Views on pop culture through my eyes

Posts tagged ‘Jennifer Lopez’

Who Will Win American Idol 2014?

The latest season of American Idol (Season 13) will be winding down in a few weeks. This season’s ratings have been down, and people are saying that the contestants are boring. There are rumors about changes in store for Season 14 — a shorter season and only 1 night per week. I am not in favor of either change. I like the fact that get to see your favorites so many times (over so many weeks), versus a show like ‘The Voice”.AMERICAN_IDOL_XIII_TOP_13

As a long-time AI watcher, I can’t say I liked the new Rush Week. I thought it was horrible that they eliminated people before they even hit the stage… especially when some of the ones that got picked, didn’t rise to the occasion. I am sure we would have had a different Top 13, if those other people had been given the chance to sing.

And now this week, the judges used their save for Sam Woolf. He seems like a nice kid, decent voice, a little cute — but there is no way this kid can win. So I think this particular save was wasted. I don’t see him lasting much longer.

Anyways, back to the competition… who do I think will rise to be crowned the champion this season? Read my thoughts on the contestants below:

8. CJ Harris — This singer from Jasper, AL wants to be the next Darius Rucker. He sings country, blues and rock. His performances have been a bit uneven.

7. Sam Woolf — This singer from Bradenton, FL has the teen girl vote in his pocket. He has a decent voice, and plays the guitar. He needs more confidence in his talent.

6. Jessica Meuse — This singer from Slapout, AL is a singer-songwriter with a Sheryl Crow vibe. She also plays guitar. She has a streak of pink hair (which didn’t help Nikki McKibbin in Season 1). Very uneven also. She was good this past week on the 4/2/14 episode, so who knows… she could stay longer.

5. Malaya Watson — This singer from Southfield, MI has one of the biggest voices in the competition. She has tackled soul, gospel and pop. She is a fan of Jennifer Hudson and Bruno Mars.

4. Dexter Roberts — This singer from Fayette, AL wants to be the next Jason Aldean. He is another contestant that favors country rock. He is a good singer, buts needs to make the songs his own versus doing good karaoke versions.

3. Alex Preston — This singer from Mount Vernon, NH has become known for his original arrangements on pop songs. He aims to be a Jason Mraz-type. He is a talented musician who can play many instruments.

2. Jena Irene — This singer from Farmington Hills, MI has a big voice. And a name that doesn’t sound like it’s spelled (she goes by GINA). She likes rock and EDM… artists like Evanescence and Paramore. If she sticks to her styles, she could win it.

1. Caleb Johnson — This rocker from Asheville, NC is a working musician. And it shows! He commands the stage every time on it. He is a bit of a throw-back. But he has the vocal chops and the consistency. I think he will take the crown.

Hopefully Caleb can write his own songs in addition to them hiring some top-notch songwriters and producers for him. I am pulling for him.

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.

Meet ‘The Fosters’

What constitutes family? Is it your biological family, is it the people you live with and love? A little show on ABC Family (“The Fosters”) is attempting to answer the question in their own way. And it is refreshing that the show is being met with very little fanfare or protests.The Fosters

The show was created by Peter Paige (Queer as Folk) and Brad Bredeweg, along with executive producer Jennifer Lopez. We get to meet Lena and Stefanie, an interracial lesbian couple raising, 3 kids: 1 biological, and 2 adopted. Plus they are fostering another 2 kids too — so that brings their brood to 5.

As Lopez sees it, “The Fosters” stands for what she’s learned “are the important things in life, which are family equals love. It’s a place where you go for unconditional love, to be accepted, to feel safe. And at the end of the day, that there’s no real ‘normal.’ That there’s no set thing of what a family is at this moment in time in our lives.”

The show premiered on June 3, 2013 and ran 10 episodes this past summer. The show is scheduled to return for the 2nd half of season 1 on January 13, 2014. The show was recently picked up for a second season too.

So, who are “The Fosters”? Read on for who’s who and what’s gone down on the show:

Stef Foster (Teri Polo): One half of the lesbian couple; she is a police officer who works with her ex-husband and biological father of her oldest son.

Lena Foster (Sherri Saum): The other half of the lesbian couple; she is a vice principal at the school that the kids attend.

Brandon Foster (David Lambert): The oldest child and the only biological child in the house. He loves music and is studying piano with a high-paid instructor.

Jesus Foster (Jake T. Austin): The male sibling of the twins that Lena and Stef adopted. They are of Hispanic descent.

