Friday, August 31, 2007

Have You Heard Britney's New Song?



Have you heard "Gimme More," the new song from embattled pop princess Britney Spears?

If not, click here to give it a listen and let me know what you think.

Probably due at least in part to the curiousity factor, Perez Hilton is reporting that the song is already the #80 song in the country, despite only having been released for less than 24 hours.

Apparently the former Mrs. Federline will take to the stage next Sunday at MTV's Video Music Awards.

The Britney comeback is on!

Predicting the Emmys: Lead Actor in a Comedy



For the next two weeks, I will be giving my predictions for the 2007 Emmy Awards. Who was overlooked? Who should win? And who's gonna win?

BEST LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Steve Carell, The Office
Ricky Gervais, Extras
Tony Shalhoub, Monk
Charlie Sheen, Two and a Half Men

Overlooked:
Zach Braff, Scrubs
Adrian Grenier, Entourage
Jason Lee, My Name is Earl

Should Win: Alec Baldwin

Will Win: Alec Baldwin


In what is probably the easiest category to call at this year's awards, Alec Baldwin should and will win the top prize for his consistently hysterical work on 30 Rock. Earlier in the summer it appeared that Baldwin's personal drama might overshadow his stellar work on the show, but that seems to have died down, and he now looks like a shoo-in to emerge from the ceremony with trophy in hand. Sure, cult favorite Gervais, last year's champ Carrel, or multiple winner Shalhoub could possibly sneak by him, but this one looks like its Baldwin's to lose.


Click for more 2007 Emmy Awards

Janelle is Returning to Big Brother!



She is my very favorite Big Brother contestant of all time, and this Tuesday she's coming back to Big Brother. Yep, it's Janelle!!!!!!

Apparently the buxom blonde from seasons 6 and 7 will be returning this week to run the Power of Veto competition. She was a crazy-good competitor, who also happened to be hysterically funny and totally lovable. Perhaps she can teach the houseguests how to be fierce and fun to watch, without using stereotypes, nasty names, and angry language to communicate with each other. Just a thought.

Long live Janelle!

Click for more Big Brother

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Kill Point Gets My Vote For Best New Show of the Summer

Mad Men is great, and Damages rocks, but my vote for best new show of the summer goes to Spike TV's The Kill Point.

Spike TV? Who would have thunk it?

This 10-part series, starring John Leguizamo and Donnie Wahlberg as the leader of a group of bank robbers and the hostage negotiator, respectively, was absolutely riveting from beginning to end. It was a more literate, more morally complex, more thrilling version of 24, and I loved every single second of it.

It all starts with the writing. This show featured characters that were such specific shades of grey that you absolutely didn't know what to make of them -- in a surprisingly satisfying way. I found myself identifying and then re-identifying who were the bad guys, only to discover I was rooting for the hostage takers and not the law enforcement. It used the Iraq war not as a convenient character device, but as a scarily impactful experience that informed every move this group of soldiers made. And it made you feel the plight of the hostages, and the ways it brought a very different group of people together, in a way last year's failed series The Nine never could. Watching a hostage who had fallen in love with her captor bang on the building to get back in after she had been let go was heartbreaking. Simply put, the writing was absolutely top notch.

Then there was the acting. From the top down there was interesting work being done, beginning with the startlingly charismatic John Leguizamo. He was compassionate, scary, vulnerable, showy -- everything you could possibly hope for. I hope he is remembered at next year's Emmy Awards for Best Actor in a Miniseries. Wahlberg, too, was his usual sturdy self. It was also a kick to see several actors from The Wire, including JD Williams, my favorite Baltimore drug dealer.

But what makes this show earn my oh-so prestigious title of Best New Show is the fact that I never knew what was going to happen next. I watch a lot of tv -- I know the way things usually go. But The Kill Point didn't follow rules, and in so doing it kept me on the edge of my seat all the way to the very end.

You go, Spike TV. Let's see what you got for us next.

Revealing the HOH and The Evicted Big Brother Contestant Is...

SPOILER! SPOILER!

SPOILER! SPOILER!

SPOILER! SPOILER!

Amber.

The show is delayed tonight on the East Coast, so I don't know what the circumstances were surrounding her eviction, but the vote was 3-1 for Zach to stay. Considering how delusional Amber is capable of being, I'd guess she recently had a vision where the houseguests chose to save her, and was completely surprised to be going home. Just a hunch.

No word yet on who is HOH -- it's probably an all night challenge, to coincide with the late airing. I say, go Eric, win HOH!

UPDATE: Zach has won HOH. Ugh.

Click for more Big Brother

What 'The Office' Staff Did This Summer

NBC is featuring a very funny promo for the upcoming season of The Office that features the staffers talking about what they did over the summer.

Season 3 of the show comes out on DVD next week...can't wait!

Dancing with the Stars Contestant is a Model -- And Gorgeous!



When I saw the list of names of Dancing with the Stars contestants, a couple stuck out -- because I had no idea who they were!

Well, I've since seen a photo of Albert Reed, and he is gorgeous! Apparently he is a model who has appeared in campaigns for Abercrombie, Arrow, and Diesel.

Did I mention he's gorgeous?

This season just got a lot more interesting!

Click for more Dancing with the Stars


Movies Opening This Weekend: Halloween, Balls of Fury, Death Sentence, The Nines



This is a new weekly feature on Idol Thoughts that will lay out the movies opening in the upcoming weekend, along with director, cast, and links to reviews and trailers.

Idol Thoughts says: If I was going to check out one of these flicks this weekend, it would probably be The Nines, which is from the writer of the classic LA rave movie Go. Vigilante thriller Death Sentence also looks interesting, but it has yet to be reviewed by any major publication.

Halloween
Directed by: Rob Zombie
Starring: Malcolm McDowell
Click here for Variety review
Click here for trailer

Balls of Fury
Directed by: Ben Garant
Starring: Dan Fogler, George Lopez, Christopher Walken, Maggie Q, Aisha Tyler
Click here for Entertainment Weekly review
Click here for trailer

The Nines
Directed by: John August
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Hope Davis
Click here for Variety review
Click here for trailer

Death Sentence
Directed by: James Wan
Starring: Kevin Bacon, Kelly Preston
Click here for trailer

Predicting the Emmys: Supporting Actress in a Drama



For the next two weeks, I will be giving my predictions for the 2007 Emmy Awards. Who was overlooked? Who should win? And who's gonna win?

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A ADRAMA
Lorraine Bracco, The Sopranos
Rachel Griffiths, Brothers & Sisters
Katherine Heigl, Grey's Anatomy
Sandra Oh, Grey's Anatomy
Aida Turturro, The Sopranos
Chandra Wilson, Grey's Anatomy

Overlooked:
Kelly Bishop, Gilmore Girls
Minka Kelly, Friday Night Lights
Elizabeth Mitchell, Lost
Adrianne Palicki, Friday Night Lights
CCH Pounder, The Shield
Callie Thorne, Rescue Me
Kate Walsh, Grey's Anatomy

Should Win: Rachel Griffiths

Will Win: Rachel Griffiths

This category is dominated by the ladies of The Sopranos and Grey's Anatomy, but it may be the Brothers & Sisters actress who ends up taking home the prize. Despite years of stellar work, and several nominations between them, neither Bracco or Turturro has ever taken home the prize. Neither actress stole the show on the last season of the great HBO drama, though, so this year might see both leaving the ceremony empty handed. Heigl, Oh, and Wilson each had moments to shine throughout the season, but they may end up canceling each other out, paving the way for the very deserving Griffiths (who never won for her stellar work on Six Feet Under) to pick up her first Emmy award.

Click for more 2007 Emmy Awards

Wentworth Miller Gives Good Face



Could Prison Break star Wentworth Miller be any better looking? I mean!

Thanks to JustJared.com, here are some photos of the man who plays Michael Scofield in Germany's GQ magazine. Yum!

Prison Break returns for a third season on Fox this fall.


