Stop me if you have heard this before. There is this new series that has been created where the producers are looking for the “next big music superstar”. Yeah, you’re probably thinking that is every other reality TV show out there. There has been American Idol, Making the Band, Nashville Star, The X-Factor, America’s Got Talent, The Voice, and countless other reality-competition shows that have something to do with finding the next great singing talent.
However, all of those competitions were mainly viewed on television. Today, television shows not only can be watched on that new shiny flat-screen HD TV set, but also on the Internet. In fact, watching television on your computer has gained in popularity like never before. So it was only a matter of time before someone realized that the next natural progression of finding the next great musical act would be on the Internet.
The man who realized it was none other than world renown music manager, Johnny Wright. Yes, the same Johnny Wright who has been involved with the biggest pop acts of the last three decades, starting with Snap! and New Kids and the Block, and setting the pop standard with the Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears and ‘NSYNC. He has most recently worked with Justin Timberlake, the Jonas Brothers and Ciara has had featured roles and executive producer status on hit TV shows like MTV’s Making the Band 3, E!’s House of Carters, and MTV competition show StarMaker. So really who else would have the created On the Spot?
Now what is On the Spot exactly? Well basically it’s Johnny Wright’s attempt at finding the next music supergroup. But last month Johnny Wright participated in a conference call with members of the media where he explained more about the format of the competition. “It’s an online search on Cambio.com and our partner’s AOL and AT&T. It’s a global search. I have listed ten songs that have been preapproved. You pick one of those songs and you take your time wherever you feel comfortable from your computer or if you want to use your video phone, you could do that. You upload a minute, a minute and a half of video to me. I will then review every video. From there, I’ll pick my top 20 out of all the submissions that I get. I will whittle those top 20 down to a top 10. The top ten will then physically come and I will meet you in L.A. where I have some industry pros—choreographers, vocal coaches and our people and musicians that are part of my team—and we’re going to put those ten people through a boot camp. I will then give them all kinds of challenges and things that I want to do to really feel who is the best talent of the bunch. Then, I kind of make my decision of what kind of group I’m going to put together and from there, I’ll put that group together. The process of me picking the top 20 all the way up to the band is created in a Web series.”
So as you can see, On the Spot is truly the first reality-competition series to be completely online. This is the main reason why it’s so different than every other music show out there. Johnny Wright really wanted this show to be interactive. “The one thing I love about it is because it’s the Internet, it’s interactive. The decision process is just not about me and my team. If I get an e-mail from someone in the country that has in interesting question or thing that they want to say to the contestant, I can bring them up on video chat and actually bring them into my process and get their feedback. So, it’s ultimately, as the fans follow this Web series, I have to have feedback from them to know if I’m making the right band that’s going to appeal to them. Everything that I do obviously is to have the world embrace this band. As much as I can bring the world into this process, is what I want to do. That’s what the luxury of being on the Internet and the Web does to me for doing it. Then, ultimately, we’ll do the traditional things. We’ll make a record. We’ll promote it on radio. We’ll premiere the video, and hopefully go on tour and the world will love this group.”
But Johnny wants everyone to know he is not looking for the next “boy band” as you might expect. “I will say this straight up. I’m not looking to put a boy band together. I actually already have a new one that we signed back to Jive Records, which I’ve had lots of success with Backstreet Boys and ‘NSync there and they’re called One Call. I’m not looking to duplicate that. What the exciting thing about it is I really don’t know what I’m going to find. I think that talent will actually dictate what it becomes. I do know I want to put together a mixed group of guys and girls and musicians. If you play the piano, you play guitar, that’s an added plus. So, as far as having an idea or formula or a set group that I’m just trying to fill the pieces in, no, and I don’t even know how many it’s going to be. In the back of my mind, I say things all of the time like I’d like to find the next Hall & Oats. I’d like to put together this version of what Earth, Wind and Fire would be. If I find that, then that’s what it’s going to be. If not, something else might come to me. I just have to really pay attention to the character, the contestants that are uploading to me and it will dictate to what it actually becomes.”
Of course, there is always the concern that people have gotten tired with shows like this. American Idol has certainly dropped in popularity over the years and that show hasn’t been producing as big of stars as they did in the early seasons. Johnny Wright is fully aware of this, but still thinks On the Spot could still be a hit with fans. “The thing with American Idol and some of these other shows is that you have a certain time window. It goes 10 or 11 weeks, then there’s a winner and you’re not connected to the artist after that point and so those that actually were involved in helping to find that winner aren’t continuing with the process. I’m a part of this process from the beginning to the end, whenever the band decides that they want to call it quits. The other thing is that in the mindset is that once these artists are chosen, there’s such a lag time between the show and when the first product comes out and there’s nothing going on to continue to reinforce the fan that had watched the show about this. So, it’s kind of like the “out of sight, out of mind” thing. With this, you not only see the process of me picking a band, you’ll see me going through the process of making the records and the producers and songs and you will have say so. So, if you engage in the process from the beginning, you can be a part of it all the way up through the launch of the record.”
