Thursday, September 27, 2007

Model Josie Moran Eliminated from Dancing with the Stars

Ok, I have a confession to make...I didn't watch last night's Dancing with the Stars results show. Does that make me a terrible blogger??

I do know who was given the boot, however...model Josie Moran, who I had predicted would be the first celebrity sent packin' in my post Overall Rankings and Elimination Prediction. Billionaire Mark Cuban joined Josie in the Bottom 2.

By all accounts last night's results show was pretty entertaining (in large part thanks to country legend Dolly Parton). I guess I'll have to take those "accounts'" word for it.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

TV Review: The New Bionic Woman is No Hero



I love Heroes. I also loved Alias. So why don't I love Bionic Woman?

NBC was kind enough to send me a screener of the pilot for the reconfigured Bionic Woman, and while there is definite potential for interesting mythologies and stories to develop, so far I am underwhelmed.

A large part of the problem for me is Michelle Ryan as Jaimie Sommers, the titular character. Unlike Jennifer Garner in Alias or Peta Wilson on La Femme Nikita, Ryan, at least thus far, is not capable of carrying a show. She's boring! And considering what her character has been through (after a car crash she's had bionic limbs and and an eye implanted), you'd think there would be room for interesting character choices. But, no. On top of that, she's not even that pretty! I spent a good amount of time watching the pilot simply wondering why they chose to cast this girl -- it's a serious handicap to overcome, considering Ryan is in most scenes of the first episode.

The other main problem is the tone of the show -- it's simply too dark. There is no humor. None. Heroes had Hiro for laughs, and Alias could play off of the romantic triangle between Sydney, Vaughn and Will, but Bionic is just serious. Annoyingly so.

The definite highlight of the pilot is Katee Sackhoff's (Battlestar Gallactica) appearance as Sarah Corvus, the "original Bionic Woman." As of now Sackhoff is billed only as a recurring player -- hopefully the creators will figure out what's good for them, and bring her on full time.

Will I keep watching? Yeah, I will -- at least for a few more weeks to see if Ryan can step up her game, and if the show's gloominess dissipates.

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TV Thoughts on L&O: SVU (9/25): Crazy Like Miranda

There's no question for me -- Law and Order: SVU is far and away the strongest of the Law and Order franchise. The acting is top-notch, the stories are generally pretty interesting, and the guest stars are impressive and appropriate. So I looked forward to last night's episode, which promised "Cynthia Nixon as you've never seen her before."

Well, it's true -- I have never seen Cynthia Nixon play a woman with multiple personalities before. Or, to be accurate, I have never seen Cynthia Nixon play a woman who is playing a woman with multiple personalities before. And although she was convincing in the role, it is actually the scenario she was placed in where the problem lies.

All in all, the season premiere was a big, hot mess. For the first 2/3 of the episode, there wasn't even an actual crime! And the show played so fast and loose with the disorder itself, if I was a member of the psychiatric community (or a patient suffering from the disease), I would be downright insulted. Having it all be a ruse for two sisters to murder their formerly abusive parents? Come on, L&O, you can do better than that.

It was good to see Mariska Hargitay back on the case full-time, though (with short hair, no less!), it seems like Stabler and his wife are really trying to make a go of it, and it was humorous to see Munch temporarily assume the role of captain during Kragen's suspension. Hopefully next week we'll get back to an episode that actually makes a bit of sense!

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First Photo of Jennifer Hudson in the Sex and the City Movie


Here's the first photo of Oscar winner and former American Idol contestant Jennifer Hudson on the set of the new Sex and the City movie. She plays Carrie Bradshaw's (Sarah Jessica Parker) assistant in the flick.

You go, J-Hud!

Dancing with the Stars Overall Rankings and Elimination Prediction

So I've ranked the Top 6 Women and the Top 6 Men, now it's time for the fun part -- figuring out who is going to be the first celebrity eliminated on this season of Dancing with the Stars.

First, I want to combine the two rankings list to get an overall rankings. Here we go...

1. Sabrina Bryan
2. Mel B.
3. Helio Castrovenes
4. Jane Seymour
5. Jennie Garth
6. Wayne Newton
7. Marie Osmond
8. Floyd Mayweather
9. Mark Cuban
10. Cameron Mathison
11. Albert Reed
12. Josie Moran

Yep, it's the two models hugging the bottom of the barrell, and I'm predicting, based on low name recognition, that they will be the first two contestants to face the glare of the red lights.

And my prediction for the first contestant ousted...

Josie Moran!

There's a rule of thumb on Dancing with the Stars -- if you are gonna whine, you better be good. Sorry, Josie, you just didn't cut it!

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American Idol's LaKisha Jones to Join the Broadway Cast of The Color Purple



The Idols keep on comin' to Broadway.

The latest former contestant to debut on the Great White Way will be Season 6 fourth place finisher LaKisha Jones. According to a press release, she will join the Broadway company of The Color Purple on December 19, 2007, as the church soloist in the musical's opening number. She will also play Sofia at the matinee performances.

There will be a few weeks where Kiki will be performing with Fantasia, who is currently winning raves for her performance as Celie. LaKisha is actually the third former Idol contestant to appear in The Color Purple -- Latoya London, the fourth place finisher from Season 3, is currently playing Nettie in the Chicago company of the show.

