My Friday Five: Oscars, Viggle & Programming Woes

Photo: Chris White
1. Idol Recap & a Word from Mackenzie Bourg
Before I get to my thoughts, I wanted to share with you a word from one of the finalists, Mackezie Bourg. I’ve been a fan of this guy since his audition and I was excited to when he held a Q&A with fans right in the thick of rehearsals for the show this week. Naturally, I joined in on the conversation and asked about his musical inspirations.
Here’s what he had to say…
Pretty cool, eh? Thanks Mackenzie!

On to the recap! This week, the contestants took on Grammy Award tunes, ranging from Whitney Houston to Vince Gill. The final season is being shortened by FOX so this week was a double elimination and next week will too unless something changes. This season is moving way too fast and I’m not liking that. At all. And, as opposed to having another Idol alum back, the showrunners chose Demi Lovato. Seriously? There was promise of a “huge celebration” of the show that would be nostalgic for longtime fans and include tons of former contestants. That hasn’t really been the case thus far, at least in the live shows.
From here on out, I’m going to post about one or two contestants that impressed me and one or two that disappointed me. Trent and La’Porsha brought down the house on Thursday night and wowed me. I ranked them first and second, respectively on my rankings for the night. Unless the others step up, I believe these two will be in the Finale. They are the ones to beat right now and are above the rest.
Here are their performances…

The disappointment for me was Dalton. I’ve been a fan since his audition but his performance of Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” fell flat. It was good, don’t get me wrong, but there was nothing special about it. I ranked him the lowest I have all season, but I think he’ll still make it through next week.
Take a look at his performance and decide for yourselves…

‘Til next week, Idol fans!

2. Oscars Thoughts

I don’t have many thoughts on the Oscars but I will say a couple things. The highlight of the night for me was Mark Rylance winning Best Supporting Actor. He was outstanding in Bridge of Spies (check out my review here) and I picked him to win but felt it may go to someone else. I was so stoked to hear Rylance named the winner that I jumped off my couch – no seriously! It was well-deserved. As far as the other awards go, none of the winners were all that surprising. Leo DiCaprio finally got his Best Actor Oscar, so now maybe all those who tuned in just for that and couldn’t care less – or, in some cases, have no clue – about the other films and talent being honored will go away. Spotlight won Best Picture, which was a pleasant surprise for me since I believed The Revenant  would win – yes, even over my faves Bridge of Spies and The Martian. I haven’t seen Spotlight yet but, when I do, I’ll be sure to publish a critique of it right here.

Oh, and one more thing. Jacob Tremblay is awesome! I mean, the kid is just awesome! Why? The Room star won Oscars night to me. From his Darth Vader socks and Millennium Falcon cufflinks to his award presentation with Abraham Attah, Tremblay won the hearts of everyone watching. And he’s a witty guy at just nine years old. For example, after Oscars host Chris Rock brought out a block for him to stand on in order to be taller, Tremblay thanked him and said “Loved you in Madagascar.” It was mint!

3. Viggle

A few years ago, I discovered this app where users can check-in to shows and music to earn points and then redeem those points for some nice rewards. I had racked up about 60,000 points when I learned that Viggle was being acquired by a company called Perk – which is basically a larger version of what Viggle does – and a new app would be launched, “creatively” called Viggle 3.0. Let me tell ya, it sucks. Why does it suck so bad now? For starters, Perk is phasing out Viggle points, forcing users to create a Perk account and “exchange” their Viggle points for Perk points. All the while, the folks at Viggle and Perk said Perk points were worth much more than Viggle points. I’m still not convinced as I “exchanged” my 60,000 or so Viggle points and received about 2,900 Perk points in return. I will say the rewards catalog for Perk is a bit more extensive than Viggle, so I found that I could get an Amazon gift card with my points. Cool, right? Well, my 2,900 or so Perk points equated to a whopping $2 Amazon gift card. Yea, big bucks.

But that’s not my only qualm with the new Viggle. The app is no longer user friendly. There have been tons of issues and glitches since its launch – and it’s not like the Viggle app didn’t exist before. I don’t understand how a merger of two companies can lead to an implosion of an already established app but it did. The biggest problem is users see at least three times as many ads on the app as they did previously. I feel that this is the main thing now for Viggle and Perk. Couple that with low point totals for checking-in to shows – I received six for checking-in to Survivor Wednesday night as opposed to 60+ with the original Viggle – and non-existent bonus points on shows has made the Viggle experience unbearable for many, myself included. And users have been slinging verbal mud at Viggle and Perk for weeks now. The Viggle app currently has one of the lowest ratings I’ve ever seen for an app in the iTunes store (one and a half stars) as well. I’ve already decided to redeem my points for that $2 gift card and delete my account altogether. If you’re a Viggle user, I hope you do the same. If you’re not a Viggle user, be glad you’re not and never give this sham a millisecond of your time. 

4. Programming Woes

After much “hype” – if you want to call it that – local stations WRAL and WNCN finally made the CBS/NBC switcheroo. I really couldn’t care less about the affiliation switch. Can’t say the same for some people on social media. That’s a story in itself. Anyway, I watched this show on WRAL called Right This Minute. The show centers on viral videos and the co-hosts give their two cents on them. It’s a whole lot better than my description. After the affiliation switcheroo, I went to see what time slot Right This Minute was moved to, if at all, and was surprised to see that it had been taken off WRAL’s lineup completely. It’s not on WNCN either and that wouldn’t make since anyway since all syndicated shows would stay on their respective channels with the affiliation switch. I contacted WRAL on Facebook about it and all I received in return is a generic “Thanks for the feedback” response – meaning nothing will be done about it. I also contacted Right This Minute on Facebook and one of the show’s peeps got back with me and said the show will move to local station WTVD in September. Ugh. At least it’ll be one somewhere, no thanks to WRAL.

5. Thank You

I’d like to give a huge “Thank You” to Marcus Paige, Brice Johnson, Joel James and the rest of the UNC Basketball seniors for everything they have done for the program, through a heck of a lot of adversity. Seniors are not as common in college basketball nowadays but these guys stuck with the program and provided some amazing memories throughout. It’s been a heck of a ride. I’ll never forget one night after a game last season when many of the UNC Basketball players came outside to greet fans, sign autographs, what have you. Paige came outside, greeted and signed autographs for every single person who wanted it – including yours truly.

So, from this UNC fan to you: THANK YOU!!!!

Thanks for Reading

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