Tag Archives: La’Porsha Renae

American Idol – Season 15 – This is Why I Watch

AMERICAN IDOL: Top 24: Top row: Jeneve Rose Mitchell, Shelbie Z, CJ Johnson, La'Porsha Renae, James VIII, Jenn Blosil, Stephany Negrete, Adam Lasher, Sonika Vaid, Kory Wheeler, MacKenzie Bourg, Olivia Rox, Tristan McIntosh   Middle row: Jordan Sasser, Trent Harmon   Bottom row: Jenna Renae, Amelia Eisenhauer, Gianna Isabella, Lee Jean, Avalon Young, Dalton Rapattoni, Emily Brooke, Thomas Stringfellow, Manny Torres. © 2016 FOX Broadcasting Co. Cr: Michael Becker / FOXPhoto Credit: StarPulse

This is my last week of watching reality TV. After 15 seasons, American Idol, with Ryan Seacrest as host, is going off the air. I’ve only watched a handful of those seasons, but somehow, while living overseas, I watched Kelly Clarkson win the competition on Season 1. She had an incredible voice and stage presence then, and has only gotten better.

Why do I still watch Idol when I can? OK, first there is the whole premise of the show – giving talented young people this wild opportunity to have stardom within their grasp. All the grooming, the coaching, the stretching of a reality show. I’m sure there is tons of stuff behind the scenes that I wouldn’t love…but it’s fascinating to watch these young performers deal with the pressures, make friends, and hone their craft.

Then there’s the panel of judges – Keith Urban, Harry Connick, Jr., and Jennifer Lopez. They’re gorgeous, brilliantly talented, and smart. It’s fun to watch them, except this year it was a tad painful. This was their last year on American Idol, and there was an emotional undercurrent that surfaced occasionally. Sometimes testy, but most of the time, sentimental and sweet. I will miss them.Blog - American Idol - hide.me - judgesPhoto Credit: Hide.Me

Although the show’s system of selecting finalists is through social media voting, I am sure the judges influence that voting. Just like the blogger for AmericanIdolNet, I started picking how the Top 10 ranked based on the judges’ comments and enthusiasm or lack thereof. Our picks were very similar. Blog - American Idol - americanidolnetPhoto Credit: AmericanIdolNet

From the Top 24 (image at top of post) through to the last, the eliminations have been painful. Really lovely, gifted young singers/musicians. They all will carve out some measure of success given their crazy talent and winsomeness.

This week is the finale week. Three evenings of American Idol – from a special retrospective on all 15 years of the show, to the final competition between the Top 3, to the finale (when the winner of American Idol 2016 is revealed and the show has its last huge last hurrah).

I will be watching all three.

The remaining finalists in contention are all great performers. If you haven’t been keeping up with Idol, let me tell you just a bit about them.

Dalton Rapattoni is a vocal coach in Texas. He gets hair cut and colored at his grandmother’s beauty salon. Dalton has these puppy-dog eyes, a shy smile, and such a voice! On the last episode, he was sure he was going to be cut (even had written with marker on his hands the expressions: “I’m OK” and “It’s alright”). He didn’t get cut. Less than a minute later, he had to compose himself and perform God Only Knows (BeachBoys). This kid has such heart! Here’s the video from that performance:

Trent Harmon works in his family’s restaurant (with produce straight from their Mississippi farm). He has a killer voice with a unique and appealing quality (range and vibrato). Sick with mono early in the competition and without his family with him, he has toughed it out right to the end with huge support from the judges…which he deserves. Listen to him sing….wow!

Then there is La’Porsha Renae. Also from Mississippi, this 22y/o single mom of an adorable daughter is a powerhouse singer. Unless some voting fluke happens, she will be the last American Idol. All three of these finalists are extraordinary, but La’Porsha is the one…I believe. Two of her songs are in the videos below. She cries at the end of both (which didn’t happen with other songs, just so you know) – the first time, I think she was overwhelmed by the support of the audience; the second time, because it was a powerful benediction to her short marriage to an abusive husband. She has so much class….and this voice…and the hair? Hers, too.

That’s all the words I have…except for wanting to close with the video of Kelly Clarkson singing her latest “Piece by Piece” on American Idol. I actually love this live version much more than her official video. She tells the story of her dad leaving her family when she was 6 y/o. He left and didn’t look back. Interwoven in this incredible song is also a salute to her husband and the father of her daughter…a man who showed her how good a father could be. It’s beautiful…

So that’s my summary on this show…and why I watch. It’s a good season to end on…

This Week on American Idol 2016 – Series Finale and Three-Night Event Schedule

‘American Idol’ Finale Week Kicks Off with a Look Back at All 15 Seasons

5 Friday Faves – Emotional Intelligence, Hand Massage, a TV Commercial, 40% Rule, Zelda – & a Bonus

Blog - Friday Faves

Friday is here again…and I’m looking back over another week that went by in a blur. Glad to share some of the discoveries of this past week. Would love to hear about your week’s finds (comment below).

