Category Archives: reality tv

American Idol. The so-so show with an over-the-top app.


I can’t speak for the rest of you, but I haven’t watched American Idol for years.

After 11 years of auditions, Hollywood highs and elimination lows, the show has lost whatever modicum of appeal it once held.

When Simon left, I knew the honeymoon was over.

No amount of judge musical chairs, worst-of reels or Nicki Minaj artificial booty bumps could change my mind.

Nevertheless, millions still tune in each season, making AI one of the highest rated shows on TV.

This year marks the twelfth season for the franchise.

The season’s highlights include a highly publicized cat fight between Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj, the return of a four judge panel and the American Idol app.

That’s right.

American Idol has an app.

American idol apps

And if you’re a fan of the show, you’re in luck.

The app launched in January (to coincide with the new season, I suppose).

They’re up to version 1.4, so they’ve been putting in work.

FYI – American Idol went all in, making it the most feature-filled app I’ve ever seen.


Hands down.

Don’t believe me?

Check it.

The menu alone has 19 different menu items, excluding the Live Sync and Setting options.

Have you ever seen so many options?

Have you ever seen so many options?

They include Vote, AT&T Fan Choice, Idol VIP Sweeps, News, Video, Photos, etc.

With all these options, they’ve got the nerve to have a section called “Idol Extras” below the fold.


American Idol has clearly never heard the expression “enough is enough” because they pour it on.

And not necessarily in a good way.

If you go to the home page, you’re presented with a layout that reminds me of the Windows Mobile UI with all those damn tiles.


The main banner on the home page includes a countdown clock counting down the days, hours, minutes and seconds until the next show airs.

American Idol App

Underneath that are a repeating series of four grouped thumbnails, which let users navigate to different sections of the app.

An ad appears between each group of thumbnails peddling AT&T, contests and sweepstakes, and various AI branding and marketing messages.

There are feeds to the judges and contestants’ social media profiles, videos, and links to artist websites.

Keith Urban’s Light the Fuse Tour features prominently on the home page (judges need some artist love too!).

One of the more controversial elements of season twelve is the change in voting.

Where you used to be able to place votes one at a time for your favorite artist over the phone, online and via text, you can now place 50 votes at once through the app.

50 votes!

You can divy up those vote however you please for whomever you please.

vote for your favorite idol

The app does a good job of helping fans to manage this new power.

Last night, I didn’t actually watch the show, but I did watch the Top 8 Perform Recap video in the app.

It took forever to load – I had to quit the app and restart before I could actually watch it.

But I digress.

I placed my fifty votes and found the vote counter very useful for keeping track of how many votes I had placed and how many I had left.

The main landing pages of American Idol’s app feel like a Tumblr blog, with simple navigation.

Touch an image and it opens.


But for all the content they’ve got, some pages seem like they were just thrown in with no rhyme or reason.

They lack the design sensibility and UI logic of the main pages.

The AT&T Fan Choice option for example, opens up a page of promotional offers that are clearly pulled straight from the web.

The content is resized to fit inside a mobile wrapper, but someone clearly didn’t think about how making lilliputian pages would impact the text and the navigation.

There are a bunch of other pages and features that I won’t get into, because I found the app exhausting.

My biggest peeves with many apps, including this one, is that they do too much.

When it comes to apps, less is more.

Unless you’ve got ADD.

I’d rather see an app do a few things really well, then a butt load of things so-so.

And while the Voting feature is crown jewel of the American Idol app, it doesn’t save it from being a hot mess.

At the end of the day, if you’re reeeaaaallllyyyy into Idol (and you have ADD), then I’m sure you’re love the app.

Everyone else, not so much.

American Idol had the right idea, but (unfortunately for we non-American Idol fans) their execution leaves much to be desired.

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Filed under apps, mobile, reality tv

Damien Escobar. I Am Me.

damien_escobarHave you ever met someone famous and just couldn’t stand them?

You know the type.

They’re so full of themselves that they buy into the hype of their celebrity.

Making them impossible to deal with.

I’m sure you’ve heard the stories of celebrity divas and divos and their ridiculous riders.

Hello J Lo?

Well last weekend I had the pleasure of hanging out with a celebrity without airs.

Damien Escobar.

Most of you are probably scratching your head, thinking “Damien who?”

Damien Escobar.

He’s one half of the Queens duo Nuttin But Stringz.