After delivering showstoppers like "And I Am Telling You," "God Bless the Child, "and "This Ain't a Love Song," is there anyone who believes LaKisha won't kill it on Broadway? Welcome to the club, girl!

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The First Casualty of the New Fall Season Is...

The first cancellation notice of the new fall season has been issued to...

Nashville!

The Fox drama/reality series, which followed aspiring country musicians in the titular city, attracted less than 4 million viewers for it's first two episodes.

I kinda liked it, but...oh well!

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Dancing with the Stars Top 6 Men: Rankings and Recap

Well, a woman has not won Dancing with the Stars since Kelly Monaco took home the trophy back in Season 1, but after seeing the men perform last night, I'd say that's pretty likely to change.

Yep, the men could barely hold a candle to the ladies, with only one standout dancer in the bunch. Let's get to the rankings...

1. Helio Castroneves
The NASCAR dancer has the great fortune of working with last year's champ Julianne Hough, who, it seems, is unfailingly brilliant, but he's also in good stead because he's got actual dance ability! This fox trot was nearly perfect, with charm and elegance to spare. It's always fun to see an athlete, who has not had experience "performing," shine. Last night, that was Helio.

2. Wayne Newton
The guy certainly knows how to charm, as he's had years of experience doing so. He's also got the DWTS good-luck charm in Cheryl Burke. This certainly wasn't dazzling, but it had more pizazz than most of his competitors.

3. Floyd Mayweather
He's no Laila Ali, but the guy has clearly got god-given rhythym, and he certainly attacked this dance like it was a competitor in a ring. It was feisty and passionate, but it wasn't pleasant to watch, per se. Still, I admire the commitment.

4. Mark Cuban
I want to hate this guy -- he seems like an overgrown frat boy with the world's biggest bank account. But there's something likable about his determination at "having new experiences," not to mention the quick recovery he's made from his recent hip replacement surgery. The dancing was not flawless by any means, but the attitude is right on target.

5. Cameron Mathison
This guy is so the Ian Ziering of this year -- sweet, but stiff as a board. Never underestimate those soap opera fans, though -- they'll keep this guy (who is, admittedly, quite attractive)around for weeks!

6. Albert Reed
It's always interesting when a model looks ugly, and that was the case with Albert Reed last night. His still photos are breathtaking -- his dancing, not so much.

Check back in a little bit for my prediction of who will get the boot tonight.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Marie Osmond and Mary Murphy: Separated at Birth?



One is Dancing with the Stars' Marie Osmond, the other is So You Think You Can Dance's Mary Murphy. Can you tell the difference?

Uncanny, no?

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Reba Tops the Album Chart, Daughtry Slips and Underwood Drops Out of Top 50

Believe it or not, this week's Top 50 album chart will be the first one not to feature Carrie Underwood's Some Hearts since 2005! Don't worry for Carrie, though -- her new album comes out in four weeks, so she'll be dominating again before too long.

Dominating this week, however, is Reba McEntire, who got an assist from Kelly Clarkson on her albums Duets. Clarkson and McEntire of course recorded a new version of Clarkson's "Because of You," which served as the first single. Duets sold approximately 300K copies, which is the biggest first week total of Reba's career.

The only Idol alum with an album on the charts, then, is Daughtry, whose self-titled debut fell eight spots to #31 this week (21K copies).

Aside from Reba, the rest of the Top 5 consisted of Kanye West (200K), 50 Cent (128K), Barry Manilow (112K) and Kenny Chesney (110K).

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12 Best SYTYCD Dances: Lacey and Kameron's Season 3 Contemporary at #3



Ok, I admit it...I miss So You Think You Can Dance. I know, I know, it's been almost three weeks since Sabra Johnson was named this year's champ, but I can't get those kids and their fancy footwork out of my head!

So, to satisfy my SYTYCD cravings, I thought I would take a look over the next week or so at the 12 Best SYTYCD Dances of All Time, including a youtube video when available. Like all best-of lists, these choices are subjective, so please feel free to post comments and let me know what you think.


Mia Michaels is a miracle worker, and in this dance from Season 3's first performance episode, she did it again, transforming Lacey Schwimmer from the cheesy, annoying younger sister she had appeared to be during the audition episodes, into a sexy, emotional woman. Of course, it became clear over the course of the season that there wasn't much Lacey couldn't do, but she was simply magnificent in this performance, flinging herself around the stage with total abandon. And even though Lacey was clearly the star of the number, cutie Kameron was there for her every single step of the way. The dance had tension, heartbreak, intimacy -- and I loved every second of it.

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TV Thoughts on Weeds (9/24): Nancy is in the Clear

I got a lot of flack for posing the question "Has Weeds jumped the shark?" last week, and I am now ready to admit that yes, I may have been a bit premature in posing that question. This week's episode, while not reaching the height of the first couple showings of the season, seemed to be getting our beloved Nancy back on track.

Of course, it wouldn't be Weeds if Nancy wasn't making a few questionable decisions, and she continued to do so in this episode. While it was awesome to watch her get her debt to Marvin erased by negotiating with the "Mexicans," was it really necessary for her to celebrate that triumph by screwing her creepy boss? I'd much prefer she resuscitate her flirtation with Conrad -- those two are hot!

