My Friday Five: Indiegogo, Idol & More

Photo: Chris White
1. Congrats!

I'll kick things off by giving mad props to my high school alma mater, Northern Durham, on a trio of great athletic achievements. The first being the boys' basketball team taking the PAC-6 Conference Championship. Led by All-Conference players T.J. Bell, Emmitt Tilley and Jalen Johnson, the Knights defeated Cardinal Gibbons 53-45 in the title game. On the ladies' side, Rhianna Council was named All-Conference and PAC-6 Player of the Year. But the success wasn't limited to basketball, wrestling got in on the act when Demazio Samuel won an individual State Championship in Greensboro, N.C. I'm almost six years removed from Northern but my heart will always be there and it's great to see the success going on!

2. Idol Thoughts

It's hard to believe that we're down to the live shows in the farewell season. I mean, this is the last Top 10 for Idol, at least, in this iteration. I still believe the show could be brought back at some point in the future. I mean, let's face it, Americans love their "reality competition" shows. We'll see.

That being said, this season's Top 10 is sure to not disappoint. For starters, all of my true favorites that were left on the show made it - Sonika Vaid, Trent Harmon, Avalon Young, Mackenzie Bourg, La'Porsha Renae and Dalton Rappatoni. All gave great performances but four stood above the rest. I'll get to that in a minute. Firstly, I was pretty surprised at how the show opened up on Thursday night. the Top 14 took the stage at the top of the show and four were sent home immediately. This was an unusual and just down right strange move on the part of the showrunners. Idol is known for creating drama. In my mind, this move sucked the drama right out of the show. All 14 should have performed and the Top 10 be revealed at the end of the show. Oh well, it is what it is.

On to the performances, there were some highs and lows. I didn't have qualms about the Top 10 this season as I have in other seasons so that was nice for a change. However, I thought that four contestants in particular went above and beyond on Thursday night: Trent, Dalton, La'Porsha and Sonika. You read it here first, I believe this will be the Top 4 when all is said and done. But I'm jumping ahead of myself.

I'll start with Trent. He closed the show but I'm talking about him first as I had him fourth in my own rankings. Trent once again proved why he's one of the frontrunners in the competition, taking on Sam Smith's "Like I Can" and performing it in a way only he can achieve. Some people may not like Trent's style but I've been a fan since his audition. It was really, really good. Check it out.


Ranking third for me was Dalton. He took the Plain White T's hit "Hey There Delilah" and made it into a punk rock tune. It was a stellar performance and sounded like it was his own. I love how he takes songs and makes them his own as opposed to "karaoking" it. Dalton also looked very comfortable on the stage while performing, which is something I look for just as much as the vocal. Here's his performance.


Coming in second on my list was Sonika. She belted out Evanescence's "Bring Me to Life" and - wow - it was outstanding. Sonika has been one of my favorites throughout the competition because she can sing anything and it fits her voice perfectly. Sonika has perfect tone and a unique quality to her voice. She's a heck of a find this season and I think she'll go far. Here's her performance.


Last but certainly not least is La'Porsha. Man oh man. What can I say? I love how she can control her vocals, from powerful to soft. In music, it's much harder to sing - or play, as in my case as a clarinetist - softly. Many people may not believe it but it takes more control to sing or play softly than blasting out. La'Porsha showcased both sides of her vocals in her performance of Rihanna's "Diamonds" and it was the best performance of the night for me.


The show continues next week with a double elimination followed by performances from the Top 8. Each Friday from here on out, I'll dish out my thoughts on the show so stay tuned for that.

3. Indiegogo Update

I wanted to give you all an update to a story I wrote back in September on an Indiegogo project I contributed to a few years ago. I'm actually shocked that I'm even writing this update because I had drawn the conclusion that I would never hear anything about this project again. A few months ago, I changed my email from one I had since I first got a computer to one on Outlook. I still check the old email account periodically to see if I'm still receiving emails that should be transferred over to the new account. Earlier this week, something kept nagging at me to check the old email account and I'm glad I did because I had - gasp - received a new update on The Day I Died film project, now about three years after the campaign began. There were some updates during the campaign but they totally dropped off about two years ago.

Fed up with the lack of updates, I took to Twitter and Facebook to voice my displeasure and even emailed the campaign leader, Michael Emanuel, and Indiegogo about it. Nothing ever came of it. Heck, my attempts at contacting Emanuel as well as actor Corbin Bleu - who is a part of the project team - were ignored. Needless to say, I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw a new update in my inbox. The update was pretty vague, saying things that I've known all along - the project didn't receive enough funds, etc. What I did like about the update was it included a total of three apologies. Emanuel said in the update that his team is still working hard to get the project off the ground, noting that a portion of the funds was used to build a website, hire a P.R. firm, script development and helping in the search for private financing as well as studio and media outlet deals. Emanuel also said that we'll be receiving an "interim package" which will include the script for viewing. Right now, I'm cautiously optimistic about the package and the project as a whole. I'll keep you posted.

4. Doug Gottlieb

I really don't know why I'm wasting my time - or precious space on my blog - for this guy but, when you talk about UNC and/or Roy Williams, I come out swinging.

Gottlieb was apart of the studio crew during UNC's game against Miami on Saturday. Gottlieb made a few comments regarding the Heels that I - and many others - didn't like whatsoever. The first remark came before the game when Gottlieb said that many in the college basketball world believe this will be UNC head coach, Roy Williams', last year at the helm, retiring at the end of the season and handing over the reigns to assistant Hubert Davis. The next remark came at halftime of the game. Gottlieb equated UNC's defense to "no show classes," referencing academic issues that have plagued the university in recent years.

Seriously dude? Let me talk about the "no show class" remark first. That same old, tired joke is way past its shelf life. There's no doubting the troubles UNC has had in the past, but that's the keyword: past. None of the current athletes are involved in any scheme nor were involved in the past. Everyone who makes these jokes are so misinformed, it's beyond belief. Now, about the Roy Williams comment. I'm tired of the amount of disrespect, naysaying, what have you that's going on. Whether it be these lunatic fringe fans calling for his firing or even a poll by local TV station, WRAL, asking if he should be fired (they later apologized for it), the disrespect and naysaying is real for the Hall of Fame coach. It's ridiculous and disgusting. Plus, Hubert Davis as the replacement? Hubert is a great guy, don't get me wrong, but I would think UNC learned from the last time a former player was head coach (does Matt Doherty, ring a bell)?

One more thing, Gottlieb said in an interview on the David Glenn Show on Monday that his comments about Williams were justified because: (a) he believed the comments were misconstrued when they were relayed to Williams, who blasted him during his postgame press conference and (b) he doesn't believe he can be held to the same journalistic standard being a sports TV analyst. Give me a break. As far as I'm concerned, TV analysts should be held to that same standard if they're not already. Gottlieb got called out for making these idiotic remarks, and rightfully so. Here's hoping he learned a valuable lesson from all of this - but I doubt it.

5. No Canadians on Jeopardy!?

This is a wild story. According to NPR, a decision has been made to bar Canadians from the TV quiz show until further notice. Jeopardy's eligibility guidelines now state: "At this time we are precluded from accepting registration information from Canadian residents. We are currently evaluating this matter." This is particularly ironic since the show's host, Alex Trebek, is a Canadian himself. The situation, according to NPR, is being attributed to a difference in online privacy laws but many Canadians are thinking otherwise, with some believing it could be because Canadians are winning too often on the American show. Who knows? This will definitely be an interesting story to follow.

Thanks for Reading