The Escobar brothers (Tourie and Damien) started violin at the ages of 8 and 7, respectively, and eventually studied at the Juilliard School.

They were third place finishers in the reality show talent contest America’s Got Talent.

They were probably the illest cats on violins that prime time television has ever seen.

Although they didn’t win, they went on to play for two presidents, win a couple of Emmy awards, appear on a slew of shows, like Ellen DeGeneres, Dancing With Star, and the list goes on.

After a whirlwind few years, performing around the globe, the brothers decided to split up and seek success as soloists.

I happened upon Damien through a mutual acquaintance and found him to be a downright regular guy.

At 6’4″, unassuming is not the word that immediately comes to mind.

Meeting him, you would never think this guy had platinum records sales and wowed audiences across the globe.

He was approachable, smiled easily and wasn’t put off with folks in his personal space.

We met a Dewey’s Flatiron for drinks and sat in a cramped booth, nearly on top of each other, sharing finger foods.

Even though I had only seen him on TV and in countless videos, meeting him for the first time seemed somehow familiar.

He had that kind of energy.

We talked about his music and his vision for his upcoming project, I Am Me, which (while sounding incredibly egotistical and contrary to the premise of this post) was really an effort of self-discovery.

As part of a musical duo for so long (he and his brother have trained and performed together since they were in the single digits) I Am Me is Damien’s first opportunity to define himself musically as an individual.

It’s rare that I meet an artist and feel compelled to write about it.

So clearly this kid has struck a nerve with me.

Will he (continue to) be successful?

Who knows.

But if you come across his music, check it out.

He’s got talent.

And if you get a chance to meet him, take it.

I’m sure you’ll be impressed.

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Filed under music, reality tv

Love and Hip Hop Atlanta, Stevie J makes me feel dirty.

I can’t do ‘reality shows’.

They’re just too base for me.

Folks acting like pure idiots, trying to outdo one another with outrageous behavior.

Behavior that, I suspect, wouldn’t likely occur if the cameras were turned off.

One show, that I believe, achieves all-time lows, is Love & Hip Hop Atlanta.

I’ve watched a sum total of 15 minutes of the show.

And that 15 minutes was all I could stomach.

Mind you, it was 15 minutes watched cumulatively over a few episodes.

In one segment, a guy by the name of Stevie J was meeting with a therapist with his girlfriend Mimi, and his artist Joseline (who he was apparently having relations with).

The doctor who they met with, Dr. Jeff Gardere (the same doctor from The Maury Povich show – hmmmm) was trying to help the aforementioned Stevie J see how his behavior wasn’t fair to his women.

At one point, the artist, Joseline Hernandez, is invited into the session with Stevie J and his girlfriend, and promptly starts whupping on Stevie J, when he reveals that he’s been living with his girlfriend, while sleeping with Joseline.

When security rushed into the room, I thought, “How many doctor’s offices have six beefy security guards on call?”

Reality television my ass.

In another clip, on a different day, Stevie J is talking about how he has invited Joseline to to the studio meet his new artist.

The new artist looks like a combination of Joseline and Keisha Cole, and we’re shown clips of Stevie J, rubbing her arms as Joseline walks into the studio.

Things promptly go south, as Joseline verbally chastises Stevie J, and suggests that the new artist start “sucking his d*#!” since that’s what she’s there to do, before storming out.

After Joseline leaves, Stevie J and the new artist high five one another (celebrating him being byatched on national tv perhaps), before she stands up and starts twerking in front of Stevie J, who responds by smacking her ass.

Doesn’t this dude just look like a scumbag?

Cut to Stevie J remarking about how Joseline doesn’t realize that the Stevie J bus can just go down the road and pick up another girl who’s ready to ‘get on the bus’ and ‘take a ride’.

I couldn’t make this stuff up people.

After watching this second segment, I felt…dirty.

Like I had to take a shower and wash my eyes out with bleach.

Stevie J should be called Sleazy J because he comes across as a lecherous pig.

I’m all about one getting his or her man on.

But give me a break!

Have some class…a modicum of respect.

For yourself, if for no one else.

But Stevie J takes the cake for being the grimiest, most low down, nasty bastard on tv.

It doesn’t help that cats are putting this fool on camera, strangely validating his particular brand of sleaze.

Thankfully, this season has come to a close, and we can allow our eyes and psyches to heal from this particular brand of televised filth….

Until next season…


Filed under opinion, rant, reality tv