I'd been meaning to extend a little shout out to Mahalo CEO Jason Calacanis, and today I got another reminder. I've been completely sucked in by the Mahalo VLOGIdol spoof of American Idol that Mahalo is using to find the replacement hostess for Mahalo Daily since Veronica Belmont left the post, preferring to spend most of her time in San Francisco. Obviously, living in San Francisco I can't fault her judgment even though she's missed.
Veronica is now co-hosting the Rev3 show Tekzilla but when it comes to Internet video shows, I'm a five minutes or less is better than 50 minutes guy. Tekzilla usually runs around 50 minutes.
Mahalo VLOGIdol started out as mostly a cute rip-off of American Idol as it got to 20 contestants and whittled them down to twelve. But with the twelve they've switched the spoof up into a hybrid of Idol and The Bachelor (The Bachelon, a play on the male Mahalo Daily host Lon Harris' name). As much as I say I never watch American Idol, that's a slight overstatement. I've seen it at least a handful of times - in the last 7 years! But to say I've never watched The Bachelor is no exaggeration at all.
Here's the thing: when it first started I thought "Just some Calacanis shenanigans!" But no, not really. His production team for this is really good. So good, that I am completely sucked in. I can't believe it, don't like it and I will hold it against Jason. How sucked in am I? Well, in today's episode they got rid of one of the contestants. She needed to go, she talked too much and it was all about her. But, she did have very good energy and I found myself sad that she got eliminated. That's about as completely sucked in as any of these shows can hope for.
The judges are Jason, Alex Albrecht who is a co-host of Digg Nation (which according to Rev3 CEO Jim Louderback gets hundreds of thousands of views, not the thousands or tens of thousands I'd originally suggested). The third judge is Internet video comedian and uh..anarchist, Loren Feldman (warning, if you're easily whipped into a frenzy, don't click Loren's link).
With any reality show I always believe it's highly scripted to some degree so I don't know if it's a coincidence that Alex Albrecht seems to fit the Paula Abdul mode so perfectly. Loren, who I only really know as a complete Internet rabble rouser (that I often find very funny) from his videos, seems extremely reasonable and upbeat for the most part in judging the contestants. Perhaps even Randy Jackson-esque.
Jason - he's not playing the role of Simon exactly, he's just as Ted Leonsis likes to say, Jason being Jason. That suits me fine. Calacanis may be a great Internet entrepreneur and a complete expert at social media (he definitely is), but in my opinion he's missing his true calling as an entertainer.
Jason and his team have done a great job with this, and I look forward to seeing who wins. I already have my two finalists locked in. How did I get sucked in?
- it's fun and entertaining
- lots of cute girls (and only one kinda scary looking one)
- i think the longest episode is 8 minutes. It doesn't take large chunks of time
I subscribe to Mahalo Daily via iTunes and it automatically gets on my iPhone and the video quality is great. Unfortunately, if you go to the Mahalo Daily web site for reasons of cost, it's distributed via YouTube where the quality is noticeably worse. Normally I'm not an Internet video snob for Internet video but having seen the iTunes version, I won't watch any other way at this point.
Better quality is also available at BlipTV, but it's not particularly easy to find the episodes in order that way and as I write this, today's episode is not yet up and running there. So I recommend iTunes first, or suffering through the lower quality YouTube presentation at Mahalo Daily (you can also download the better quality version there).
The thing that reminded me that I needed to show Calacanis some love was that he recently lost his godfather. For reasons I won't bore you or Jason with, it just really made me sad. But, Mahalo Daily and the VLOGIdol/Bachelon cheered me up. I hope Jason considers packaging this up into a polished 42 minutes or so and giving it to Bravo (hey, they aired Quarterlife, trust me, this is way more entertaining) or some other cable network. They can afford to literally give away the content in return for promotion. I hope they work that out.
If you have 5 minutes or so to give it a chance, I'd encourage you to check it out. Here's episode 1 in all its low-video quality YouTube splendor.