Tag Archives: Nicki Minaj

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

AMERICAN IDOL: Logo 2009. CR: FOX

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.

Literally.

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.

Extras?

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.

Scary.

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.

Simple.

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

Blogging builds traffic. 30 days and the stats to prove it.

The numbers don’t lie!

Last month, a friend of mine who blogs, issued a 30-day blogging challenge.

She had fallen off her blog game, and resolved to write a new post every day, for 30 days.

She invited other bloggers to join her on her quest.

When I read her blog, I was inspired.

I too, had fallen off my blogging game.

In fact, I’m constantly falling off my game.

Even though I routinely counsel my clients on the importance of providing a regular and steady stream of content on their websites and social media profiles, I don’t really practice what I preach.

And since I don’t blog regularly, I can’t really speak to the issues involved in maintaining a regular output schedule.

Nor can I (genuinely) speak of the real impact that regular output has on a brand’s metrics.

Sure, I preach that the more you put out, the more of a footprint you create, the more pages of content BOTs can crawl to, the more relevant you become.

But for me, that’s all been theoretical.

I mean, I do blog.

This year marks the fourth anniversary of my blog.

Since I started blogging, I’ve posted over 250 times.

That’s an average of 60 posts a year.

Or a little over once a week.

But I really blog in fits and starts.

So I can’t say, honestly, what the impact of regular blogging actually is.

And because of this, I realized that I needed to take Aliya up on her challenge.

On August 31, Aliya completed her 30 day challenge.

Two days ago, I finished mine (I didn’t actually start when Aliya issued her call to action).

Looking back, I’m glad I did.

Because I now have empirical proof from the experience that reinforces the things I’ve been saying about the significance of blogging.

First, blogging creates traffic.

Period.

Since the start of the year, my traffic is consistently higher than it has ever been.

Last month, there were 3,638 view of my blog.

That’s my highest month of traffic ever.

My next highest month of traffic was in June 2010, when I hit 3,458 views.

Back, when in one day, I had 686 views.

The previous month (July), there were 2,712.

The month before that, 2,421.

Second, blogging increases your online presence.

Search engines, like Google love regularly updated content.

Every time you post a blog post you put your site/blog further up in the search results.

Google re-indexes your blog every time you update with new content, giving your site higher search ranking.

And if you’re using well written, relevant keywords, that only makes it even better.

During my month of blogging, I was getting hits for everything from futsal, Katy Perry, the iPhone, Nicki Minaj on down to SoundHound and Shazam.

Try it.

Google “Shazam vs SoundHound” or “Morgan Freeman is not dead” or “Chris Anokute” and invariably, my little blog is returned on the first page.

Third, regular blogging generates backlinks.

I can’t tell you how many times other folks linked to my site.

Whether it was because of the subject matter, the context, the images, tagging or the keywords, something about my content seemed to resonate with other bloggers.

As a result, I generated quite a few backlinks

Fourth, writing every day keeps you relevant.

Whether it’s politics, fashion, technology, music, entertainment, social issues, if you’re writing about topics of the day, contemporaneously as they happen, your voice, and your opinions will resonate will some audience somewhere.

If I could give bloggers one tip, it would be to write about what you love.

The biggest impediment that folks report for not writing every day (or regularly) is that they don’t know what to write about.

I write about whats going on – in my life, around me, in technology, social media, sports – whatever.

The second biggest blocker is time.

I’ve taken to getting it in whenever and wherever I can.

Sometimes, I blog on the train to work.

Other times, when I’m sitting on the ‘throne’ (some of my best work has been on the throne).

Point is, you need to make time for it.

Because one thing is for certain, blogging is an invaluable tool to generating traffic to (and awareness about) your site.

But don’t take my word for it.

Blog for yourself and see!

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Filed under branding, opinion

Nicki Minaj’s Grammy Performance. Can we say train wreck?

I was originally going to write about my recent experience over the weekend with SoundHound, Shazam and Quora, but in light of the veritable explosion last night over the Grammy awards, I had a change of heart.

If you didn’t see the Grammies last night, then you missed (yet another) lackluster awards show.

But if you were patient enough to sit through three hours of the music industry’s self-congratulatory adulation, and LL Cool J’s (awkward and painful) attempt at charm and wit as the night’s host, then you might have witnessed what was undoubtedly the most exceptional event of the evening: Nicki Minaj.

Nicki’s Minaj’s performance of Roman’s Revenge received the WTF!? Award for it’s sheer theatrical lunacy.

Titled “The Exorcism of Roman,” Minaj channeled her demonic alter-ego for a crazed, out-of-pitch, barely intelligible five-minute performance, which ended with her floating mid-air above the stage.

If you didn’t see it, please accept my apologies for posting it here:

The response on the Twitter-sphere was almost unamimous: Nicki Minaj was wilding (and her performance was garbage).

Here are a few choice Tweets.

I'm embarrassed. Nicki Minaj should be too.

Compared to Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga seems...normal?

Please, please, please...make it stop!

While I’m sure that Nicki Minaj fans will say that this was the greatest Grammy performance ever (they’re drinking the Kool Aid), the rest of us, who don’t have our heads up Nicki’s (allegedly) surgically augmented derrière, would likely beg to differ.

I can say this much, about her performance, Nicki Minaj pulled out all the stops.

To what end?

That remains to be seen.

