MTV’s Taking the Stage has my favorite soundtrack on television right now – point blank, period. The latest episode’s mix of cuts from artists like John Legend, Jazmine Sullivan, Robin Thicke swept me up in the kind of R&B rapture that I hadn’t encountered on the tube since BET retired Midnight Love.
While spotting a complete music video on MTV is a rarity nowadays, the network has managed to keep music running through the veins of its programming by prominently infusing music into its reality show roster. And Taking the Stage is a prime example of how the spirit of music television can still thrive through forms of entertainment other than the traditional music video.
In addition to its bumpin’ soundtrack, I commend the show for consistently spotlighting the artistic skills of its talented cast. In just two episodes, we’ve already witnessed singer-songwriter Mia show off her vocal chops in two live sets and caught dancers Tyler, Jasmine, Malik, and Shaakira heat up both a talent show stage and a dance floor.
I dig how the show balances both the glossiness of The Hills and the swagger of America’s Best Dance Crew. Yes, there’s still petty drama thrown in for kicks, but the cast’s simple arguments have yet to overshadow their energetic performances.
Now, let’s hope that Harlem Heights takes a page from Taking the Stage and starts giving its cast more opportunities to flex their creativity on camera.