In the pre-Fall lull of new television programming, MTV and P. Diddy have launched the new reality series "P. Diddy's Starmaker." Not to be confused with "Making His Band" or "Making The Band" or the "I Want To Work For Diddy" or "Sean Jean: Internship By Design" contests, this one's about discovering talented singers who also know how to sell themselves as a brand.
The show runs through September and started with 14 contestants on Sunday.
"You have to understand how to be able to brand yourself," Sean "Puff Daddy" "Puffy" "Puff" "P. Diddy" "Diddy" Combs told Reuters. "Before, it was just at live shows, now you have to be able to do a great live show, you have to be able to do a great online interview, you need to have a great Facebook page, you have to have a great television performance."
Which is all fascinating stuff, coming from a celebrity whose own branding "reality" has come from the famousness of other people, his reliance on the MTV machine (in today, out tomorrow) and, of course, his highly successful fashion line.
Diddy is prepping the release of "Last Train to Paris" due around Thanksgiving this year. He's recruiting his backing band through the same means that he's culled his Bad Boy baby bands like Danity Kane (them?), Da Band (who?) and Day26 (what?): through the inane talent farm that is cable reality television. It's a way to build excitement around the release, his first since "Press Play," released October 2006.
That album itself was just another example of Diddy's reliance on guest talent and resting on the laurels of his record exec past. Contributors included Mary J. Blige, Keyshia Cole, Mario Winans, Christina Aguilera, Ciara, Nas, Cee-Lo and Timbaland, but nary one outstanding performance from the Bad Boy himself. His rhymes have the same character traits as his television personality, that is to say it's the aural equivalent of sawdust.
Even before this, though, Diddy was battling the unshirkable impression that he was riding the pinstriped coattails of his late, former signee Notorious B.I.G., or that his breakthrough, smash-hit 1997 album "No Way Out" used well-known samples as its crutch as opposed to one of many building blocks.
But this is the house Diddy has built, a brand that he chose, with his millions contingent on the success of other brands. Such is the strife of any modern day label man, especially a label man whose musical career resembles the credits of a movie than the plot and brains of the movie itself.
I'm not looking forward to hearing "One Night In Paris" "Last Train To Paris," not like I was for "Press Play." I've already been warned of what it looks like and sounds like, and I don't like it. Nothing seems private, earnest or new, and it all smells of money.