I hope everyone is ready and excited for a brand-new competition reality show. I also hope everyone is paying attention because I don’t know exactly what is happening here. I watched a full two hours of Boy Band and I’m still unclear on the concept.
So, Rita Ora has landed in another reality show and this time she’s asked to narrate the history of boy bands, starting with the Beatles. While she was busy tracing the development and evolution of boy bands, they forgot to explain how this show works. The best I got is there are 30 boys — and yes, they keep calling them “boys” — and then 12 of them went home and the remaining 18 were put into three groups. This feels like a word problem, doesn’t it?
Let’s try to solve for X where X is how this show works. First component is the Architects — that’s what Boy Band has decided to call the judges. We have Nick Carter, Emma Bunton, and Timbaland. Nick Carter is there to give vocal feedback and keeps telling the boys that they have room to grow. Emma Bunton is looking at all these boys trying to turn them into men. She’s trying to be them two upper-case I’s. Timbaland is HIGH.
For the next component, it’s time to meet the Boys. All 30 of the Boys. All 30 of these sentient “New Ken” dolls. All of these boys have big square hairs and even bigger squarer hair. First up is Chance Perez: He’s 19, he has a 2-year-old daughter, and he loves when the sun hits your skin in California. He sings a Queen song, which is a positively strange choice for a boy-band competition. Nick Carter thinks he has the look. Emma Bunton takes a selfie with him and she’s already out of control and he’s the first boy. Up next is Andrew Bloom, who we first see singing with a guitar but he’s not using it at all. I think that sums up modern pop music, don’t you? The next boy to hit the stage is Matthew Dean. His mother was in the Cover Girls and his father was Dino. When I tried to explain who Dino was to my boyfriend, I said, “I think I saw him in one of those commercials for ‘80s compilation CDs? Like Rico Suave … but white?” Too bad his son sucks at singing.
There is also a rapping violinist. Who is that for? Who is like, “Boy, I can’t wait until we combine violins with rap!” Emma Bunton cries real tears and then she licks them off her fingers while making prolonged eye contact with one of the boys. Then there’s J Hype. He’s a beatboxer. Name literally one boy band with a dedicated beat boxer. Do not say the MIT all-male a cappella group the Log-a-Rhythms. J Hype isn’t even a realistic or current hip-hop stage name. If you found out there was a new member of Odd Future or even Young Money named “J Hype,” you’d think Tyler, the Creator’s accountant, Jared, took up beatboxing. Timbaland is convinced to get up and beatbox with J Hype. J Hype is straight-up 14 years old.
Then there’s Miles Wesley. There should be a boy-band member name generator where you just combine two first names of Wall Street bankers. Miles has way too much hair and not enough furniture. He has two arms full of tattoos, but sleeps on an air mattress. Maybe don’t spend another dollar on a New American tattoo of a compass before you buy a bed frame. Miles is acceptable, but he says he wants to be a bad boy. I didn’t know you got to pick. Next up is a 15-year-old opera singer and some guy with a Flock of Seagulls–inspired haircut singing Oasis. Everyone has delicate features and big eyes. It’s disarming how lovely all these boys are. Help me.
Devin is very bad at singing but they ask him to serenade Rita Ora and apparently that is enough. Drew is from the Bronx and feels way more comfortable riffing and singing the chorus, so he blows off singing the verses and tries to show off instead. Andrew is a really good singer, but he looks like someone’s dad walked on stage. He’s pretty stiff. Also, there’s like nine boys named Andrew or Drew on this show.
Then there’s Sergio! He’s my current favorite and a li’l kid who wanted to play soccer but his dreams changed to music. He looks like a tiny Bruno Mars with even bigger hair. He sings half in English, half in Spanish and all of it is a dream. Timbaland seems to think that Sergio is just randomly deciding to sing in Spanish rather than singing songs that already exist in Spanish. Rita Ora tries to make this whole thing about her because Sergio didn’t sing to her.
One of the last singers featured is Jaden. Jaden is my second favorite, tied with Sergio. He grew up singing in church and sounds like an old black man SANGIN’. All of the white boys look at each other like, “Oh, we’re screwed.” I don’t know exactly how you win, but Jaden should win.
The next segment is “group dynamics.” The Architects pair off random boys to sing or dance together to see if they can play well with others. Is this part of it? I don’t care because I got to see Nick Carter dance the “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” dance one more time. After that, the Architects whittle the group down to 18. While they’re deliberating, Rita Ora calls one of the boys “a rough diamond.” Rita, you mean “diamond in the rough,” right? The three groups of six (is that part of it?) are Chance Perez, Michael, Miles, Andrew, Marcus, and Mikey; Andrew Bloom, Dorian, John, Jaden, Cam, and Brady; Sergio, Gavin, Cameron, Drew, J Hype, and Devin. J Hype is interviewed about being picked and he just beatboxes to the camera. Can he not speak?
The groups all name themselves: Reverb, Uplift, and Six Track. All terrible names. The boys will all take the stage and each week one boy will be sent home. Up first is Uplift and they’ll be performing “That’s What I Like” by Bruno Mars. We meet the next component, Tim Davis. He worked with Celine Dion, Barbara Streisand, and … TYLER, THE CREATOR. One of those things is not like the others. Tim Davis is dressed like Mark Ronson and he’s not here to mess around. Also, Rita Ora explains that each week the boy bands will perform and someone will be sent home and any one of these boys could be your next bandmate in the next round. When is the next round? IS ANY OF THIS PART OF IT?
The boys perform and it is pretty cute and silly. J Hype beatboxes and none of this is necessary. Sergio performs in Spanish and I’m melting. After the performance, Sergio, Marcus, Drew, J Hype, and Devin all stay and Cameron is eliminated. Then Rita Ora says that we’re only three weeks away from the live shows and the voting. I GET TO VOTE?!