Mariana Foster (Cierra Ramirez): The female sibling of the twins

Callie Jacob Foster (Maia Mitchell): The troubled foster child that is added to the family.

Jude Jacob Foster (Hayden Byerly): Callie’s biological brother

Mike Foster (Danny Nucci): Stef’s ex-husband and current partner at the police station. He also has a drinking problem.

The first half of Season 1 was filled with drama. A lot of it centered on Callie and how she fit into the family and the school. But the other siblings had their share of drama too: sexuality, drugs, violence, peer pressure and much more. The last episode aired showed the marriage of Stef and Lena at their home.  Stef’s father was not supportive and did not show up for it.

It is refreshing to see a show like this on the air. I hope that you check it out when it comes back on January 13th on ABC Family.

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.

Best Dancers in Pop Music

Dancing allows an individual to express themselves with their body. Combine that with a competent singing voice, and you have an exciting entertainer — one who puts on a captivating live show and has some riveting music videos. Here’s my list of the best dancers in pop music (past and present), in no particular order:

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Prince
The Purple one is not one for elaborate choreography, but he sure knows how to move. And he usually does it in high heel boots too.

Madonna
Pop music’s queen didn’t get to where she is on her singing voice. She is a very athletic and limber dancer who puts on a high-energy live show.

Janet Jackson
Ever since she proclaimed her independence on “Control”, she has had a place in pop music history. Funky, fierce and in control, Janet is not one to mess with.

Justin Timberlake
He started out in boy band NSync, and went on to be a superstar in his solo career. He has shown how great a dancer he is in his concerts tours and videos.

Britney Spears
Sexy moves, along with suggestive lyrics, a hot body and catchy songs have all kept her career going strong. Definitely influenced by Madonna… she has learned well.

Lady GaGa
Mother monster has created some fantastic mini movies with her music videos. In concert, she put on a high-energy show (such that she injured herself this year, having to cancel the rest of the tour).

Paula Abdul
She started as a Laker Girl, and then did choreography for various film, TV and music videos projects. Not to mention her own chart topping singing career too.

Usher
He first opened for Janet Jackson as a teen, but has evolved into a one of the modern kings of R&B. He can have you banging in the club or wanting to make love.

Chris Brown
Say what you will about him as a person, but there is no denying this guy can move and entertain the crowds.

Beyonce
Destiny’s Child proved she could sing. But in her solo career, she has really proved she can move. And start a music video craze on YouTube too.

Jennifer Lopez
She started as a Fly Girl on “In Living Color,” and is now the triple threat (actor, dancer, singer) plus much more.

Ne-Yo
One of the smoothest movers out there, he makes it all seem so easy.

And let us not forget those who have died, and are now in the Dance Hall of Fame:

Michael Jackson
All of the male dancers on here have been influenced by him. He basically set the gold standard for being an entertainer. And he always gave the audience his all.

James Brown
Yes, he got easier to parody in his later years. But do yourself a  favor and check out his old performances. Another influential entertainer.

So did I leave anyone out? Who do you think is the best dancer in pop music? 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.

J Lo and Enrique: Latin Pop Royalty

Jennifer Lopez and Enrique Iglesias in Concert
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Staples Center

Special guest: Frankie J

Songs performed: Tonight (I’m Loving You), I Like How it Feels, Dirty Dancer, No Me Digas Que No, Bailamos, Stand By Me, Ring My Bells, Hero, Be with You, Escape, I Like It, Tonight (I’m Fucking You)  (Enrique Iglesias); Get Right, Love Don’t Cost a Thing, I’m into You, Waiting for Tonight, Goin’ In, I’m Real/All I Have/Ain’t It Funny, Jenny from the Block, Baby I Love You (video), Hold It Don’t Drop It, If You Had My Love, Until it Beats No More, Let’s Get Loud, Papi, On the Floor, Dance Again, Follow the Leader (w/ Wisin & Yandel) (Jennifer Lopez)

Comments: Latin pop royalty Enrique Iglesias and Jennifer Lopez played to a packed house at Staples Center. Both are coming off good years as far as their careers are concerned. This is definitely one of the hottest shows you will see this year.J Lo and Enrique Tour 2012

Opening act Frankie J was decent. He replaced previously announced act, Wisin & Yandel, who backed out of the tour due to concerns about set length. He did a cover of Extreme’s “More Than Words.” And sang a new song in Spanish.

