Rock The Cradle: These Kids Aren't Alright
I have a feeling after this post that MTV is going to tell me "thanks, but no thanks" on recapping their new show Rock The Cradle. I've been trying to come up with a single word to describe how I feel about the contestants -- nine children of famous singers/musicians -- competing for a record deal. The word that will not go away is embarrassed. I was embarrassed for every single one of them, for their parents and for a couple of the judges as well. There is such an air of desperation permeating the show that I found myself struggling not to change the channel.
Last night was the third episode and two of the kids have already been voted off: Lucy Money, daughter of Eddie Money, and A'keiba Burrell-Hammer, daughter of MC Hammer. The kid who has risen to the top of the heap (I'll refrain from defining what the heap is made of) is Jesse Blaze Snider, the douchebag, over-indulged son of Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider. He's got a great (albeit tiny) body and shows it off at every opportunity, while his performances are over-the-top, but not in a good way. He's all show and no blow, and by blow I mean his voice is full of rock swagger, but he can't find a solid note with two hands and a flashlight. Living in the shadow of a former hair metal cross-dresser and having a Napoleon complex is a lot for a young man to shoulder.
Landon Brown -- son of frequent jailbird and former Mr. Whitney Houston, Bobby Brown -- was passed over for any genetic talent from dad. His voice is weak, his rap skills lacking and his attempt to cover Bobby's signature song My Preogative -- against Bobby's wishes -- was humiliating. Flashing his underwear and showing off his abs wasn't sexy, but a pathetic attempt to compensate for ruining a pop classic. Hell, even Brit Brit didn't screw it up this badly. Equally embarrassing (that word is going to come up a lot) was Al B. Sure's son, Lil B. Sure. Daddy was a self-described "panty dropper" in his day with his smooth vocals on songs like Night and Day. Lil B is cute (cue flashing of undies and abs), but his vocal range is non-existent.
Crosby Loggins, son of Kenny Loggins, seems so out of place on the show it's painful. He seems like a nice guy and he's got a decent voice, but he's stiff and has zero charisma. Jesse Walsh, daughter of The Eagle's expert axeman Joe Walsh, acquitted herself well on the first episode, but her vocals have subsequently proven to be pedestrian at best. She's pretty and could have a decent pop voice, but is trying too hard to be a rocker. The same goes for Lara Johnston, daughter of the Doobie Brothers' Tom Johnston. Dad gets points for being supportive, even playing guitar while his daughter butchered the Doobie's classic, Long Train Running.
That leaves us with the unlikely "star" of Rock The Cradle, Olivia Newton-John's daughter Chloe Lattanzi. At just 22, she has already damaged her face with plastic surgery. The over-inflated lips, stretched brow and smooth face make her look like a freaky doll. The vocals are something else all together. Try to imagine Marlene Dietrich's deep, Germanic drawl mixed with a little Yoko Ono. In the first show, she blamed her ear monitors malfunctioning for a truly bizarre cover of INX's Never Tear Us Apart, but her voice sounded the same on her frenzied cover I Hate Everything About You by Three Days Grace. Last night she turned mom's sweet I Honestly Love You into a dark, Euro-trash dirge (that's the vid clip above). Belinda Carlisle has been giving Chloe big scores, so BC is either back on coke or feeling sorry for the girl. I have to hand it to Chloe -- she's the only thing interesting about the show. Her looks, style and voice are so strange she could have a great career as a performance artist, and I mean that in a good way. She's never going to be a pop or rock star, but she could have a very interesting career if she totally embraces her inner and outer freak. Note to Olivia: lay off the knife yourself. You could bounce quarters off those cheeks.
Larry Rudolph, former manager of Brit Brit, is the executive producer of the show and if he thinks he's going to find a new pop star in this bunch, he's as delusional as Ms. Spears. Belinda Carlisle's transformation to has-been is now complete, while the other two judges -- choreographer Jamie King and stylist June Ambrose -- eat up screen time talking about the kids' lack of moves and style. The host of the show, Ryan Devlin, is so boring he's practically invisible and his stage patter is not just stiff, but petrified. If MTV wanted a fossil, they could have dug up Kurt Loder to host this mess of a show, or maybe even Martha Quinn. It's shows like this that make me wish MTV would just go back to showing music videos. I still miss Yo' MTV Raps, 120 Minutes and AMP.
(Video courtesy DListed)