My favorite moment of the episode, though, was when Nancy watched the drug dealer walk to her car and retrieve the trunk of heroin. The look on Mary Louise Parker's face, of both relief and sexual attraction, totally illustrates what a genius she is.

Mary Kate Olsen didn't have much to do in this episode, but I found her banter with Shane about the tenants of Christianity quite amusing. I also enjoyed mini-lesbian Isabelle stealing Shane's dream girl out from under his nose, as well as Andy's foray into the world of porn catering.

All in all, I have to admit I was foolish to underestimate Jenji Kohan and company. After all, this show is so entertainingly, ridiculously off-the-wall, I think the shark may have been jumped before the first episode ever even aired!

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Youtube Encore: Sabrina Bryan's Dancing with the Stars Performance



It's time for a youtube encore of Sabrina Bryan's stellar debut on Dancing with the Stars last night. Girl's got some moves!

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Dancing with the Stars Top 6 Women: Rankings and Recap

Dancing with the Stars is one of those shows that I don't know that I've missed until it comes back, at which point I'm reminded of how much cheesy fun it can be. It doesn't excite me the way, say, So You Think You Can Dance does, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a smile plastered across my face during most of last night's proceedings.

The first thing that made me happy was that Samantha Harris wasn't there! I guess she popped out that baby of hers, meaning Drew Lachey will be filling in for the next few weeks. Drew's pretty stiff himself, but Samantha is queen of the annoying forced cheeriness, so I'm not sorry she's gonna have to sit out the first part of the season.

Of course, Ricky Minor and his not-very-attractive band were back, as was host Tom Bergeron and our three neighborhood judges. Let the fun begin!

As for the contestants, there are definitely some serious contenders among the women, including two who have toured the world as part of girl groups. Is that fair? Well, Joey Fatone's 'nsync experience propelled him to the Final 2 last year before he lost to an athlete, so I guess anything goes in the world of Dancing with the Stars!

Here's how I'd rank the Top 6 women who performed last night:

1. Sabrina Bryan
Holy mother of God, where did this girl come from? She was sassy, she was sharp, and she was electric -- I loved every single second of it. This girl is definitely one to watch.

2. Mel B
Sabrina may have had a little more pop in her steps, but Mel B nailed the cha cha cha with the ease of a professional. Can you believe this woman had a baby less than 6 months ago? She looks fierce!

3. Jane Seymour
Jane will be playing the Vivica Fox role this year -- very determined older woman. But color me shocked -- she was grace and elegance personified during her fox trot, and she actually looked relaxed and like she was having a good time. I'm not sure how she'll hold up on a Latin dance, but this was divine.

4. Jennie Garth
I have loved Jennie Garth since 90210, and it's nice to see her let her guard down and tackle the dancing. She had the handicap of having to perform first, but I thought she acquitted herself quite nicely (far better than Ian Ziering did in his first go-round last year), and I hope she's around for awhile.

5. Marie Osmond
It's a testament to how strong the women were last night that Osmond is so low on this list, because I found her joy at doing the fox trot totally infectious. She wasn't as sharp, or graceful, as Jane Seymour, and she scarily reminded me of SYTYCD's Mary Murphy, but all in all I quite enjoyed this performance.

6. Josie Moran
Ugh. This girl's annoying and I'm already over her. Poor Alec Mazo -- he won the show during the first season, and now there's a chance he could be the first eliminated two seasons running. Cheer up, Alec -- at least you married Edyta last month!

So there it is...I'll be back tomorrow, of course, with rankings for the guys, and then predictions of who will be the first celebrity eliminated.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Jake Gyllenhaal is Smokin' Hot in Interview Magazine



It's been awhile since Jake Gyllenhaal has been out on the road promoting a movie, but now that Rendition is on the horizon, he's hustling his pretty mug to all the usual suspects. First up -- Interview magazine!

Thanks to JustJared for the pics!





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Ridiculously Early Predictions for Survivor: China's Final Four



My gosh, I feel like I've been watching Survivor forever!

The umpteenth version of the reality show premiered last week, and, as is traditionally the case, a few contestants stood out, and a few completely faded into the woodwork. Because so much of the show's content can be obscured by editing, and there are a thousand twists and turns that could take place over the next couple of months, it's nearly impossible to accurately predict who will go far in the game. But that's not gonna stop me!

First, though, I think it's pretty easy to see which players will not go far in the game, namely Courtney, the uber annoying waitress from New York (I'm from New York, and I promise, we are not all like this this whiny bitch!); Peih-Ge, who is already making a target of herself by complaining about the work ethic of her tribemates; poker player Jean-Robert, who, in the previews for next week's episode, is already being chastised for not doing work around camp; and cutie surfing instructor Aaron, whose leadership ambitions are sure to be his downfall.

I'm intrigued by Todd, the "gay Mormon flight attendant," who has already been tagged the "devious one"; Leslie, the principled Christian radio host who stood up for her religious beliefs by refusing to bow down to Buddha; Ashley, the feisty professional wrestler who was the first contestant felled by sickness this year; and humble lunch lady Denise.

