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Is this the most chilling version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah?
January 26th, 2021 under BYU TV. [ Comments: none ]


Leonard Cohen’s song Hallelujah is one of the most haunting songs ever performed, no matter who performs it. There really is not much more you have to do to it to get chills. At least, so I thought.

BYU’s acapella quintet Vocal Point recorded themselves singing the ballad in a tiled hallway. As you can hear, the acoustics worked perfectly for them. Listen to their harmonizing voices bounce off the walls to give it even more of an angelic sound.

I don’t know about you, but I have goosebumps all over. I am in awe of their talent.

I hope BYU TV considers giving them a show on their network. I would watch them perform over and over again.

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Relative Race’s Team Red on meeting their 200 new family members!
October 14th, 2018 under BYU TV. [ Comments: none ]


There are hundreds of reality shows on television these days, but there are very few that are as positive as BYU TV’s Relative Race. The show that airs Sundays at 9p E/6p P is Amazing Race meets Who Do You Think You Are. Four teams start at one location and then span out across the country to meet family members that they did not know they have all around the United States.

Sounds simple? Nope. Before each team of two gets in their car to go to the next destination, they have to turn in their phones. That means no GPS; they will have to travel with just paper maps. Sounds really difficult? It gets harder. When they reach their new family members’ city, they have to participate in a challenge. Those challenges are not easy. Once they finish that, they are off to meet their family members. Which is what this show is all about.

Mike Brown has never met his father’s family including his father. He wants to get to know them, not only for himself but also for his only daughter, Austin Williams and her children. The father and daughter are not going to spend 10 days in a car together to meet the family they never knew they had.

In the first episode, they found out that Brown’s father passed away. That news is hard enough, but the manner how he died, made your heart break for him. His father killed his wife, who filed for divorce, and himself. Fortunately, his niece was able to tell him that his six brothers and sisters all loved their dad. He now has not just one sibling to meet but three brothers, three sisters and their extended families.

I recently talked to the father and daughter, and they told me what it is like to meet their now huge family.

What was it like to do the show?
AUSTIN
: It was difficult. I would say it was one of the most challenging things that I’ve ever had to do. It was absolutely worthwhile, invaluable, in having the opportunity to go do the journey with my father, obviously. But also both of us being able to meet all of his family that we didn’t even know existed, so it was really special. It was just a little torturous.

What is like suddenly having this big family?
MIKE:
It’s amazing. I’ve never experienced a family like this before. From the outside looking in, you know, you kinda hear about these kinds of families. But now being part of a family that is so close, it’s really rewarding. I’m glad that Austin gets to see what a really cool big family looks like.

AUSTIN: I’m an only child. Growing up it was just me and mom and dad. And then my mom’s side of the family, that we did know, is a very, very small family. Getting to know these relatives. I’m thankful for, just opportunities to have things in common with people who I’m related to you and not just, you know, friends who I choose to be my family. But knowing that’s my cousin, I’m actually related to her. We have all of these things in common. Then an uncle and all of these people where I’ve never really had that before. Even something as simple as like, I look like you. I actually look like you.
It’s a very unique way of feeling like you belong or I rather I belong. And I had not felt that before. So I think that that’s probably the thing that I’m most thankful for because as daddy said the genetics are very strong. So we look alike and we have very similar interests and we’re good at the same things. Seeing that has been really, really cool.

MIKE: Austin’s kids, my grandkids, have cousins that are the same age as them and they’re just going to be friends for their whole lives. That they are connected and what a blessing.

Have they been to see their family since the show finished taping?
AUSTIN:
We have both taken trips. We both took trips separately. Me and my husband, we took our children up to Connecticut to meet all of our new family on one trip. Then we actually had had the opportunity to obviously keep in touch through like FaceTime and those kinds of thing. And then dad, he went a few weeks after I did. So he took his wife.

MIKE: My wife has been adopted into the family seamlessly. She’s a professional educator and they’re professional educators on the Williams side of the family and they just connect. I have to make them hang up the phone. They spend hours on the phone. I tell her she can call them back tomorrow. So it is pretty funny.

AUSTIN: My kids are hilarious in their love for this new family. One example specifically, my daughter Michael, she’s six, and she is just so smitten with Camille who we met from day one. She asks me multiple times a week if we can FaceTime Camille. When we went up to visit, Michael just hung on to Camille like she was a little baby monkey. She just wanted to be on Camille all the time and it was the cutest, sweetest thing ever. She and Camille just kinda clicked. So you know, they love being together.
They love having this new family. It’s been wonderful to you to see my children just kind of be incorporated in, in and entered into the fold of what the Williams family is.

