Rita Ora says that we’re living the dream. Are we? I mean, really, are we? Boy Band is back this week with Six Track’s performance of Shawn Mendes’s “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back.” It’s the perfect song for speaking quickly and then shouting set to music. It’s the Rex Harrison of pop songs. Can Six Track get over their drama? Will Miles’s hair be so floppy that it flops into his eyes and he falls off the stage? How high is Timbaland? Let’s find out.
The challenge for Six Track this week is learning how to perform as a cohesive unit. The guys are also the youngest group, and they’re all so teeny-tiny. Emma Bunton wants to just wrap them in her arms and rock them to sleep. They all go play basketball together because that’s the only way men under 22 are allowed to bond and express emotions. Michael Conor pulls out his violin and they all start playing “Heartless” by Kanye West. I have multiple problems with all of this.
1. “Heartless” would never be a song a boy band would sing.
2. WHY DOES MICHAEL CONOR INSIST ON RAPPING?
3. Why. Does. Michael. Conor. Play. Violin.
4. Why is his playing violin continually shown as a positive on this show?
5. When will Rita Ora free me from this hell?
Someone name one boy band where someone being a combination violinist/rapper is a positive. Just one. What boy band’s material is elevated by a rapper/violinist? Imagine if they were putting together the Backstreet Boys and Kevin was like, “Hi. I’m Kevin. I’m from Lexington, Kentucky. I am open to wearing skirts in music videos, and I play violin.” He’d be laughed out of Orlando. But I guess we gotta put up with this rapping violinist.
Tim Davis shows up in his same old jacket and wants to know why these singing boys are all wearing bandannas. Apparently, it gives them their pop. They’re going to be singing Shawn Mendes. Tim’s first piece of advice is for Mikey to stop imitating Justin Bieber. He probably learned how to explore his voice by imitating pop stars, and he sings in a weird pinched way. Also, they don’t know if Michael Conor can even sing. They cast him in a singing-competition show to compete to be in a boy band without knowing if he can harmonize.
We get little video packages on Mikey, Andrew, and Michael Conor. Mikey has hairstyling in his blood and sings at his family’s salons. That would be … so annoying. Andrew loves music, fishing, and working at a restaurant. He also wants to make a pop-country-funk fusion band. Michael Conor has been playing violin since he was 6, and has an amazing memory and can do Rubix Cubes in under a minute. Sigh. Gavin is having a little trouble working in a group because apparently he’s a YouTube star with over 300,000 followers. That’s a modest amount in a post–Kardashian/Jenner world.
Then there’s Miles. Oh, Miles. Dear, sweet, stupid Miles. Tim changes a little bit of the arrangement and Miles has an absolute meltdown. He can’t hold it together for the rest of the day. He’s trying to get his “mental toughness up” and not be so sensitive. He’s really not doing too well by this “bad boy” image he’s trying to cultivate. Meanwhile, Dorian is having a crisis of his own. He doesn’t fit in with the other boys and feels the pressure of trying to make it for his family. After their rehearsal onstage, Nick can tell that something is wrong with Six Track and decides to go mentor them. That’s what this show needs. A little hands-on mentorship by people who were in boy bands. Also, mini-challenges. Nick says the only way he’s been able to be in the Backstreet Boys is that they’re still having fun 20 years later. I’m old, and so is Nick Carter.
Now, performing for one night only: SIX TRACK! Michael opens the performance by rapping, and Andrew is singing to Rita Ora. I wrote in my notes: “No.”
The camera also cuts to the audience and there’s just one big black girl in glasses, clapping along with the minimum required energy. She is my guiding light. Timbaland is up out of his seat, dancing along, and he’s obviously not in his body. Between this and The Pop Game, what happened, Timbaland? What happened?
After the performance, Emma tells Gavin to relax, and Nick tells Miles that bad boys are sensitive on the inside. Timbaland asks the audience to chant, “Mikey, don’t hold back,” which is a bad chant. Dorian begins genuinely crying, and you can tell Miles is kicking himself for not breaking down in tears.
It’s time to eliminate one boy and it’s Gavin. Go back to your YouTube channel, Gavin.
Rita Ora started to explain what will happen next, and I literally shushed my boyfriend so I could hear. It didn’t make a difference. What happens next, Rita? I need to know!