Drew Lachey to Host Dancing with the Stars Spin-Off



According to Variety, former Dancing with the Stars champ Drew Lachey will host a spin-off of the popular reality show this winter. The show, called Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann, will feature Dancing With the Stars judges Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba as they form rival performance groups. Team Bruno and Team Carrie will then face off week to week in various song and dance battles.

Apparently, ABC has picked up six episodes of the show, which will likely air this winter between versions of Dancing with the Stars.

Sound good or nightmarish? Either way, it'll help pass the time until So You Think You Can Dance comes back next summer!

Underwood, Clarkson Nominated for CMA Awards

Carrie Underwood continues to take the awards shows by storm, grabbing a Country Music Award nomination as Female Vocalist of the Year. Underwood's "Before He Cheats" was also nominated for Single, Song and Video of the Year.

Meanwhile, the original American Idol Kelly Clarkson picked up a nomination with Reba McEntire in the category Musical Event of the Year for their duet on Clarkson's song "Because of You," and Season 5 contestant Kellie Pickler was nominated for Best New Artist (the Horizon Award).

The awards will be handed out November 7, 2007 on ABC.

Things Aren't Exactly As They Seem in the Big Brother House

I caught about 20 minutes of Big Brother After Dark last night on Showtime, which was enough time to see the end of an argument with Dick and Daniele, and then Dick storm into another room, lie down on a bed, and cry. Yes, the angry, scary man from Big Brother 8 cried.

This sequence of events got me thinking -- things aren't always exactly as they seem in the Big Brother house.

Let me work through my logic by taking a look at three of the seven remaining houseguests:

-Dick is a belligerent asshole, with the ability to say some of the nastiest things I have ever heard come out of someone's mouth, but he is also a man who desperately wants his daughter to love him.

-Daniele often happily plays into the stereotype of the "dumb blonde" by saying some of the stupidest and most inane things of any of the houseguests, but she is also a manipulative, savvy player who clearly knows what she is doing in the game.

-Eric is the neurotic New Yorker who seems to telegraph every emotion all over his face, but he is also keeping the biggest secret in the house.

Having identified the complexities of these three players, its only fair to note that Amber, Jameka and Zach are pretty much straight-up what they seem: Amber is a crybaby, Jameka is a devoutly religious woman just trying to win herself some money, and Zach is friendlessly treading water until he's deemed no longer useful in the house.

Which leaves Jess -- what's her deal? Is she simply a ditzy cheerleader? Is she under Eric's thumb, or is she the one pulling the strings? Is she genuinely interested in America's player, or is she using him for security? As far as I'm concerned, she's the one to watch out for -- and the won, at this point, most likely to take home the money.

Yep, things aren't always exactly as they seem in the Big Brother house.

Click for more Big Brother

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

John Krasinski as a Conan Intern!


He may be the everyman heartthrob on The Office these days, but just seven years ago John Krasinski was an intern at The Conan O'Brien show -- and here's the photo to prove it!

Conan apparently keeps a book of polaroids of all the interns from his show, and Jim Halpert's portrayer was one of them, back in the summer of '00.

He's so fresh-faced and adorable in this photo -- gotta love it!

Aiken and Pickler to Appear on 'Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader'

She's been the subject of countless dumb blonde jokes, but now Kellie Pickler will have a chance to prove how smart she really is, when she appears on the Fox series Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? this fall.

TVGuide is reporting that Pickler and fellow Idol alumni Clay Aiken will appear on the Jeff Foxworthy-hosted show September 6. Sounds like a trainwreck in the making!

Dancing with the Stars Contestants Officially Announced

Here are the contestants who will be on this season of Dancing with the Stars:

Marie Osmond - Singer/Entertainer
Floyd Mayweather - Heavyweight Boxing Champion
Helio Castronetes - Race Car Driver
Jennie Garth - Actress
Mel B - Spice Girl
Cameron Mathison - Actor, “All My Children”
Albert Reed - Model
Jane Seymour - Actress
Sabrina Bryan - Actress, “Cheetah Girls”
Mark Cuban - Owner, Dallas Mavericks
Joise Maran - Model
Wayne Newton - Entertainer

I guess Tori Spelling was just a dream TMZ had.

Thoughts?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Rumored Dancing with the Stars Contestants: Dr. Quinn. Two 90210'ers and Gisele!

TMZ.com is reporting the list of celebrities that will appear on the upcoming fifth season of Dancing with the Stars, and they are:

Gisele Bundchen (fashion model)
Tori Spelling (Beverly Hills, 90210)
Jennie Garth (Beverly Hills, 90210)
Mark Cuban (billionaire)
Jane Seymour (Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman)
Lou Ferrigno (television actor)
Aaron Carter (pop star)
Floyd Mayweather (boxer)
Helio Castroneves (no idea)
Mel B. (aka Scary Spice)

Quite a group, no? The official list will be announced Wednesday on Good Morning America.

Big Brother's Jen Was Vanna White's Nanny

Big Brother's Jen was Vanna White's nanny! Did you guys know about this?

Wow, Hollywood is one small world.

Where Are All The Straight Plays on Broadway?

My friend Cara David (view her always entertaining theater blog here) pointed out this morning that with the closing of A Year of Magical Thinking, there are currently no straight plays on Broadway. This will be the case until mid-September.

Now, granted, later this fall there will be a ton of straight plays on the boards, including Cyrano, Cymbeline, Pygmalion, The Farnsworth Invention, Rock 'N' Roll, November and more. But still, this is a notable moment for the Great White Way.

So, if you're looking for a straight play, there's never been a better time to hit up Off-Broadway. Last week I saw Opus at Primary Stages (problematic, but still really enjoyed it), and in the next couple of weeks I'll hit up Iphiginea 2.0 at Signature and 100 Saints You Should Know at Playwright's Horizon. Have you seen any good Off-Broadway show lately you'd recommend?

In the News: Miller Steps Out With Pal, Wilson Attempts Suicide, Gonzales Resigns



Three big stories making the rounds this morning:

-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has resigned! Read the CNN article here.

-According to several sources, actor Owen Wilson attempted suicide yesterday. Read the sad story here.

-Is Prison Break star Wentworth Miller ready to come out of the closet? There have been rumors circulating that he is in a relationship with Brothers & Sisters actor Luke McFarlane, and now pictures have surfaced of the two studs walking about in Los Angeles. Could Wenty be the next to follow in the footsteps of Lance Bass, Neil Patrick Harris and TR Knight (who, coincidentally, also dated McFarlane)? We'll see! (Thanks to Towleroad.com for the photos)

US Open Begins Today!



Idol Thoughts doesn't tend to cover sports very often (aside from the occassional David Beckham pic, of course), but those who know me are aware that I am a huge tennis fan. And, of course, any tennis fan knows that it doesn't get much more exciting than the US Open, which begins today. I'll be heading out to US Tennis Center all day tomorrow -- whippeee!

Will Roger Federer claim his fourth consecutive US Open, or will Rafael Nadal spoil his quest? Will Andy Roddick finally follow up his one grand slam victory with a second title? Will Venus and Serena, who have claimed 2 of the 3 Grand Slams this year, pick up a third?

Can't wait!

Click here for this year's draws.



Judges and Host Named for The Next Great American Band

The following is from a press release regarding Fox's upcoming series The Next Great American Band, which will premiere October 19:

"Singer/songwriter John Rzeznik (the Goo Goo Dolls), legendary percussionist and performer Sheila E. ('The Glamorous Life,' 'A Love Bizarre') and Australian TV personality Ian 'Dicko' Dickson (Australian Idol) will serve as judges while Dominic Bowden (New Zealand Idol) will host.

From the auditions, the judges will narrow down the hopefuls to 10 semifinalist bands who will perform weekly in front of a live studio audience. The judges will have their say after each performance, but viewers will vote for their favorite bands to determine who stays in the competition. Voting begins immediately after each show, and the results will be announced at the beginning of the following episode.

