan Tedder.
In the premiere episode, five acts auditioned for the opportunity to release a tune called “The Lucky Ones” co-written by Busbee, who also produced the single. Shania mentored the two lucky singers chosen to record the song. And in the end, Borchetta had the last word on the winner.
Here are the auditions from the two artists who were chosen to record the song, Vivian Hicks and Logan Staats.
Vivian is a 14 year old YouTube star.
Twenty-nine year old Logan, from the Six Nations Indian reservation, has been kicking around the music scene for awhile.
Three acts were eliminated. After a performance and chat with the panel, Borchetta is straightforward as he delivers his verdict. Arguably, Havelin was the best of the three rejects, but lacked Vivian and Logan’s distinct vocal style.
The Revel Boys
Borchetta told Billboard why he’s not interested in working with fan chosen artists.
When you look at how voting procedures work, it’s the lowest common denominator. It’s like, “Okay, this was a five and a one because people are really passionate about it.” Well that artist isn’t going to win. See, I’m going to go with the five passion every time. So the one that’s a three across the board, not interested; give me the one that they love and hate, that’s your next big star.
In other words, Borchetta believes the taste of your average viewer is blander than bland.
Borchetta, Shania and Busbee listen to “The Lucky Ones” demo. Busbee co-wrote it with Mozella and Bebe Rexha (bet it’s one of her rejects).
Shania works with Logan and Vivian to get them ready to record and perform live:
Shania Teaches Logan The Tricks of the Trade
Shania Pushes Logan to Connect With The Song
Vivian Hicks Rehearses ‘The Lucky Ones’ with Shania
A Master Class On Performing Live from Shania Twain
First Listen: ‘The Lucky Ones’ Artist Demos
Borchetta, Twain and Busbee listen to and critique Vivian and Logan’s “The Lucky Ones” demos.
AND THE WINNER IS…Logan Staats! How do I know? His single of “The Lucky Ones has been released worldwide.
Here’s Logan’s winning live performance of “The Lucky Ones.”
It’s hard to critique a show I’ve only watched in bits and pieces? But I found the mentoring sessions interesting and realistic, and the talent worth watching. (Click for a list of all 30 acts). The pace may be too slow and talky for American TV. However, it might fly on a cable.
UPDATE: Logan Staats “The Lucky Ones” has already taken the #1 spot on Canada’s all-genre iTunes chart, ahead of Ed Sheeran and Justin Timberlake. Immediately following last night’s episode, the single launched on radio stations across the country and was made available to buy and stream worldwide, including iHeartRadio, Apple Music, iTunes, Spotify and Google Play. #TheLaunch was the Top Trending Topic on Twitter in Canada all throughout the premiere and into Thursday morning.