Enrique Iglesias was up next. I had seen Enrique before back on the “Escape” tour as well as meeting him at an autograph signing. He has improved his stage presence since I last saw him. He was running around the stage and working the crowd. He picked a guy out of the crowd and sang with and to him on Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me.” He said it was the first song he loved to sing when he was a kid. Turns out the guy was gay and liked another guy in the audience. They also took a shot of rum before the song (the brand that Enrique shills for “Atlantico”). “I Like How it Feels” another recent collaboration with Pibull was played as well as the album track “Ring My Bells” from his flop “Insomniac” album. He must like Duran Duran’s “Ordinary World” because they played an extended intro to “Be With You” that featured that song. For “Hero”, he was on a small stage on the opposite side of the main stage. He pulled a girl out of the crowd to sing to her. Turns out she was married, but she had  a ”Hall Pass” for the night, and kept hugging him. Enrique wanted the crowd to surround the stage more, but Staples security was not letting that happen, despite a few pleas from Enrique. They had the disco ball overhand for lighting. Behind the main stage were 3 large horizontal video screens, which displayed graphic elements to highlight the songs. There were a lot of lasers and smoke effects during his show. He shot off confetti cannons during the “Escape” number. I wish he had done “Rhythm Divine,“ but he didn’t that night. Usher was shown on video for the duet of “Dirty Dancer.” “I Like It” was the highlight of his set.  And they launched a bunch of big balloons for the crowd to bounce around during “I Like It.” I am glad that he sang the dirty version of ‘Tonight (I’m Loving You).” That is the version I am more familiar with. I had to laugh when I saw a little girl with a homemade sign coming into the venue that had “Enrique” in a big heart, with the words on the outside of the sign saying “Tonight, I’m Loving You.” Did the parents not know about the dirty version? He is a solid entertainer for sure…. But he’s got nothing on Jennifer. Remember how Enrique was going to tour with Britney Spears in 2011, but said he didn’t want to be anyone’s opening act? He was this time for Jennifer.

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Artists I Wish Would Tour More

I have gone to a lot of concerts over the years. Some years, I have gone to 20+ shows, others maybe 3. Some artists seem to tour almost every year — others once every five to seven years or so. Other favorites seem to have a lot going on, or they are at a different phase of their career where they don’t want to tour. So here goes, my list of artists I wish would tour more often:Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez
She has a lot on her plate: singer, actress, dancer, American Idol judge (now ex-judge), model, spokeswoman and mom. Plus she has time for a personal life too. Since she has been out, she has only toured twice, once with then husband Marc Anthony and once this year with Enrique Iglesias. I am sure it will be a great show.

Annie Lennox/Eurythmics
So Eurythmics did tour a decent amount in the 80’s. But now, not so much. To me, she has a one of the best live voices you will ever hear. So soulful, and powerful. Between her solo career and the work with the group, she has plenty of material. She has inspired artists such as Pink and Kelly Clarkson among others. It’s about time she reminded everyone why she is so excellent.

Adele
With how huge her 2nd album has been, you think she would want to capitalize on that success and plan a big giant concert tour. Hasn’t happened. First off she was sidetracked with vocal chord problems, and now she just doesn’t seem too interested to do so. I hear she is writing songs for her 3rd album already. But, she is pregnant… so it will be years before we see her on the road again.

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Let’s Fix American Idol

I am a bit of an American Idol fanatic. Season 11 just finished and the winner was Phillip Phillips. Not my choice at all. I wanted Jessica or Skylar to win it. The boy has some talent, but I have had it with WGWG (white guys with guitars) winning. Richard Rushfield, author of the book American Idol: The Untold Story, said, “You have this alliance between young girls and grandmas and they see it, not necessarily as a contest to create a pop star competing on the contemporary radio, but as…who’s the nicest guy in a popularity contest.” So here are my suggestions for how to fix the show for Season 12:American Idol

  1. An all-woman season
    After having a male winner for the past 5 seasons, it is time to do something to guarantee a female winner. How about a season of all females? This has not been done before. Considering the wide variety of styles that could be showcased (country, pop, R&B, jazz, rock, singer-songwriter), I would definitely tune in to see this.
  2. An all-star season
    Heard from Ruben Studdard lately? He was great on the season he won… and his career never lived up to his promise. I heard a song from David Cook recently in a store, and he is good too. What about Melinda Doolittle, a favorite from season six? Past winners, or finalists whose career never reached the heights they should have could return, and have a second chance at stardom. (more…)

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