Welcome to the first installment of my new weekly series, This Week in Reality Singing Competition News! I will be giving my thoughts on the 5 biggest stories related to Reality Singing Competition shows, alumni of those shows, breakout performances, etc. So let’s get started! In no particular order…
- The Voice finally has a success story that isn’t one of the judges! Jordan Smith, season 9 winner, just broke season 3 winner Cassadee Pope’s record for week 1 sales, and started off at #2 on the Billboard 200 chart. That’s great for Jordan, but there are a few things to keep in mind. First, this could still be a fluke. In 9 seasons, only three winners have had any substantial success. Second, Jordan was actually promoted really well, probably because Mark Burnett (producer of The Voice) took a special interest in Jordan. Jordan sort of embodies what the entire show is about-finding someone whose looks would usually count against them. And third, what do you know? Promoting someone actually gives them a shot at success! This should have been a no brainer, but it seems like the people running talent promotion post-The Voice have no brains sometimes.
- The X Factor UK’s reset continues. After last season’s new judge Nick Grimshaw quit, and last season’s pair of hosts Caroline Flack and Olly Murs also quit, it is seeming like we are going back to season 11’s format. Dermont O’Leary, who is my favorite competition show host ever, is officially coming back. And so are the room auditions, where people sing without any audience but the judges. All of this is good news (with the exception of Nick quitting-I actually really liked him).
- In One Direction news, Simon Cowell was quoted by Billboard stating the obvious-that the “hiatus” might very well be a breakup. Cue millions of fans weeping. Having seen them on The X Factor and having hoped they would end up in third place (as they did), I must say that their success has been a total surprise to me. Also surprising is ex bandmate Zayn Malik selling a ton of albums this week. Zayn was always my third favorite member of the band, and he has been getting into fights with the rest of the band. So I’m shocked he still has so many fans.
- The list of former American Idol contestants coming back for the finale is long. Too long to list here actually. But there is one notable absence. Philip Phillips is the only winner who will not be seen on the finale. Kelly Clarkson, being pregnant, pre-taped her final Idol performance a few weeks ago. But Phillip is in a legal battle with 19 entertainment and while 19 can be exploitative sometimes I am totally on their side here. Phillip would be nothing without the promotion and the platform they gave him, and it is weird that he doesn’t seem to recognize that. Update 4/4: Phillip might actually be there after all, according to comments from last seasons winner Nick Fradiani. We shall see on Thursday.
- This week on American Idol, David Cook returned! And I know that for most people, this isn’t one of the five biggest stories. But as a huge fan of his, I can’t help but include it. His performance of Heartbeat was amazing as usual (and the screens behind him showed all of the winning moments that I loved so much), and so I’m going to include it below.
While the Apple event today was happening, I was really enjoying it. Apple played up its history, showing a video to open the event covering the 40 years of innovation. Apple turns 40 on April 1st, something I totally forgot about. Tim also mentioned that this was the last event ever to be held in their original campus theater, before Apple moves to the spaceship campus in 2017. The section on environmental responsibility was great PR, as was the announcement of CareKit. Also, Apple introduced some nice stuff today. The smaller iPad Pro in particular is a great, albeit overpriced, addition to the iPad lineup. The iPhone SE is shockingly premium, with the full 6S featureset minus 3D Touch and a better FaceTime camera, and was priced more aggressively than expected at $400. The new watch bands are insignificant to me, but the $50 price cut will probably move some more units. And I love tvOS 9.2 with dictation and iCloud Photo Library support.
But then, after just 63 minutes of announcements, Tim Cook abruptly ended the event. And I was left slightly disappointed. No new Mac stuff at all, despite the availability of new processors and a need for USB C to be spread across the MacBook lineup. No significant Apple Watch update. No new iTunes yet, despite the words of Eddy and Craig a few weeks ago. This whole event was low on products-25 minutes of updates and only 35 of announcements does not warrant an event, even a small one. Are we spoiled? Yes, unquestionably. But putting that aside, the event was nice but nothing spectacular. I think it might have been better for Apple to just announce the smaller iPad Pro at WWDC or online.
Before I wrap this post up, I have two more quick complaints about the products announced today. First of all, 16 GB of storage isn’t enough anymore, even on an entry level iPhone. Customers know it, Apple knows it, and it’s really obnoxious. Second, why does the smaller iPad Pro have a protruding camera? Not nice when they charge so much for a case to protect it. Okay, I am now done nitpicking.
Watch the full keynote below!
This past Saturday marked my second time seeing Adam Lambert live, and I have to say, it was even better than the first time. This was surprising to me because I liked Adam’s first two albums more than his most recent one. Yet all three albums were great when performed live.
Adam really upped everything this tour. The video screens and lights amplified the show, but never distracted from the most important thing which is Adam himself. He is an amazing vocalist, a great dancer, and an all around great entertainer. The highlights of the show for me were opening song “Evil in the Night”, “Mad World”-one of my two favorite idol moments ever, and “Trespassing” mixed in with Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust”.
Adam has learned a lot from his shows as lead singer of Queen. He talked in an interview about stringing songs together and it showed. The set list was extremely dense-23 songs in 90 minutes. This was achieved with the use of a few mashups, but no song was shortened too much to the point of being a letdown.
If I had one complaint, it would be that Adam didn’t talk very much, and I like it when artists banter with the crowd. But something had to give to get such a long set list to work, so I wouldn’t complain too much.
i would give this show a 10/10. Go see it if you still can. Or if you can’t, check out the videos below for some of the highlights.
This post was tough to write, which is why it took so long for me to get it up here. But last week made letting go of American Idol after this season a whole lot easier. Nobody really gave an great performance-not even the usually amazing Demi Lovato-and my one reliable favorite went home in 9th place. Add in a baffling performance from our very own Drunk Uncle Harry Conick Jr, the return of the random performance order (what’s up with THAT? Do they not want great performances?) and the fact that next week’s theme is actually “songs most performed on this show” (which is without question the worst theme in 15 seasons of idol) and I hate to say it, but I’m ready to say goodbye.
I would do my usual list of favorites, but frankly I really didn’t care enough about any of the performances to write one this week. So instead of that, I’m going to talk about something happier-the fact that X Factor UK will probably be renewed through 2019! Thank GOD. That’s my favorite show and I’m glad that ITV is probably letting it continue for a few more years at least. Now all they need to do is bring back Dermot O’Leary, keep the three judges and add a final judge not named Louis Walsh, and we will be set for another amazing season.
As far as The Voice goes, once I get proof that the show can produce someone who gets played on the radio, I’ll start watching again. But as long as the focus is on the judges, I can’t see that happening. So for anyone hoping I’d cover that show, I’m sorry but its still a waste of time for me.
To conclude this weeks reality show musings, a moment of sadness for Olivia Rox. Here is a video of why she deserved to make it a lot further.