'Rhythm + Flow': What The Voice and American Idol can learn from the Netflix show that is big on talent, not drama
There are plenty of reality-talent shows which have flooded our television, but Netflix's 'Rhythm + Flow' manages to stand apart from them
Netflix's latest offering 'Rhythm + Flow' has us hooked to it. The reality talent-hunt show which aims to discover the next big hip-hop star in the country has generated quite a buzz with its famous judges — Cardi B, Chance the Rapper, and T.I. — and its unique format.
There are several things that set this show apart from fellow reality talent-hunt counterparts like 'The Voice' and 'American Idol'.
For starters, the show has premiered on a streaming platform as opposed to the mainstream television network. Apart from being Netflix's only original reality show, here are a few reasons why we think other reality talent-hunt shows can pick up a page or two from this show:
A "no-strings-attached" prize
The grand prize can often be both a motivator and a deterrent to attracting the right talent on the shows. The showrunners of 'Rhythm + Flow' clearly seem to understand this, as they decided to take a path which no other reality talent-hunt show (music-based) has taken yet — a no-strings-attached prize.
The winner of the show will be getting a whopping $250,000 and a spot on 'Rap Caviar' (Spotify's most popular playlist). This means that the winner won't be tied down by a record deal or label like other reality-talent shows have.
In an interview with Variety, Brandon Riegg, Netflix's vice-president of nonfiction series and comedy specials, said, "There is no label deal — Chance famously didn't have a label, he launched things on his own."
"So when we spoke to [executive producer] John Legend and to Cardi and to Tip [T.I.], it was about staying authentic to hip-hop and what was best for the hip-hop community, it was less about tying them down to some sort of management or label deal," he shared.
Riegg continued, "To be honest, I think we got the best contestants because we gave that freedom and flexibility and we said, 'Look, we’ll help you as much as we can, but ultimately, for those sorts of big decisions, we’ll be there to support you and we won’t tell you what you have to do'."
"Also, we live in an age where there's the ability to promote yourself through so many channels from YouTube to social media, and it's really about what’s going to help you get attention with what you’re doing," he added.
Original composition and performance
Unlike 'The Voice' and 'American Idol', the contestants can't piggyback on crooning a version of a classic and wow judges. In this competition, the contestants need to compose their own songs, and perform in their own unique style, which makes it all the more challenging and exciting.
Original compositions mean we get a glimpse into the artiste's head and their stories. For instance, Big Mouf' Bo, an aspiring rapper from Chicago, managed to rap a chilling yet realistic verse on gun violence in Chicago, which wowed the judges.
Londynn B's sneak peek into the "hood-life" in Atlanta opened our eyes to many harsh realities of life in the hood while not discounting it or glorifying it. The original composition can be a unique tool to learn more about the participants and form a stronger bond with them.
Emphasis on talent and not drama
Reality talent-shows have become more about drama and less about talent. While we do admit they are entertaining to watch, they do not exactly deliver what they set out to do, which is expose us to new talent.
It gets a lot more dramatic when the audience gets to decide the fate of the contestants. Often times many mediocre performers get to stay on the show just because fans love them.
But on 'Rhythm + Flow', since there is no audience voting, the performers are judged purely on their talent and performance, thus removing all the drama surrounding unfair elimination.
You can stream 'Rhythm + Flow' on Netflix.