Each week, the bands will perform either original music or covers of varied styles. The season finale brings the ultimate battle of the bands, with the last three groups competing to secure a contract with 19 recordings and the title of Next Great American Band."

I'm gonna watch, but I'm not gonna lie...I'm a bit skeptical. I guess we'll see if Fox can pull another reality rabbit out of their hat.

Kelly Clarkson Rocks the Teen Choice Awards (Video Included)



Okay, she went through a little bit of a rough spot earlier this summer, but if her performance at last night's Teen Choice Awards is any indication, Kelly Clarkson is back and better than ever!

Kelly ripped through "Never Again" last night, looking fierce and sounding incredible. This comes on the heels of selling out three shows at New York City's Beacon Theater, and the announcement that "Don't Waste Your Time," one of the poppier songs on My December, will be her next single.

I feel a Kelly renaiassance a-coming!

Here's the video...

Superbad Tops The Box Office For Second Straight Week

Superbad continues to do super business, topping the box office for the second straight week with $18 million. Read my review of Superbad here.

The Nanny Diaries took in a disappointing $7.8 million. Sorry Scarlett!

The box office top 5 was:

1. Superbad, $18 million
2. The Bourne Utimatum, $12.4 million
3. Rush Hour 3, $12.3 million
4. Mr. Bean's Holiday, $10.1 million
5. WAR, $10 million

Big Brother's Eric and Jessica Kiss -- What Does This Mean For Their Game?

Big Brother's Eric and Jessica have shared their first kiss! Game on!

The question now becomes, how will this effect their respective games? Anyone who has watched Big Brother in the past knows that romance only complicates decisions made in the house. Season 5's Drew and Diane, anyone?

And how will the fact that Eric is America's Player factor into the equation? He is not the one making all the decisions about his fate in the house -- America could very easily get in the middle of this budding romance.

If things continue to heat up between the neurotic New Yorker and the blonde dancer, things will become especially complicated as the numbers continue to diminish. The truth is, Jessica is very well liked in the house, and could probably beat Eric in the finals. It would therefore be in Eric's best interest to take someone like Dick to the finals, meaning he could be in a position to have to evict Jessica.

Of course, many things could happen before that situation becomes a reality. But one thing is certain -- kisses, even when long-awaited and between kinda adorable people, don't always lead to happy endings in the Big Brother house!

Click here for the youtube video, but caution -- while the fact that they are kissing is sweet, watching it is a bit creepy. Just a heads up.

Click for more Big Brother, including Has Daniele Been Dumped?

Friday, August 24, 2007

First Look at the New America's Next Top Model Contenders


Here's a first look at the new contenders for the title of America's Next Top Model. Can you pick a favorite out of this photo?

Has Big Brother's Daniele Been Dumped?

An instant message from my friend Nick this morning got me thinking...has Big Brother's Daniele been dumped?

As we all know (well, all of us Big Brother watchers, at least), Daniele, despite having a long-term boyfriend at home, had a four-week flirtation going on with her fellow houseguest Nick. An interview with her boyfriend Chris confirmed what most viewers can imagine -- it's gotta be hard to watch the person you love flirt (and more) with a studly professional athlete.

But we haven't heard about Chris in a while. Consider the evidence:

-When Daniele won HOH last week, there were no pictures of Chris.

-In addition, the letter from a loved one came not from Chris, but from Nick. And it was a girly love letter, no less!

-While Amber has a relative acting as her lifeline on The Power of 10, Daniele has...Nick. Was Chris asked and declined, or did Big Brother decided on it's own that it would be more entertaining to have Nick there? And did ya notice -- the caption under Nick's name was "Daniele's BB8 Boyfriend." Hmmmmmm.

I hope he's worth totally having mucked up her relationship. Quite frankly, I can't imagine he is.

Listen to Jordin Sparks New Single Online

Jordin Sparks' new single "Tattoo" is now available to listen to online.

Click here to have a listen.

One of the lyrics is "Just like a tattoo, I'll always have you."

Eek.

She sounds pretty good, though, and the song is a bit catchy (although just a bit). It kinda feels like one of the High School Musical songs -- which, while it works for Zac Efron and company, isn't really a great model for pop music success.

Your thoughts?

Jessica Wins More of My Love -- And HOH!

There's no stopping this year's blonde bombshell on Big Brother!

No, I'm not talking about shady, manipulative Daniele, I'm talking about Jessica! For the second time in three weeks, the diminutive sorority girl has won HOH -- and I couldn't be happier!

In the past I've tried to analyze my love for Jessica, but now I just embrace it. How fun was it to watch her beat Dick, Zach and Eric in the HOH competition? Eric thinks he knows everything about this game, but he overthinks himself to death when it comes to the competitions, while Jess relaxes, breathes, and cruises to victory. Gotta love it!

So who is she gonna put up? With only 6 houseguests to choose from (Amber, Jameka, Zach, Daniele, Dick, and Eric), her options are pretty limited. Zach, I'd guess, would be a shoo-in to go up on the block -- he doesn't have anyone else, and no one really likes him too much, so she wouldn't be pissing anyone off by nominating him. But who will sit next to the bunny suit-obsessed guy?

I'd imagine she won't put up Eric -- they are thick as thieves, and it would definitely not be in her best interest to alienate her closest alliance member at this point in the game. She and Eric also have an arrangement with Daniele and Dick -- will she stick to it? Or will she nominate her former alliance members Amber and Jameka?

I'm guessing it'll be Zach and Amber who go up on the block, especially since Jameka still has 2 weeks where she can't compete in HOH competitions. But don't be surprised if one of the Donatos goes up in Amber's place, or is slipped in as a potential backdoor. Could Eric and Jessica really be that trusting of Dick and Daniele at this point?

I guess we'll see!

Click for more Big Brother

Big Brother's Jen is Gone!

I started the season off hating her. Then I felt badly for her. Then I simultaneously felt badly for her and hated her.

Yes, Big Brother's Jen brought out some complex emotions in me. And now she is gone.

CBS tried their damndest to demonize the girl, while painting Dick in as positive a light as possible, in last night's show, painting her as a sore loser who had no integrity for the game she had signed up to play. It's not an entirely inaccurate characterization -- she did, after all, choose to go against the "slop rule" and eat real food, and for that she absolutely should have been punished.

But it also doesn't tell the whole story, because Dick truly is evil. Some of the things that have come out of his mouth are some of the nastiest, most vile things I have ever heard one human being say to another. How this impacted Jen's psychological state, and her ability to play the game, can not be underestimated.

Is Jen just a spoiled princess, or was she just pushed over the edge by Dick's heckling? I think both are probably true, and I believe her decision to go to the sequester house or not will tell us even more about her character. I have to admit, though, while her antics were at times entertaining, I can't say I'm sorry to see her go.

Bye Jen!

Click for more Big Brother

Nicole Ritchie In and Out of Jail in 82 Minutes



Think Paris is pissed? She had to spend a month in the slammer, while pregnant pal Nicole Ritchie, who had been sentenced to serve four days in jail, was released after just 82 minutes due to overcrowding.

If overcrowding is such a problem in Los Angeles jails, ya think they might want to build a few new ones? Just a thought.

Lindsay Lohan on the Road to Recovery?



Troubled starlet Lindsay Lohan released the following statement on Thursday:

“It is clear to me that my life has become completely unmanageable because I am addicted to alcohol and drugs. Recently, I relapsed and did things for which I am ashamed. I broke the law, and today I took responsibility by pleading guilty to the charges in my case. No matter what I said when I was under the influence on the day I was arrested, I am not blaming anyone else for my conduct other than myself. I thank God I did not injure others. I easily could have. I very much want to be healthy and gain control of my life and career and have asked for medical help in doing so. I am taking these steps to improve my life. Luckily, I am not alone in my daily struggle and I know that people like me have succeeded. Maybe with time it will become easier. I hope so.”

