Posted tagged ‘La’Porsha Renae’

Nick Fradiani and His Label Go Separate Ways

January 24, 2017

It’s the real reality of reality singing shows for Idol’s penultimate winner Nick Fradiani who has parted ways with his (and Idol’s) label Big Machine Records. Rather than the usual “mutual” parting – a music business alternative fact – both parties have described the break-up as amicable and necessary.

This is a very different situation than what happens to winners of The Voice aka The Game Show With Singing who frequently get dropped by the show’s label Republic Records before they even release an album. As opposed to Republic, Big Machine’s head Scott Borchetta was an active presence on Idol: mentoring, shaping, critiquing and generally preparing the Idolists for the real competition that happens after the show against people like Bruno Mars, Katy Perry, Keith Urban, Adele and Big Machine’s own Taylor Swift.

Furthermore, Nick did release an album Hurricane in August 2016. Unfortunately, Hurricane sold a mere 5,000 copies which clearly endangered his future prospects with Big Machine. Nick’s release suffered from two problems. First, he just wasn’t that good which I mused about quite frequently[1]. Rather than requote myself, here’s a review from Newsday:

The problem is what happens after the show is over. Like several winners from “Idol” and “The Voice,” Fradiani needs the infrastructure of a network TV show to help sell the songs from his debut album “Hurricane” (Big Machine) because his voice just isn’t distinctive enough generally to get it done on its own[2].

Second, Big Machine seems to have realized how difficult marketing pop acts is as they have dropped all of the pop artists from their roster except for Taylor Swift to focus on their country acts. A hyper-competitive market and a non-competitive product spells disaster in any industry. 5,000 copies sold by a major label is, frankly, embarrassing.

So now we – and by we, I mean me – wait to see how well Scott and his Big Machine do with the final Idolists Trent Harmon and The Peerless La’Porsha Renae. Trent remains associated with the label as they work on an album for the country market (good luck with that). And the final runner-up The Peerless La’Porsha stays on as part of a Big Machine/Motown joint label project.

AND . . . Jax (see footnote #1) has been spent her post-Idol time persistently building a loyal fan base and public relations, and has an EP coming out on Friday that’s been getting quite a bit of buzz in early reviews.

I’ll be looking to see if any of the three can redeem the promise that the reality shows once held. Stay tuned.


[1] Not only should Jax have been the winner over Nick and runner-up Clark Beckham, I remain committed to my belief that Scott wanted her to win.



It Takes Two, Baby? [updated]

April 8, 2016

According to Lyndsey Parker of Yahoo Music, Scott Borchetta has also decided to sign La’P in a joint deal with Motown and his Big Machine Records! I haven’t been able to find confirmation of this but Lyndsey is a very reliable and important source in the music media biz as well as certified Idol junkie.

[Update] This has been confirmed by several sources including Billboard:

“Because of the overwhelming fan demand and success of the farewell season of American Idol, we have made the decision to sign both the winner, Trent Harmon, and runner-up, La’Porsha Renae, to exclusive recording agreements,” Big Machine Label Group founder and CEO Scott Borchetta tells Billboard. “I can’t think of a better way to bring this American institution to a close. Everyone at the Big Machine Label Group, the Universal Music Group and Motown Records are so thrilled with the outcome and can’t wait to get to work.”

Apparently, Scott had both deals for both Trent (Big Machine) and La’P (Big Machine/Motown) in the works depending on who won. That he decided to sign both makes a lot of business sense given their potential in two different markets.

I am so happy right now.

A Finale Bright Like a Diamond

April 6, 2016

“You guys are singing like it’s the Final!” (K-Urbs)

BEAST VS BEAST. (Michael Slezak, via Twitter)

“FINALLY! After 15 frickin’ years, America got it right!” (My Daughter Diandra, who somehow has been able to block the Kris Allen/Adam Lambert thing from her memory. Good for her. I can’t. I won’t. #NeverForget)

It seems that the Evil Genius Producers were able to work their evil genius one last time by giving America a pathway to find two amazing singers. Has there ever been an Idol Finale with this level of quality? I think not.