But if Nicki’s intent was to get people talking…mission accomplished.

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Filed under opinion, rant, Smack talking, social media

Best female rapper in the game? I think not. Who is Nicki Minaj, Part 2

I’ve gotten a bunch of push back from folk who felt like I didn’t give Nicki Minaj a fair shake in my post yesterday.

Is Nicki Minaj the best female rapper of all time? Nah!

A few suggested that Nicki Minaj is the ‘best female entertainer’ in the game right now. Others claimed that she’s got exceptional lyrical abilities, unmatched by her peers. And at least one person opined that she’s the best female rapper of all times.

Not one to forego an objective and even analysis, let’s examine each of these claims in turn.

Claim No. 1: Nicki Minaj is the best female entertainer in the game right now.

Response: Bullocks! Sheer and utter bullocks.

Rationale: For anyone to make this claim, and believe it, they’d have to say that Nicki Minaj trumps the likes of serious entertainers like Beyonce, Shakira, Madonna, Janet Jackson, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga, each of whom puts on a wicked live show.

If you focus solely on female rappers, then perhaps that claim has some validity. With Remy Ma doing a bid, Foxy Brown on permanent hiatus, Lil Kim struggling to make records, Lauryn Hill lost in la-la land, and Missy Elliott relaxing in her riches, there is an absolute void of female MCs. Moreover, artists like Trina, Da Brat, Rah Digga and Lil Mama, have ceased to be relevant, making this void even more pronounced.

Summary: Nicki Minaj is NOT the best entertainer in the game right now, but perhaps she is the most entertaining female rapper out today.

Claim No. 2: Nicki Minaj’s lyrical abilities are unmatched by her peers.

Response: Negatory. No. No. No. No. NO!

Rationale: Unmatched by her peers? It’s fair to say that Nicki Minaj is a rapper. That would place her in the same group as Biggie, Jay Z, Nas, Rakim, Grand Puba, Tupac, etc. But we’re not going to pretend that she can hold her own with any of these icons. If we focus only on female MCs, then she’s in the ranks of Lauryn Hill, Missy, MC Lyte, Rage, Queen Latifah, Eve and Remy Ma (to name but a few).

Even the most cursory examination of the lyrics of any of her songs, illustrates that Nicki possesses fundamental lyrical ability. But she’s got nothing to match the sheer wordplay of a Lauryn, the complexity of Missy or the intelligence of MC Lyte. Even if we focus only on her delivery (if you can get past that annoying voice), she pales in comparison to Remy or Eve, whose signature staccato delivery can’t be matched.

Summary: Compared to virtually any of these rappers, her stuff is marginal, at best.

Claim No. 3: Nicki Minaj is the best female rapper of all times.

Response. Pure unadulterated nonsense.

Rationale: Nicki Minaj has a total of ZERO records charted on Billboard. Outside of her ‘mixtapes’ she has released ZERO albums. She has no real spins to speak of in BDS or Mediabase. Grammies? Nada. With most of the female rappers named in this post each generating units moved in the MILLIONS, she’s got a loooonnnnngggggg way to go before she can even be mentioned in the same sentence.

Summary: Nicki Minja does not possess the track record to qualify for the ‘greatest female rapper of all times’ moniker.

Cats need to slow their rolls when it comes to Nicki Minaj. She’s got passable skills and a banging body, but passable skills and banging body do not a female rapper make. Let’s see if she’s got staying power, and can come with something more than pity-pat simple lyrics.

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Eye candy. Lyricist. Flash-in-the-pan. Who is Nicki Minaj?

I don't recall Wonder Woman being black or quite that buxom.

I’ve been listening to the just-shy-of-gratingly-annoying voice of Nicki Minaj over countless records recently, and I struggle to accept how popular she’s become.

For those of you unfamiliar with Nicki Minaj (and I don’t blame you), feel free to check her out on Wikipedia.

If you can’t be so bothered, and are looking for an abridged version, Nicki’s on the Break Up Remix, with Mario featuring Gucci Mane. She’s also on Gucci’s Sex in Crazy Places, featuring Trina and Bobby Valentino; Shakin’ It for Daddy, with Robin Thicke; and Miss Independent Remix, with Ne-Yo.

She’s also been featured on songs with everyone from Lil’ Wayne, to Drake, Birdman, Lloyd, Beyonce, Yung Joc and Bow Wow.

Since she dropped in 2007, she’s released three mixtapes: Playtime Is Over, Sucka Free and Beam Me Up Scotty. Her current single, I Get Crazy, featuring Lil’ Wayne is all over hip hop radio, and she’s got a growing fan base. She’s got over 265,000 MySpace friends, 361,000 followers on Twitter, and 296,000+ Facebook fans.

Young Money Entertainment and Nicki’s management clearly have a handle on the effective use of social media tools. They’ve created a viral following for Nicki, leveraging tools, such as MySpace and YouTube, to seed the cloud with Nicki’s music and videos. There are over 14,000 subscribers to her YouTube channel, and over 425,000 profile views.

In a word, Nicki Minaj is POPULAR.

For critical hip hop aficionados, Nicki may remind you of Lil Kim, Trina or even Remy Ma, but with the absolute lack of female rappers in the game today, she’s got no competition.

So while her voice may be annoying (it really is), she’s got the looks, the backing and (passable) skills to pay the bills.

And if you didn’t know, now you know.

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