Is Mike sad that he did not meet his dad?
MIKE:
Realizing, because of my age, the potential for him to still be alive, it was going to be pretty slim. That came to pass. We realized that on day one. It’s still kinda hard. I’m still processing all of that stuff.
We went from not having a clue who my father was to knowing my who my father is. Then 200 more relative and the emotions that come with, with all of those people and their connections. That it’s, uh, it was still a lot.

Besides meeting their blood relatives, have they become like family with any of the other contestants?
MIKE
: We adopted Team Black. They’re part of our family. They have come to visit us in South Carolina. Both Austin’s and my house in there welcome forever and ever.

Would they recommend doing Relative Race to other people?
MIKE:
Absolutely! Yeah, totally man. It’s, so, a once in a lifetime opportunity. To have the geneticists do the background checks and being availed the opportunity to meet so many family members that you never would have known. Just answer the other questions that you have regarding your relatives and stuff like that. It’s really a unique opportunity. It’s pretty cool.

What else did they want to say?
MIKE:
I would say appreciate every day that you have with family. Family is family. It’s a whole different dynamic. It’s a whole different construct. It’s a whether you get along or don’t get along, family is family. When you allow someone to be part of your family, they become family too. I would say just appreciate every single day that you can share with people that you care for.

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Team Blue talks about making it to the Relative Race finals!
May 2nd, 2018 under BYU TV. [ Comments: none ]


On Sunday’s season finale of Relative Race on BYU TV, everyone was shocked when Team Blue and Team Red finished in a tie, a first for the show. That meant that the three remaining teams, including Team Black, would advance to the finals.

Last week, I spoke with Michael Anderson and his son, Dylan, and they told me about their wild adventure. He told me that he came back with a newfound confidence and that convinced him to run for a seat in the North Carolina State Representative race for District 83. If you live in that district, make sure to vote for him on Tuesday, May 8th. He also told me they came back with all 24 blue t-shirts that they gave them to wear for the 10-day competition.

SOW: What was it like when you heard that you and Team Red both finished 1 hour and 8 minutes over the time limit? Meaning that you both tied for second place and would move on to the finals?
MA:
I mean it was an incredible shock. It was great. Believe me, once we knew Team Black won that day we were like, oh boy, somebody is going home? But it worked out well I think for everybody.

SOW: Did you think you were going to make it to day 10?
MA:
Well listen, after the fifth day I looked at Dylan and I was like there’s no way we’re going to make it to the last day. It was not easy whatsoever. After that day we picked up steam, and things started falling our way. I will tell you the day that really helped us tremendously was the eighth day and there was like a home court advantage. I didn’t even use a map.

SOW: Talking about maps, what is like driving with Dylan now that you are back to normal?
MA:
We’re back to normal now and we know mostly where we’re going to be. We can use GPS, we know where we want to go and we’re not timed. What a lot of people didn’t understand was something that was equally as hard as using a map was going the speed limit constantly. You are constantly looking down and making sure you’re not doing anything wrong. You’re going places you’re not familiar with. You’ve got a time limit. You’re going against the other teams. You don’t know what challenge you’re getting ready to walk up to. You don’t know what relative you’d walk up to. It was just really stressful every single day.

SOW: What about the most stressful day of the race, what was that final day in DC like?
MA:
All right, well I’m going to be just blunt with you here. We showed up the morning of the final day. We’re on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. We’re in jeans and blue shirts, and everybody else shows up in these tight jogging pants and nice tennis shoes. Then we find out what we’re supposed to do. I look at Dylan and I said, we ain’t got a shot in the world. We are not the most nimble and athletic people on the planet. And when we found out what it was, I’m like, oh Lord, have mercy. Don’t kill yourself, don’t have a heart attack. And I’m telling you the truth is there is a paramedic. They were eyeing me the whole time. Look, I’m OK. We enjoyed the final day.

SOW: What did you think of the challenges that they gave you throughout the whole competition?
MA:
I tell you what the minds behind this whole show, how they come up with these challenges in the whole 10th day. I don’t know how they do it. I would love to come up with my own challenges and make them do it. They, they are very creative. They are very supportive of you. They encourage you the whole time. I mean they are by your side and they want to make great TV show. We’ve got that and we did everything we could to make it as good as positive as we could.

