The Launch, the competitive Canadian series created by Big Machine Label Group President/CEO Scott Borchetta, returned January 30 for its second season premiere on the CTV network. Borchetta recently detailed the show’s unique format and hosted a special screening of The Launch‘s Season 2 premier.
Each episode of The Launch starts and ends with a song. Hit songwriters and producers introduce a demo at the beginning of each episode, and five aspiring artists audition, hoping to be a good fit for the song. Guiding artists through the audition, performing, and recording process are Borchetta and Candian superstar Marie-Mai (Star Académie, La Voix), who join a weekly rotating panel of celebrity mentors and producers. Season 1 featured the likes of OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, Shania Twain, Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles, Boy George, producer Dann Huff, Mötley Crüe’s Nikki Sixx, The Black Eyed Peas’ Fergie, Julia Michaels, producer Ian Kirkpatrick and producer Stephan Moccio as guest mentors.
Once two artists have been chosen to cut the demo, they head straight into the studio to record and then straight into rehearsals to practice their performance. Lastly, they perform their version of the song for the judges and a live audience, and one of them is chosen to be ‘launched.’ That episode’s winner will have their version of the song launched as a single just hours later.
“The whole process happens in 48 hours,” said Borchetta. “We launch the singles at midnight.”
Unlike other talent competitions like American Idol and The Voice, The Launch shows a competitor’s journey from start to finish in a single episode. There are seven episodes in a season—one of which is a recap—and each episode launches one new single, and hopefully, the career of a new artist. The series takes advantage of the platforms of CTV’s parent company Bell Media, including its radio stations, in order to promote its winners
The Launch has proven to be a global success thus far by breaking artists on US radio. Season one, Episode two winners, duo Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine, have broken into the Top 40 on pop radio with their launched single, “Ain’t Easy.” The track has amassed over 30 million streams globally.
The Launch‘s Season two premier features a moody electronic song written by Tedder. He along with Borchetta and Marie-Mai chose two competitors out of five female artists, put them to work in the studio and chose a version of the single to launch by the end of the 60-minute episode. The result was a Tedder original, “Better,” performed by 16 year-old Cassiøpeia from Burnaby, BC, featuring Canadian rappers Boi-1da and KILLY.
Borchetta expressed excitement for the selected mentors this season, including Bryan Adams and Bebe Rexha.
“I met Bebe when we did ‘Meant To Be’ with FGL,” he said, grinning. “She is just awesome. And in the studio, she had no filter. She’s great for the contestants.”
Other celebrity mentors and producers tapped for Season two include Sarah McLachlan, producer Nile Rodgers, Jann Arden, the Arkells’ Max Kerman, and more. Season two also introduces a new host, Liz Trinnear, as well as footage of the contestants in the lounge on The Launch set.
“We’ve shown proof of concept,” Borchetta, who got his feet wet as a mentor on Idol, explains of the unique format.
As far as expansion for The Launch, Borchetta detailed that Bell Media had sold international format rights to Sony Pictures Television, and that with the saturation of talent competition shows in the States, they are looking at other global opportunities for future distribution.
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