Saturday, August 31, 2013

Music Review: Arabella Jones "Let's Roll"

Arabella Jones: An independent, up-and-coming Country Music Star.

Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Arabella Jones discovered her love for singing when she joined the choir in middle school. Arabella was instantly hooked, and her powerful soprano voice was destined for the world of country music.

In 2011, Arabella launched her YouTube channel, where she posts mostly covers of her favorite country music artists. It wasn’t long before she developed a large online following, and her fans (whom call themselves “Bellaholics”) continued to increase over time. On February 15, 2013, her YouTube channel hit 1 million views, and as of today, she has over 23000 YouTube subscribers – over 40000 Facebook fans – and over 106000 Twitter followers.

None of that is really surprising, because her vocals are amazing; her personality is genuine; and her performances are real. Her covers of The Band Perry and Carrie Underwood (two of my favorites) were phenomenal, and her cover of “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” kind of replaced Taylor in my playlist. Yes... Arabella’s is better.

Arabella is currently working on a full album with her band in Houston, but her lead single “Let’s Roll” is set to be released on Tuesday September 3, 2013, and it's going to take the country music world by storm!

Arabella’s choice of “Let’s Roll” as the lead off song for her first album could not have been a better one. The first five seconds of the song set you up for an amazing ride. Those five seconds are slow and quiet before exploding into a powerful country beat. It’s like the start of a drag race. As the amber lights slowly blink down to green, you have those few seconds of anticipation before you pound the accelerator and go full throttle, and that's what Arabella does with "Let's Roll." 

With just a hint of rock “Let’s Roll” is still country at its core. The playful and almost flirty lyrics give the song personality, but it’s Arabella who gives that personality life. “I’ve got a winch to pull your little Tonka truck out of the ditch,” she playfully teases as she invites the boys to “shift down and start this party.” You can feel the playfulness in the song because Arabella immerses herself completely into the lyrics. She doesn’t just sing them... she has fun with them, and that’s what makes a great song and a great artist.

One of Arabella’s strong musical influences is Carrie Underwood, and that influence comes out in “Let’s Roll.” Like Carrie Underwood, Arabella puts so much passion into the performance that you can’t help but feel the power and energy in the song. Arabella nailed it with "Let's Roll." Her fans are going to love it... All country music fans are going to love it!

Arabella’s vocals are perfectly suited for country music. Her voice has a depth and maturity to it that is not often found... but it’s not just her great vocals that will take her far in this journey. She is real and true to herself, and those two things make her relatable. Her fans see that and respond positively to that. I can't see anything stopping Arabella from becoming a global country music superstar. Watch out Nashville... Arabella’s about to “start this party”!

Want more Arabella Jones?
Visit her Official Website - Follow on Twitter - Like on Facebook - Watch on YouTube
And DON'T FORGET to download her new single!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Miley Cyrus – Probably Should Stop

I wasn’t home Sunday night when the VMAs were on, so I set the PVR and was all excited to watch it once I got home. I avoided Twitter and news feeds all night so not to spoil it for myself, but my ‘digital gremlins’ decided that they didn’t want the VMAs to record. Initially I was upset, but after resorting to Twitter and the internet for snippets of the show, I realized why my imaginary gremlins didn’t want the show to tape... Miley Cyrus and her foam finger. She started the set off with her new single “We Can’t Stop” (though, she probably should have!) before moving into a collaboration with Robin Thicke and his new song “Blurred Lines.”
Although I didn’t get to see the show, I’ve seen enough pictures and video clips of her VMA performance with Robin Thicke to know that I probably would’ve thrown up a little in my mouth if I had watched the actual performance... in fact, some of the clips I found, I had to stop them before they even finished. Seriously, what was she thinking? ... Or, maybe the better questions should be, “what was she on?”.

Shock value – check
Pissed off parents – check
Scarred young teens – check
Millions of people talking about Miley – check
Complete loss of dignity and respect – CHECK!

There was nothing sexy or even remotely attractive about anything happening on that stage. Her outfit... well, I’ve got no words for that besides ‘eww.’ The dancing (if that’s what you want to call it) reminded me of a ‘drunk uncle’ at a wedding trying to dirty dance with grandma. The foam finger... I can’t even guess. And, that tongue... seriously, keep. it. in. your. mouth.
But... Miley seemed to accomplish much by all that:
The Parents’ Television Council is irate.
Mom and dad are attempting damage control for their young and impressionable children, whom are probably having nightmares and locking up their stuffed animals.
Many stars are dumbfounded and shocked (you’ve got to see Will Smith and his family’s facial expressions when Miley’s performing... priceless!).
Robin Thicke is upset because Miley overshadowed his performance.

There are some write-ups I’ve read that compare Miley’s performance with the infamous Britney and Madonna 2003 VMA kiss. I don’t see how a comparison between the two can be made at all... Oh my goodness... two girls kissed on live TV! Really? Britney and Madonna kissed... that’s it. Miley was walking on the side of soft porn.

