Hoda Kotb & Lionel Richie Make the Dream Stage Look Like a Place Where They Belong

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The stage has been set with the return of American Idol’s rollout. A new slate of judges hit the road for the audition tour. Lionel Richie joins Katy Perry and Luke Bryan to give their two cents on making it in the music business. Richie as the elder of the bunch seems happy to share a hug with the contestants.

The Today Show studio was also set for the return of Hoda Kotb from the Winter Olympics. While doing the show from South Korea the studio got a makeover as they moved on from headline-making changes. Kotb got the nod as co-anchor, rising up the ranks from correspondent to guest-hosting duties.

Kotb and Richie make the dream stage look like a place where they belong. These days it’s where they’ve landed as they keep getting better at their game. It’s a kind of coming together of fate and focus that has helped to make them a force. Kotb even has things falling in place for her as a new mother.

The dream stage is where passion and style can leave us speechless for a while. The stories of Idol contestants create room for Richie to show some love. Plus, the performances are often reminders that it’s not just how they sing it or wing it but also how they bring it. Kotb can relate even for Olympic athletes.

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Some industry watchers weren’t sure if Idol still had cred in the marketplace. Others weren’t sure if the Today Show would have staying power after the shake-up. But Richie and Kotb are showing young and old otherwise. Their stories of longevity and bounce-back-ability in the business are a case of turning:

  1. Talent into a unique identity

Richie first gained popularity as one of the Commodores. The group became a smash with R&B audiences. He later left the group for a solo career. He knows bringing it in your game means turning talent into a unique identity. In biz they call it USP – Unique Selling Point. My own USP is about ‘bringing more flow to life, putting more life in flow.’

  1. Timing into seizing opportunity

Kotb might not have been expecting to be named new Today Show co-host. She already had a hosting role in the ten o’clock hour where she’d be seen sipping on wine. But when the door came open she was ready to seize the opportunity. Timing isn’t just about the clock but also about delivering the right stock.

  1. Talk into more life-learning ability

Some Idol contestants show up ready to seize the opportunity. Some may be there to checkoff a bucket list item. Others are just there to get 15-seconds of buzz. But in any effort for going to the next level, the ones who move from unknown to making it on the dream stage are those who up their life-learning ability.

  1. Test into rising star-quality

When you hear the backstory of these contestants you get a sense of them taking-on life’s tests. It’s as if life was trying to separate the ‘men from the boys or the women from the girls.’ Making it on the dream stage is about using those tests to shape your unique identity and rising star-quality.

The numbers are in and Idol’s season opener pulled 10 million+ viewers. It seems the Today Show is also keeping its numbers strong. Most people start the dream journey unaware or less learned in some area of the game. But they push, pull or tear as they stretch their sail towards good times that never felt so good.

Tip: Making it on the dream stage is about how we push, pull or tear in stretching our sails towards good times that never felt so good.

Talkback: Which Singing Competition Show has created some of the best rising-star moments?

Tracks: Commodores – Sail On – https://youtu.be/Bt95h5yKyYE

Allen Stone – Unaware – https://youtu.be/o4uYo7lRgqA

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Jennifer Hudson and Star Wars Tell Fans to ‘Expect the Unexpected’ as Seen on Dream TV! #BigTimeUniversity

This production of “Wise-up Wednesdays” Blogcast by Douette ‘Doc’ Cunningham is a presentation in “social media entertainment from the groove-track of life!” #WUWECAST

LOL Tube – Got Funny?

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Theme:–The Year of ‘Flashlighting’ – Get Seen!”
A New Way to Shine with Highlights, Insights and Media-bites that’s Exciting (Old-School Flava)

The farewell season of American Idol is here. Wannabes have come and gone as new stars emerged. Jennifer Hudson hopes to grace the stage before curtain close. Hudson and Idol had breakout success just like the Star Wars franchise. They tell fans to ‘expect the unexpected’ as seen on dream TV.

