The Prophet of Pop

I love my wife, and my wife loves reality television.  Generally I will play a video game or read a book while she watches the Kardashians, Say Yes to the Dress, and similar programs.  Those shows aren’t really my thing, I’m more of a Justified/South Park/ kind of fellow.  Lately she has really gotten into Ice Loves Coco, and I’ve got a confession to make – I like Ice Loves Coco too.  No!  Don’t click the “X” yet, hear me out!

The show follows rapper/Law and Order: SVU star Ice-T and his wife Coco, who, well I don’t know what she has done besides get lots of plastic surgery.  Having followed Ice-T’s career I know he has overcome a number of inner demons to shed his negative image for a more positive, if not more wholesome, one.  I respect that, and he is hilarious to boot.  That is what got me watching the show instead of reading sci-fi or playing Contra, but I’ve kept watching because their relationship is fascinating, and more than that, their relationship is strong.

I was as surprised as you are, but seriously these two have the marriage thing figured out.  While watching the show there isn’t ever a doubt in my mind that these two absolutely strange people actually love each other.  They communicate openly, they have an absolutely astonishing dedication to spending time together, and the show is full of examples of them making sacrifices for one another.  It isn’t always perfect, but what marriage is?  Some parts of their situation are unrealistic for the average couple, such as Coco being able to spend all day on the set with Ice-T, but that makes the normal moments all the more endearing.

I hear a lot of people talk about how television is full of bad relationships, and mostly they are right, but I’d wager most of them haven’t given Ice and Coco a chance.  Behind all the glamour and oddity there is a truly sweet relationship on display, and it actually seems like people are tuning in to watch it!

You should give it a shot too, you might be just be as surprised as I was.

I ripped Blake Shelton pretty hard yesterday for keeping young country starlet RaeLynn on his team, so I was glad to wake up this morning to find out that she was sent home last night.  Thank you America, thank you Blake, and best of luck RaeLynn.

I started to watch the show but Justin Bieber was on the TV.  I just couldn’t do it.

On last night’s show The Voice tried yet another new thing – at the end of the night the judges were told to eliminate one member of their team BEFORE the nationwide vote even took place.  The coaches were caught off guard by the new rule, I guess they hadn’t seen a commercial for this week’s episode, and when the time came to make the ultimate decision Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton still seemed confused.

This confusion likely came from another source though – their own lack of ability to truly judge talent.

Let’s look at Christina’s pick first, as it was the humdinger.  Christina sent talented soul singer Jesse Campbell home.  The reasons she cited were diversity and a lack of growth, leading me to wonder if Christina just got confused and said the wrong name.  Now, I’ve been critical of Jesse in the past, I thought that he lost his battle round against Anthony Evans but was given a free pass due to the hype surrounding him.  Since that battle he has been the best person on Christina’s team.  His performance of Beyonce’s “Halo” was astounding, and that is not an easy song to sing at all.  All while another member of her team whose name I don’t even remember butchered a Kelly Clarkson song and opera singer Chris gave a performance of “Viva La Vida” that was uneven at best.

Amazing singer

At the end of the night, barring a major turnaround, Christina had lost her shot at having a team member win the show.

Now let’s talk about Blake, whose foolish choice was overshadowed by the absolute blunder that was Christina Aguilera.   Blake chose to send Jordis home after a powerful rendition of “A Little Bit Stronger.”  Now competition on Blake’s team was stiff – the other members performed to the best of their ability including a marvelous rendition of “Against All Odds” by Jermaine Paul.  But, the beef I have with Blake comes from the little country starlet RaeLynn.

The beef?  RaeLynn is not a good singer.

Not an amazing singer

She’s got style, stage presence, attitude, and a voice that is good enough to make it in country music.  I love many country artists, but that just isn’t saying much.  On the strength of her voice alone she doesn’t have anything on the other contestants.  However, she was anointed from the beginning with one of those silly gag-inducing Kia commercials – so here we are.  I imagine she has suckered America too and we’ll see her belting out another 4-note rendition of a bad country song next week, but Blake had a chance to put a stop to it and he didn’t.  Her success would be fine on American Idol, it really would, but The Voice bases its whole premise on judging the contestant NOT on looks or marketability – just on the voice.

Every week Rae Lynn stays around the show is proving itself no better than American Idol.

Oh well.  When does The Sing-Off come back?

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Update: Turns out I was right.

This year’s Coachella music festival has been quite the success.  From an inspiring performance by Radiohead to a surprise song from Tupac, it has been… wait, Tupac?  Tupac is dead, right?  It’s true, he is, but, he rose from the grave in 3D hologram form to perform for the first time since, well since he died I guess.  He appeared to the audience and rapped right alongside Snoop and Dre, though he had aged a lot less.  Reactions to this tremendous occasion have ranged from creeped out to thrilled beyond all measure, but what is shocking is how seemingly accepted it was by the crowd.

Sure, it is an interesting novelty, like Elvis appearing at the Grammys a few years back, but is this where it ends?  This event isn’t the first to showcase people’s acceptance of holograms in place of real people – megachurch pastors have been at this for years – but it’s the first time I have seen it done for a live, reactionary concert audience.  Seeing it only evoked one reaction in me – fear.  Fear because the Tupac tour, or the Amy Winehouse tour, or the Johnny Cash tour, or even the Michael Jackson tour, those things are probably coming.  If you think there isn’t someone seeing dollar signs while watching this video then you just haven’t been paying attention to the state of the industry.

Many artists get exploited throughout their careers, but never in such obvious ways.  Can’t we let them have peace?  Or is the current landscape of major label music so downtrodden that we have to dig up holograms to be entertained?  I imagine that the audience who would fork over hundreds of dollars in ticket sales to Ke$ha would probably do the same for a hologram of Michael Jackson.  At some point, what’s the difference?  Such a plan may not be sustainable into the next generation, but that isn’t usually something that the moneymakers are concerned with.

Perhaps bringing artists back from the dead is just the thing that will put the major record labels to death.  How poignant would that be?