Views on pop culture through my eyes

Posts tagged ‘Fox’

Best Albums/Singles by American Idol Alumni

There is no doubt that American Idol will be missed. But thankfully, it brought us some great singers who have had some excellent albums and singles over the years. Here are my Top Ten favorite albums and singles from American Idol alumni.

Albums

  1. Kelly Clarkson — Breakaway
  2. Daughtry — Daughtry
  3. Carrie Underwood — Some Hearts
  4. Elliott Yamin — Elliott Yamin
  5. Carrie Underwood — Blown Away
  6. Blake Lewis — Audio Day Dream
  7. Jordin Sparks — Battlefield
  8. Kimberley Locke — Based on a True Story
  9. Kelly Clarkson — Stronger
  10. Dreamgirls Soundtrack

Honorable Mention

Daughtry — Leave This Town
David Cook — David Cook

Best Singles by AI Alumni

  1. Kelly Clarkson — Since U Been Gone
  2. Adam Lambert — Whataya Want from Me
  3. Carrie Underwood — Before He Cheats
  4. Kelly Clarkson — Miss Independent
  5. Carrie Underwood — Last Name
  6. Daughtry — Home
  7. Fantasia — I Believe
  8. Jordin Spark — No Air (w/ Chris Brown)
  9. Kimberley Locke — 8th World Wonder
  10. Clay Aiken — Invisible
  11. Elliott Yamin — Wait for You
  12. Phillip Phillips — Home

 Best Overlooked Idol Tracks

  1. Blake Lewis — Gots to Get Her
  2. David Cook — Time of Your Life/Paper Heart
  3. Adam Lambert — No Boundaries
  4. Kris Allen — Live Like We’re Dying
  5. Kimberley Locke — Change
  6. Mandisa — True Beauty
  7. Katharine McPhee — Home
  8. Josh Gracin — I Want to Live
  9. Bo Bice — Inside You Heaven
  10. Jennifer Hudson — You Pulled Me Through
  11. Scotty McCreery — Walk in the Country

Idols have touched us on screens big and small…. Movies and TV. Plus on Broadway too.

One of the things I loved about this show was that it took a nobody and made them a star. It presented you with regular people that were striving for their dreams — and that is something that everyone can relate to.

So that’s my list. Be sure to check out the songs and albums from some of my favorite American Idols. I am sure we will be enjoying their music for many years to come.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for birthdays, anniversaries and more.

Who Will Win American Idol 2015?

I have watched American Idol since season one. It is the best singing competition show on TV. Their ad campaign has said it all: we make superstars. With all the platinum records, online downloads, concert tickets sold, and major industry awards like the Grammys — this is the only show can boast about their track record. Even “The X Factor” has produced bigger stars than “The Voice” ever has. So who has what it takes to win it all this season? Read on for my list — from least likely to most likely — to win and be crowned the next American Idol.American Idol Season 14

7. Rayvon Owens (Richmond, VA; 23) — He is very soulful and reminds me of John Legend or Ne-Yo. Negative is his reliance on his falsetto, which he isn’t always good with. He’s been in the bottom a few times, so he is not connecting with the audience.

6. Joey Cook
(Woodbridge, VA; 23) — The kooky girl with the retro looks and little instruments (squeeze box or ukelele) is a bit too quirky for her own good if you ask me. Her interpretations have been interesting at times, but can’t see how she fits in today’s music scene.

5. Tyanna Jones (Jacksonville, FL; 17) — This young lady is definitely a powerhouse vocalist, with one of the strongest and biggest voices in the competition. She seems comfortable on stage. Hopefully she picks good songs for herself, and has self confidence too.

4. Jax (East Brunswick, NJ; 18) — This smoky voiced single named young lady definitely has star appeal. How far she can go with it, I am not sure. Her take on “Poker Face” by Lady GaGa was horrible, so she’s still finding her sound.

3. Clark Beckham (White House, TN; 22) — Clark is going for the white boy soul of a Darryl Hall, but reality is he is a bit overrated for me. He can be a bit over the top for me with his vocals. He thinks he’s better than he actually is.

2. Quentin Alexander (New Orleans, LA; 20) — This guy is a refreshing change from a lot of the singers in the competition. This guy is a real artiste— with his love of fashion and unconventional looks (afro, African jewelry), plus his unique interpretations of his song choices. He reminds me of Prince or Terence Trent D’Arby.