But my predictions for the final 4 standing? I know I'm setting myself up for failure, but here we go:

Eric -- This so-far-quiet musician could bond with the women and not threaten the guys, taking himself far in the game.

Frosti -- Agility and athleticism go far in this game, which could bode well for the youngest ever contestant on the show

James -- The gentle giant/gravedigger's soulful vibe could ingratiate him to his tribemates.

Sherea -- The elementary school teacher should know how to deal with conflict!

What do you think? Am I totally off-base? Who do you predict (at this ridiculously early stage) will be the Final 4?

Viva Survivor!

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Celebrity Crush: Hugh Dancy



I had seen Hugh Dancy in Journey's End on Broadway several months ago, and a co-worker is probably the Brit actor's biggest fan, but I didn't really get his appeal-- until last night.

Yes, I took in the ultimate chick flick Jane Austen Book Club yesterday, and found myself completely won over by the charms of Mr. Dancy, who plays the only male member of a book club dedicated to reading, yes, the novels of Jane Austen. Sporting an American accent, he is dorky, awkward, romantic, sweet, charming -- and totally adorable.

The movie itself is ridiculous and total wish-fulfillment fantasy, but Hugh Dancy alone was worth the price of admission. Claire Danes is one lucky girl!

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TV Review: House Limps Back for First Two Episodes of Season

I loved last year's finale of House -- the possibilities seemed endless now that the cranky doctor had fired Chase, and Cameron and Foreman had walked out the door. What would happen next, now that those closest to House had either deserted him or had been pushed out the door?

Apparently -- not much.

Don't get me wrong, a half-good episode of House is still significantly more entertaining than most other shows, but the first two episodes of the new season, which Fox was kind enough to send me, are a bit of letdown. As complicated and interesting as House is on his own, it seems he needs a team around him to really let him shine.

Part of the problem in the season premiere is the case -- despite an unexpected twist in the final act of the episode, it's just not all that interesting, which means that the characters do the heavy lifting in the episode. Cuddy (the priceless Lisa Edelstein) has told House that if he doesn't solve the case on his own within a day, than he will be forced to hire a support team to replace Chase, Cameron and Foreman.

Of course, watching House do his brilliant thing is fun, but without worthy foils to play off, House's ill-humor just doesn't register in quite the same way. I, as the viewer, missed Jesse Spencer, Jennifer Morrison and Omar Epps as much as House missed Chase, Cameron and Foreman.

Each of the three docs does make a brief appearance in the second episode, but to be honest, it kind of made me just miss them more! House has chosen 40 potential doctors and is weeding them out reality show-style (not to mention calling them only by their number) to determine who will make his replacement team. Giving House three dozen hapless residents to play off gives Hugh Laurie ample opportunity to show off his way with a cutting one-liner, and the case in this episode, about a NASA pilot who doesn't want her bosses to know that something may be wrong with her, is definitely stronger, but the episode still doesn't feel like classic House. It might help if the potential residents had made stronger impressions -- as of now, Olivia Wilde's cool and knowledgeable #13 is the only one who's made much on an impression.

I'm guessing by episode 3, with most of the residents cut and Cameron, Chase and Foreman back in the picture at Princeton Plainview, that things will kick into high-gear for the rest of the season, but the first two episodes, while definitely worth watching, were a bit of a disappointment. I'm gonna hang in there, though -- he may almost kill you before you get there, but House always come through in the end to save the day.

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12 Best SYTYCD Dances: Ivan and Allison's Season 2 Contemporary at #4



Ok, I admit it...I miss So You Think You Can Dance. I know, I know, it's been almost three weeks since Sabra Johnson was named this year's champ, but I can't get those kids and their fancy footwork out of my head!

So, to satisfy my SYTYCD cravings, I thought I would take a look over the next week or so at the 12 Best SYTYCD Dances of All Time, including a youtube video when available. Like all best-of lists, these choices are subjective, so please feel free to post comments and let me know what you think.


Time for #4 -- Ivan and Allison's Contemporary!

During the first week of the finals back in Season 2, Ivan and Allison (well, Ivan really, more than Allison) gave one of the worst performances I have ever seen on the show, and I was sure he was going to be the first boy given the boot. His hip hop was great, but I was sure he was nothing but a one-trick pony.

Then a funny thing happened -- he started getting better. Much better.

And then an even funnier thing happened -- he and Allison came out, and, performing to Annie Lennox's "Why," gave one of the most moving performances I've ever seen on the show. Allison was, as always, luminous -- she never once throughout the season gave a false performance, and this one was no exception. But something about this choreography, as well as dancing with Allison, brought Ivan to a whole different level -- he was strong, he was fluid, he was sensual -- and this performance left me (and, apparently, Mia Michaels) in tears. Love, love, love it.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

12 Best SYTYCD Dances: Jaimie and Hok's Season 3 Jazz at #5



Ok, I admit it...I miss So You Think You Can Dance. I know, I know, it's been almost three weeks since Sabra Johnson was named this year's champ, but I can't get those kids and their fancy footwork out of my head!

So, to satisfy my SYTYCD cravings, I thought I would take a look over the next week or so at the 12 Best SYTYCD Dances of All Time, including a youtube video when available. Like all best-of lists, these choices are subjective, so please feel free to post comments and let me know what you think.


