Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Co-Hostess with the Mostest

As of today, we've seen all the podcasts produced by our six Mahalo Idol finalists, and bloggers are starting to chime in with their selections for who should move on. (I should mention, you can actually vote for your favorite at I'm fairly certain the audience favorite will automatically move on to the next round.)

Let me just say, I totally appreciate all the bloggers who noted that I desperately need an attractive female counterpart. As blogger Tony Andrew Meyer notes, "realistically, the show needs an extremely attractive host (especially if co-hosting with Lon)." Apparently, to Tony's mind, nothing is worse than looking at a fat guy who doesn't have an extremely beautiful woman beside him. I guess the two of us would even out into, like, some relatively plain-looking hermaphrodite at which you wouldn't mind gawking for 4-6 minutes at a pass.

Now, it wouldn't be fair for me to name a favorite, and I don't want to influence the viewers' selections (not that I feel like I have that kind of sway, but you get what I'm saying). However, I would like to post all the ladies' entries and offer some of my thoughts to any interested parties...

Leah D'Emilio

Leah kicked off the contestant podcasts winningly with a trip to a Capoeira studio to do some Brazilian Dance Fighting. I kind of wish there had been a bit more footage of her actually trying to do some Capoeira moves, but what I really liked about this episode was the sheer amount of information presented. Leah's extremely polished, and when you watch this, you feel confident, like you're in the hands of someone with a plan, someone who will make you just a teensy bit smarter. My episodes certainly don't offer anything like that. I tend to get caught up in one-liners and silly costumes, forgetting that part of the original idea behind Mahalo Daily was to be informative and enlightening. Leah remembered.

Also, did you all know she's an accomplished singer-songwriter? Got to be worth a few bonus points...

Michelle Hummel

Michelle's episode is set at an Anaheim go-kart track. I think her advantage here is that riding around in a go-kart is genuinely a lot of fun, and viewers can tell she's actually enjoying herself, not just going through the motions. The phrase "great energy" has been thrown around a lot in this competition - almost to the point of becoming meaningless - but there's no other way to describe Michelle's performance in this episode...Her playfulness and enthusiasm come through.

She's also probably the best actress of all the finalists. Whenever we'd give her direction for one of the teasers, she would nail the performance on the first take. Her crying scene in Teaser #4 is spot on.

Nadine Heimann

Nadine's episode is about Mixed Martial Arts CAGE FIGHTING! I mean...yes! Best choice of topic, I think, out of all six contestants, and as we all know from that other "Idol" show, your choices say a lot about you and can often make or break your whole performance. Plus, I love the way she just goes for it and actually does some of the moves with the instructor here, even flipping him over her shoulder at one point. A cool visual like that, in a lot of ways, is more important than all the perfectly-enunciated intros and outros (or "extros," as Alex Albrecht might say) in the world.

In general, I'd add that Nadine's very physical and athletic, which would make a great counterpoint to my fat, sedentary ass. Right, Tony?

Sarah Atwood

I'm not trying to say Sarah doesn't have her own style, but this feels like a Belmont-era "Mahalo Daily Classic" to me in a number of ways, from Sarah's friendly, laid-back tone to her total engagement with the subject to her slightly nerdy sense of humor. (Hey, that's not a knock, it's even in the name of her blog). Something else I'd point out about this episode...I think you probably hear more from the interview subject here than in any of the other contestant's shows...Sarah's not desperate to interject - she allows her subject to drive the conversation. This is something with which I struggle all the's tough for me sometimes to just shut up and let someone else engage the viewer, even if they're the ones people want to hear.

Sarah's already built up a pretty strong Internet fan base on her own, without the Daily, which essentially proves she can do the job before we even have a chance to offer it to her.

