Radio and TV Talk

Rodney Ho covers TV and radio, from Atlanta’s stations to the hottest “American Idol" news.

Rick Ross stars in VH1 music competition show 'Signed' July 26

This was posted on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

On the heels of Lifetime's "The Rap Game," VH1 has created its own Atlanta-based reality competition music show called "Signed."

While Jermaine Dupri's "Rap Game" focuses on young kids who rap, usually 12 to 16, "Signed" is looking to develop adults who sing R&B and/or rap.

The show, which debuts Wednesday at 8 p..m., features three mentors: rap impresario and part-time Atlantan Rick Ross, Atlanta rap star The-Dream and Lenny Santiago, senior vice president of Jay Z's Roc Nation label.

In the first episode, which I screened, most of the action happens at  Patchwerks Recording Studios in West Midtown, which was originally created by former NFL player and "Real Housewives" participant Bob Whitfield 23 years ago  and has recorded music with artists ranging from Mariah Carey and Toni Braxton to Britney Spears and 50 Cent.

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The three judges first pare down semifinalists into a group of about a dozen artists to be "developed." During auditions, we see mostly decent potential, including a rapper from Austell. One artist sounded great - until he did a line that favored Drake over Meek Mill, which didn't please Ross since that's Meek Mill is one of his artists. What's worse, the guy didn't even feel like what he did was wrong.

"You're going into a meeting with Pepsi and you're drinking a Coke," Lenny S observed. The-Dream called him a "bonehead."

And there's always one candidate who stands out for all the wrong reasons: Houston exotic dancer Just Brittany. She's arrogant and loud and in your face and most of the other artists instantly dislike her except for one dude who has the hots for her.  "I want to be myself," she proclaims. "You can't change me."

Of the dozen or so artists, three are given "priority" status the first episode to get special time to create songs for each of the mentors.  Just Brittany pouts when she finds out she's not a priority.

Plus, the rapper/producer lifestyle is not ignored. There's a scene where a masseuse who goes by the name Peaches gives Ross a neck massage. And The-Dream leaves Triangle Sounds Studios and proclaims he's hitting a strip club.

Stylistically, the show feels more loosely designed than "The Rap Game" but that could change with future episodes.

TV PREVIEW

"Signed," 9 p.m. Wednesdays, starting July 26, 2017 on VH1

About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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