Time for #5 -- Jaimie and Hok's Season 3 Jazz!

There are times on this show when the choreographer just seems to get the strengths and weaknesses of the dancers he or she is working with, and this is most definitely one of those times. Wade Robson brought out the very best in both Jaimie and Hok -- with her, the choreography spotlighted her astounding lines and amazing extension were astounding, and he gave Hok intricate, interesting movement that highlighted the unique things he is capable of doing. The result was a nuanced, breathtaking masterpiece.

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Big Brother's Amber Responds to Anti-Semitic Comments

She's been out of the sequester house for about 2 days now, and Big Brother contestant Amber is ready to respond to the uproar that occurred when she made some anti-semitic comments in the house.

In an interview with RealityNewsOnline.com, Amber said the following:

"I made a comment when I was upset with Eric – I made it about Jewish people and people from New York. I just want to tell the people I offended that I am very sorry. I did not mean to offend anybody and I was upset with Eric at the time. Being upset, people tend to say things they don’t mean. That came from a really bad place, and from the bottom of my heart, I am truly sorry – I send my apologies to anyone I offended. I don’t like to hurt people’s feelings. The words just came out and I was upset with Eric. I have friends that are Jewish and friends from New York. I am not prejudiced and I am truly truly truly sorry."

I do believe she's sorry, and I don't think Amber is a mean-spirited person, but is this a suitable explanation? It sounds suspiciously like the motives Mel Gibson gave for his own anti-semitic comments.

What do y'all think?

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Carrie Underwood's Video For "So Small" Is Here!



Carrie Underwood's new video is here!!

Thoughts?

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Next Top Model: Thoughts on the 13 Finalists



It always takes me a few episodes to really get into America's Next Top Model, but that doesn't mean I haven't already formed some initial impressions of the 13 finalists!

Before I get to that, can we just talk about Tyra-as-cruise-show-entertainment? She gets more and more ridiculous as each season goes on -- and I love it!

And does anyone else find it ironic that she runs a camp teaching young girls how to have self-esteem, but also presides over a show that totally destroys young girls' self esteem? Alanis Morisette could write a bang-up song about that, I'm just saying.

Ok, now on to the contestants. These are the girls who caught my eye at this very early stage in the game, with practically nothing to go on:

-Saleysia -- this girl is natural and gorgeous!

-Heather -- somehow the most awkward girl usually ends up taking amazing pictures, so I've got my eye on this one.

-Jenah -- her big, expressive eyes could make her stand out.

-Ambreal -- I enjoyed her big personality.

I'm not really feelin' Chantal, Ebony or Mila right now, and the rest failed to make a strong first impression, but as we all know, things will change-change-change before we know it.

All I know for sure is that I'm glad the bitches are back!

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Tony Alemida is Returning to 24!



Next to Jack and Chloe, easily the best character ever on 24 is Tony Almeida. Who can forget his surprising and heroic appearance to save Jack and Kate a few seasons back? When Tony died (or seemed to die), I was genuinely sad.

Well, Tony's coming back!

According to a press release from Fox, Tony (Carlos Bernard) will be returning to 24 this season! Holla!

The press release reads:

"With CTU dismantled, the show's setting moves to Washington, D.C., where Jack Bauer faces trial for his actions in the pursuit of justice. Bauer's day gets off to a shocking start when former colleague Tony Almeida, last seen in Day 5, returns after being left for dead by a terrorist conspirator in CTU's infirmary."

Executive producer Howard Gordon says "Since there was no silent clock at the conclusion of his last appearance — the 24 tribute to a major character's demise — we always kept this as a possibility."

Tony!!

Can't wait 'til January...

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It's Gotta Be Said: There's No Keeping Big Brother's Dick in a Box

Dick Donato is the winner of Big Brother 8. Who would have thunk it?

He spat, he cursed, he screamed, he smoked -- and he won $500K.

Dick and Daniele were a force to be reckoned with in the Big Brother house this year, and when it came time for the Jury to decide who they were going to award the grand prize, they went with the fella who put himself out there the most. I can't say I'm not surprised -- Idol Thoughts readers know I was predicting Daniele to take home the big money, and I thought Dustin and Amber, especially, wouldn't be able to separate personal vs. strategy and would simply vote for Daniele because they liked her more. But watching the Jury deliberate, and especially seeing how hard Eric was campaigning for a Dick victory, I can see how Dick walked away the champ.

As for Eric's big reveal that he was America's Player, was anyone else entertained watching him slink further and further into his seat? I'd say, based on the look on Eric and Jessica's faces, she didn't know what the twist was, and he had a lot of 'splainin to do last night. I did love her comment that "I can't stay mad at Eric in this game, and I'm not mad now." Adorable.

Amber -- no tears? Wow! Just wait until you starting reading what people have been saying about you, though...then the waterworks will really start coming.

Jen -- gotta love what a bitch she was last night and through the deliberation process.

Well, another season of Big Brother is over, and Dick Donato is the winner. No time for withdrawl, though -- we've have Survivor, Dancing with the Stars, Top Model and more to look forward to!

