Reality Rocks - Archive

Sonyae Elise Becomes the First (and Probably Last) Winner of ‘Platinum Hit’

Lyndsey Parker
Reality Rocks

Kara DioGuardi and Jewel's songwriting competition "Platinum Hit" may have been a ratings disaster for the Bravo network, which gave up on the show mid-season and moved it from Mondays to Fridays. But those few of us still watching "Platinum Hit" got to see quite a few talented singer-songwriters pen and perform quite a few genuinely good songs--some good enough to compete on the radio alongside the hits of today. And this Friday, the competition came down to R&B man (and Jordin Sparks's creative director) Scotty Granger, who placed third; indie-girl underdog Jes Hudak, who came in second; and powerhouse diva Sonyae Elise, who ultimately took home the $100,000 grand prize after her finale song, the Blige-like ballad "My Religion," won over the judges.

While there's no doubting that Sonyae is a natural talent and the best lyricist among the three "Platinum Hit" finalists, I do find it surprising and interesting that the winner of the show was the ONE contestant who didn't possess the ability to play an instrument, and who was deemed the least melodically skilled of the three. (It was Sonyae's lyrics and concepts, not her melodies, that most impressed the judges.) Jewel even wrote in her finale blog on the Bravo website: "I hope Sonyae takes the time to learn an instrument. It must be so frustrating to hear the music in your head but rely on others to make it come out."

In a Q&A on the Bravo site, Sonyae argued: "I think that everybody has strengths and weakness, and I think that because I don't play an instrument, I build a strong foundation of lyric and concept." But while Sonyae has proven that she's got the goods to collaborate with other songwriters and come up with potential hit singles, I still question whether she'll ever be able to write on her own, or if she'll always be dependent on other musicians and co-writers to bring her songs to life, as Jewel says.

Then again, I also question what sort of career Sonyae will have at all, after winning a show that, sadly, so few people actually watched. Hopefully for her, the songs she writes in the future will be heard by a wider audience. I wish Sonyae, as well Jes, Scotty, and all the "Platinum Hit" contestants (well, all of them except that evil Nick Nittoli!), the best of luck.

[photos courtesy of Bravo]

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