All in all, after seeing (for the most part) her VMA performance, I’ve lost all respect I once had for Miley Cyrus. I understand Hannah Montana is no more and that Miley needs to grow and find herself, but grow with dignity, grow with respect for yourself, and grow with pride – because all she accomplished with that performance was me pressing “delete” in my music library for everything Miley Cyrus. I never want the image of her in a rubber bikini, twerking with a foam finger between her legs, in my head again!
So... needless to say, I’m kind of happy my gremlins stopped the VMAs from recording. I have a feeling I would have been greatly disappointed and thoroughly disgusted. Thanks Miley.
On an unrelated note, I am, however, upset I missed Katy Perry’s performance of Roar. I heard it was really well done. Good job Katy.

Roar - Katy Perry

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Teen Choice Awards - 2013

Award show enthusiasts rejoice... The Teen Choice Awards are on tonight live at 8pm Eastern on FOX. Don’t let the “Teen” in Teen Choice Awards throw you. If you are into today’s music, primetime television, or this years blockbuster movies... and you enjoy watching award shows... then you will probably enjoy tonights Teen Choice Awards show. It’s called the Teen Choice Awards, because the winners are chosen by the fans aged 13 to 19 only. So... it’s really more of a popularity contest than an award show; nonetheless, it is still something worth watching.
This year’s Teen Choice Awards will be co-hosted by Darren Criss (Blaine on Glee) and Lucy Hale (Aria on Pretty Little Liars) and will feature performances by One Direction, Paramore, Florida Georgia Line, and Demi Lovato. Personally, I’m a little disappointed at the performance lineup, with the exception of Demi Lovato... who, herself, has an impressive six nominations tonight. Demi Lovato is tied with Selena Gomez for number of nominations, but both girls are bested by one nomination... Taylor Swift hovers slightly over them with seven nominations.
With the exception of Kaley Cuoco hosting the 2011 show solo (in which she was amazing), the Teen Choice Awards, starting in 2010, have had at least one Glee cast member co-hosting. This year it’s Darren Criss. Last year, it was Kevin McHale (Artie)... joined by Demi Lovato, and in 2010, it Kevin McHale, Chris Colfer (Kurt), Mark Salling (Puck), and Cory Monteith (Finn)... all joined by Katy Perry.
For the past few years, Glee has played a prominent role in the Teen Choice Awards, both with hosting and with nominations. This year, Glee has received a total of eight nominations.
Sadly, however, earlier this year, Glee lost a much loved cast member and friend, Cory Monteith. I know that any wins Glee receives tonight will include a dedication to Cory, but I sincerely hope the producers for the Teen Choice Awards include a tribute to the memory of Cory Monteith... for his fans... for his friends... for his family... for Lea.
So, who are the ones going to take home the coveted Surfboards? After my completely inaccurate prediction for the Bachelorette, should I even try? Well, yeah. Right or wrong, it’s all part of the fun... although being right is way more fun!
Okay... here we go. My picks on a select few categories.

- Justin Bieber
- Bruno Mars
- Philip Phillips
- Pit Bull
- Justin Timberlake
Who will win: Justin Bieber. His fan base (The “Beliebers”) is too large and too strong to be trumped by the others... over 40 million strong.
Who should win: Justin Timberlake. His come back has been strong and very well received by fans across the world. Unfortunately, I don’t think he’s been back in the spotlight long enough to topple the Biebs...

- Selena Gomez
- Demi Lovato
- Pink
- Rihanna
- Taylor Swift
Who will win: Taylor Swift. She is always the favourite in award shows that are decided by fan-voting. Similar to Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift’s 30 million plus fan base is hard to beat.
Who should win: Demi Lovato. She came back hard and strong. Her songs are powerful and filled with emotion and pride... a true inspiration for her fans.

- The Band Perry
- Florida Georgia Line
- Lady Antebellum
- Little Big Town
- Thompson Square
Who will win: The Band Perry.
Who should win: The Band Perry. An amazing country group with meaningful songs, catchy tunes, and amazing vocals.

- Jason Aldean
- Luke Bryan
- Eric Church
- Hunter Hayes
- Blake Shelton
Who will win: Hunter Hayes. We have to remember who is doing the voting.
Who should win: Jason Aldean. Just a well rounded and talented artist.

- Jana Kramer
- Miranda Lambert
- Kacey Musgraves
- Taylor Swift
- Carrie Underwood
Who will win: Taylor Swift. Same reasons as above.
Who should win: Carrie Underwood. Vast and powerful vocal range that surpasses most other artists. Simple, yet very strong.

- “Just Give Me a Reason” by Pink
- “Little Things” by One Direction
- “Mirrors” by Justin Timberlake
- “Treasure” by Bruno Mars
- “The Way” by Ariana Grande
Who will win: Toss up between One Direction and Ariana Grande. I’m leaning toward Ariana, only because she’s been pushing hard (through social media) for her fans to vote, though One Direction’s fan base is pretty large... This one, I just don’t know.
Who should win: Pink. An amazing song. The vocals, the emotions, and the meaning are so powerful it should blow the others off the wave, but...

