Posts Tagged ‘contest’

Mahalo Daily Host Search (Follow Up)

Earlier, I gave my opinions about the six potential new co-hosts for Mahalo Daily.  Since then, 3 were eliminated, then another, and now the final winner has been chosen, although who it is will only be announced tomorrow.

In terms of the first elimination, I agree with Jason’s comment that if you don’t turn up you don’t get the job.  Unless there was a last minute family emergency or something like that, then you need to demonstrate a fanatical willingness to do the job to get the job in the first place.  So, although I thought Nadine was the best choice, and Michelle was good, I agreed that eliminating them was the right thing to do.  (From Jason’s comments, it’s obvious that Nadine wouldn’t have got through anyway.  Hopefully she’ll turn up in something else that isn’t MySpace).

Dropping Sarah next was surprising – I expected that Kristina would go first, just based on experience (it really did seem like it would take a while for her to get up to the professional quality that Mahalo Daily seems to be aimed at).  I ranked Sarah last, so that fit with me – she seems to have got something out of the experience, and if she & Lon do start a film podcast, it’s possible I’ll listen to that as well as Filmspotting.

Kristina was obviously going to go before Leah & Andrea.  For all the “dark horse” comments, she clearly was not of the same quality as the others, and while she might well have got there after a while, it doesn’t seem like this is the right place to be learning those skills.

At this point, the “viral video” contest was introduced.  I understand the reasoning behind this – the host does need to be able to be creative and imaginative, and hopefully “think outside the box”.  Producing episodes that actually do spread would obviously also be great, since at least some viewers would start watching regularly.  However, it was certainly a huge challenge – predicting what video will next catch the eye of the Internet masses is basically impossible.  At least they didn’t base the winner on the number of YouTube views or something like that (although it would have been better to let the videos spread for a few days I think).

First to appear was Andrea’s Guitar Hero training video:

This was pretty disappointing, since I would have previously chosen Andrea over Leah.  Problems:


  • Training videos (particularly Rocky-style) have been parodied hundreds of times already.  Another training video parody is extremely unlikely to ‘go viral’, no matter how good it is.
  • There was too much repetition – some really wacky training scenes might have livened it up somewhat.
  • The ending was pretty disappointing.  Jason suggested in the comments that having a guest appearance by Veronica Belmont would have been a good ending, and that indeed would have been great (especially if Veronica was gracious enough to record herself getting slammed by the newcomer).


On the good side, it showed off Andrea well (not just her looks, but the style she would bring), and it was well put together.  Lon was used well, although not great.

Leah’s video was also, unfortunately, a parody, but of a music video:

This was a good video, and clearly much superior to Andrea’s.  There were still problems:

  • It’s another parody.  Aren’t we all done with parodies now?  They are also such an easy choice.  I realise there was a pretty limited timeframe, but making an unusual choice would have been great.  Something really risky (i.e. it might bomb) since Jason made it clear it wasn’t about how popular it was, but about how creative.  If you look at the viral videos that have been successful, many of them are appallingly bad on the surface.  Without thinking about it much, I would have liked something like a fake Mahalo Daily blooper real (pick a dozen of Veronica’s shows and make up semi-realistic but very funny bloopers – perhaps a short guest appearance by Veronica herself), or some wacky science thing (like the Cola+Mentos stuff, or blowing things up – find a crazy science guy and you’ll get some good suggestion), or an original song (original lyrics at least), or some crazily dangerous physical stunt (perhaps looking much more dangerous than it actually was), or a completely over-the-top homage to something odd.  I’m not the creative one, and yet even I wouldn’t have chosen a parody.  The need to feature the contestant themselves (and possibly Lon and Mahalo somehow) did make it more of a challenge.
  • The video shows off Lon’s skills as a comedian (comedienne?) more than Leah’s.  I would absolutely hire Lon based on this, but not necessarily Leah.  There are a few moment where she does shine, but having her a bit more ‘center-stage’ would probably have suited the contest more.  Her acting is also pretty weak, but that hardly matters for a hosting job.
  • Probably it’s just because it’s a parody, but I can’t imagine recommending watching this to anyone, and I have trouble seeing it have a great deal of ‘viral’ success either.
  • Gender-reversal jokes are funny, but they’ve been done to death, and it’s a stretch to take it to two and half minutes.

BTW, I think re-mixing this (is that permissible?) with popup video style additions would make this more humourous.

I think it’s pretty obvious that Leah will win (with a slight chance that both will be hired in some way).  I hope that Andrea goes on to host something else I’m interested in, since I think she’d make a good host (although not good enough to watch something uninteresting!).

Overall, my compliments to all of the contestants, especially the final six.  Despite the fact that I didn’t like them all as potential hosts, getting that far is clearly a remarkable achievement, and they all clearly have enough talent to succeed with something else.

