Idol Top 3 Reveal Recap/Rankings

Last week on American Idol was hometown visit week, and we got the usual tears and emotional stuff that comes with the top 4 going home and seeing their friends and family. On top of the homecoming tears, this week was the last time Idol was broadcast from their usual studio, and that alone made me sad and nostalgic. Keith Urban performed his new song (which I didn’t hate), and JLo announced that this season’s winner will have a song featured in the soundtrack for the new Ice Age movie.

As far as the actual competition goes: La’Porsha Renae got thrown under the bus by Mentor Scott to my personal despair. Trent Harmon got pimped to high heaven and will probably win this week. Dalton Rappattoni sounded awful but I can’t truly hate him because I love his personality so much. And my previous prediction to win the entire show, MacKenzie Bourg, went home in fourth place.

Now, here are my thoughts on the remaining finalists ahead of this week’s series finale (just typing that makes me sad already). I’m ordering them based on my predictions for who I think will win, not who I want to win (I want La’Porsha to win this thing badly).

  1. Trent Harmon: Trent had another great night. No performance of his this week beat last week’s performance of Chandelier, but it didn’t matter. He clearly has Scott’s backing, and the judges love him, and he’s a white guy with guitar. It doesn’t hurt that he can actually sing. Song choice has been his biggest problem thus far, and this week he had 3 decent to great choices. His range is great, and his reaction to seeing his family visiting him at the studio probably got him a ton of votes. Trent went from being an afterthought to probably being the last American Idol in just two weeks, and I wouldn’t be totally mad if he won.
  2. La’Porsha Renae: La’Porsha is clearly Mentor Scott’s least favorite contestant. He would have no idea what to do with an R&B diva because he runs a country/pop label. So I can’t say I blame him for not wanting to sign her. But I will say that forcing a victim of domestic abuse to sing a song about begging a horrible guy to stay with her is really low and I was totally on La’Porsha’s side for pointing that out. La’Porsha’s performances of Glory (from Selma) and Hello (by Adele), her adorable baby girl, and her hometown visit VT should ensure that she at least finishes as Runner Up. She deserves to win, but even if she doesn’t win, I hope someone else signs her, because she is way too talented to fade into obscurity.
  3. Dalton Rappatoni: Dalton is probably the least talented vocalist to ever make it this far, and his arrangements aren’t even special enough to make up for that fact. He has an amazing personality and good presence. And his fanbase is pretty rabid, being that he comes from a boyband that was getting popular right when he quit. But the vocal just isn’t good enough. Everybody Wants To Rule The World made me long for David Cook’s version of the song. Dancing In The Dark made me long for Bruce Springsteen’s version. And I’d never heard Calling You before but I probably never need to hear it again. The poor vocals and the performances, coupled with the not-very-enthusiastic critiques from the judges makes me believe that Dalton will (deservedly) go home in 3rd place.

Watch my two favorite performances (both from La’Porsha) below:

This Week in Reality Singing Competition News

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…

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Hey Siri, can you help explain why Apple held an event today?

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!

Concert Review: Adam Lambert at the Lincoln Theater

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.

Reality Singing Show Update for 3/7

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.

Thoughts on American Idol Top 10 Week

Before I begin with my predictions, I just want to say that Kelly Clarkson was the highlight of this episode. I got teary after her last live performance on Idol, and I never cry for TV shows or movies. Not to mention she was an amazing guest judge. She was funny, smart, and everything a judge should be. It sucks that we can’t have her every week because as she said, she’s “slightly knocked up” and due to give birth in 7 weeks.

Now, to the performances. Before the top 10 performance episode aired, I only had one favorite. Now I have three. But that’s not to say that the entire top 10 is amazing. There were three performances that just were not good enough, and two more that were mediocre at best.

This list is ordered with my least favorite performance of the week at 10 and my favorite at 1. After the list, I’ll rank the contestants based on how I think they will place.

