“What was your reaction when you were asked to host a balloon show?” Becky Lucas asks Stephen Curry.
“Honestly…it was how you got my number?” he replied.
It’s a similar reaction many have had, with even a Seven network executive admitting that the idea has garnered attention.
Jump is based on a Dutch format (aren’t they all?) but you might be excused if you think you’ve come across a spin-off of Lego Masters. There are many things that look familiar around here.
The format sees 10 balloon performers, ranging from children’s entertainers to magicians, corporate and retail stylists, competing as teams or on their own for a $100,000 prize. Judging them is seasoned pro Chris Adamo who runs his own balloon styling company. According to the show, “The amazing world of balloon art has been hiding in the shadows until now.” Who knew?
Given the all-gloss TV floor treatment, this studio is likely adjacent to the Lego house. Our 10 contestants all enter as the giant doors open and enter a dark, smoke-filled space that quickly lights up like a Christmas tree. Coupled with rousing music from Endemol Shine’s audio department, this is Inspiration 101.
“Oh!” “My God!” our artists declare, prior to the unveiling of the Balloon Library, a brightly colored repository of thousands of (deflated) balloons that may once have housed Lego pieces. The balloons are made from latex and yes they will be recycled after the show for the playgrounds maybe like some of this set which look like excess parts of the Zumbo’s only desserts set to.
To be fair, it’s a colorful candy store that kids would probably kill to play in.
The first is a 12-hour challenge where two teams must get creative with the themes, Future or Fantasy. Judge Chris is after cohesion, a word you’ll hear often, as these fast-paced new best enemies must work together to agree on a vision and draw on their abilities.
Like most TV shows in this genre, there are varying degrees of planning, failure, desperation, success, and detail… you know the drill. The hosts intervene to bring out the ambition and punctuate with a punchline. For Becky Lucas, there’s more than a little innuendo, with references to face-to-crotch height ratio, and another hint that big feet are code for something else… seriously?
Stephen Curry also makes several derisive jokes about Lucas that seem like two opposites looking for TV chemistry.
But we’re here for the finished projects, right? Thankfully they are lavish and colorful and it seems, yes, you really can use balloons to create anything if you have the motivation.
This is followed by a solo challenge for members of the winning team that introduces helium and the need to float in a short hour-long burst (sorry!).
There’s a studio clock ticking and “major interviews” where contestants describe their runaway projects, … think cakes that don’t rise and plastic towers that fall, replaced by balloons that don’t float and ideas ambitious that require compromises.
And despite the show’s name, only part of the ballooning involves human mouths and breath, the rest is via automated oxygen tanks. Boo.
The sum total of all the moving parts is a colorful eye candy that kids can easily embrace (co-viewing is big these days). Compared to some stinkers Seven has seen in the past (Last Tag, Cannonball, Celebrity Splash), this emerges with a sense of fun still intact.
But I felt like I’d seen it all before. What is Seven thinking playing it right after Lego Masters?
For this adult, Reality TV really needs to stop going back to the same tropes and find new ways to tell stories, instead of serving up cookie-cutter clutter.
7.30pm Monday on Seven.