There is such a thing as “polite”

In my post rating the potential Mahalo Daily co-hosts, Veronica Belmont herself (presumably!) had this to say:

But on another note, geez… your comments are pretty jerky. These women are trying really hard to make a great show, cut them a little slack. It’s not the easiest thing in the world.

I couldn’t fit a reply nicely in a comment (as always, I am too verbose), and I figured that this was worth a separate post, since it applies to other things I write (and it’s not often that a tiny personal blog like this gets a comment from a celebrity – although if Sarah does win, then I guess it was four times today!).

Before I get to reviewing my own comments (blogging’s highest form, I suppose), comments in general: I don’t feel that it is my place to cut them any slack.  Calacanis asked for ratings with considered thoughts, and that’s what this was.  I have no doubt that it’s a challenging task (if it wasn’t, then they shouldn’t bother), nor that they are all making their best attempt, and I didn’t say either of those things.

When I teach, I give my students honest feedback about what they have done poorly, and what they have done well.  If I sugar-coated my responses (or cut them any slack), then I would be doing them a disfavour, as well as anyone that uses their eventual qualifications (e.g. employers).  It can be abrasive, but it also spurs development and improvement (and in general (but with exceptions) students rate my teaching highly, at least as far as I know).  I expect this feedback from my students, also: either the comments are valid and I endeavour to make changes so that future students benefit from my enhanced skills, or they’re not valid and I don’t worry about them.  I expect, give, and receive, this feedback in other work I do as well.

In the “real world”, people often consider me blunt, abrasive, or rude.  Some people get to know me, and then they realise that, yes, I am (well, not rude).  But it’s never malicious, unconsidered, or untruthful, and reciprocation is always welcome.  I have friends (and a wife of nearly five years), even given this personality trait.

My assumption (could be wrong, of course) is that the comment mostly applies to my comment about Sarah (personally, I think the comments about CommandN and Veronica were the least fair, since I didn’t elaborate on either).  My comments on Nadine, Leah, and Andrea’s episodes were nearly all positive, and the negative was something minor that could be worked on.

My criticism of Michelle – the hair flick is constructive criticism (it should go), the laugh perhaps unfair (but it bothered me personally, and this was a personal response), and I think my feeling about the enthusiasm has the same source as comments from other people about “professionalism”.  I didn’t say that it was fake (that would have been unfair), but that it came across that way.  My guess (personal response, remember) is that she could be more natural and it would be a better show, or that she’s just suited better elsewhere.

My criticism of Kristina echoes that of nearly everyone, including the official judges.  Considering that I’d (probably) watch her in some other show, I can’t see this as “jerky”.

So that leaves Sarah:

Easily the worst.  The comments talk a lot about “energy” (meaningless drivel, really).  There are three problems: (1) the interviewing skills are terrible (evident in the over-editing, if nowhere else), (2) the facial expressions are off-putting, and (3) frankly, she just isn’t ‘hot’ enough – realistically, the show needs an extremely attractive host (especially if co-hosting with Lon) and while Sarah is pretty, she’s not that hot.  Picking a “suck-up” topic doesn’t help.

Personally, the “energy” comments seem more “jerky” to me, since they’re too vague to be of use.  I could have elaborated on the interviewing skills, I suppose, but I already commented on her individual episode (which it’s logical to assume she read).  If I had said her face was off-putting, then that would have been “jerky”, but “facial expressions” is not; to me personally the expressions distracted from the content.

Beauty, as the cliché goes, is in the eye of the beholder.  This is my personal blog, so thankfully I don’t have to prefix IMO to everything I write.  However, IMO Sarah is pretty, but not hot.  Clearly many people disagree with that (possibly including some/all of the official judges).  Commenting on people’s attractiveness is often considered impolite (ironically, more so when the commentee may know of it), but realistically, it’s a huge factor here (and the judges opened the door on such comments in the earlier episodes).  To throw in another cliché, beauty is only skin deep: while I don’t find Sarah attractive, that says nothing about how I find her as a person (again, IMO, but vastly more important).

The topic really did seem chosen to insincerely ingratiate herself with the audience.  Reading her personal blog entry, which  I did after writing my post, it seems a little less so (but the audience can’t be expected to follow her elsewhere).  I think it was a poor choice in that regard.

Was I impolite?  Well, politeness is a cultural thing – I don’t feel I was, but perhaps in the Mahalo Vlog Idol culture, maybe I needed a “sorry Sarah” at the end to make it polite.  I guess the subtitle of this post is then, “but it’s not me”.  Personally, I would consider myself polite, even though (perhaps especially because) I am directly honest.