10) Gianna Isabella – Song choice alone ruined Gianna’s performance. Listen has been done so many times on X Factor UK by so many more talented vocalists that Gianna was naturally going to pale in comparison. The judges were right that it felt calculated. And she didn’t even attempt the big note after the bridge. This performance proved Gianna just isn’t ready.

9) Tristan Mcintosh – Tristan started out as one of my favorites. But she hasn’t lived up to her first audition. And this week, again, wasn’t good enough. I wish Idol would still be around in a few more years so Tristan could try out again later when she learns more about her voice. The judges and producers love her though so she’ll be around for at least a few more weeks.

8) Lee Jean – This week was an improvement for Lee, but honestly it wasn’t enough for him to overcome the shushing the audience or the fact that there are better singers with the same style (MacKenzie) in this year’s top 10.

7) Avalon Young – I like Avalon. She has a nice style and is pretty unique. But this week wasn’t her strongest. The song choice wasn’t great and she didn’t really get into it until the second half. So I’m placing her at number 7.

6) Trent Harmon – Trent is talented. But I feel like he wasn’t at his best this week. The vocal was too frantic for my tastes. Having said that, he’s a producer favorite and the love from the judges should keep him around for a while longer.

5) Dalton Rappattoni – Dalton will probably win this season, as much as it pains me to say it. His vocal isn’t great. Having said that, this week he made me enjoy a performance of Hey There Delilah, a song I absolutely loathe. So I guess he wouldn’t be the worst winner ever.

4) MacKenzie Bourg – He’s smart-he picks great songs, he is a great writer, and he knows what to do with an arrangement. But MacKenzie’s problem is that his vocal isn’t as strong as it needs to be for him to win the show.

3) Olivia Rox – Olivia is my favorite this season and I hope she wins. Her vocals can be amazing at their peak. And her duet with David Cook was my performance of the season so far. But this week, she was clearly third best. It sucks, because she went first and was totally overshadowed by La’Porsha and Sonika.

2) Sonika Vaid – Sonika just put herself back in the running this week. The vocal was stunning as always, but she also somehow figured out how to perform the song and make me feel something. I really hope she continues to perform well, because the vocal is always flawless.

1) La’Porsha Renae – La’Porsha stole the show. Kelly flat out declared her the winner, and nobody dared to disagree. The vocal was great, the song choice was great, everything was great. My one concern is that she hasn’t shown herself to be too marketable. I hope she can prove she fits because she is extremely talented.

My predictions:

  1. Dalton Rappattoni
  2. La’Porsha Renae
  3. Olivia Rox
  4. MacKenzie Bourg
  5. Sonika Vaid
  6. Trent Harmon
  7. Tristan McIntosh
  8. Avalon Young
  9. Lee Jean
  10. Gianna Isabella

My dreams:

  1. Olivia Rox
  2. La’Porsha Renae
  3. Sonika Vaid
  4. Everyone else in whatever order

My Thoughts on the iPhone SE Rumors

I used to be vehemently against the idea of larger smartphones. I thought that a 4 inch display was the perfect size to use in one hand and that really mattered to me. I didn’t think a bigger screen would be better in any way.

Then I bought my iPhone 6. And quickly began to love it. The larger screen does help with many things, including making the keyboard bigger, making watching videos better, and making games easier to control. The small tradeoff in one handed usability was not a big deal as a lot of things were made better with a bigger display.

But now that Apple is (according to multiple rumors) planning to release a new iPhone with a 4 inch display, I am stuck wondering why. I mean, choice is nice, but I don’t think many people would want a smaller phone after using a bigger one for a week. In addition, the new phone isn’t even going to be on par with the iPhone 6S-it won’t have 3D touch, and it won’t have the dramatically improved cameras. Unless you are going to make it great, why make it at all?

I don’t know the answer to that question. What I do know is that I was the target audience for the iPhone SE. I loved my smaller phone. But I was wrong.

Updated 3/7 with most up to date rumored name of product.