To be honest, I'm kinda over La Lohan, but I wish her all the best.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

New Trailer for The Assassination of Jesse James Now Online



It seems like they've been shooting this movie forever -- who knew it was coming out next month?

Here is the first trailer for The Assasination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Wow, that's quite a title!

The movie stars Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Mary Louise Parker and more. According to reports on the film, it's more a psychological character study than it is a shoot-em-up. Looks interesting!

Zac Efron Shows Off His Guns



I've already clearly jumped off the deep end in terms of a Zac Efron obsession, so why stop now?

Here's a few pics of Zac out and about in Los Angeles, showin' off his guns in a tank top. The boy's been working out!

Thanks to JustJared.com for the pics.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Check Out the Trailer To "I'm Not There," The New Bob Dylan Movie



If the idea of Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Cate Blanchett, Richard Gere and more playing iconic singer Bob Dylan doesn't sound interesting to you, well, stop reading now!

The trailer for I'm Not There, the new film directed by Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven), is now online, giving us our first glimpses of the all-star cast tackling the folk rock icon.

I don't know about you, but I am so there.

Jennifer Hudson Talks About Being Lonely While Recording Her Upcoming Album



It ain't easy to be an Oscar winning future recording star!

Jennifer Hudson posted this video, shot by her boyfriend James, on her myspace page. She is in Miami finishing up work on her upcoming album, and she (jokingly) laments how lonely she is.

If her new music is anything like her fierce duet "Leaving Tonight" with Ne-Yo, I'm already hooked!

The Wire Star Lance Reddick Gets Lost



This bit of casting news probably won't mean much to the 99% of the population that are foolishly not watching HBO's The Wire, which is hands-down the best show on television, but for those who care...

Michael Ausiello from TVGuide.com is reporting that The Wire star Lance Reddick, who plays Lt. Daniels on the Baltimore crime drama, will play the recurring role of a corporate recruiter on the upcoming season of ABC's Lost. According to Ausiello, the casting notice for the role read "a very tall and thin corporate recruiter who is smart, capable and ruthless. He may smile and his words may sound soothing but their effect can send chills up your spine."

Sounds like Reddick to me!

Now, does anyone know when Season 4 of The Wire comes out on DVD??

Click for more Television News/Commentary

Madonna and Justin Timberlake to Duet at the VMA's



MTV's Video Music Awards have always featured unconventional and/or surprising pairings, and many of those have included Madonna. Who can forget her liplocks with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera a few years ago?

Well, Madge is coming back to the VMA's, reports Entertainment Tonight, and this time she's bringing along the hottest guy in music -- Justin Timberlake. Apparently the two will be performing one of the tracks they have been working on for Madonna's upcoming album. I'm guessing Timbaland, who is "musically supervising" the evening, will also get in on the festivities.

Should be hot!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Daughtry Sneaks Past Clarkson On This Week's Album Chart

Despite the fact that his CD was released more than 6 months before Kelly Clarkson's, Chris Daughtry passed the first Idol winner on this week's album charts. Daughtry moved just under 21K albums this week, good for the #33 spot, while Clarkson came in at #35, with just over 19K albums sold.

Not to be outdone, Carrie Underwood, whose CD was released almost two years ago, sold just under 16K copies for the #43 spot.

As expected, the soundtrack to High School Musical 2 topped the chart this week, selling an incredible 618K copies. The soundtrack to the first High School Musical also got a huge boost this week, with almost 36K copies sold.

HSM2 was only one of two CD's featuring Zac Efron in the Top 5, as the soundtrack to Hairspray came in at #5 (64K copies). The rest of the Top 5 includes Hannah Montana, Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds, and Now 25.

Numbers courtesy of Hits Daily Double

Friday Night Lights First Season Now on DVD -- For Cheap!



It's the best show you have probably never watched -- but now you can!

The complete first season of the amazing Friday Night Lights is in stores today, and if you've heard the buzz but never seen the program, now is your chance to jump on the bandwagon. I promise, you won't regret it! (Especially since Amazon.com is selling it for only $19.99!) Plus, Universal is offering a money-back guarantee if you don't like it. How can you go wrong?

To repeat what has been said about this show ad nauseum, you do not have to be a football fan to appreciate the beautiful, raw naturalism of this show. The writing is stellar, and the acting, from the likes of Kyle Chandler, Connie Britton, Zach Gilford, Scott Porter, Gaius Charles, Minka Kelly, and more, is nothing short of transcendant.

I can not recommend buying this DVD set highly enough. And to make it even easier...here's a link!

Click for more Television News/Commentary

I Love Mandy Moore -- But Not 'I Am Mandy Moore'



It's been quite a Mandy Moore week for me.

A few days ago I was invited to a screening of Mandy's new movie Dedication, co-starring the very talented and adorable Billy Crudup. The movie is just okay -- it has some very charming moments, and Crudup is, as always, fantastic, but Mandy's character (through no fault of her own) felt a little underdeveloped. There were some plot holes that were difficult to overlook, but the film was definitely not terrible, and Mandy was her usual luminous self. Is she gorgeous or what?

Then, last night, I happened upon a replay of the Oxygen Television special I Am Mandy Moore, which followed Mandy in the few months leading up to the release of her record Wild Hopes. The special was pretty unexciting (lots of promotional appearances, and lots of whining about how tired she was), but it did show that Mandy worked her ass off promoting this record, and that the music clearly means a lot to her. And while her personality seems pretty white-bread, she did show off glimpses of sarcasm that suggested she might have more of an edge than she generally lets on.

As much as I love Mandy-the-actress (Saved is genius!), I've never been a big fan of Mandy-the-singer, but I have to admit, some of the songs featured in the special were pretty damn good! Once she started singing the beautiful and haunting "Gardenia," I had decided I had to download the girl's CD.

I haven't given it a listen yet, but I'll let y'all know how it is once I do.

The picture above (courtesy of JustJared.com) is from Mandy's upcoming appearance on the TV show How I Met Your Mother

Zac Efron Yearbook Photos Through the Years



How does dreaminess develop?

Well, thanks to JustJared.com, we've got some pictures of High School Musical heartthrob Zac Efron through the years to help us figure it out!

Have you watched High School Musical 2? What did ya think?

It's Official: Jennifer Garner and Kevin Kline Coming to Broadway in Cyrano



From the moment I first saw Jennifer Garner as "Hannah," Noel's girlfriend, on the classic TV show Felicity, I fell in love. Now the Alias star is coming to Broadway!

Garner will be making her debut on the Great White Way opposite Tony and Academy Award winner Kevin Kline in a revival of the classic play Cyrano de Bergerac. The pair will be joined by Daniel Sunjata, who was amazing (and naked!) in Take Me Out, and currently appears on both Rescue Me (as studly firefighter Franco) and ESPN's The Bronx is Burning (as legendary ballplayer Reggie Jackson).

According to the producers of the show, Cyrano is "a classic tale of romance and tragedy. The soulful poet/philosopher and brilliant swordsman Cyrano (Kline), a cadet in the French Army, falls for the beautiful, strong-willed Roxane (Garner), but is too ashamed of his large nose to tell her. Instead, when he learns that she loves the handsome Christian de Neuvillette (Sunjata), his dim-witted comrade, he pens poetry and love letters to Roxane on Christian's behalf. After many years, the truth is revealed. Will love or beauty conquer all?"

Jennifer Garner this season, and Jake Gyllenhaal next? Does it get much better than this?

Tickets to Cyrano de Bergerac go on sale via an exclusive pre-sale to American Express cardholders Aug. 22, and to the general public on Sept. 8 at www.Ticketmaster.com.

Janeane Garofalo Joins the Cast of 24



She starred in one of my favorite movies of all time (Reality Bites -- genius!!), and now she's coming to television in of my favorite shows. Yes, comedian Janeane Garofalo is joining the cast of 24 this fall!

Michael Ausiello over at TVGuide.com is reporting that the comedian will play a government official on the 7th season of the Emmy winning drama.

Can't wait!