1. Nick Fradiani (Gulford, CT; 29) — This handsome singer/songwriter is a working musician whose stage presence shows all of his experience playing gigs. He looks like a lost cousin of the “Jersey Shore” gang, and has a voice that has echoes of Chris Daughtry. Plus he’s been consistent throughout the competition.

So those are my predictions. I predicted the last 2 winners, but missed it with Phillip Phillips. Do you think I got it right? I would love to hear from you.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Goodbye to Glee

Glee recently ended its run after 6 seasons on Fox. Though the show suffered the last few seasons in quality, there is a lot I am thankful for with it. Plus I know I will miss the great musical numbers and fun, loveable and relatable characters.glee-cast

When the show first premiered in 2009, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. Created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan, the show was described as the anti-High School Musical. (And I am a fan of that Disney series of movies). I saw the first episode, and was impressed with the level of talent among the kids in the Glee Club. But I can’t say it won me over that first episode. But into the first season, I came to love the show and it’s stars.

There was Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison), Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch), Rachel Barry (Lea Michele), Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith), Kurt Hummel (Chris Colfer), Noah ‘Puck’ Puckerman (Mark Salling), Mercedes Jones (Amber Riley), Tina Cohen Chang (Jenna Ushkowitz), Quinn Fabray (Dianna Agron), and Artie Ambrams (Kevin McHale). Later seasons brought us Britney S. Pierce (Heather Morris), Santana Lopez (Naya Rivera), Sam Evans (Chord Overstreet) and Blaine Anderson (Darren Chris). These misfits all came together in song, and the world is a better place for it.

Like a lot of gay teens, I totally felt left out and different growing up. I was an outcast or misfit myself. I so wanted to be in the ‘”in crowd” and be popular. I guess plenty of other people could identify with this feeling and why we latched on to “Glee.” We became “Gleeks” — a person who marches to the beat of their own drum, and is not afraid to sing about it.

I love the fact that you had openly gay teenagers on the show. It was a big deal at the time, and the producers took a lot of heat for it. Today, with how things have progressed as far as gay rights, I’d like to think that “Glee” had something to do with it. I also enjoyed the relationship between Kurt and his father. This was also something you hadn’t seen before on TV, with a Dad (Mike O’Malley) being supportive of his gay son.

The musical numbers were always great, and gave us many memorable moments. I have around 10 of the “Glee” CDs and listen to them often. Their interpretations are often as good as or better than the originals. And who can forget their mash-ups, where they put 2-3 songs together in a medley to dazzling results. I also love how much joy those songs/performances brought to the world. It looked like the kids were having so much fun in those scenes. I would have loved to be in that club!

I love that the show had songs from all different genres: Broadway, pop, rock, R&B, folk and more. There were often times I heard a song on the show first, only to find out who the original artist was later.

It’s a shame that so far the stars of the show have not gone onto successful recording careers: Darren Chris, Amber Riley, Lea Michele and Naya Rivera all have great voices. Maybe the next stop is Broadway for some of them.

I also want to mention Cory Monteith. What a tragedy. He was fantastic in the role of Finn Hudson, and I cried when I heard that he died. He may be gone, but his songs and acting will live on. I loved the fact that they brought back the original performance of “Don’t Stop Believin” from the pilot episode, it had me all teary eyed.

So goodbye, “Glee” — it was great having you around for the last 6 years. I know that the show and songs will always have a special place in my heart. The quote on the plaque in the last shot said it all: See the world not as it is, but as it should be.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

New Year, New Idol?

The 13th season of American Idol will soon be upon us. I have been an Idol watcher since the first season. Yes, it has taken a few hits in recent years in the ratings. The Voice has emerged as the #1 singing competition show on television. Plus there has been drama in front of camera (fighting or lack of chemistry with judges panel) and behind the scenes with the show (change of executive producer; lame theme nights) too. Not to mention a few too many years of white guys with guitars winning the show also. But you know what? Idol is still the best at what it does. And that is — it makes stars. I think it says a lot that NBC chose an American Idol winner to headline “The Sound of Music — Live”. They could have cast someone from “The Voice”, but they needed a superstar and that show has not produced one yet. Same for “The X Factor” too (at least the US version).American Idol

The drama with the judges panel should be over now. This season will have Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. Keith is back for a 2nd season, and J Lo. is on season 3 (non-consecutive). Harry is new to the panel but not new to Idol. He has served as a mentor before. Not crazy about the idea of Randy Jackson replacing Jimmy Iovine as the consultant w/ the contestants. But we’ll see. Jimmy has been the voice of reason for the last few seasons, so I am sorry to see him go.

