Original Content podcast: Netflix’s ‘Rhythm + Flow’ tweaks the music competition formula

“Rhythm + Flow” is Netflix’s take on a reality TV staple — the music competition show. With Cardi B, Chance the Rapper and Tip “T.I.” Harris on-board as judges, the series searches for the next big hip-hop star.

In some ways, “Rhythm + Flow” sticks to the formula popularized by “American Idol,” “The Voice” and similar shows, with several episodes devoted to auditions in Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta and Chicago, followed by a gauntlet of challenges in which contestants hone their skills and prove their worth, culminating in a final showdown with one big winner.

But as fellow TechCrunch writer Megan Rose Dickey helps us explain on the latest episode of the Original Content podcast, the series stands out in a few key ways. For one thing, it’s the first music competition to focus on hip hop. And rather than asking the audience to watch live/week-to-week, the show is now fully binge-able (it was initially released in batches of episodes over a two-week period).

We appreciated the fact that “Rhythm + Flow” didn’t linger on the spectacularly bad performers (and there were some) — it reserved most of its screen time for the genuine talents.

We also enjoyed the judges, who seemed to be enjoying themselves while also offering thoughtful commentary. Cardi B, in particular, was always entertaining, whether she was being enthusiastic, supportive or dismissive.

You can listen in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

A quick warning: While we felt that you can’t really “spoil” a reality show that’s been out for a month, we do reveal who won.

And if you’d like to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:
0:00 Intro
1:30 Disney+ follow-up
8:28 “Rhythm + Flow” review