Click for more Television News/Commentary

Celine Dion Covers Heart and Donnie Hathaway on New CD



According to a report from someone at a listening party for Celine Dion's upcoming album Taking Chances, the Canadian chanteuse will cover Heart's "Alone" and Donnie Hathaway's "A Song For You" on the new CD.

The disc, which is set to hit stores in November, also features guitar-driven rock-ish tunes, a blues song, and, of course, several of Celine's signature power ballads.

It's been too long, diva -- it'll be good to have you back!

Click here to read the report from the listening party.

More Fallout From the Jen and Dick Fight -- A Penalty Nomination!

Well, I guess that answers the question I posed in my post Big Brother Uncensored -- What a Joke.

It seems Jen has received a "penalty nomination" for eating real food when she is supposed to be on slop. Apparently, this is the first time in Big Brother history that someone has violated the rules in this way. The "penalty nomination" means that if Jen survives this week's vote, she will automatically be put up on the block next week and she may not compete in a PoV competition. (Is she ineligible for HOH? Not sure.)

Wow. Wow, wow, wow. This could change everything this week, as keeping Jen around, knowing that she will automatically be on the block next week, could definitely be in the best interest of the remaining houseguests. Which means Jameka, who had previously seemed like the smallest threat (considering she still can't compete in HOH competitions for the next 3 weeks) could find herself walking out the door on Thursday night.

Wow.

Click for more Big Brother.

Big Brother Uncensored - What a Joke

Every few days or so I'll tune into Big Brother After Dark so I can hear the dulcet tones of the houseguests' inane conversations as I'm drifting off to sleep. The show is billed as an uncensored look at what is happening in the house, what "the network can't show you."

Well, tonight we found out that uncensored doesn't mean squat. In the midst of an argument between Jen and Dick, at a moment when it seemed Dick might burn Jen with his cigarette as she attempted to swat the cigarette away, all of a sudden there was a shot of the Big Brother control room, with the words "Big Brother After Dark will be right back."

Apparently Jen tried to destroy Dick's cigarettes (which is not allowed in the game), and the producers replaced them. Jen claims that she had asked before entering the house whether she would be able to destory cigarettes (talk about foresight!), and the fact that the cigarettes were replaced incensed Jen to the point that she decided to eat real food, despite the fact that she is supposed to be on slop. Jen and Dick then proceed to scream at each other (it is still going on as I write this), with Dick saying some of the absolute nastiest things I have ever heard someone say to someone. I mean, really despicable things.

Now, don't get me wrong, this was not pleasant to watch, and for a moment it did seem as though Dick would burn Jen, as she was getting right up in his face. But if Showtime is going to advertise these hours as "totally uncensored," well, they should be uncensored. Yes, it seems like this was a moment when the producers had lost control of the house, but what's with cutting away? That doesn't sound uncensored to me.

On a separate but related note, what happens now that Jen has eaten? And will they show this incident on CBS?

Click for more Big Brother

Monday, August 20, 2007

Time Magazine Investigates 'How Zac Efron Became the Cutest Guy Ever'



Sure, he appeared semi-shirtless on the cover of Rolling Stone, but you know Zac Efron has really hit the big time when Time magazine publishes a story called "How Zac Efron Became the Cutest Guy Ever."

I mean, I can't disagree with the sentiment -- after watching High School Musical 2 this weekend, I am more in love with this kid than ever. He is so adorable, so charismatic, and so gosh darn earnest that it's nearly impossible not to fall in love with him. Plus he sings and dances -- how do you top that?

Time tries to get to the bottom of his appeal, calling Zac "among the biggest stars tweens have had since they wore bobby socks." There's not a ton of new Zac info in the article, but it's an interesting read, nonetheless.

He's so dreamy!!!

Read the full Time article here.

Jordin Sparks' New Single To Debut at Radio August 27

It's been an unusually quiet summer on the American Idol front, but that may be starting to change.

It was (finally) announced that Season 6 champ Jordin Sparks has been signed to Jive Records, and that her first single, called "Tattoo," will be released to radio on August 27.

Jordin is the first Season 6 contender to have a record deal announced, which is slightly surprising considering last year at this time we had already heard of deals for Taylor Hicks, Katharine McPhee, Chris Daughtry and Kellie Pickler.

Does this mean that they have taken more time to produce a quality record, as opposed to rushing out a CD that may or may not be of listen-able quality? Let's hope so.

I, for one, am very curious to hear what Jordin's new song sounds like -- will it be more "Miss Independent" or "This is My Now"? Here's hoping it's the former.

Click for more News on Former American Idol Contestants

Will the Backdoor Strike Again on Big Brother?

This season, getting nominated for eviction on Big Brother doesn't seem to be cause for much concern -- it's getting backdoor'ed that should be feared!

As Amber might ask, "what does backdoor mean?" (Oh, simple, simple Amber)

Joe, Mike, Nick, and Dustin all saw themselves walk out the door without having been one of the original nominess, and while this week Daniele nominated Amber and Jameka for eviction, the younger Donato was able (SPOILER!!) win the power of veto, and has subsequently saved Amber from the block, putting Jen up in her place.

Oh yeah, Jen -- I'd almost forgot about her with all the Eric/Daniele/Dick/Dustin drama that's been going on the past couple of weeks. In fact, I had started to think she might cruise all the way to the final 4.

Well, not if Daniele has anything to say about it!

With only 5 houseguests able to vote this week (Amber, Eric, Jessica, Dick and Zach), what will the outcome be? Dick will try to get his nemesis Jen evicted, and Amber will vote to save Jameka -- those two are no-brainers. If Jess and Eric are trying to keep up their pact with Dick and Daniele, it would seem their two votes would be enough to send Jen packing.

But what will America want Eric to do? And if Eric gets instructed to vote out Jameka (a likely possibility, since Dustin and Amber, Jameka's alliance-members, have been America's last two targets), will Zach come through as the third vote to eliminate Jen?

Never a dull moment in the Big Brother house!

Click for more Big Brother

Ryan Seacrest is Taking Over the World!



He already hosts the biggest show on television, has a nationally syndicated radio show, is the face of E! Entertainment Television, and is the heir apparent to take over Dick Clark's New Years Eve duties. Well, apparently that isn't enough for Ryan Seacrest!

Just last week it was announced that the metrosexual wonder would how the pre-game and half-time festivities at this year's Super Bowl. But wait -- that's not enough! Now word comes that Seacrest will host this year's Emmy Awards!

The following is from a press release from Fox:

"Ryan Seacrest appeals to a broad audience, including the highly desirable young adult demographic," adds Dick Askin, Chairman and CEO of the Television Academy. Adds Ken Ehrlich, executive producer of the Emmycast: "This year's show will be different in a number of ways; the freshness, enthusiasm and professionalism that Ryan brings to everything he does will be a perfect match for some of the innovative things we have planned. I’ve watched Ryan’s growth on live events with great delight, and we’re going to have a great time with him on the Emmys."

Seacrest...taking over the world!

Click for more Television News/Commentary

Veronica Mars To Visit Heroes


This is the kind of news that makes fanboys go wild!

Kristen Bell, of the late, great Veronica Mars, will appear on NBC's Heroes in a multi-episode arc this fall.

According to Variety, "Bell will make her first Heroes appearance in October. She’ll play Elle, a character described as a sexy, mysterious young lady who has ties to the supposed death of Peter, H.R.G.’s past and the future of Claire. Elle will kick off her arc by committing a serious crime, though it’s unclear whether she’s good or bad."

I never really got into this show, but with the addition of Ms. Bell I just might have to check it out!

Click for more Television News/Commentary

The NY Times Is Not So Fond of the New Grease



If there was any doubt of the way I feel about Ben Brantley, the lead theater critic for the New York Times, my affection for the old stodger was confirmed in the first paragraph of his review of the new production of Grease, starring reality tv finds Max Crumm and Laura Osnes:

"Changing the channel is not an option. I am sorry to report that the limp new production of Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey’s “Grease,” which opened last night at the Brooks Atkinson Theater, is not governed by the rules of audience control that applied to “Grease: You’re the One That I Want,” the reality TV show through which this revival cast its stars. The spectacle of all those bouncy, sunny young things self-consciously singing off-key, suggesting a karaoke night in Fort Lauderdale during spring break, was a sobering reminder of why the remote control exists."