As for the contestants themselves, I think last season’s winner (Candice Glover) was the best winner they have had in a long time. She is an amazing singer. And I am glad that she is taking her time with her album. It was supposed to come out last July, only 2 months after winning. Instead it will come out in February 2014. She is definitely a star, and I hope that she gets the material she deserves.

As for the show itself, I hope that there are a few changes in store. Let the talent speak for itself! Last season it seems like the contestants were tilted in favor of the women. I had a hard time believing that the Top Ten guys were the best they saw. Why not let the viewers see more of the Hollywood Week? Sometimes the producers have followed people because they have an interesting story… not because they are the best vocalists. Does a person have to have suffered and struggled to make them relatable? I don’t think so… as long as they are humble.

I think it is nice that they have allowed the contestants to play their instruments in the competition. How about letting them play more of their original songs if they have them? What about having a songwriting session with some top songwriters? Maybe nothing would come of it — but then again maybe there could be a hit there.

As for the theme weeks, I say OK as long as it allows the singer to stay within their genre. Sure, it is nice to say a person can sing rock, pop, country, R&B and more. But most artists know what suits them best. And if your style is country, you should not have to sing a Michael Jackson or Queen song just because that is the theme that week. So keep “Songs from the Year You Were Born” and “Billboard Hot 100 Songs” but ditch the aforementioned Queen and Beatles weeks. How about “Songs That Should Have Been Hits” or  “Love Songs” week? I liked the idea of “One Hit Wonders” but the way it happened last time, it was a bunch of songs that had been remade over and over (yes, the were big hits, but I was thinking more of like “Take on Me” by a-ha than what we ended up with).

Cutting the results show down to half an hour makes sense. It is usually just a bunch of filler and than 5 minutes of results. I do like seeing all the old Idol alumni come back and perform. And I guess I am the only one who likes to see the group numbers. I could do without the Coke commercials and what the contestants think about each other. Or what it is like living at the Idol house.

So I hope you will join me for another season of the best singing competition show on television. All of the music sales, #1 hits, accolades, and awards speak for themselves. This is where superstars are born!

 KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and  Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

If I was on GLEE…

Now in it’s 5th season on FOX, GLEE has been a great musical/comedy show featuring the lives of a bunch of misfit teens/young adults performing in a school show choir and now moving into adulthood. It looks like the actors are having a fun time. So what if I (or at least a high school age version of me) was on the show? Read on to see what this episode would be like.GLEE Season 5

Episode Title: Coming Together

Songs performed:

Destination Unknown (Missing Persons)/It’s My Life (Talk Talk)

Some Guys Have All the Luck (Rod Stewart)

Have a Nice Day (Bon Jovi)

I Knew You Were Trouble (Taylor Swift)

Shy Boy (Bananarama)

You’re the One That I Want (John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John)

Basic premise of the episode: Shy, quiet, artsy student Daniel doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life. He likes to draw and make things. He is not athletic, and most people think he is a nerd. He thinks he might be gay. He’s going through his teen years without a clear indication of where he should be headed, plus trying to rebel against his conservative parents.

Mr. Schuster’s theme for the week is “Individuality.”

The opening number would be a mashup of Missing Person’s “Destination Unknown” and Talk Talk’s “It’s My Life.” This would be a great group number. Shots of people walking down the hall plus dealing with parents at home too.

Daniel is dating a guy, while Blaine is jealous of the fact that the new guy has a boyfriend. (I wrote this before he got back together w/ Kurt). This is his time to sing Rod Stewart’s “Some Guys Have All the Luck.” I could even imagine a big sequence featuring guys in the pool for some sort of water ballet.

A new transfer student named Rasheed comes to McKinley High. Here was a hunky black guy from the wrong side of the tracks. The students are less than welcoming to him. He sings his entrance song Bon Jovi’s “Have a Nice Day.” Asserting to all that he won’t let others get to him, he’s gonna live his life.

Daniel finds out that Rasheed is in his chemistry class. There is an instant connection. Taylor Swifts’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” signals that he knows that his relationship and his whole world is about to change.

Rasheed confides in Jake that he has feelings for Daniel. He sings’s Bananarama’s “Shy Boy” because he knows that he has to have Daniel in his life.

The final scene would be the classic Grease duet “You’re the One that I Want.” Daniel has gotten in touch with his true feelings for Rasheed, and confesses them while rocking a kilt and singing at the top of his lungs. Rasheed even learned a few dance moves for the occasion. The whole class is in on the number too.

So what songs and themes would you explore in your episode? I would love to hear from you.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and  Rock the Kilt lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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