SOW: What did you think of the people who worked on the show?
MA:
They work so hard and they care. They truly cared about us. They truly wanted the best for us. Sure, they laughed at us when I got a cramp. I have not only found family, but I’ve made new friends. I plan to come out to Utah, the first chance I get. I’m on it. I’m going to come over to the network and say hello to people. I will make it a point to go to the production company and say hello. And I’m dead serious. I am definitely doing that this year. We just more people need to know about this show period.

SOW: So you appreciate all that Relative Race has done for you?
MA:
Life is so short and we have so many things that we need to be appreciative more and worry less about Selfie and Snapchat. Worry more about your family and your neighbor. This show I cannot say enough. I mean I should work for their marketing. I love this show that, so I would be an outstanding marketer for this show. I say that these people at the network and I just can’t say enough about the work that they do. They work their tail off every single day and they don’t get the credit they deserve.

While season 3 of Relative Race is over, season 4 is going to air in the fall. Be prepared for Michael Anderson to tell everyone to watch it. And whoever he does not tell, I am going to tell them to watch the best competition show on television. Every week, you end the episode feeling good. You see people who start out with no families, end the season with a mother, father, siblings and more cousins than you can count on your hand. How many other shows give people the families they never knew they had and have always wanted? We need more shows that are positive like this one. Plus, you see parts of America, you never knew about. What more can you ask for from a TV show?

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Team Blue’s Michael Anderson reveals how Relative Race changed his life
April 29th, 2018 under BYU TV. [ Comments: none ]


Tonight at 9p EDT on BYU TV, it is sadly time for the 2-hour season finale of Relative Race. We have watched the 4 teams travel the country, get stuck in traffic, take part in hard challenges, all to meet family members they never knew they had before this show. They will meet one more relative tonight before the remaining teams meet up for one last competition to win $50,000.

In the first episode, one team will get lost and drive in the opposite direction. While another team has a problem finishing the challenge. When all is said and done, it is time for the three teams to find out who will make it to the finals. The reveal will be shocking because something happened that has never happened before in the series. I cannot say more than that because it is, like, they said, something that has never happened before. Once that is revealed, it is then time for the teams to compete in their biggest challenge of the season. One that is worth a whole lot of green. Too bad Team Green will not be there to cheer them on because they were eliminated last week

All three teams had quite a journey. None more than Team Blue. Michael Anderson and his son Dylan met family they never knew they had. Michael found out he was adopted a year before his mother died and for the last 30 years, all he has wanted to know who is his family. Over the last eight episodes of Relative Race, he finally met his dad, his mom, his sister, and his cousins, and he even found out he is related to a King. His ancestor is not royalty, but he is the King of Rock’n’Roll, Elvis Presley. He cannot stop telling everyone who is long lost cousin. How many other shows can tell you all of that?

Earlier this week, I spoke to Michael and Dylan and they told me about one of the best journeys of their lives together.

SOW – What were Michael’s expectations from the show?
MA
– I didn’t have any expectations of having relationships with anybody. All I wanted was answers. That was it. Everything else has been just the icing on the top. I had no history of anything. Mother, father, either side of the family name. I had nothing. And now I’ve got heritage all the way back to the 1640’s. It blows my mind to find out that we are related to Elvis Presley. I mean, come on.

SOW: He might not have not any expectations for the show, because the producers contacted him. How did they find the Andersons?
MA
– I didn’t initially try out for the show. They found me. I have a very large following on social media when it comes to my photography business. A year ago, October, I put a post out on my photography page, “My name’s Michael Andrew Anderson. I was born July 28, 1972. I’m looking for my biological parents.” Well, it went viral and was seen by over 200,000 people. One of the people was a producer from the TV show, he contacted me, and that’s what got the ball rolling. We did end up having to submit a video like everybody else, but the initial contacts they found me.

SOW: Had he heard about the show before he got a phone call from the producers?
MA
– When they first contacted me, I never even heard that show. So I Googled it before I contacted them back to make sure it wasn’t some kind of scam. Then I watched a couple of episodes and I was like, this is a really great show. So I contacted them and then I told them my story and I told another producer and then another producer and another producer. They just loved my story because I didn’t have one. I had no one. Most of the people have either one side or the other side. I had literally nothing to go on.