I mean, the man is a genius.

Now, granted, I haven't seen the new production, so I can't really attest to the accuracy of his assertions, but still...

The man is a genius.

Superbad Knocks It Out of the Park



Teen comedy Superbad knocked it out of the park this weekend, pulling in $31.2 million. Didja see it? I did!

Between this and Knocked Up, this is undoubtedly the summer of the R-rated comedy, and I couldn't be happier! (As a side note, I saw the movie the same day I watched High School Musical 2, and it was the perfect antidote to all the earnest goodness put forth in the admittedly adorable Disney confection). Yes, Superbad was a bit juvenile at times, but it was also hysterically funny, and even had genuine moments of sweetness between the two boys (I particularly enjoyed their drunken declarations of love for each other).

Jonah Hill proved the comic chops he showed off in Knocked Up were no fluke, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse took film dorkiness to a laugh-out-loud new level, but for me Arrested Development's Cera stole the show with his unwaveringly genius deadpan style. I love this kid!

I could have done with a little less of the bumbling cops (although Seth Rogen is always good for a laugh), but all in all, if you like a hearty laugh and some dirty jokes, I'd definitely recommend seeing this flick. Not since American Pie have high schoolers been this funny.

Click for more Movie News/Commentary

Saturday, August 18, 2007

High School Musical 2 Sets Ratings Record

Did you watch? I know I did!

Variety is reporting that the Friday premiere of Disney Channel's High School Musical 2 brought in a remarkable 17.24 million viewers, making it the most watched basic cable telecast ever, including sports telecasts.

Per Variety, "HSM 2 now ranks as the most-watched TV movie ever with kids 6-11, drawing 6.1 million viewers in that demo, and the most-watched ever with tweeners 9-14, drawing 5.9 million viewers in that demo, according to Disney Channel."

Wow. I guess we really all are in this together.

Click for more Television News/Commentary

Friday, August 17, 2007

HBO Renews Entourage and Flight of the Concords



Even though Entourage is not having it's strongest season ever, I still love it -- and so does HBO!

The cable network has decided to keep Vince, Turtle, E, Drama and Ari around for another season, renewing Entourage for a fifth go-round. It also gave a second season pickup to Flight of the Concords, an often hysterical look at a pair of New Zealand folk singers.

Hug it out!

The Best Things About Last Night's SYTYCD Finale

The day after the American Idol finale, I posted the Ten Best and Five Worst Things about the two-hour extravaganza. I had intended to do the same for this year's So You Think You Can Dance finale, but I ran into a problem -- I couldn't possibly name five bad things!

Yep, the finale was that good. Not as good as last year's, I must admit, but pretty entertaining from start-to-finish. Just to get it out of the way, so we can focus on the brilliance of the dancers, I'll acknowledge that Cat Deeley's dress was perhaps the most hideous (and distracting) sartorial creation I have ever seen in my entire life; that the promised Cat/Nigel coupling was nothing short of insulting to the viewers; and that Kameron was unceremoniously ignored last night (would it have killed them to feature his sensational Mia Michaels dance with Lacey?)

But enough about the negative -- let's talk about what was great.

-Danny's attitude
Danny Tidwell was like a different person last night than he was for most of the season -- smiling, passionate, relaxed, and charming. His journey, and his dancing, was one of the most satisfying parts of the entire season.

-Sara's showcase
Good for B-girl for Sara for appearing in three of the encore dances. Who knew she had been a part of so many of the season's most memorable moments?

-Lacey letting it down
All season long Lacey had a bit of a performance sheen, but when it was announced that she was "not America's favorite dancer," we saw a vulnerable Lacey that we had never seen before. If she had shown that side of herself more often, she might have walked away the winner.

-Revisiting greatness
Lacey and Danny's samba, Pasha and Lauren and Dominic and Sabra's hip hop, Neil and Lacey's contemporary, and Neil and Sabra's jazz were all joys to come back to. In some cases, the encore performances were actually stronger than the originals!

-The return of the clogger and the robot-kid
I usually don't like novelty acts, but both of these performers were worthy of celebration.

And, finally...

-The celebration of dance and genuine talent
I love this show, and I fell head over heels in love with these kids (again!) Thanks to all the Idol Thoughts readers for joining me on the journey through the So You Think You Can Dance season.

Who's going to the tour? I know I'll be there!!

Click for more So You Think You Can Dance

Parting Shots of Beautiful Neil Haskell



He may not have won the top prize, but Neil Haskell certainly won the hearts of many, with his acrobatic tricks and beautiful smile. His performance in the Mia Michaels flower dance was one of the highlights of the season, while his Mandy Moore jazz dance, paso doble, and hip hop with Lauren will not soon be forgotten.

Oh yeah, and his body's okay, too.

That body!

Here are some pics that will ensure you don't forget SYTYCD's prettiest boy. (More can be found here)

Idol Thoughts loves ya, Neil!




Is America's Player Going To Win Big Brother?

For the past two weeks now, I've been convinced that America is trying to sabotage Big Brother's Eric, America's Player. How else to explain instructing him to nominate Dustin and then give his closest ally, Jessica, the silent treatment for 24 hours. Not to mention the stray votes that nearly got Eric kicked off a couple of weeks back.

But now I'm thinking perhaps America is smarter than they (collectively) look. Could America really guide Eric to a victory in this game?

While the idea of getting rid of Dustin, one of Eric's closest friends in the house, at at first screamed "terrible idea," Eric was able to work with what he was given to put himself into a pretty solid position. By forming an alliance with Dick and Daniele, and bringing my beloved Jessica along for the ride, he may have guaranteed himself a spot in the Final 4. The truth is, Dustin was going to get in his way, and had it come down to a final four of Eric, Dustin, Amber and Jameka, Eric would have easily been the odd man out. Now, if Amber goes this week (which she should), Jameka will be defenseless, since there are still 3 HOH competitions that she is unable to compete in. That leaves just Zach and Jen, who could become more dangerous later in the game, but at the moment are just about good for nothing.

And oh yeah, Dick and Daniele -- easily the most entertaining (and at times maddening) duo on the show. I love what Eric said about "honor among thieves" -- who better to trust than someone you don't trust at all?

The one flaw in this plan for Eric, however, is that he is not earning himself any favor on the jury. I find it hard to believe he would get Dustin's vote at this point, and if Amber does go this week I'd say her vote is a lost cause as well. His best bet? Going up against Dick in the final 2.

What do you think? Is America trying to sabotage it's player, or are they trying to strategically guide him to victory?

Click for more Big Brother

I loved his speech about "honor among thieves"

Hats Off to Sabra Johnson, A Most Deserving SYTYCD Champion

Well, another season of So You Think You Can Dance bites the dust. As I wait for the realization that this season is really over to set in, I have to raise my glass and take my hat off (and any other mixed metaphor I can think of) to Sabra Johnson, a most deserving champion.

Yes, for most of the season I wanted Lacey to win, and in the past couple of weeks my allegiance had switched to Danny, but the truth of the matter is that Sabra personifies what this competition is all about. She wasn't the sibling of one of last year's most memorable contestants; she didn't have a dramatic backstory about a dying mother or a childhood accident; and she wasn't the loudest or flashiest contestant on the show.

Instead, Sabra danced, and she danced beautifully, with every single ounce of her being. She projected joy and passion and enthusiasm that never felt forced or fake. And she was versatile! Consider the styles she tackled: contemporary, cha cha, rumba, jazz, hip hop, quickstep, Broadway, and the list goes on.

So, hats off to ya, Sabra -- wear your title proudly.

