Picks and Pans Review: Bands on the Run

updated 06/25/2001 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/25/2001 AT 01:00 AM EDT

VH1 (Sundays, 10 p.m. ET)

Would you rather hang out with a made-for-TV boy band getting its first taste of stardom or rough-edged rock groups in a cross-country contest for cash and prizes? That's the choice presented by these two so-called reality series.

As Making the Band continues its second season in back-to-back half-hour episodes on Friday nights, the five lads of O-Town seem preoccupied with career strategy now that they've made it onto MTV's Total Request Live. Who really cares whether they change managers? But the show occasionally offers a priceless behind-the-scenes moment. On June 22, for example, an O-Town handler warns band member Dan Miller that crotch-grabbing is considered inappropriate on Good Morning America.

Bands on the Run, which began in April, tests touring groups' ability to sell tickets and souvenirs as well as play loud music. From the original field of four, the three survivors are Soulcracker (better promoters than performers), Flickerstick (great at drinking and guitar-smashing) and the female quartet Harlow (likably casual about competing). I'd say the wrong group gets eliminated in the June 24 "battle of the bands," but the show is raunchily watchable.

Bottom Line: VH1 has a better beat

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