Univision’s hotly anticipated reality competition La Banda in search of the next big Latin boy band premiered Sept. 13 and we’re already hooked — on Ricky Martin’s intensity, Laura Pausini’s warmth, Alejandro Sanz’s dry humor and host Alejandra Espinoza’s chameleon-like fashion and beauty looks.
The contestants are equally endearing, and we already have our favorites. Let’s just say Dominican brothers Richard and Yashua don’t need La Banda to make it. They should just start shopping their demo around to labels now.
But the reality singing competition space is a crowded one, and there’s always room for improvement, so here are some things we would like to see happen this first season.
During the premiere episode, contestants got selected for the next round or turned away with a simple “Para mí, es un sí” or “para mí, es un no.” Sometimes that’s sufficient, like when you hear someone fail as spectacularly as Iosvany Medina from Chicago, whose rendition of Jason De Rulo’s “The Other Side” still has our ears ringing (and not in a good way). But in some cases, we need more answers, like when Sanz gave Yashua a thumbs down after his fellow judges wholeheartedly welcomed him to the next round. We get that he wasn’t as polished as his brother, but still…
2. Tone down the telenovela melodrama.
We get it. The soapy factor in these shows is a must, but you’re also catering to a younger demographic that isn’t necessarily up on the latest episode of La Imperdonable. We were moved by the fact that Jason Medina was saved from drugs and gangs by the power of music, but we also didn’t need the waterworks. In the end, we just want to hear him sing more.
3. Record original material á la The Voice.
You can thank Pharrell for introducing this awesome element into The Voice. Can you imagine how great if would be if Martin, Pausini and Sanz each wrote some hits for the contestants?
4. Bring on the celebrity advisors.
Another element that La Banda can borrow from existing shows is bringing on A-list advisors to mentor the contestants from time to time. How about starting with Enrique Iglesias?
5. Un-digitize the things that matter.
There’s no doubt La Banda has the potential to reach an unprecedented number of “billennials” — bilingual millennials — through cross-platform social integrations and the immersive Univision Conecta app. The ultimate reward for the viewer with the most points will be a seat at the table in the semifinal as the unofficial fourth judge, via a hologram. However, being that this person is in the land of the living, it would be amazing if he/she could be invited onstage in the flesh so he/she can feel the thrill of such an experience. Then again, that may not be cool enough for the kids.