Bottom-line: if I offended Sarah (or Veronica, or Amber, or whoever is responsible for the quality (or lack thereof) of YouTube videos), then I apologise: such was not my intent.  However, I believe that my comments were appropriate, and not inherently offensive, demeaning, or “jerky”, and accurate (as a reflection on my personal opinion).

Footnote: the title of the post references a tweet from Veronica, which is quite possibly completely unrelated to this, but seemed appropriate.

Mahalo Vlog Idol

Update: There’s now a proper place to vast a real (presumably non-binding) vote.  Go to it!

I listen to a lot of different podcasts, but watch very few (I have a lot of ear-time free, but not much eye-time).

  • Apple’s Quick Tip of the Week is extremely short and although I know the majority of the tips already, I can spare a minute to possibly learn something new (I don’t know why they target it at business users).
  • I have watched CommandN much longer than any other.  It borders on being too long for my taste, and is often more mediocre than great, but it’s good enough to continue with for now (and the last couple of episodes have had much better video quality).  I would drop this first.
  • I love Geekbrief.TV.  Great host, great length, good content.  I would drop this last.
  • MacBreak (video): The video quality is great, but the intros are really far too long.  There needs to be more content than intro+outro!  The really short shows that cover events are often the best.  Many of the hosts are not that great – sticking with Alex and a couple of others would work fine.
  • Mahalo Daily: I’ve never really understood the attraction people have for Veronica Belmont.  Maybe you have to be familiar with her from previous work (which I’m not) or something.  The first 100 shows were a mixed bag – some good, some awful – but they were at least the right length and well produced.

The astonishing thing about Mahalo Daily is that their search for a new (co)host has produced more compelling viewing than the show itself previously was.  I’m not a fan of [Country] Idol, The Bachelor, etc, but Mahalo Vlog Idol (not a great name) has been funny, entertaining, and even informative.  I don’t care how long they stretch it out for (and it has been a while already!) – it’s good watching.

One of the baffling things about the contest has been the judges’ picks – my suspicion is that there are elements of the contestants that don’t show up well on camera, and the judges have so far been judging more on the live aspects of the contestants than solely watching what we the audience see.  A couple of people got through that really just seemed very low quality.

The first round ([Country] Idol style), and second round (“The Batchelon”) were solely judged (as far as we know) by Jason, Alex, and Loren (who is he?).  For the third round, where each contestant created their own Mahalo Daily episode, the audience has been asked to offer their opinion about how everyone did (although this clearly won’t be binding).  Perhaps with the last round, there will be real voting?

FWIW, my opinions are (ranked best to worse – and you should subscribe to the show, rather than watch these crap Youtube quality versions):

Nadine would be a perfect choice for next host.  She has a great look, distinct from Veronica, but still in the “Mahalo” style.  She’s exceptionally attractive, and produced a great episode.  Like Leah, there’s a variety of people interviewed, which helps make a more interesting episode, and there are really good popups.  There were a couple of weak spots in the middle, but they didn’t detract from the episode, and generally the interviewing was good.  She feels like she brings in a style already; more so than the others.

I vacillated between Leah and Nadine as #1 – they’re really equally as good.  All I could come up with as a deciding factor was that Nadine is slightly ‘hotter’ than Leah (although both easily ‘hot’ enough).  The episode felt a little ‘infomercialish’, but was generally good.  Well produced, with good popups, but the voice-over felt stilted and ‘read’, rather than natural.

I think the next round should have three contestants, and so Andrea should go through.  I really liked this, and she’s a good host, but the environment made it hard to really tell what she would be like in other sorts of episodes.  A brave topic choice, and she’s certainly ‘hot’ enough to be the host (the criteria being ‘hotter than Veronica’, I guess!).  Great rapport with the interviewee, good ‘popups’, but the questions weren’t that interesting.  I’d definitely continue to watch daily with Andrea as host.

I wouldn’t be disappointed if Michelle got through to the next round, but I do think her episode wasn’t quite as good as those above.  The hair-flick is annoying, the laugh is a little annoying, and the enthusiasm seemed almost fake.  On the other hand, it was very well produced.

I would like to like Kristina more – there’s something appealing about her – but I just can’t rank this higher.  An interesting topic, and interesting content, but the episode just didn’t ‘pop’.  Her interviewing skills aren’t really up to scratch.  I’d consider watching her in some other show, but she doesn’t fit Mahalo Daily, IMO.

Easily the worst.  The comments talk a lot about “energy” (meaningless drivel, really).  There are three problems: (1) the interviewing skills are terrible (evident in the over-editing, if nowhere else), (2) the facial expressions are off-putting, and (3) frankly, she just isn’t ‘hot’ enough – realistically, the show needs an extremely attractive host (especially if co-hosting with Lon) and while Sarah is pretty, she’s not that hot.  Picking a “suck-up” topic doesn’t help.