And with that, herewith are my final Idol performance musings.

Round 1: Winner’s Single

These were the songs written for each Idolist for the purpose of being released to radio (Ryan’s words) should they win. “Released to radio” is a technical term that means Ryan’s radio station is the only station in the country that will play these songs. Not just because they were awful but because an Idolist has a better chance of making a hole-in-one on Augusta National than getting a new song on the radio, i.e. the real world of music as opposed to the reality TV world of music[1].

Trent Falling. The song fit his style but had a very dated sound. A for performance; D for currentness[2].

Boy Band Dude Strike A Match. He’s just not a good singer. And the song was more Adult Contemporary rather than Top 40, which was surprising given who his most likely fans are. C for performance; C for currentness.

La’P Battle. This had the most anthemic hook and therefore would be the most memorable if you heard it on the radio. But the song doesn’t grab you right away, which may turn off radio programmers. They should have paid Sia to write a song for her. B+ for performance; B for currentness.

After the initial round, Boy Band Dude got his bad news (and a certain muser got his good news). In spite of having twice the Twitter followers as Trent and La’P combined, BBD’s vocal deficiencies given the competition eventually caught up with him. Unlike Jax’s horribly rushed and insensitive send-off last year, at least the Evil Genius Producers allowed him to have his moment and a proper goodbye.

Round 2: Simon Fuller’s Choice

With a show created to discover a current pop star, Simon mystifyingly chose songs from the 70s and 80s. Is the demographic really that old for that to be necessary? These song choices had a stunning lack of vision. “Old” people will buy songs like Uptown Funk (or anything by Bruno Mars) or Happy or big diva songs by Beyonce or Rihanna. At this penultimate juncture, we should have been imagining Trent and La’P as radio-ready artists rather than people we’d see on Soul Train re-runs.

Trent If You Don’t Know Me By Now (Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes). Somehow, this was energetic and lifeless at the same time. Too full of faux-soul. C+

La’P A House Is Not a Home (Dionne Warwick). She actually started singing the epic Luther Vandross version before just flat out making it a La’P version. In concert, I’d LOVE to hear this. I just wish Simon had picked something with a more recent vintage. A-

Round 3: Idolist’s Reprise aka The Sia Round

The show finally began here.[3] Current songs both written by Sia – a current hit songwriter. Imagine that! If such a thing is possible, they both did their respective songs better than they did the first time.

Trent Chandelier (Sia). Critique-proof. A++

La’P Diamonds (Rihanna). Critique-proof. A++

After 15 years, it’s perfect that American Idol will end with America having to choose between two extraordinary singers going out with two extraordinary performances. One – La’P – was consistently amazing all season. The other – Trent – seemed to come out of nowhere as he got better and better each week. Either would be a good choice to be The Last American Idol Forever.

Who are we kidding? La’P is the best singer in the history of this show – yes, consistently better than My Boy Adam Lambert and with more epic performances, too. In the words of Kelly Clarkson, “You’re gonna win . . . if you [La’P] don’t, there’s something wrong.”

Tomorrow, we’ll see if the first American Idol is right about the last American Idol.


[1] Home written for Phillip Phillips was a notable exception. Ironically, P2 hated the song.

[2] Yes, I know that’s not a real word.

[3] I neglected to mention the show began with the season’s first Cheesy Idol-Sing-A-Long! It wouldn’t have been a proper season of Idol without one of those.


February 26, 2016

No. I’m not going to bury the lede. La’P. La’P. La’P.

One of the best Idol performances ever. Ever.