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Daughtry Gets a Boost and Underwood Hangs in the Top 50 on This Week's Album Chart

Daughtry got some mileage out of their hit single "Over You," increasing their sales this week by 16% to 23K, good enough for the #22 spot. Carrie Underwood, meanwhile, hung in the Top 50 at #48, selling just under 12K copies. Her new album comes out next month.

The #1 spot went to Kanye West, with a whopping 930K albums sold. Wow! 50 Cent came in second with about 660K albums, and country star Kenny Chesney finished at #3 with 400K albums sold. The Top 5 was rounded out by the soundtracks to High School Musical 2 (129K) and Hannah Montana (43K).

Kelly Clarkson, once again, failed to make it into the Top 50.

Numbers courtesy of Hits Daily Double

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TV Thoughts on Weeds: Has the Show Jumped the Shark?

Last week's episode of Weeds was just teetering on the edge of utter ridiculousness. This week, the show may have fallen off that edge.

This was easily the weakest episode of the season thus far, taking the Nancy/U-Turn storyline to places that were just totally absurd. Knocking over Conrad's plants? Helping him train for a run? I mean, come on.

Luckily, just as it seemed that character and storyline were going to take over the show for good, U-Turn met his untimely end, at the hands of not-so-gentle-giant Marvin, no less. Good riddance, I say!

As for the rest of the show, is it just me, or has Nancy officially crossed the line into being a bad parent? The way she completely ignored Shane during this episode was almost painful to watch. Not only is the kid's dad dead, his mom is a drug dealer who has no time for him. How are we supposed to root for Nancy when she treats her child this way?

On a more positive note, I quite enjoyed Mary Kate Olsen's first appearance as Tara. A friend I was watching the show with couldn't stand her, but I found her quite believable as a pothead Christian, and found her chemistry with Silas to be palpable. I'm intrigued as to what kind of energy she'll bring to the show.

Here's hoping that U-Turn's demise means a return to form for one of the most subversive, hysterical shows on the tube.

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Final Voting Predictions: Which Donato Will The Big Brother Jury Choose?

Dick vs. Daniele...it's come down to this.

So, who will Dustin, Jen, Amber, Jessica, Eric, Jameka and Zach vote for?

Here's my best guesses...

Dustin
This is a tough one -- if he was voting on personality, I bet he'd go with Daniele, but who does he hold responsible for his own eviction in the game?
My guess as to who he'll vote for: Daniele

Jen
This one is also tough -- clearly she hates Dick, but she also has serious issues with Daniele, and may not want her to walk away the winner. But, really, Dick was so nasty to her -- could she really award him $500K?
My guess as to who she'll vote for: Daniele

Amber
No-brainer.
My guess as to who she'll vote for: Daniele

Jessica
Will Eric's mandate to campaign for America's choice influence Jess? I'm guessing not.
My guess as to who she'll vote for: Daniele

Eric
Based on popularity polls at CBS.com, it looks like America is going to instruct Eric to vote for Dick.
My guess as to who he'll vote for: Dick

Jameka
There's just no way Jameka will give the money to someone who ridiculed her faith for months on end. No way.
My guess as to who she'll vote for: Daniele

Zach
Daniele's final goodbye message to Zach, where she called him a "friend," is probably enough to secure the doofus' vote.
My guess as to who he'll vote for: Daniele

So there it is...I'm predicting a 6-1 win for Daniele over Dick. What do you think?

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Broadway's Idina Menzel Debuts New Songs on Whoopi's Radio Show



She broke onto the scene in Rent, and stole hearts (and the Tony Award) in Wicked, and now gorgeous Broadway star Idina Menzel, who has one of the best belting voices in the business, is releasing a solo album. Yay!

This is actually the second album Menzel has released -- she put out a CD a few years after Rent debuted that didn't really go anywhere. But based on the sound of her new songs (which she co-wrote with producer Glenn Ballard), this one may actually gain some traction.

Watch the videos of Idina performing "I Stand" and "Brave" on Whoopi Goldberg's radio show, and let me know what you think.



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12 Best SYTYCD Dances: Sabra and Neil's Season 3 Jazz at #6



Ok, I admit it...I miss So You Think You Can Dance. I know, I know, it's been almost three weeks since Sabra Johnson was named this year's champ, but I can't get those kids and their fancy footwork out of my head!

So, to satisfy my SYTYCD cravings, I thought I would take a look over the next week or so at the 12 Best SYTYCD Dances of All Time, including a youtube video when available. Like all best-of lists, these choices are subjective, so please feel free to post comments and let me know what you think.

Time for #6 -- Sabra and Neil's Season 3 Jazz!

Poor Mandy Moore -- she's been in the shadow of Mia Michaels for the past couple of seasons on SYTYCD, but with this intricate and sexy jazz number, she really put herself on the map. And what spectacular dancing from Neil and Sabra! They both totally committed to their "roles," and danced with a passion and strength that was simply breathtaking. Highlights for me were the under-the-table handshake (brilliant!), and Neil's mind-boggling "plange" over the Sabra and the table. He can "plange" over me any time!

Read about #'s 12-7 by clicking for more So You Think You Can Dance

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Tonight's TV: Tuesday September 18

For the next couple weeks, I'm going to lay out the new shows that are premiering and the returning series. Big night tonight on the CW...Beauty and the Geek is back!