She’s in the Color Purple and said to Playbill “One night I was like, I don’t know if this is for my nerves. I don’t know if I can handle this….. But then, other nights, you feel like you could conquer the world.” These major players give us 2 reasons and 3 results for why 2016 will be a different kind of broken record.

It’s not that Hudson, Idol and Star Wars are in the same league. It’s that they’ve tapped-into their talent gene pool to release creative geniuses. Hudson won an Oscar for Dreamgirls and landed a Grammy for her singing chops. Now she could earn a Tony for her performance on Broadway’s Great White Way.

Her artistry shows us how creative genius gets released like the genie in a bottle. Think about the 70’s TV show ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ and how the master would make a request to the genie. The genie would blink and then the results appeared. Our creative genie flows from God, some goodness or groove in the heart.

Hudson shared with CBS New York her hopes for the new gig and new year saying “This is my first time ever playing a glamorous role and a light role, everything else has been really heavy, so it’s good to expand myself.” As with Star Wars, she knows when the force awakens in us we can reach new frontiers.

Groove-Track: Deee-Lite – ‘Groove is in the Heart’ – https://youtu.be/gzoEK545j64

Theme:–The Year of ‘Flashlighting’ – Get Seen!”
A New Way to Shine With Highlights, Insights and Media-bites that’s Exciting (New-School Flava)

American Idol ‘bout to wrap. Lots of shouts and loud hand clap. The wannabes have come and gone. Many stars have popped and dawned. Jennifer Hudson hopes to grace stage. Before curtain closes the final page. Hudson, Idol and Star Wars touched the sky. Telling fans ‘expect the unexpected’ don’t cry.

She’s in the Color Purple musical. Bringing her on-stage magical. Sometimes not sure if she can handle the nerves. While some stare at her shapely curves. Other nights feeling ready to conquer. By starting as an able victor. Major players with 2 reasons & 3 results. For why 2016 to change broken record tumults.

Not that Hudson, Idol and Star Wars at same level. Just that they give us something to revel. Tapping into their talent gene. Creative geniuses with a gangsta lean. Hudson won an Oscar for Dreamgirls flick. Also landed Grammy for debut album pick. Now poised to get a Tony on her Broadway shtick.

Artistry and genius in motion. Like genie in a bottle from the ocean. Think back to ’70s TV show. When ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ was a go. Her master makes a cool request. Then with a blink it appears in conquest. Our creative genie flows from the heart’s groove. And the God or goodness that makes you wanna move.

Hudson shares her hopes and dream. For the gig and new year theme. Her first time playing glamorous role. Others have come with darker soul. Light and fluffy to have some fun. Not really heavy like previous run. Good chance to expand on her showbiz cheers. As the force awakens us for new frontiers.

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Tip: No matter the workplace or field of dream, creative genius is something great performers can stream.

Talkback: How have Hudson, Idol or Star Wars made a mark in pop culture and showbiz?

Groove-Tracks: Kanye West ft Lupe Fiasco – “Touch the Sky” – https://youtu.be/YkwQbuAGLj4

Jessie J – ‘Flashlight’ – https://youtu.be/QtXby3twMmI

This production of “Wise-up Wednesdays” Blogcast by Douette ‘Doc’ Cunningham is a presentation in “social media entertainment from the groove-track of life!” #WUWECAST

Hillary Clinton and Jordan Spieth Raise Their Game Using the Softer Side of Success – #WUWECAST

This production of “Wise-up Wednesdays” Blogcast by Douette ‘Doc’ Cunningham is a presentation in “social media entertainment from the groove-track of life!” #WUWECAST

LOL Tube – Got Funny?

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Theme:–The Year of ‘Uppertunity’ – Get Lifted!”
With Higher Hopes, Bolder Dreams and Greater Teams (Old-School Flava)

Hillary Clinton – Politician. Jordan Spieth – Golfer. Both have been all over the news cycle. Clinton made it official that she’s again running for President. Spieth made history at the recent Masters Golf Championship. Interestingly, Clinton and Spieth both raised their game using the softer side of success.