She was the cream cheese frosting plus whipped cream topped with bananas and cherries, and a bottle of rum poured on top of an already spectacular Idol cake tonight. Here’s what I loved:

  • Lee survived. Annoying, unintelligible Thomas did not. (I was fine with the eliminations of Manny, Jenn and Jeneve Rose, also.)
  • Kelly Clarkson flashbacks. Whoa. Chick could sang!
  • Kelly as the unrestrained and unconfined judge.[1] Gotta love her proclaiming a winner in front of the viewers and the other Idolists. And just rambling in general. And unlike Paula Abdul, somehow always making sense. I’m not sure I could take Kelly-as-judge every week but she was so much fun this week.
  • Kelly as the wise and experienced judge. Having been The Original Idol and a consistent fixture at the top of the charts since then, who knows more about the Idol journey than Kelly? Her insights were spot-on all night.
  • Idolists sharing their Idol memories. It was fun going back in time with them.
  • Something that Original Idol Kelly said that is a reason why Idol has been the show that created stars while others did not: “I got my work ethic from Idol.” Adam Lambert has said much the same thing. The Idol process prepares the Idolists for the real world.

OK, let’s evaluate the performances.

Possibly My Girl But Whoa La’P! Olivia (Unconditionally, Katy Perry). Superb. Controlled. Passionate. Heartfelt. Tasteful. A-

Gianna (Listen, Beyonce). Too big a song for her. When will she sing songs for teenagers? It wasn’t credible and she was pitchy, too. And once again, Gianna would have done better with the song Avalon chose. C-

Lee (Skinny Love, Bon Iver). Not a good song choice and he was pitchy, too. I’m so happy he got this far but at this point it’s getting harder for him to stay. C

Avalon (Stitches, Shawn Mendes). Bad song choice plus sounding more nasal and throaty than usual equals the soul in her voice never showed up. C

Boy Band Dude (Hey There Delilah, Plain White T’s). Finally – a great song choice! And a nice punked up arrangement. I’m still not sold on his voice – especially versus some of the big singers in the competition – but he is a completely comfortable and confident performer on stage. A-

No Longer My Girl Tristan (Nuthin’ Like You, Dan + Shay). Who stole My Girl Tristan and has her in hiding? Terrible song choice and she was completely disconnected from the fun of it. She’s just not believable to me as a country singer. She was amazing as the girl at the piano with the Alicia Keys vibe and the edgy, Rihanna-style look. She once sounded and looked like a pop star. Now she’s become so ordinary. C-

Mackenzie (I See Fire, Ed Sheehan). Like a lukewarm glass of water when you wanted an ice cold glass, he’s not bad but he’s not good, either. B-

Sonika (Bring Me To Life, Evanescence). Oh, it’s SOOOO hard for me to be objective when Idolists (try to) sing My Girl Amy Lee. But I really enjoyed this. First off, she came out dressed like My Girl Amy Lee. Second, she finally sang with real conviction and emotion. Finally, she somehow followed the otherworldly performance by La’P with a strong one of her own. B+

Trent (Like I Can, Sam Smith). Trent reminds me of Van Morrison in that he has a highly stylized voice that doesn’t come off as annoying. He brought a lot of soul to this and made me forget that it’s a Sam Smith song. B+ 

You may have noticed that I skipped over La’P (Diamonds, Rihanna). I was screaming. I was crying. I was shaking. I was waving hands. I was stomping feet. I was gasping for air. I was trying to maintain consciousness. That was simply one of the highest points in Idol history and the loooooooooonnnnnnnng audience applause validated that. How does one grade phenomenon?

So now we have a cliffhanger as we wait until next week for the results. I can’t recall a year where I thought it would be difficult for me to cut someone from the Top Ten. What makes this year even more difficult is that there are so many young Idolists with such great potential. But with such a short season, there’s little time to realize that potential. The kids that don’t grow up quickly will go home quickly. I would cut Mackenzie and Avalon and give the kids another week. However, I suspect that it will be Gianna and Lee. I hope I’m at least partially wrong.

La’P. Dude.


[1] It was fun watching J-Lo continually failing at trying to hang on to her Alpha dog status.