So, right or wrong, here you go. What do you think? Do you agree? Let me know. Leave a comment. What’s an award show without the fun of a guessing game before?
Enjoy the show!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Bachelorette Finale (Follow-up) - Desiree Hartsock

Okay. I was wrong... but I did say it was just a guess.
Brooks was not the last-man-standing. Brooks and Desiree are not engaged. In fact, Brooks never even made an appearance in the 2nd part of The Bachelorette finale.
Honestly, the ending, I did not see coming. I would have never guessed that Chris would be the one with the final rose, nor would I have ever imagined that he and Desiree would actually be engaged.
I really have to give props to ABC and The Bachelorette producers for creating a scenario that many people (including myself) were absolutely convinced was going to play out in the Final Rose episode... but yet never happened.
After watching the show and sitting there stunned at what just happened, I went looking for spoiler sites—as I mentioned yesterday, I never read any spoilers during the run of the show, but now I was curious to see who they said was to be the final guy.
The most popular and detailed one I found had said (weeks ago) that it was going to be Brooks at the end, and in reading the backdated posts on the site, I was pretty impressed. Week after week the spoiler was right, little details were spot on, and the outcomes were accurate. So what happened with the finale? Why was the spoiler off? Why were so many people so very, very wrong?
Spoilers rely on sources, so why the spoilers were wrong is simple... misinformation was received. You have to remember The Bachelorette began taping in mid to late March and lasts for only six weeks. This leaves a little over three months between the taping of the finale and the actual airing of the finale... three months to keep the secret! I’m sure ABC does everything possible to prevent leaks which lead to spoilers popping up all over the internet. So, it wouldn’t surprise me if some of the ‘spoiler sources’ are actually ABC plants who leak specific and predetermined information. Whatever the case, the secret remained just that for three months, and in a day of instant information, that is quite the accomplishment!
Now, why was I and millions of others wrong? I can only credit that to the producers of The Bachelorette. Between The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, the show has been around for eleven years now and cumulatively have 26 seasons. The fans get smart and learn the patterns of the show, but this season, those patterns were altered. Specific conversations and events that got more airtime than others stood out. Brooks and Desiree seemed to have more airtime and the conversations seemed more intimate. The big change, however, was Desiree’s confessions about how she felt about Brooks being shown to the public. This has never been done before, so once we added this to all the intimate interactions that were aired, we ‘assumed’ their relationship was very important... but, no!
Needless to say, the producers, knowing the outcome, carefully and purposely edited footage and aired all the important Brooks comments. By allowing us to see how strong Desiree’s feelings were becoming, and by making those feelings the focus of each episode, the only natural thing most of us could conclude would be Brooks is coming back.
So, I was wrong... in fact, I wasn’t even close. Honestly, I am surprised that Chris proposed. I am even more surprised that after Chris watched the show back over the past three months and saw Desiree’s strong and clear feelings for Brooks he still wants to marry her. He’s either much more of a trusting man than I, or he is way more stupid that I am. Desiree professes her love for Brooks on more than one occasion, and within days of Brooks leaving, she is suddenly and completely in love with Chris. Really? You going to trust that?
I guess something must be there (or I’m betting a very strong illusion of something being there), because she is moving to Seattle this weekend to move in with him. She isn’t just moving into his place... they are “getting their own place,” so they can have their own start. Really?
Don’t get me wrong. Desiree seems like a very nice person... smart, attractive, and fun. Chris seems like a good guy, but remember people, they have only ‘dated’ for six weeks and then spent three months semi-apart. I guess time will tell. I really do wish both of them well, and I do hope that everything works out for them, and they are happy together. But...
In the meantime, I think I’ll peg my being so very wrong up to being blindsided by ABC and fooled into following a pattern for The Bachelorette that was no longer there.
In a related note... Juan Pablo is the next Bachelor. The man with the least amount of screen time but got the most attention and reaction. The next season of The Bachelor, I think, is going to be filled with way more drama, multiple ‘cat’ fights, and a whole lot of tears... gee, can’t wait!

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Bachelorette Finale - Desiree Hartsock

The second part of ABC’s The Bachelorette finale airs tonight, and millions of people will be watching. Judge me if you will, but I am going be one of them.
This season of The Bachelorette started off slowly with very low ratings, but tonight’s second part of the finale has generated a storm of speculation, anger, disappointment, and frustration. It’s also the finale that will beat the ratings of last year’s Final Rose (just under 9 million viewers). Why? Well, very creative editing and marketing has created very strong emotions and reactions from loyal viewers, and these emotions and reactions generate conversations... conversations generate speculations... speculations generate arguments (who’s right and who’s wrong)... which all combine to generate a larger viewership. So, season nine of The Bachelorette goes from being the least watch season to the most watched season. You got to love TV.
Once you realize what to watch for, however, you don’t need spoilers (I’ve choose not to read any; and, therefore, none will printed here) to figure a best-guess as to what’s going to happen each week and how the finale will end (who gets the final rose).
Again, there are no spoilers here, just my own observations and my own opinions.
So, who is the last-man-standing with the final rose? Well, like I’ve said, if you’ve paid attention to all the little things said and done over the past few weeks, the only reasonable answer is