Kristina Allison

Kristina is completely and thoroughly natural on camera. She's just herself. I'm noticing in the comments on her episode around the Web that some people don't like that...They want her to be more outgoing or excited or bubbly or something, I suppose. And I'll grant that most people (myself included) put on at least a bit of a persona when they get on camera. But, in this video, Kristina just has a casual conversation with a sound mixer about his job, without ever making it feel forced or stagy. She's just chilling with Dave, checking out his studio. Because of this ability to make you feel like you've hung out with her after watching a 5-minute video on the Internet, I think she might have the most potential to become Internet Famous. This is a girl with whom geeks will want to Twitter.

Also, did I mention she's the lead singer for rock band The Paper Dolls? Come on!

Andrea Rene

Andrea's episode, set at a gun club's firing range, is hilarious. Actually hilarious. I've actually been to one of these places and tried it out myself, and her reaction strikes me as entirely appropriate - the experience is weird and intense and freaky and extremely fun. There were some negative comments on the Daily page about her somewhat casual attitude towards the guns (at one point, yes, she kind of breaks protocol by pointing a gun away from the target), but it didn't bother me a bit. I was too busy being massively entertained. This was a big risk - I thought so from the moment she suggested the idea - and it really paid off. A great sense of humor is a big part of what we're looking for in a host, and if we were going on laughs-per-moment alone, I think Andrea would have it wrapped up.

I should also note, Andrea has had a lot of other hosting gigs, on and off-line, and she has nailed every single challenge we've put forth in "Mahalo Idol," leaving little doubt about her potential success as host.

Let us know your thoughts at Mahalo Daily. I'm not exactly sure where we're going from here - Jason has discussed everything from eliminating one lady per week to cutting it down to 2 on Monday - but we're committed to giving the audience a say in the matter. Your votes will COUNT! Which is more than several U.S. states can say with any measure of certainty. That's the Mahalo Daily difference.


Sarah Atwood said...

Alright, fine...I'm sorry I called you an A**hole! I take it back.

Lons said...

I had it coming. For that tuxedo shirt alone, if nothing else.

Jason Huebel said...

No offense Lons, but it seems to me you're biased toward Andrea a bit. I felt really uncomfortable throughout that episode, not because of the topic but because of the way she handled it. You CAN make shooting guns fun (I go to the range all the time), but the episode lacked any inkling of seriousness regarding gun safety.

I appreciate that you guys may become attached to the personalities behind the scenes, but we the public are judging the contestant on their ability to produce a good episode, include some concise information and make the episode fun. Someone can have an awesome off-camera personality but still be wrong for the hosting gig. I think Andrea falls solidly into that category.

For my money, Leah's the best of the bunch. Her episode was well produced, interesting and informative. She's sexy, geeky (I miss the glasses) and well prepared. She's the whole package.

Lee J. Yi said...

Where do we vote?

Lons said...

Lee: Vote here

Jason: Well, I DO like Andrea, but I wouldn't say I am biased towards her. I mean, I say nice, true, complimentary things about all six candidates above - any of whom I feel is up to the job. To my mind, it's an exceedingly fair post that's generally supportive of all remaining participants.

Tony Meyer said...

Ah mate, I didn't mean to say that you were so bad looking that you cancel out the great looking among us. My assumption was that you'd be co-hosts doing separate episodes (like you did some while it was Veronica's show) anyway. My point was that, well I guess my point was obvious, but the Lon bit was below the belt. Apologies.

However, Nadine would make a great counterpoint to your fat, sedentary ass, yes ;)

Tony Meyer said...

Oh, and the singer-songwriter & singer stuff does make a difference. I guess there's no way to push that info out, but I wish there was (unless it was and I missed it).

Anonymous said...

You only have until midnite Sunday May 25 to vote!
now I am not sarah or anyone connected with the site or contestants, but from my courses taken in film so far I would say Sarah is tops as a Mahalo host. I would also not be exaggerating to say that you will see that Sarah could use a bit of help in the voting at the present will see..... :-) Thanxalot!
(p.s. if you submit a winning vid(eo) you can win a mac air laptop & fame for a day!)