Transgender Singer Kaleia Wins Songbird Season 3

kaleia songbird winnerThe third season of Songbird came to a close last night, which means we have our newest Best Singer in Philadelphia.

After 14 weeks of competitive singing, first-name-only chanteuse Kaleia walked away with the top honor. I chatted with three of the competition’s judges, singer-songwriter/supermodel Cory Wade, ukulele champ Eric Jaffe and Songbird season 2 winner Larisa Bunch, to see why they chose her among the other five finalists.

Cory Wade: “Kaleia is a class-act and a true inspiration to the Philly trans community. Right now it is crucial for the trans community to support and uplift one another in spite of the social struggles these brave people have to endure every day. I love what she represents. Kaleia is such an honest performer and it’s hard not to feel her spirit when she’s on that stage. I’m excited to see what she does next.”

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Tabu’s Last Laugh Wins “Worst Comedy Competition” Award at the WitIns

Every year, a group of rebellious local comedians get together to produce an anti-awards show called the WitIns Awards. It’s a chance for them to make fun of the local comedy scene, giving out awards for “Worst Comedian,” and the like. It’s not meant to be mean. Think of it as the Razzies; a funny way to point out some less-than-LOL-worthy moments in comedy throughout the year.

The latest installment happened this Sunday, and last summer’s comedy competition at Tabu, “Last Laugh,” took home the award for “Worst Comedy Competition.”

Comedian and Last Laugh contestant Rachel Fogletto accepted the award, which was a garbage-filled plastic bag with a penis drawn on it. In her acceptance speech, she pretty much zeroed in on the problem with the competition: “I made it through to like week 10, and we all lost to some lady from Atlantic City who missed like eight weeks of the competition, so fuck the Last Laugh.” 

Ouch-worthy, yes, but it’s all in good fun, people. I went to a few performances last year, and actually had a nice time—especially watching local legend Needles Jones crack a few zingers about AIDS.

But this isn’t the first criticism I’ve heard of Last Laugh. Even creator Josh Schonewolf agrees. When I asked him if he’d bring it back, he said “Hell no. … That was a bonafide flop.”

See, everyone agrees!

Check out a video of Fogletto’s acceptance speech above. I have it set to start at the right time.

Larisa Bunch Wins Songbird 2

Larisa BunchWe have a new “Best Singer in Philly,” folks, and it’s Larisa Bunch. The 28-year-old was crowned winner last night at the grand finale of Josh Schonewolf’s Songbird 2 competition at Tabu. Here’s what she had to say about the honor on her Facebook wall:

“I would just like to say how thankful I am to have met so many amazing people — not just the people in the competition with me, but the amazing people I’ve met in the community. …  I’d like to thank Josh Schonewolf for believing that I was talented enough to make the top 20 picked, and I would like to thank the judges for believing in me throughout this grueling and stressful competition. …  I’m so so so happy right now and I am so grateful for all the amazing times that I’ve had with my new friends.”

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Jo Stones Wins First Philly Songbird Competition

jojo walsh songbirdLast night, scruffy singer-songwriter Jo Stones was named winner of Philly’s first Songbird competition, a contest in the Gayborhood to find the city’s best singer. He was chosen out of a crop of 16 that was whittled down every week since the event started in September.

I asked Songbird judge and Philly Weekly music writer Bill Chenevert what it was that put Stones above the rest:

“One of my favorite things about Jo Stones is that he’s a very positive, happy person who radiates soul. It’s said that every fallen Songbird was pulling for him last night and that’s not entirely surprising: he played fair, honestly, and with the right attitude. … As a performer he’s magnetic. Whether he’s behind a keyboard or not, his voice is dynamic and strong.”

See some of Stones’ Songbird performances after the jump »