1) Emotional Intelligence – This is a concept that’s been around for awhile now, but I never really read about it until this week.  Matt Monge’s article for The Mojo Company sparked my interest. He described 6 symptoms of leaders with low emotional intelligence. Here’s the definition: “Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to monitor one’s own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.” 

Two of Monge’s points were: 1) Leaders with low emotional intelligence say “I’m sorry you feel that way” more than “I’m sorry,” and 2) Leaders with low emotional intelligence often blame the people they hurt for the situations leading to them being hurt. Daniel Goleman has written several books on this topic including Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than Intelligence and Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships. The very cool thing about emotional intelligence is that it can be developed. The big dilemma is whether bosses who tend not to be bothered by their impact on personnel would buy into this or not. Incorporating such concepts in personnel accountability metrics might provide some incentive. I’ve added graphics below that helped me further understand emotional intelligence.Blog - Friday Faves - Leadership - Emotional IntelligencePhoto Credit: Self Study History

Blog - Friday Faves - Emotional Intelligence - grid - dollieslagerPhoto Credit: Dollie Slager

Blog - Friday Faves - Emotional Intelligence - low & highPhoto Credit: The King and Queen

2) Hand Massage – My dad is 93 years old. He has Alzheimer’s. I can’t imagine he has ever had a hand massage in his whole adult life until this past week. The memory care unit which is now home to him has this lovely activities director. One of his first days there, she brought over two warm washcloths and wrapped both his hands. Then she began massaging each one. He just melted into a relaxed, soothed puddle.  One of his repetitive actions is to scratch his hand which he does to distraction. Hand massage is such a thoughtful, therapeutic act. It never dawned on me to do such a thing. Midway down an excellent piece on Alzheimer’s by staff at University of Maryland, massage is recommended as treatment to calm these patients. So glad Dad is where he is with these engaged caregivers.Blog - Dad and hand massage

3) A TV Commercial – We all discover human interest videos through our social media sites. This is my favorite for the week. The #SharetheLoad video produced by Ariel (a washing detergent we used overseas) in India is beautiful. The message is a father’s regret that he modeled for his wife and daughter a very passive role in the home. Even as an older man (the commercial goes), he determined to make that right. Whether it happens or not in such homes today, the message is a powerful one.

4) 40% Rule – So I found this Fortune article on my Twitter feed. Sidd Finch wrote about Jesse Itzler’s encounter with David Goggins, a Navy Seal. during a 100-mile relay race. Goggins was running the entire race without relay partners. Itzler was so intrigued by this ultra-athlete that he actually invited him to live with Itzler’s family for a month. Out of this time together came the book Living with a SEAL: 31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet. Goggins taught Itzler about the Navy Seals’ 40% Rule.

Itzler explains, “He would say that when your mind is telling you you’re done, you’re really only 40 percent done. And he had a motto: If it doesn’t suck we don’t do it. And that was his way of forcing us to get uncomfortable to figure out what our baseline was and what our comfort level was and just turning it upside-down.”

“The 40% rule, the SEAL explained, is the reason why even though most people hit a wall at mile 16 during a marathon, they’re still able to finish.”

Blog - Friday Faves - 40 percent rule - David GogginsPhoto Credit: Just Go Fitness

“I don’t stop when I’m tired. I stop when I’m done.”David Goggins

Blog - Friday Faves - 40 percent rule - Navy Seals - David GogginsPhoto Credit: AZ Quotes

5) Zelda The Legend of Zelda is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. I recently wrote briefly about it here. Koji Kondo wrote much of the music for the video game series. Blog - Friday Faves - Video Games - Link of The Legend of ZeldaPhoto Credit: Cogswell.edu

Nathan Mills at Beyond the Guitar has posted two covers so far to showcase how beautiful the music is and how well it’s captured on classical guitar. I wrote about the first cover previously, and here’s his second piece. Happy 30th Anniversary, Legend of Zelda.

HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Emotional Intelligence (with featured article “What Makes a Leader?” by Daniel Goleman)

10 Signs You Have Exceptional Mental Strength by Jessica Stillman

BONUS: If you got this far, you will be so rewarded! Very few people in my life watch American Idol, and this is its final (15th) season. I am not fond of the whole reality show murkiness of it, but the performances of these gifted young people and the judges (Keith Urban, Harry Connick, Jr., and Jennifer Lopez) are captivating as well. I want to post videos of two amazing performances from this week’s elimination show (elimination meaning the week the field of contestants narrows to the Top 10). The first video is that of La’Porsha Renae who may very well become the final American Idol. This one can sing!!!

We were overseas when American Idol’s first season aired. I don’t actually remember how I saw Kelly Clarkson in that competition, but I remember following her. She was the first American Idol winner, and the rest is history. To be honest, Kelly Clarkson was off my music listening grid…until now. The song she wrote and performed, Piece by Piece, deals with the painful subject of a father who deserted her as a young child. The song also celebrates the very different man she married, the faithful father of her daughter. This song may make you cry. Wow!