** Indicates new or returning show premiere

ABC
8:00 Just for Laughs
8:30 Just for Laughs
9:00 Elvis: Viva Las Vegas

CBS
8:00 Power of 10
9:00 Big Brother
10:00 NCIS (R)

CW
8:00 Beauty and the Geek **

Fox
8:00 House (R)
9:00 K-Ville (R)

NBC
8:00 The Biggest Loser **
10:00 Law and Order: SVU (R)

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TV Thoughts on Prison Break: Back in the Slammer and it Feels So Good



Michael Scofield is back in the slammer, and it feels so good!

Last night's third season premiere of Prison Break found our favorite convict back behind bars, only this time he's in a dirty, dangerous Panamian prison, where the guards are non-existant and the inmates make all the rules. In a reversal of the show's first couple of season, this time it's Lincoln (Dominic Purcell) who's gotta break his brother out. Apparently, there is an inmate who some very important people want Michael (Wentworth Miller) to break out of prison, and they've taken LJ (Linc's son) and Dr. Sara (Michael's true love) hostage to ensure Michael does what they want him to do.

I was wary of how the show would fare now that the action is back behind bars, but the writers have come up with a very clever set-up for the season, made all the more clever by the ways they've managed to get Mahone (William Fichtner), T-Bag (Robert Knepper) and Bellick (Wade Williams) into the Panamian hellhole as well. The change in situation for the two former Fox River residents, FBI Agent and prison guard means that loyalties and alliances need to be redefined. Most striking of these changes occurred when Mahone comes to Michael's rescue when he is about to get shanked in a prison yard fight. This, after all, is the guy who spent all last season chasing Michael around the globe, in an effort to kill him. It should be fascinating to see how these relationships develop throughout the season.

A few highlights of the episode:

-I love when a show acknowledges that it's star is good looking, which, in the case of Wentworth Miller, is almost impossible not to do. As such, having T-Bag continue to refer to him as "pretty," and having the scary prison gang leader badger the nun/whore into admitting Michael is the best looking guy in the prison was both disturbing and kinda satisfying.

-T-Bag's return. I mean, is there a better creep on TV than T-Bag?

-Wentworth's performance throughout the episode -- have we ever seen Michael so lost and hopeless? It was kind of heartbreaking.

My only question is...where's Sucre???

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Burning Questions About the Big Brother Finale

I was just chatting with my good friend Nick about tonight's Big Brother finale, and we were both lamenting that now that's it down to Dick and Daniele, we're kind of over it. But then we started coming up with things that we are excited to see in tonight's finale.

So, without further ado, some burning questions about the Big Brother finale:

-How will the houseguests react to Eric's revelation that he was America's Player? Clearly we know Amber won't even understand what he is talking about, but how 'bout the rest of them? I'm guessing Dustin is the most vocal about it.

-On a related note, has Eric already revealed to Jessica his big secret? Nick thinks yes, and I tend to agree with him.

-Will Daniele's boyfriend (or possibly ex-boyfriend) show up at the finale?

-What will the interaction between Daniele and Nick be like? Will they kiss?

-Will anyone remember Carol's name? (credit where credit is due...that one's Nick's)

-How many times will Amber cry?

-On a related note, will Amber's anti-semitic comments come up during the finale?

-Will Dick try to convince us that his behavior was all strategy and that he isn't really a despicable excuse for a human being? (that one's Nick's too)

Hmmmm, on second thought, maybe I am excited about tonight's finale.

So, what do y'all think? Any other burning questions you hope get answered tonight?

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The Idol Thoughts Endorsement for Big Brother Winner Goes To...

It's all come down to this.

After a summer full of crying, fighting, horrible name calling, backstabbing, smooching and more, the final 2 Big Brother 8 contestants are Dick and Daniele Donato. They started off their time in the house arguably estranged, and they've since become one of the most powerful pairs in Big Brother history. But who's gonna take home the big $500K prize?

Later today I'll give my final guesses as to who each of the Jury members will vote for, but for now I'm giving the Idol Thoughts endorsement for Big Brother winner to...

Daniele.

The 21-year old blonde has straight-up played this game better than anyone else in the house. She won more competitions than any of her houseguests. She told bold-faced lies without batting an eye. She stayed loyal to her strongest alliance (with her father) from beginning to end. She noticed strange things as they were happening (Eric's stray votes, for example), and instantly put on her strategizing cap to get to the bottom of things. And, above all else, she realized that she needed to distance herself from her father enough to not be held responsible for the things that were coming out of his mouth. She wasn't entirely successful in this last endeavor, but I think she did enough to keep herself in decent standing with the rest of the house.

Bottom line -- the girl played the game like a pro.

Thus, Daniele Donato, whiny, bratty and annoying as she may be, gets the Idol Thoughts endorsement for Big Brother champ.

What a summer, indeed.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Remembering Britney of Yesteryear



I came across a video of Britney Spears' 2000 VMA performance of "Oops...I Did it Again." Remember how hot this performance was? If not, watch the video now -- the girl was on fire.

Considering the events that have transpired in Ms. S' life in the last week or so, let's take a moment to remember how stellar a performer she once was.