SOW – Relative Race changed things up for the third season, so he was not always prepared for what was happening. Things like meeting his first relative on the show.
MA
– When I met my father, I was a game mode. I thought we were going to do some challenges or something. And when we were walking up to the bed and breakfast, I thought they were the owners. Know that reaction when he tells me he’s my dad? I mean I just lost it.

SOW – Michael explains why he has no idea what to expect.
MA –
They [the producers] don’t give you any direction. There’s no script, there’s no cue cards hanging off the side of the camera. I mean, there’s nothing like that. It’s real. I mean it.

SOW – Since the show ended, he has kept in touch with the family that he met. So much so, he told me he is going to see one of them soon.
MA
– Dylan and I are going up to Brighton City, North Carolina and we’re going to shoot our newly found niece’s senior high school pictures. The cousin of ours, that was the bounty hunter/bondsmen/fudge shop owner, his daughter, and she wanted us to come up. I told her I will do it on two conditions. I said, “We’ll come up there if we can have dinner and we go to fudge shop.”

SOW – Since the show ended, Michael Anderson decided to run for a seat in the North Carolina House of Representatives as a Representative for District 23 (Elections are on May 8th). Something he took away from the show convinced him to do it.
MA
– I’ve always loved politics and I’ve been highly involved in my community for years. A lot of the behind the scenes is what I do and I’ve gotten to know most, if not all, of the local politicians here. We’ve had some redistricting in our state and it just so happens that the new district, that I fall in, there is a representative that I don’t particularly think he represents us properly. So I am trying to do something positive for the community. What the show did for me is helped me have that confidence I never had before. I mean even with my photography and building my business, I’ve always had doubts, I’ve always doubted myself ever since I was a kid. But now, I mean, it’s just like a light switch went off and I got all this confidence in the world now.

SOW – What has being a part of Relative Race meant to him?
MA
– Anything I can do in the future for the show, for the network, I’m at their disposal. These people are, we need more people like this all around the country and all around this world. It’s been such a blessing because I’m hoping that our journey, how chaotic, wrong direction and how horrible we were at the challenges; I hope that our journey can help others. And that’s the main thing I want to do for them. That is one of the reasons why I wanted to run for office is to try to help them. Adoption and foster parenting touches so many people’s lives. We have laws in this country, my state especially, that need to be changed. It shows like this one and people like this that can help make changes that are positive for people like me. We just want answers, most of us. I mean it’s just been such a wonderful journey and we now have not only family, but we have new friends from the show. From our producers to the other contestants. It will always be one of the absolute best moment in my life, period.

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Which Relative Race team will find out they’re related to Elvis Presley?
March 18th, 2018 under BYU TV, Elvis Presley. [ Comments: none ]


Last week on Relative Race, sisters Jamie Grace and Morgan Harper Nichols found themselves driving through a hurricane. Tonight at 9p on BYU TV, Troy and Nicole Hitt will find themselves in the middle of wildfires on their route to the new family member. Good thing they learned how to fight fires last week. Will they use that skill this week?

The episode starts off with the four teams getting in their cars to meet their newest family members and it is much smoother driving for all except Team Red driving through the wildfires. When they get to their destination, they pose with the city sign. But for one team, it is too much. They develop a cramp in their leg and that slows them down.

After they send their photos into home base, they are told what their challenge for their day is. They have to finish a puzzle of the face of a family member they are about to meet. Once the picture is complete, they are given a clue to where that person will be. Now they are off to be with their newest family member somewhere in the town.

Once they meet their family member, now it is time to get to know then. One team will find out they are related to Elvis Presley, think you know which team it is? Could it be musical Team Green, who already know they have white people in their family? What about Team Blue, the father and son, who came in to the race only knowing themselves as their family? What about Team Black’s Rebecca Hoyt, her father kept her family secret, is this why? And then there is Troy Hitt, who was adopted, is this a great family find?

At the end of the day, while it is a cool thing to tell people, it is even cooler for these teams to meet some more new family. Oh and not one, but two teams finish under their allotted times, a Relative Race first!

If you are not familiar with Relative Race, it is a mix of Amazing Race (in America) and Who Do You Think You Are. After 10 days, each team comes out of the game with 10 new family members they never knew they had. That is worth more than all the money in the world. Even though, there is a cash prize for the one winner.

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