Stay tuned for the Ten Best Moments of this Year's Finale

Click for more So You Think You Can Dance

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Is Big Brother's Dustin Going Home Tonight?

Things in the Big Brother house are never as they seem.

While a week ago, when Jessica was named the new HOH, it looked like a sure thing that Dick or Daniele was going home. Then, when Dick won the Power of Veto and removed Daniele from the block, it seemed like a no-brainer that Dick would get the boot. In fact, Dustin was so confident of this he volunteered himself to go up on the block.

Well, whaddaya know -- now it seems like Dustin's plan may backfire on him and he will be the 6th houseguest eliminated this year. It's certainly not a done-deal, but it is looking more and more likely.

Apparently, Eric and Jessica have decided that it may be in their best interests to join forces with Dick and Daniele, and try to ride that foursome all the way to the Final 4. I'm not entirely sure what precipitated this turnaround, but I have a hunch it may have something to do with the way America has instructed Eric to vote. If Eric was told to evict Dustin, perhaps he decided to change tactics, bringing Jessica along with him, in an effort to "earn America's respect." Or, in other words, he is sick of working against America, and decided if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

If this does happen, the sh*t is gonna hit the fan tonight -- I can't wait to see what Jameka and Amber's responses will be.

It's certainly never dull in the Big Brother house!

Click for more Big Brother

Video of Danny Tidwell's Solo

Well, I've given him the Idol Thoughts endorsement and predicted that he will be the winner of So You Think You Can Dance, so it seems the least I can do is feature the video of his solo.

Danny Tidwell is breathtaking.

Enjoy.



**Thanks to JustJared for the video.

Now For The Hard Part -- Who Is Going To Win SYTYCD?

Okay...

I've recapped and ranked last night's performances (click here)

I've given my Idol Thoughts endorsement (click here)

So what's next? Oh yeah -- figuring out who is actually going to take home the prize.

After much deliberation, here is how I think it is going to play out...

Fourth Place: Lacey Schwimmer
How could the girl who has never been in the Bottom 2 or 3 finish in only 4th place? Part of the problem may be that Lacey is too good, too consistent -- the audience may have started to take for granted that she was going to deliver excellence almost every performance. The other part of the problem is that Lacey's solos have been borderline terrible, and her final showing, the Lindy Hop, was an amateurish disaster. She would be a deserving winner, but I'm afraid she's going to have to settle for 4th place.

Third Place: Neil Haskell
Like Nigel said, Neil peaked at the right time, and if the screaming girls had their say, Neil would definitely be the champion. He's got a shot, but I think he's going to come up short -- gorgeous and talented as he may be, he doesn't have the technical chops of Danny or the joyful spirit of Sabra, so I'm guessing he's gonna miss out on a Top 2 finish.

Second Place: Sabra Johnson
Sabra is a true joy to watch, and everyone I know who watches this show absolutely adores her. If there is going to be a female winner this year, it will almost undoubtedly be her. However, I think she dropped the ball last night -- her solo and hip-hop were just-ok, and while she was great in both the jazz and cha cha, she didn't seem to sparkle like she has been the last week. Still, don't count the little spitfire out.

First Place: Danny Tidwell
Yes, I may be biased, since I also gave Danny the Idol Thoughts Endorsement, but I think he was so mind-bogglingly spectacular last night that he may just have propelled himself to victory. That solo!! I mean!! We all know the "best dancer" isn't the one who wins, but I think in this case he just might.

What do you think? Who's gonna win this thing?

Click for more So You Think You Can Dance

Youtube Videos From Last Night's Show

Relive last night before tonight's winner is announced! C'mon, it's fun!

(Later this week I'm going to post youtube videos from memorable dances from the past two seasons -- get psyched!)

The Top 4 Finalists getting their Broadway on:



Danny and Neil showing us how the boys do it:



Danny and Lacey's breathtaking Viennese Waltz:



Lacey and Sabra's wacked out and wonderful Wade Robson routine:

Solo and Overall Rankings: Idol Thoughts Endorsement Goes To...

So, I've ranked the couples (click here), and now its time to look at the solos...

1. Danny
For the past few weeks now Danny has really stepped his solos up a notch, and as he bounded around the stage like a man with an incredible amount of unleashed passion, Danny literally took my breath away tonight. He is truly sensational.

2. Neil
Just a few weeks ago Neil's solos consisted of high jumps and crazy acrobatics -- impressive, certainly, but lacking a bit in the artistry department. No longer! He felt the music tonight, giving easily his best solo performance of the season.

3. Sabra
I feel like I've seen this solo from Sabra every week now for the past several weeks. That doesn't mean it's not good -- I'm just kind of over it.

4. Lacey
Even though this was better than her last two solos (which were painful), the girl just can't give good solo. Hey, she can't be good at everything!

And, finally, the overall rankings from last night:

1. Danny
2. Sabra
3. Lacey
4. Neil

Thus, based on last night's performances, as well as a result of taking a look at all of the previous week's rankings, Idol Thoughts is ready to make an endorsement for this year's So You Think You Can Dance champion. Please know, I have gone back and forth on this all week, and even during last night's show I had not yet figured out who I want to win.

But I know now.

Idol Thoughts endorses Danny Tidwell as the winner of this year's So You Think You Can Dance.

Yes, a couple of weeks ago I said Lacey should win. And yes, Neil is drop dead gorgeous and has improved tremendously. And yes, Sabra is nothing short of sensational in everything that she does.

But Danny is transcendent. He's graceful, he's nuanced, he's an artist, and he's hot! Sure, he doesn't have a personality perfectly suited for reality television -- who cares? To me he is hands down the best dancer on the show, and as such deserves to win.

Will he? That I'm not sure. Check back in a little bit for my prediction of who will actually take home the prize.

Finale fever is in the air!!

Click for SYTYCD Top 4 Rankings and Recap: Part 1

Click for more So You Think You Can Dance

SYTYCD Top 4: Rankings and Recap

Well, that was a bit of a letdown.

Don't get me wrong -- there was some phenomenal dancing on last night's So You Think You Can Dance performance finale, and it is more unclear than ever who is going to win this thing. But still, I was hoping for more -- more excitement, more passion, more thrilling dance styles -- just more.

Let's discuss what we did get, though, as always in the form of rankings, first by couple, then by solo performance, and finally overall, which will lead to my official endorsement.

Here we go...

1. Lacey and Danny, Viennese Waltz
When the waltz is my favorite dance of the night, clearly the performers have done something right. This was amazing! These two glided around the stage, looking effortlessly elegant and transcendantly beautiful. I loved this routine.

2. Danny and Neil, Contemporary
I always love when the two boys dance together (Tranji, anyone?), and I was so excited to find out that my beloved Mia Michaels would be choreographing Danny and Neil's debut as a couple. This did not disappoint, with both boys going all-in on this athletic and character-driven number. I kinda wish there had been a bit more actual dancing, but it still worked for me. And then some.

3. Danny and Sabra, Cha Cha
These two were on fire! Between their fierce hip action and sharp movements, and chemistry (!), this was easily the hottest number of the night. Like the judges said, I wish we had a chance to see these two dance together more -- they made a great pair.

4. Lacey and Sabra, Jazz
Does Wade Robson have an animal fetish? Regardless, I enjoyed this number more than the judges did, but I have to agree that it didn't show off either girl to their very best. (The Season 1 Melody/Ashley combo, choreographed by Mia Michaels, is definitely the best girl/girl combo the show has ever had). I really gotta give it up to Lacey on this one -- the girl is a ballroom dancer, but you'd never know it from her stellar contemporary form. And Sabra was, as always, gorgeous.

5. Neil and Sabra, Hip Hop
Shane Sparks' routines have fallen short practically every time he has choreographed this season, and unfortunately this was no exception. It was boring! And neither Neil or Sabra really seemed like they were hitting the steps very hard or "in the pocket" of the music. Bummer.

