The Best & Worst Portrayals of Musicians on Reality TV
Reality TV has become the source of exposure for many musicians to promote themselves and their work on.
But of course in order to making reality TV watchable, the editor needs to make the footage both interesting and entertaining.
This means that many of our once favourite stars can be portrayed as mean, miserable or difficult.
Or they can come across as someone you want to root for and end up being a fan of?
This can soon have an effect on an artist career whether its good or bad…
So with that in mind let’s take a look at the some of the best and worst reality TV portrayals of recent memory.
BEST: Monica – ‘Monica: Still Standing‘
Despite being very popular in the nineties, Monica has always somewhat played second fiddle to Brandy. After the low sales of her 2006 album ‘The Making’s of Me‘ many had written her off and didn’t expect any success from her again.
However when her BET series ‘Still Standing‘ premiered in 2009 viewers soon witnessed a softer and more vulnerable side to ‘The Boy Is Mine‘ singer.
This left fans rallying to see Monica succeed again and to the surprise of everyone her album ‘Still Standing‘ achieved gold status, which is a impressive achievement for any R&B artist in todays music climate.
WORST: Kelly Price – ‘R&B Divas: Los Angeles‘
Best known for her single ‘Friend of Mine‘ and for her duet with Whitney Houston on ‘Heartbreak Hotel‘, Kelly was a relatively known name in the music industry in the late 90s and early 00s.
Like many nineties musicians her sales took a downward turn in the years to come and after the success of ‘R&B Divas: Atlanta‘ who could blame her for signing up for the Los Angeles instalment?
Now we’re not saying that Kelly is a bad person, it was clear on the show that she had good intentions, but her choice of words and actions were edited to the extreme. She has since been very vocal about the harsh production process of filming the show and how the makers wanted to set up certain scenarios.
But then again the producers didn’t exactly control the words that came out of her mouth and as a result she was mocked on social media and only lasted one season on the show.
Did it have an effect on her music career? Well her latest album ‘Sing Pray Love, Vol. 1: Sing‘ charted at number 64 on the Billboard 200… which is not great, but not bad considering.
BEST: Ozzy Osbourne – ‘The Osbournes’
Pretty much the reality show that started this whole TV trend. Rock legend Ozzy Osbourne invited the MTV cameras into his home to follow the lives of his crazy rock ‘n’ roll family. Viewers witness moments that were funny, weird, sad, weird again and unbelievable.
The whole clan soon became household names and even won an Emmy for their hard ‘work’. Thanks to the success of the show Ozzy has solidified his legacy as one of rock musics greats, Sharon launched a successful management and television career, Kelly is a regular on the fashion circuit and has a nice TV gig on ‘Fashion Police‘ and Jack has also worked on a number of television projects both in front of the camera and behind the scenes.
The success of ‘The Osbournes‘ later paved the ways for similar series such as ‘Run’s House‘ and ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians‘.
WORST: Keyshia Cole – ‘The Way It Is’ and ‘Family First‘
This one was a hard selection. Keyshia Cole has made some excellent songs and she has a back story that would make viewers want to see her succeed. Much of the success of Keyshia’s career is because of her reality TV exposure.
However as each season progressed it was clear to viewers that Keyshia was somewhat uncomfortable about opening up aspects of her personal life. By the third season of ‘The Way It Is‘ her sister Neffe and her mother Frankie had become the breakout stars of the show and even in some episodes Keyshia took a back seat to them.
Soon her records sales started to decline and by the time she returned with a new series called ‘Family First‘ with then husband Daniel Gibson, it was clear that even then Keyshia was feeling the new added exposure.
This led to criticism from fans and viewers and to this day Keyshia is still trying to win back fans that deserted her after her 2007-2008 peak.
BEST: Tamar Braxton – ‘Braxton Family Values’ and ‘Tamar & Vince‘
Toni Braxton will always be the star of the Braxton family, her name would of been remembered regardless of whether she took part in reality TV or not. However it is her baby sister Tamar that truly became the breakthrough success story of their show!