USA Today quoted Phil Mickelson who said “Spieth doesn’t overpower the golf course, but he plays the course strategically well. And he has the ability to focus and see things clear when the pressure is on and perform at his best. That’s something you really can’t teach.”  It’s as if his game is built on simplicity.

Meanwhile back at headquarters, Clinton staffers were told they should be guided by humility, discipline and unity. The TV talking-heads feel she’s avoiding the mistakes from her last presidential run. She wants to be seen not so much as “well established” but for being “wide awake” to people’s concerns.

Then there’s the human-touch factor. Clinton said that she’s been wearing a “grandmother glow” after the birth of her grand-daughter. For Spieth, he attributes his success to appreciating some of the little things (and the joy they bring) in life. So his younger autistic sister keeps him grounded beyond the golf course.

Spieth’s Masters victory is a dream come true. Plus, Clinton knows what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. They’ve had times when success was about overdrive dreams, career fast-track and being a master blaster at the game. And then they’re those times when it’s about simplicity, sincerity and humility.

Groove-Track: Katy Perry – ‘Wide Awake’ –

Theme:–The Year of ‘Uppertunity’ – Get Lifted!”
With Higher Hopes, Bolder Dreams and Greater Teams (New-School Flava)

Hillary Clinton – Politician. Jordan Speith – Golfing Magician. Both making the news cycle. For being at their pinnacle. Clinton says it’s official she’s again running. Spieth’s golf performance just stunning. Taking top spot at the Masters and in political name. With the softer side of success added to their game.

USA Today gets Phil Mickelson’s opinion. He said Spieth doesn’t overpower golf course with dominion. Plays strategically with ability to see things clear. Suppressing the pressure and any rising fear. To perform at his best from the get go. Something you can’t teach, he lets simplicity flow.

Meanwhile back at Clinton campaign HQ. Staffers told let humility, discipline and unity shine through. TV talking-heads say she’s avoiding mistakes of old. Prior presidential run started off cold. Being seen as “well established” moved to the background. Instead “wide awake” to people’s concerns in foreground.

Then there’s letting the human-touch show. Like Clinton wearing her “grandmother glow.” For Spieth, success is leaving room for little things. And the joy that inner satisfaction brings. Clinton’s new grand-daughter being top of the list. While Spieth’s younger autistic sister makes his eyes mist.

Masters victory a dream come true. In a matter of days his fame grew. What doesn’t kill makes you stronger. So Clinton’s career could last a bit longer. Success seen in overdrive dreams and career fast-track. And the master blaster game you pack. Simplicity, sincerity and humility for folks white or black.

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Tip: The simplicity in success comes with sincerity and humility for those who’re masters at their game.
Talkback: How much does age or experience matter when dreams are on the line?
Groove-Tracks: India Arie – ‘Little Things’ –

Kelly Clarkson – ‘Stronger’ –   

This production of “Wise-up Wednesdays” Blogcast by Douette ‘Doc’ Cunningham is a presentation in “social media entertainment from the groove-track of life!” #WUWECAST

Ryan Seacrest Has Made a Name for Himself by Putting Heart into His Work Ethic – #WUWECAST

This production of “Wise-up Wednesdays” Blogcast by Douette ‘Doc’ Cunningham is a presentation in “social media entertainment from the groove-track of life!” #WUWECAST

LOL Tube – Got Funny?

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Theme:–The Year of ‘Uppertunity’ – Get Lifted!”
With Higher Hopes, Bolder Dreams and Greater Teams (Old-School Flava)

The jury’s out on Jamie Foxx hosting the iHeart Music Awards. He’s taken some heat for his monologue jokes. The show saw Rihanna channeling Lil Kim. There were others who made headlines. But Ryan Seacrest has made a name for himself not just in showbiz but by putting heart into his work ethic.