Johnny Wright said he went through hundreds of thousands of audition tapes that were submitted online. He explained how even the On the Spot audition process was unique and different. “The interesting thing is that everyone’s uploading from their house. Usually, when we do these kind of talent shows, it’s an open audition so the talent is actually in front of you so you really see it face front. For here, it’s really about how you take that situation and what captures you from someone’s home computer. I have to say, I was thinking that I was going to see a lot of raw stuff that eventually myself and my team would have to really mold and bring out, but I’ve been really surprised at the level of talent that’s been uploading. The interesting thing is that they’ve chosen places that they feel comfortable to upload these videos. If you watch, you’ll see a whole lot of contestants going into their bathrooms because they know that the acoustics are better there, so they’re going to give a better performance with ambiance by sitting in the bathrooms. You watch those things or there’s a couple of them who have a special room in their house and they have their cats sitting up on the piano. These are their comfort zones and you really see that they’re comfortable in those situations so the quality of talent that they’re just putting into the audition is there. When you do these things face-to-face, they’re on unknown territory. They’re coming into a place that we’ve created for them to have to sing. The stage is unfamiliar, the surroundings are unfamiliar, so a lot of times, you don’t get the best out of these contestants because everything else is causing them to have nerves. But, in the upload, they upload when they feel they’re ready in the most comfortable position. So we’re actually getting great talent from this process.”
So now that that you know all about On the Spot, you might be asking “when can I watch this?” Well actually the competition started a month ago on February 4th. I honestly wasn’t too sure about this series, which is why I haven’t talked about it until now. But now things are really starting to heat up. Two weeks ago, Johnny Wright picked the Top 20 Semi-Finalists for the group. This last week he put them through the first official challenge via Cambio.com and asked the contestants to show off their personal style. Image can really shape someone’s career, and Johnny wanted to see who has what it takes to put together a great look. With the help of celebrity and entertainment industry stylist Angela Fink, Johnny and his Team set about evaluating each of the Top 20′s photos. You can check out the complete episode at OnTheSpot.Cambio.com
The “On the Spot” Top 20 includes Adam Bubert, Alcina Tran, Ben Vredevelt, Brock Baker, Chris Martin, Dean Connaghan, Jacqui Elliot, Jaizon Plaga, James McNeiece, Janais Currie, Jazz Aytes, Jeston Cade, Joel van Vliet, Kellyeann Rodgers, Kiva Richardson, Kristen Anzelc, Kyren Felder, Madeline Edwards, Philippe Touzel and Sarah Rivas.
Each week, the top 20 semi-finalists will compete in a series of challenges intended to test their superstardom ranging from vocal mastery, personal style, and dance moves to their ability to handle the press. The weekly challenges – which will be evaluated by Wright, his team and a celebrated list of guest experts – will be performed by the contestants from their individual hometowns using family, friends and their online network of fans to help them along the way. Those who impress the judges via their video submissions will safely move on to the next challenge while those in jeopardy will be put On The Spot via video chat where Wright will offer them a chance to defend their choices or relinquish their chance to be part of his new supergroup.
In addition, there is another twist where Johnny Wright is extending the weekly challenges to viewers who think they have what it takes to be part of his next supergroup. Fans are invited to submit their own challenge videos or a new audition video each week and if a viewer’s video catches Wright’s eye, the home viewer may be chosen to replace an existing contestant at any point in the competition!
Here is more information on the Top 20 Contestants:
Hometown: Humble, TX
Meet Madeline: http://onthespot.cambio.com/profile/madelineedwards
Hometown: Fort Worth, TX
Meet Kyren: http://onthespot.cambio.com/profile/kyrenthatruth
So if you haven’t already go check out On the Spot at OnTheSpot.Cambio.com. Also, be sure to check out new episodes of On The Spot: Johnny Wright’s Quest for the Next Supergroup presented by AT&T every Friday at 2:00 PM EST/11:00 AM PST only at OnTheSpot.Cambio.com.
Tags: America's Got Talent, American Idol, Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, Ciara, Johnny Wright, Justin Timberlake, Making the Mad, MTV, N'Sync, Nashville Star, New Kids on the Block, On the Spot, Starmaker, The Jonas Brothers, The Voice, X Factor