American Idol vs. The Voice

The fall season is about the weather, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and TV shows.  All of the good shows worth watching come back on in the fall: the dramas, comedies, game shows, reality, or a combination of several.  A popular mix between reality and game shows are talent shows; these include things from American Idol to Cake Wars.  It’s a staple genre all throughout the world, not only in the US.  A big chunk of the talent shows have to do with singing.  There is the X-Factor, American Idol, The Voice, about half of the contestants on America’s Got Talent, and Boy Band.  With so many shows for people to choose from the question is: How do you decide which show(s) to watch?



How do all of these shows have an audience?  Is it the same audience watching all of these shows?  Or do different people watch?  If that’s the case then how do people choose which show to watch because they are all virtually the same show (except AGT because you can do more than sing)?  

Do they decide what show to watch based on the judges?  This is likely, because once Paula and then more notably, Simon, left American Idol the show lost viewers and ultimately ended until it will be rebooted next year.  Then The Voice has Adam Levine and Blake Shelton to get viewers who like pop a

nd/or country so they could potentially be reaching more people.  Then The Voice added Miley Cyrus for younger viewers and for people who wanted to see what she is doing now after her wrecking ball phase and they watch to see if she will actually be a good judge.  So Miley brings in more viewers.  The Voice is good at getting people to watch more based on the judges then based on the talent and the a

ctual show.  The X-Factor had Simon as the main judge after American Idol (because he created the show) and the show ended within 5 seasons because it wasn’t producing stars like American Idol had and the judges weren’t good enough to watch on there own compared to the entertainment on The Voice of watching Blake and Adam talk and argue back and forth.

People don’t watch the show because they like the way its set up better than other singing shows.  Each show is essentially set up the same way: auditions, cut offs, then live shows where people can vote from the top 24 contestants.  So there is really no difference in the big picture, each show just changes a little bit in each stage to make it unique.

People could possibly watch for the stars that arise from the show.  If that’

s the case then American Idol should not have stopped because they were the only show that brought any big stars like Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and Daughtry (and Daughtry didn’t even win!).  No other show has created a star on any level like the ones that American Idol produced.

Based on these factors and more people decide which talent singing show they want to watch.  For some, they can also be interchangeable based on the judges and contestants each season.

What’s Your Study Playlist?

There are many components to the perfect study environment. How many people are there?  What is the temperature?  Are you wearing comfortable clothes?  Can you fall asleep in your study position?  Will you be hungry and need to move soon?  And lastly, what type of music do you want?  The answers to all of these questions will differ per person.  Some people like to study in groups and others alone.  It also depends on what a person is studying for on what type of environment they want.  

Most college students listen to something when they study; Whether that’s music, tv or something else.  The music that people listen to differs based on the subject and type of homework that they are doing.  The one thing that most people have in common is that they don’t want to have to sing along to the songs as they are studying because that easily distracts them.  This means that you need a different playlist for studying than for driving, where the whole goal is to perform a concert in your car.  People try to achieve this goal in different ways.  It’s hard to find a balance between music to listen to for fun and music to listen to for studying.  

This is because you don’t want to listen to music that you know and like to dance to when you should be concentrating on calculus.  Some people listen to music in another language so that they are not tempted to sing along and they just listen to it in the background.  Others listen to a different genre of music that they don’t know well so that they can’t be too distracted by it.  Another option is listening to instrumental music.

Once you figure out what type of words you want in your study music, you then have to decide how slow or fast you want the music to be.  Perhaps you want it fast to keep you awake when you are reading a particularly boring textbook, or you want it slow when you are trying to concentrate on a long specific problem.  You also need to choose if the music is relaxing or intense, or upbeat, slow, or somewhere in between.   All of these decisions depend on the type of work you are doing at the time and can also vary depending on your mood.  The seemingly simple task of choosing a playlist to study is actually much more complicated than you initially think.