Why wouldn’t people put this into their work or businesses into their brands? Southwest Airlines knows the importance of heart. They’ve added it to their logo and commercial appeal as the ‘dot’ in dotcom. Even iHeartRadio seems to have caught-on that the parent company changed names to iHeart Media.

Business leaders know it takes heart to captivate and soul to motivate. Maybe Taylor Swift and Justin Timberlake can relate. She received a few honors while he was named Music Innovator. Their body of work speaks for itself. Some might say she streams heart into her songs while he pours soul into his.

In words you’ve heard before, they know ‘all about that base makes top dollar.’ They connect their fan-base with music, fun and lots more. Who knew that Swift had such admiration for Timberlake? She could possibly be the next recipient of the Innovator Award (Well, Kanye West might have something to say).

As one of the few from the original crew, Seacrest keeps things ‘light and loose’ on American Idol. Swift keeps turning out #1 albums and Timberlake keeps delivering his music as ‘white soul.’ They all bring heart to the stage the way an athlete combines passion and grace within their greatness.

Groove-Track: Aloe Blacc – ‘I Need a Dollar’ –

Theme:–The Year of ‘Uppertunity’ – Get Lifted!”
With Higher Hopes, Bolder Dreams and Greater Teams (New-School Flava)

Jury’s out on iHeart Awards host Jamie Foxx. Many not sure he knocked it out the box. Taken some heat for his monologue jokes. Didn’t go over well with some folks. Rihanna showed-up like Lil Kim of old. Others made headlines not as bold. Seacrest in the building with his heart. Work ethic sets him far apart.

Why wouldn’t people put heart in their brands? Opens the door to more buying hands. Southwest Airlines adds heart to its sleeves. As seen on its logo and pamphlet leaves. Commercial appeal to hit the spot. As seen in its URL dot. Even iHeartRadio on the same page. Changing its name on the main stage.

Biz leaders know heart helps to captivate. Then add some soul to motivate. Maybe Taylor Swift and Justin Timberlake can relate. As they cash-in the money plate. She gets a few honors as songwriter. He gets the press as Music Innovator. She streams heart from track to track. He pours soul like Aloe Blacc.

In words you’ve heard before. ‘All about that base makes top dollar’ the score. So they connect with their fan-base for sure. With music, fun and a whole lot more. Who knew Swift had such admiration. For Timberlake’s personification? Could be next Innovator star. Kanye West not ready to say she’s on par.

One of the few Idol originals. Keeps things light, loose, with the lyricals. Swift keeps turning out #1 songs. Timberlake fans think he does no wrongs. Music that’s kinda like ‘white soul.’ And comedy skits from his SNL role. Bringing lots of heart to the mix. An athlete’s passion and grace on the greatness fix.

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Tip: Where there’s heart like an athlete you’ll find passion and grace locked-in with greatness.
Talkback: Who’d you think should be the next host of the iHeart Music Awards?
Groove-Tracks: (Double-play for the Easter Holiday!)

Kanye West – ‘Heartless’ –   

Mary Mary – ‘Go Get It’ –  

This production of “Wise-up Wednesdays” Blogcast by Douette ‘Doc’ Cunningham is a presentation in “social media entertainment from the groove-track of life!” #WUWECAST

Jennifer Lopez Has Mastered Her Brand of ‘Sex Appeal and Keeping it Real’

This production of “Wise-up Wednesdays” Blogcast by Douette ‘Doc’ Cunningham is a presentation in “social media entertainment from the groove-track of life!” #WUWECAST

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Theme:–The Year of ‘Uppertunity’ – Get Lifted!”
With Higher Hopes, Bolder Dreams and Greater Teams (Old-School Flava)

It seems like she’s everywhere! She’s an American Idol judge and can also be seen on the big screen. Her music sells in the millions getting radio airplay from coast to coast and on pop/latino stations. In between time she’s also a mom. J-Lo has mastered her brand of ‘sex appeal and keeping it real.’

