From the moment we heard the opening lines of The Real World (“This is the true story… of seven strangers… picked to live in a house…(work together) and have their lives taped… to find out what happens… when people stop being polite… and start getting real.), we knew that reality television had made their way into our living rooms, without a cordial invite. Since then, that specific brand of television—where the mundane elements of life become its own artform—has been etched into our psyche. From cameras infringing on your favourite artist’s privacy, to a group of people living out their daily battles on an island, we’ve seen it all.
In the middle of the melee, we were happy to see the inclusion of music related shows come our way. While some painted a less than glowing image of the industry, others showed us just how much magic can be created within an hour on a weekly basis. Join us on our journey through 15 music related reality shows that kept going, and coming back for more.
There simply can’t be a list without the behemoth of them all. Making household names out of the likes of Simon Cowell, Ryan Seacrest, Randy Jackson, Jennifer Hudson, Kelly Clarkson, Adam Lambert and Carrie Underwood to name a few, American Idol has become the epitome of musical reality shows. After how several seasons, the show recently come to an end. However, much to the chargrin of many, the powers that be have decided to resuscitate the veteran. It remains to be seen if the show will be able to survive with the same luster of yesteryear.
This show featuring John Legend, Kelly Clarkson, Robin Thicke and Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles, was a diamond in the rough. Only lasting one season, Duets showed us what the power of a perfect duet is made of: aligned runs and pitches, seamless riffs and ear-catching tonality. Contestants were paired up with either of the hosts and viewers were treated to insane covers of some our favorite tunes. To be honest, it’s a shame Duets fizzled out so soon. Too soon.
Love & Hip Hop
This one’s a doozy. And it likely received most of its popularity for all the wrong reasons. It would be careless if this wasn’t included on the list. Love & Hip Hop is chock full of drama. Every. Single. Season. The wives in the background who finally got their shine, and we could go as far as saying that the show resuscitated Joe Budden’s career and catapulted Cardi B to stardom, all with a considerable boatload of outrageousness. Yeah, we were kind of obsessed.
Flavour of Love
Flavour Flav is a character all on his own. But when he was paired up with a cast of hot-tempered vixens vying for his attention to be the next Mrs. Flav? All hell broke loose. This is how Flavour of Love was born. Of course, in the midst of it all, one of the contestants stood out so much, she was given her own show. Ms. New York has gone on to stretch her 15 minutes of fame into a bona fide money-making machine. Take that to the bank.
Ego Trip’s Miss Rap Supreme
The females were running this one for the search of a hip hop’s newest female emcee. They were set up for challenges and had to be creative with their raps and follow through. Seeing that it’s usually a man’s world, it was refreshing to view this from the female perspective. Judged weekly by Yo-Yo and MC Serch, with guest appearances by the likes of Missy, Roxanne Shante and more, for the 8 shows presented it was well worth the watch.
Making the Band
Juniors Cheesecake, anyone? Puffy, Diddy or whatever you would like to call him, was the King of the Castle and we watched attentively while he made his minions go through hoops of fire every week to join the legendary Bad Boy stable. We will never forget the Brooklyn Bridge crossing for Juniors Cheesecake. That episode will no doubt go down in the Reality TV Hall of Fame. Not up to speed? Look it up for a good holler.
Braxton Family Values
Sultry songstress Toni Braxton and her family snuck into the reality realm with their hit show. There’s no denying that Toni’s sisters,Traci, Tamar, Trina and Towanda, steal the spotlight. Especially Tamar. No doubt the show has been a springboard for their careers with Tamar and now Traci releasing albums. Their family antics, highs and lows keep everyone tuned in on the daily.
This one is a newbie, but it’s worth a mention. Literally launching careers with new singles and chosen bands/artists, Every week the judges rotate–Boy George, Fergie, Alessia Cara, Nikki Sixx, Jennifer Nettles,Julia Michaels and Shania Twain–and we watch as they work with the chosen contestant as they create an original hit single. Raw and ambitious, but absolutely fun to watch unfold.
The Search for the Next Doll
Remember when the Pussycat Dolls were a powerful, lingerie-clad group of women who danced burlesque and delivered bangers like “Buttons” and “Don’t Cha”? Well, there was a time when Robin Antin (the head and owner of the troupe) was looking for a new doll to join the force. There was dancing, a lot of it. Splits and plies and high kicks, all of it. The show didn’t last that long, only one season. However, at the time of its inception, no one can tell a Pussycat Doll nada.
Over 13 seasons, Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, Usher, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson, Miley Cyrus and newcomer Kelly Clarkson have judged and mentored contestants to reign supreme in their no holds barred vocal competition. Their off the wall commentary and camaraderie leaves space for solid critiques and plenty of fun in between. For some reason, this one looks to have more staying power than any.
Ice Loves Coco
To see Ice T out of the element we know (scowling, rap legend and actor mode), was a treat. His gentle, fun-loving and hearty side was for all the world to see, thanks to his wife Coco. Coco and her crazy antics, coupled with Ice T’s unlimited yet tested patience was so much fun to watch unfold. Now this was a happily ever after we all rooted for.
Let’s be real. This was the show that started it all. Paved the way, if you will. Move over Kardashians, The Osbournes were definitely ahead of their time. The foul-mouthed disrespectful kids, Sharon and her mumbling ways and Ozzy being…well, Ozzy, were part of a show about a family that we loved to hate. And unbeknownst to them, they were laying foundation for their spot in the future reality TV hall of fame.
Even if you didn’t want to get reeled into relationship woes, catfights and tour life, you certainly don’t have a choice with this one. Mariah’s World gave us behind the scenes insight into one of music’s biggest pop stars while on tour. Knowing full well how Mariah Carey is viewed in the headlines and tabloids, it was inviting to see another side of Mimi. Caring, fun and comical at times. Mariah actually loosened up a bit and fell in love. How the rest unfolds post-show remains to be seen, but it sure was fun to watch.
Whose house? Run’s house! Wife, children, family and God reigned supreme in this hip hop legend’s household. His kids Vanessa, Diggy, Angela and Jo Jo kept him on his toes, and Run’s wife Justine was the glue that kept it all together. His patience was tested on almost every occasion and his religious-themed quotables sent from his tub at the end of each show were a mainstay. This show brought hip hop, God and family together from a legend’s perspective.
Lip Sync Battle
LL Cool J and Chrissy Teigen are the newbies here, but they have a gem on their hands. Watching stars transform themselves into their favourite artists and go head to head for lip syncing bragging rights is absolutely brilliant. Who knew Channing Tatum would be a fantastic Beyonce? Lip Sync Battle brings a whole other persona out of celebrities once they hit the Battle stage. It’s charismatic, boisterous and a rollicking good time. We’re here for it.