6. Neil and Lacey, Lindy Hop
This was embarrassing. It's also unfortunate that it was their last performance of the season, because they looked like amateurs. While it's not entirely their fault (Lindy Hop, I gather, is a difficult dance to master), this was almost painful to watch.

Click for Solo and Overall Rankings and the Idol Thoughts endorsement

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Yes, More Zac Efron -- Shirtless and Wet!



Okay, clearly I'm obsessed with Zac Efron. I can't remember the last time a heartthrob emerged in this way (was it Justin Timberlake back in the 'nysnc days, perhaps?) Between Hairspray and High School Musical, this kid is everywhere -- and I can't get enough!

I read somewhere (I think Rolling Stone) that one in every three teenage girls has a poster of him in his room. I'm not surprised.

The picture above appears in the current issue of US Weekly -- as a centerfold. I mean!!

Clay Aiken Gets His Sexy On

This is kind of disturbing...and ridiculously funny. Yep, it's Clay Aiken singing Justin Timberlake's "SexyBack."

What did we do before YouTube???

Ten Best Dances on This Year's SYTYCD



With less than 8 hours until the first part of this season's So You Think You Can Dance finale, I thought it might be a good time to reflect on some of the magnificent dances we've seen so far this season. Of course an exercise like this is subjective -- anyone whose been reading Idol Thoughts this summer knows I have a special affinity for Mia Michaels, so it should be no surprise her creations are prominently featured in this list. I'd love to know what y'all would rank as your favorite dances from the season.

Here's mine...

1. Lacey and Kameron, Contemporary (Top 20)

2. Lacey and Neil, Contemporary (Top 8)

3. Jaimie and Hok, Jazz (Top 18)

4. Sabra and Neil, Jazz (Top 6)

5. Lacey and Danny, Samba (Top 10)

6. Anya and Danny, Viennese Waltz (Top 18)

7. Lauren and Danny, Contemporary (Top 6)

8. Sabra and Dominic, Rumba (Top 16)

9. Sara and Pasha, Jazz (Top 12)

10. Pasha and Bette Midler (Top 16)

Honorable Mentions:

Jessi and Pasha, Jazz (Top 18)
Anya and Danny, Jive (Top 20)
Lauren and Neil, Hip Hop (Top 18)
Sabra and Pasha, Quickstep (Top 8)
Sara and Jesus, Jazz (Top 20)
Sabra and Dominic, Contemporary (Top 18)
Lacey and Pasha, Smooth Waltz (Top 6)
Sabra and Neil, Paso Doble (Top 6)
Lacey and Pasha, Hip Hop (Top 6)
Sabra and Pasha, Broadway (Top 8)

Thoughts?

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Clarkson Holds Off Daughtry and Underwood on the Album Charts

Kelly Clarkson's latest, My December, barely held off CD's from fellow Idol alum Chris Daughtry and Carrie Underwood this week, moving almost 24K copies for the #24 spot. Daughtry finished at #27 (21K albums) and Underwood came in at #38 (17K albums).

The top 5 on this week's chart are new albums from U.G.K. (156K) and Plies (91K), Now 25 (87K), Hannah Montana (76K), and Jonas Brothers (70K).

In other news, Elliott Yamin's first single, "Wait for You," is currently the #3 song on the Top 40 pop chart. Go Elliott!

Click for more News on Former American Idol Contestants

Numbers courtesy of Hits Daily Double

Ok, I Cried at SYTYCD -- Sue Me

I don't know what it was, maybe it was the fact that all of the hooting and hollering of the studio audience was absent, but when it was announced that Pasha Kovalev would not be a part of this year's Top 4 on So You Think You Can Dance, I cried.

I didn't weep, I didn't hurl myself around, but a tear dripped down my face. While I'm not surprised that the show elicited emotion in me (please, its been doing it all season!), I was taken aback that it was Pasha's ouster that caused the display of waterworks. I had predicted he would be the one to go, and I do think Neil and Danny will make for a more entertaining male component of the finale, but the guy's been so charming, so versatile, and shown so much talent all season long that I couldn't help but feel a tinge of genuine sadness.

Alas, I wasn't as sorry to see Lauren's name called -- despite stepping up her game big time in the past couple of weeks, she just couldn't hold a candle to the wonders that are Sabra and Lacey. Lauren is actually the season's biggest disappointment to me -- I thought this girl was going to dazzle, but she only rarely really hit it out of the ballpark.

Looking forward to the finale (less than 48 hours away!), I'm thrilled we have such an extremely talented and dynamic group. Just thinking about combos is exciting -- Neil and Lacey (who wow'ed in their Mia Michaels number), Neil and Sabra (whose Mandy Moore office dance was incredible), Danny and Lacey (who killed their samba a few weeks ago), and then the three couples who have yet to dance together -- contemporary wunderkinds Sabra and Danny; Lacey and Sabra; and Neil and Danny (mmmmmmm).

I literally can't wait!!

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Monday, August 13, 2007

People Magazine Features SYTYCD's Top 6 Finalists



When People magazine does a spread on you, you know you've arrived!

Here are some pictures from this week's issue, which features and photos and interviews with the Top 6 dancers from So You Think You Can Dance. Enjoy!




How I've Come To Love Big Brother's Jessica

There have been two things happening in the Big Brother house over the past couple of weeks that have perplexed me, but after last night's episode I think I've been able to put my finger on what's going on.

First of all -- Jessica. How did the annoying sorority girl become my favorite houseguest?

The answer, actually, is pretty simple -- she listens. Everyone in the house this year speaks (or yells) before they've really thought about what they are going to say, but Jessica lets others do the talking, instead choosing to observe and consider before shouting as loudly as possible. Don't get me wrong, fights like the one between Dick and Jameka make for great (if sometimes squirm inducing) television, but its contestants like Jessica that balance out the crazies.

She's also not an idiot, nor is she easily duped. Clearly it makes more sense for Dick to stay in the house and Daniele to go, and Jessica seems to be the only one who can see that at the moment. And while she may have reconciled with Eric after the "Amber debacle" of last week, she's still got her eye on him, which is wise.

I say -- go Jessica!

Other thoughts on last night's show:

-Oh Jen. The "Jenius" on the underwear? No, no, no. And does anyone else find it tragic how blatantly Daniele is using her, and how she doesn't seem to be hip to that at all? I wouldn't have thought I could say this about Jen, but she's become kind of heartbreaking.

-How about Amber's monologue to God? I'm all for praying -- do what you gotta do to get through the days in that crazy house, no judgement here. But Amber performed her prayer last night, as though communicating with God was the same thing as talking to the producers in the Diary Room. That girl is nothing but drama, I swear!

-America, what are you thinking instructing Eric to try to get Dustin nominated? Are you trying to sabotage the poor dork?

-Finally, Dick vs. Jameka. I gotta give it up to Jameka for finally putting her foot down when it comes to Dick's rantings about her religious beliefs, and I was literally laughing out loud as she clapped her hands in front of her face, but I have to admit I'm getting a little bit tired of these screaming, insult-filled fights. Can't we all just get along?

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Songs I'm Obsessed With at The Moment: Fergie, Plain White T's, Bon Jovi, Josh Radin

I went to town on itunes last night, downloading a few new songs, as well as some not-so-new ditties.

-Fergie, "Big Girls Don't Cry"
I want to hate Fergie, but I just can't when she puts out great tunes like this one. Obsessed.

-Plain White T's, "Hey There Delilah"
Such a simple melody, and so catchy, I've been humming it under my breath all morning.

-Bon Jovi, "Want to Make a Memory"
Bon Jovi's 1996 concert is one of the best I've ever been to (and, yes, I've gotten lots of flack for that), but combine the boys from Jersey with a bit of a country tinge, and you've got musical heaven.

-Josh Radin, "The Fear You Won't Fall"
Danny Tidwell danced his solo to this on last week's So You Think You Can Dance, and Josh Radin subsequently danced his way into my heart. The melody and sentiment of this song is simply gorgeous.

Check these songs out and let me know what you think!