Many might remember her early days as a ‘fly girl’ dancer on the variety show In Living Color. Because of her passion she’s gone on to sing, act and serve as a commercial product endorser. Some might understand passion in the space of getting ‘layed.’ But J-lo might also see it in the face of getting paid.

She has used her big break in showbiz to become an international icon. Over the years she’s had a few sour notes along the way. Her success is also seen in how she ‘packages her pain.’ She shares more in her memoirs, not to complain but to explain that mistakes don’t have to be criminal nor bad-breaks final.

In a recent interview she reflected on her days growing-up in the Bronx. On the corner she’s seen as ‘Jenny from the block.’ But with Madison Avenue advertisers she’s more like ‘Jenny the brand.’ Her success reflects how she has embraced her passion as well as her pain to realize major progress.

J-lo has raised her game to the point where her career has bounce-back-ability. Even with the setbacks in failed marriages or missed opportunities she’s still a hot commodity. She has spread her passion far and wide. Even through the pain she has gone from ‘around the way girl’ to her own dream world.

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Theme:–The Year of ‘Uppertunity’ – Get Lifted!”
With Higher Hopes, Bolder Dreams and Greater Teams (New-School Flava)

It seems like she’s everywhere! A main attraction let’s make that clear. American Idol Judge front and center. Also the big screen and fashionista. Music that sells in the millions across nations. Radio airplay coast to coast on pop/latino stations. J-lo known for sexy brand appeal. As much as for keeping it real.

Let’s flashback to her days as a ‘fly girl’ dancer. The variety show In Living Color was her answer. Using her passion to also sing, act and do much more. You’ve seen her pics at the department store. Some see passion in the space of getting ‘layed.’ But others like J-lo might see passion in the face of getting paid.

Rising in showbiz to international icon. J-lo knows about bringing home the bacon. A few sour notes along the way. Packaging her pain in what she has to say. Memoir wasn’t written just to complain. But in her wising-up to explain. That a mistake doesn’t have to be criminal. And bad breaks don’t have to be final.

Imagine before stardom she was a law clerk. These days she’s getting paid for her celebrity work. On the corner she’s ‘Jenny from the block’ when you shake her hand. But with Madison Avenue she’s more like ‘Jenny the brand.’ Success is in how she’s embraced passion and pain. To turn progress into major gain.

J-lo raised her game to new heights. Career bounce-back-ability took her to new flights. Even with setbacks, failed marriages and missed opportunity. She still has it going on as a hot commodity. Spreading her passion as an ‘around the way’ girl. Between the scripts and tips in her own dream world.

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Tip: Bounce-back-ability is in maximizing your passion, packaging your pain, not to complain but explain.
Talkback: What does it take these days to have bounce-back-ability or become a hot commodity?
Groove-Tracks: Jennifer Lopez (J-Lo) ‘I’m Real’ ft. Ja Rule – http://youtu.be/Sjx9oSJDAVQ and Jennifer Hudson (J-HUD) ‘Walk it Out ft. Timbaland’ – http://youtu.be/mykXoDnFKlU

This production of “Wise-up Wednesdays” Blogcast by Douette ‘Doc’ Cunningham is a presentation in “social media entertainment from the groove-track of life!” #WUWECAST

Stretch the Rules like Plastic: Steve Harvey’s Branding Moves Hit a New Groove (Part 7)

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Theme:–The Year of ‘Brandemonium’
Where Hopes & Dreams Become Real on Breakout Teams” (Old-School Flava)

When was the last time you heard these words, “bend and stretch, reach for the stars?” If you’re from the millennial generation you have no clue from whence those words came. If you’re a generation Xer or baby boomer you know it came from a television show for kids. There they were taught the golden rules.

The show was called Romper Room and no it wasn’t about the relationship romp. It was a show for pre-schoolers sort of like Sesame Street. Those shows work for learning the ‘abc’ rules while Steve Harvey’s books are about learning the dating rules. He’s come-up with a 90-day rule for love and romance.