Her eccentric personality quickly won over viewers and her passion for succeeding in the industry provided a great storyline for each new season. Thanks to her exposure on the show and her impressive industry connections (i.e. her husband) her album ‘Love and War‘ went to number two on the Billboard 200 and received three Grammy nominations.
To add to that she and husband Vince received their own spin-off and in September she is launching a talk show called ‘The Real‘ alongside Tamera Mowry, Adrienne Bailon, Loni Love and Jeannie Mai.
It is clear that Tamar is wasting no time in her career renaissance!
WORST: Mary Mary – ‘Mary Mary‘
This duo is one of the most successful Gospel crossover artists of all time. There is not a single R&B music countdown show or compilation album that doesn’t include their hit ‘Shackles (Praise You)‘.
Too further their success reality TV seemed like a no brainer, I mean what could possibly go wrong with exposing their lives to the world in a positive and inspiring way? This is definitely an interest case because to this day their career is still relatively successful (in the genre they are in) and you could say that their talents speak for itself?
However your opinion on them as people is often left with a question mark at the end of each episode. Throughout each season fans have witnessed Erica and Tina go through pregnancies (some planned and some not), management issues (pretty much every episode), disapproving husbands, angry family members, cheating husbands and the occasional happy moment.
Whilst all of this is excellent ingrediants for television entertainment, it also plays a bad image on the christian values that they are well known for?
Of course every family has their issues, but when your whole career is based on faith and leading a certain way its kind of hard to believe that Mary Mary have continued on with this show even after all the spilt tea and drama…
BEST: Rev Run ‘Run’s House‘
In many ways this should of been the formula that Mary Mary should of followed for their reality series. ‘Run’s House‘ allowed viewers to witness the home life of rap legend Rev Run.
The show had everything you wanted from entertainment, family values, music industry insight, relatable drama and an overall sense of warmth. Rev Run came across as a likeable figure and a good example of how to deal with fame transition as an artist gets older.
He also allowed the programme to showcase the talents of his children and how important family is when making your mark in the world. This show ended in 2009 and as a result its impact has been largely forgotten, but nonetheless it was truly a great product of its time.
WORST: The Houstons – ‘The Houstons: On Our Own‘
This show was just wrong on so many levels. Have you ever watched a reality show and felt uncomfortable and slightly intrusive doing so? Then this show maybe the perfect example of it!
Just months after the death of Whitney Houston, the family for some reason agreed for cameras to follow their next steps in dealing with life without Whitney.
The show controversially included Bobbi Kristina and even show moments of her under the influence (of something) and even receiving medical attention.
Meanwhile her family who tried to be portrayed as warm and supportive were edited to come across as cold and quite demanding. All in all it wasn’t a good formula and the show never returned for a second season.
It was definitely a case of too much, too soon!
BEST: Danity Kane – ‘Making the Band‘
Diddy wanted to form a new successful female group and in 2005 he was responsible to putting together Aubrey, D. Woods (Wanita), Shannon, Dawn and Aundrea better known as Danity Kane.
For years viewers saw the formation and growth of this group and championed them in achieving chart success. The hard worked later paid off and they became the first female group to have their first two albums reached the number one spot in the American album charts.
Of course fans later witnessed their collapse and split but their impact lived on and fans were elated when they officially reunited in 2013 (minus D. Woods and now minus Aundrea).
What made the group so likeable is the fact that they were so relatable which made their fans so passionate about them in the first place, this soon helped them create great music and entertaining TV.
WORST: Ray J – ‘For the Love of Ray J‘ and ‘Brandy and Ray J: A Family Business‘
Is there anything Ray J won’t do for exposure? After some success as a singer, short lived success as an actor and being overshadowed in a sex tape… reality TV seemed like the next natural career move for him.
First up was ‘For the Love of Ray J‘ which followed him on his quest to find ‘true’ love. After that didn’t work out we then followed him on life with his family and witnessed his many immature moments and lack of real direction in his career.
Now we’re not saying that Ray J is untalented but he still hasn’t found his niche in the entertainment world!
The sad reality is that he is still most known for being Brandy’s little brother…
What do you think? Tell us in the comment box below
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