Celebrate the (corn)Maze and Blue this Halloween

Happy Halloween!  There are many ways to celebrate on the holiday, the most common throughout the US being trick-or-treating or Halloween parties.  There are many ways to celebrate the halloween spirit before and after the 31st.  A popular option in the midwest is by going through a corn maze. Corn mazes are a fun afternoon activity and each one is unique based on the shape and size of each maze.

2016 Corn maze from Gull Meadows farm in Richland, MI.

The process of making a corn maize is more complex than most people expect.  The farmers have to plan what pattern or picture they would like the maze to be in as they plant the corn.  The farmers plant the seeds and then very quickly before the corn grows too high they pick up all of the corn on the path of the maze so that it never grows there and the path is clearly defined.  Most farmers like to have a new picture each year for the maze, and once they pick what they want the maze to look like they have to execute it.  They do this by using gps technology to help them map out the pattern based 

on their land size and then the gps helps them to know what corn to pick up when they are using their tractors to create the path.  At some corn mazes the owners ask guests to guess what shape the maze once they have gone through it.  This is always fun because the guests think about how many turns they made and in what direction to determine what shape it could possibly be.  It also makes guests think about how complicated the maze is, which helps them to fully appreciate the effort, work, and creativity that they owners put into making the maze.

Big farms and orchards typically create a full day of activities for the whole family to enjoy.  They offer apple picking from their apple orchard, pumpkin picking from their pumpkin patch, apple cider and donuts to 

eat, a small country store selling homemade Halloween decorations, a hay ride, and a corn maze.  Some even offer pony rides and face painting as a bonus.  All of these activities draw more people to the maze which makes it worthwhile for the farmers to continue to put in the hard work and effort to make the mazes each year.  It also creates a great day for a family to enjoy the fall weather and get into the Halloween spirit.

A corn maize is a great attraction because it’s fun for every age.  Everyone likes to see how long it takes them to get through it, and competitive families like to split into groups and race to see who can finish first.  To make sure that people don’t cheat by walking in between the paths, corn mazes generally have 

several posts with different shaped hole punches throughout the maze to make sure that each group hole punches a card with every hole punch before they can get out.  To make it even more interesting some mazes have Halloween trivia on their on their posts and your answer tells you what direction to turn at the next fork in the path.  This way it’s more than just luck, but only if you answer the questions correctly.  Corn mazes create an atmosphere where everyone can have fun, enjoy the fall weather, and get into the spirit of Halloween.

Get Creative This Halloween

With Pinterest and tumblr becoming more common and popular, it pushes the everyday person to want to take Halloween to the next level.  This means decorating the entire house instead of just the porch and front room, and only making Halloween themed food for every celebration, as well as only wearing homemade/DIY costumes.  These things are super hard to achieve, and somewhat unrealistic for the average person who isn’t amazingly artistic like everyone on Pinterest seems to be.

A new trend that has begun on Pinterest is to paint a pumpkin instead of carving one.  This trend is a great and easy idea that people of all ages and skill levels can easily achieve.  It allows you to be more creative if you want, but it’s not a necessity.  Both simple and complicated designs look great on a painted pumpkin.  And as a bonus, if you mess up then you can just repaint the entire pumpkin orange and start over instead of being stuck with it, like when carving.

Oddly shaped pumpkin I painted as a strawberry

Another bonus of painting pumpkins is that it allows you to get creative with the pumpkin you pick.  There is no longer only two options of short and fat or tall and skinny pumpkins because those are the only two that look good with a carving, now any size and shape of pumpkin works because you can use its shape to your advantage.  If you get a curved pumpkin you can make it look like a strawberry.  If you get a hourglass shaped pumpkin you can make it look like a skeleton head, or a triangle pumpkin can be a witches hat.  These are all also super cute and creative ideas that take little to no skill or time to achieve.

The only potential downside to painting a pumpkin instead of carving it is that you can’t put a candle in it to make it light up and be able to see it at night.  But that is easy to get around by putting several candles next to it or a lantern or really any light source, to be able to show off your pumpkin in the dark.  This means that there is no downside to painting a pumpkin instead of carving one.  Will follow the new trend this Halloween?