So what’s that got to do with finding a job, changing careers or living your dreams? Sometimes life can put us in situations where someone has to stretch the rules like plastic. It’s one thing to break the rules. But it’s another thing to stretch the rules even without rocking the boat in order to raise the game.

That’s helped Harvey hit a new groove. The ideas in his books about a successful relationship can apply to having career/business success as well. Yes, you have to learn the rules of the road. But sometimes you have to unlearn outdated rules that might be keeping you stuck in professional/relationship neutral.

Harvey was heard on Ryan Seacrest’s LA radio show giving some of his golden rules of relationship. Not everybody is on board with his “straight talk, no chasers” dating advice. But whether making room to grow personally or professionally to avoid melancholy, it might take re-learning the rules to reach the next level.

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Theme:–The Year of ‘Brandemonium’
Where Hopes & Dreams Become Real on Breakout Teams” (New-School Flava)

Last time you heard these words.. Bend, stretch, reach for the stars nerds? A millennial might have no clue. Those words aren’t stuck like glue. Gen Xer or baby boomer can think back. To their days watching TV without the laugh track. For this TV show was made for kids. Putting the golden rules on fridge grids.

Show was Romper Room in case you forgot. No, it wasn’t about keeping a relationship hot. Geared to pre-schoolers and their child-like beat. Sort of like a trip to Sesame Street. Those shows good for learning ‘abc’ rules. While Steve Harvey’s books about not dating fools. With a 90-day rule for romance old-school.

So what’s that mean for finding another 9 to 5? Changing careers or letting your dreams thrive? Life can put us in situations sure fantastic. Where we hope someone stretches the rules like plastic. It’s one thing to break the rules yesterday. But another thing to stretch the rules today. In order to keep yourself in play.

That’s helped Harvey hit a groove. As he makes each market move. Real talk about personal friendship. And tips on a successful biz relationship. Might even apply to career/business dreams. Using rules of the game for winning teams. Might mean unlearning outdated stuff. That’s keeping you from achieving nuff.

Harvey took the airwaves on Seacrest’s LA radio show. Sharing golden rules for being in the relationship flow. More of his “straight talk, no chasers” advice. Not everybody wants to hear it twice. Whether making room to grow personally or professionally. Might take re-learning some rules to avoid melancholy.

Tip: Sometimes a breakthrough in relationship or business partnership is made possible when you stretch the rules, reach for the stars and unlearn or re-learn the scoop for making the big catch.

Talkback: What are some of life’s “golden rules” that you’d rather forget, change or re-learn?

Did Carrie Underwood Strain Her Nerves Without a Crack in Her Voice?

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Theme:– Operation C.R.U.S.H. Against Gun Violence, Bias and Clouded Vision

The Country Music Awards was ready for another year of Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley. The duo co-hosted the show the sixth year in a row. They used the show’s monologue to poke fun at celebs like “you know who.” Did Underwood have to strain her nerves without showing a crack in her voice?

She’s a good ol’ OKC country girl who’s come a long way from American Idol. She may not have grown up around the kind violence that’s been popping-up lately from coast to coast. This week saw a NJ Mall shooting that had people on edge. The 20-year old suspect fired-off a few rounds before taking his life.

Police say he made every effort not to harm anyone. With what appears to be some kind of suicide note, authorities believe he wanted to “die by cop.” These kinds of shootings suggest that while everything evil is bad, not everything bad is evil. Sometimes it’s just a matter of people looking for answers.

Underwood might relate when she looks back over her career. At five she was gung-ho about her singing dreams. At 16 she lost-out on a recording contract. At 18 she gave up on her dream to be a recording artist. But her appearance on American Idol helped to elevate a sense of purpose and meaning.

Simon Cowell said Underwood would become the biggest Idol artist. She’s now the top Idol earner with a slew of music industry awards. While public policy efforts on background checks and a review of ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws are important, nothing beats having something to live for before having to die for.

Footnote: Public policy efforts can produce important laws, but a shared sense of purpose offers the kinds of answers to gun violence that give people something to live for before having to die for.