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TOP 14 Review ~ “American Idol”

American Idol is once again a ratings powerhouse thanks to ABC, and after two weeks of TOP 24 semifinals plus all-star duets, judges Lion Ritchie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan have picked the 14 finalists who make it to America’s votes.

Comments from viewers on the TOP 14 are going viral on the Internet, ranging from rave reviews to fiery disapprovals. Here at Cappuccino, I am celebrating all of them, as I believe these 14 finalists have something to offer to the diverse music fans around the world. It’s 2018, so let’s practice positivity as we go along.

ADA VOX/ADAM SANDERS – Electric and a powerhouse! Ada has the “it” factor and always commands the stage, making every performance look like an actual concert, and that’s what music is supposed to be… Exciting!

CADE FOEHNER – Kudos to Cade for bringing old school rock to the modern times and making it current once again. He’s the new rock ‘n’ roll pioneer and is my (and many others’) pick to WIN it all! Ever since I came across his “Rocket Man” and “Wanted Dead or Alive” videos long before the show premiered, I knew he’d be an instant favorite. That Phillip Phillips voice also allows him to give any kind of tune his own twist.

CALEB HUTCHINSON – I’m so happy to say Caleb is the very first male country singer I’m interested in on Idol. He comes across as very genuine, and for a country guy, he has such a unique tone and range. I also love the fact that he always posts uplifting, encouraging messages on his social media like many of the other finalists.

DENNIS LORENZO – Super commercial voice and star persona! Dennis can sing any tune and make it sound fresh, soulful and new. His audition plus duet with Allen Stone where he sang “Unaware” proved he has what it takes to sell records. If not Cade, Dennis could definitely be ABC’s very first American Idol!

GARRETT JACOBS – Unique and raspy voiced, Garrett is a male singer whose records I want to buy. Just look up his Chris Stapleton and John Mayer covers on Youtube, and there’s no denying his talent and distinctive tone. Inspired by iconic idols like Haley Reinhart, Casey Abrams and Clark Beckham and with a performance like “Wicked Games” in Hollywood plus his subtle duet with Colbie Caillat, Garrett is way more than just a pretty face and is only going to get better. His journey (plus later career) is super endearing to follow.

JONNY BRENNS – He’s clearly very passionate in pursuing a career in music, and that shows in his originals, one of which he sang in his audition. With good looks and a natural talent followed by a lot of consistency, he will definitely add a lot of  freshness to the competition.

MARCIO DONALDSON – The universe needs Marcio and his music. With a compelling story and an even bigger voice, Marcio is very deserving of the win and make plenty of records. There’s so much pureness in his soulful voice, and he always sings from the heart. You can tell he really wants this, and you just have to love him.  So much respect!

MICHAEL J. WOODARD – Whimsical, adorable and exciting, Michael is truly an artist! He knows how to stand out, and with song choices like Alanis Moirisette’s “You Oughta Know”, the Beatles’ “Golden Slumbers” and the Broadway hit “Maybe This Time”, I’m beyond ready for a Michael Woodard debut album! He also seems approachable and is all about universal love. If he ever takes on a Barbra Streisand tune, it’d be even more glorious. I see him as a young, male version of Barbra in that he has a “bigger than life” appeal in his voice and an irresistable charm.

CATIE TURNER – Just like Michael, Catie with a C is an original and is socially conscious in addition to being entertaining. Everything about her screams superstar. Songs like “21st Century Machine” are instant hits with thought-provoking lyrics. With a massive following that exceeds the rest, it’s very clear that the world adores her and the messages she tries to communicate through her music, and she’s very deserving of the crown. Gotta love her jazz notes, spunky personality and cool boots too!

GABBY BARRETT – Be it country or soul, Gabby excels at both genres. With a beautiful Daenerys hair style and a strong range, this gal can sing the phonebook and slay. She truly has the power to succeed.

JURNEE – Pop star! That’s what Jurnee is destined to become. Very commercial with a crystal clear voice and a star-studded look, Jurnee could and should be “the one”. With covers like Jessie J’s “Flashlight” and “Never Enough” from The Greatest Showman plus an elegant duet with Lea Michele, Jurnee’s journey should take her to the finale and Billboard charts. Super inspiring! PS. I’m glad I’m not the only one who notices she resembles a member of my favorite girl group Little Mix – Jade Thirlwall.

MADDIE POPPE – Whimsically delightful right from the start. Maddie’s music always conjures images of sunshine and rainbows, and that’s her brand. It’s syrup and honey for the ears. She deserves to be heard and appreciated. Check out her Songs From the Basement EP, and get ready to enter the wonderful world of Maddie Poppe.

MARA JUSTINE – Mara may be super young, but with a big voice and a down-to-earth personality, she’s like the Kelly Clarkson of the group. There’s so much soul and power in her vocals, followed by that expressive Janis Joplin spirit that makes you want to root for her. It won’t surprise me if the competition ends with her victory (that’d be a well-deserved win), ‘cause her massive talent and charisma truly make a strong combo. Mara is lightyears ahead of her younger self on America’s Got Talent back then and is ready to make her mark in the music industry.

MICHELLE SUSSETT – Her voice is definitely made for the radio. Easily identifiable and current with a Demi Lovato look and energy. It doesn’t matter that she’s not your average Idol contestant. The show’s original mission was to find a pop idol who’s marketable and relevant, and Michelle really fits the bill in that she can work the stage like the pro she is and entertain.

Photo Credits: American Idol/ABC

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#TimesUp at the 75th Golden Globes

Screen Shot 2018-01-10 at 10.31.27 AMOprah Winfrey. Photo Credit: Variety

BLL Ladies copyThe Big Little Lies ladies. Photo Credit: ABC

It’s 2018, and the annual Golden Globe Awards went into its 75th year with a fiery revolution in support of women across all industries, encouraging them to speak up in light of abuse, misrepresentation and all forms of mistreatment. The #TimesUp movement packed a lot of female punch, as stars and public figures – women and men – attended the event all decked in black as a sign of solidarity. Most of the wins and speeches on stage also reflected and acknowledged the need to continue pushing for equal opportunities for females in all aspects of their careers.

Speaking as a screenwriter, I stand by Oprah Winfrey, Jessica Chastain, Zoe Saldana, Natalie Portman, Dwayne Johnson, Ansel Elgort, Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Zoe Kravitz, Laura Dern, Evan Rachel Wood, and many other icons in the fight for lady power. May more opportunities open up for female writers, directors, engineers, coders, entrepreneurs, and other career fields from all backgrounds and from all over the world, for the world of storytelling and the entire workforce should always be diverse.

The 75th Golden Globe Awards presented us with tons of highlights. Feel free to list all your favorite moments. Here are mine:

  • All the Big Little Lies wins (congrats Nicole Kidman and Laura Dern) and the all-girl cast photos.
  • Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort and Laura Dern in the same room. The Fault in Our Stars nostalgia.
  • Queen Oprah’s all-inspiring, super important speech about hope and an inclusive future as she accepted the Cecille B. Demille award.
  • Both Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor winning brought a little Moulin Rouge magic. Viva Satine and Christian!
  • The Greatest Showman won Best Original Song with “This is Me”.
  • Barbra Streisand’s surprise appearance. I’d personally want Babs to make a triumphant return to film directing and acting. The last feature film she directed and starred in was the lovely Mirror Has Two Faces.
  • Saoirse Ronan and the Lady Bird appreciation. Director Greta Gerwig deserved a nomination for crafting a powerful female-driven film.

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