Will she get back there again? Only time will tell...

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Tonight's TV: Monday September 17

For the next couple weeks, I'm going to lay out the new shows that are premiering and the returning series. Big night tonight on Fox...Prison Break is back, and K-Ville makes it's debut.

** Indicates new or returning show premiere

ABC
8:00 Wife Swap (R)
9:00 Wife Swap (R)
10:00 Supernanny (R)


CBS
8:00 How I Met Your Mother (R)
8:30 New Adventures of Old Christine (R)
9:00 Two and a Half Men (R)
9:30 Rules of Engagement (R)
10:00 CSI: Miami (R)

CW
8:00 Everybody Hates Chris (R)
8:30 Everybody Hates Chris (R)
9:00 Girlfriends (R)
9:30 The Game (R)

Fox
8:00 Prison Break **
9:00 K-Ville **

NBC
8:00 Deal or No Deal **
9:00 The Singing Bee
10:00 Heroes (R)

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Cute Boy Faceoff: Scott Speedman vs. Scott Foley



I was chatting with a friend this morning and somehow Felicity dreamboat Scott Speedman came up. I said I was a total Ben fan, and my friend claimed her undying affection for Scott Foley and Noel.

So, I thought I'd pose the question to Idol Thoughts reader -- Foley or Speedman? Do tell!

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The Good And Not-So-Good At The Emmy Awards

What a totally bizarre Emmy Awards.

There were some nice surprises last night, but there were also quite a few head-scratching moments. Let's run down some of the more memorable happenings:

The Good
-30 Rock's surprise win for Best Comedy Series. It's always nice to see a quality show that is struggling in the ratings get a little awards pick-me-up

-The Sopranos taking home Best Drama Series for the final time, and the cast's bow after the Jersey Boys tribute

-Sally Field's shocker of a win over Edie Falco for Best Actress in a Drama. She fumbled her speech a bit, but she's so spectacular on Brothers & Sisters I couldn't help but cheer for her victory.

-Terry O'Quinn taking home his first award for his always stellar work on Lost.

-Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert's hysterical routine. Why didn't these guys host the show?

-Elaine Stritch is a genius. If Stewart and Colbert aren't available, how about getting Elaine to host the proceedings?

-The Wayne Brady/Rainn Wilson/Kanye West bit. It went on a little long, but it was pretty freakin' funny.

-The very funny Jamie Pressley and the adorable America Ferrerra winning their first Emmys for My Name is Earl and Ugly Betty, respectively.

The 'I Can Live With It'
-Ryan Seacrest didn't embarrass himself, but he didn't exactly make a case for making him a permanent awards show host. He had a few funny moments, but ultimately the guy is just not a comedian. You gotta give him credit, though -- the man does try.

-Katherine Heigl's Emmy for Grey's Anatomy. I probably would have chosen Sandra Oh or Chandra Wilson for Grey's, or Rachel Griffiths from Brothers & Sisters, but this is Heigl's year. Between this and Knocked Up, she's certainly become a player to be reckoned with.

-Jeremy Piven picking up his second straight trophy. It's boring, but he's deserving, so I can't really complain.

-Rickey Gervais beating out the easy favorite Alec Baldwin for Best Actor in a Comedy.

-Christina Aguilera and Tony Bennett -- was anyone else a little bored by this?

The Bad
-James Spader over James Gandolfini, Hugh Laurie and Denis Leary? Are the voters on crack? Just absurd.

-The Jersey Boys tribute. What did this have to do with The Sopranos, other than the Jersey connection?

As for my predictions, I went 2-10 (Best Leading Actress in a Comedy and Best Drama Series were the two I got right).

Wow, that's a horrendously bad average. Oops, my bad!

What did you all think of last night's Emmys?

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Youtube Video: Tyra Banks Lays Into Britney Spears



My God, do I love youtube!

Where else could we get something like this video, which cuts together footage of Tyra Banks screaming her face off on one of the most famous episodes of America's Next Top Model, along with shots of Britney Spears during her Dateline NBC interview and her horrendous VMA performance this past weekend?

Genius!

Thanks to Krank Mills for bringing this to my attention!

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What's the Deal with CBS' Love Affair with Big Brother's Donatos?

CBS loooooooooooves Dick and Daniele. It wants to have 10,000 of their babies.

Ok, excuse that descent into juvenile teasing, but is it just me, or does CBS seem to be smitten with the dastardly Donatos? Ever since Dick waltzed down the staircase in the season's first episode, the relationship between the estranged daughter and her volatile father has been the central focus of Big Brother, even more-so than the America's Player twist. Granted, Dick and Daniele have been the most interesting players in the game this season, and have found themselves at the heart of many of the season's more controversial and interesting moments. But the way the events get edited, and featured, on the show, it sometimes appears that CBS is workin' overtime to make the Donatos stars.

Every episode, it seems, is somehow about the way Dick and Daniele are communicating with each other. She's not speaking to him -- they're talking -- she's confiding in him about her feelings for Nick -- she's being a bitch to him -- they're strategizing about who to screw over next -- she's crying -- she tells him that she loves him -- blah blah blah. Often, music plays in the background, as if to subliminally suggest that we are watching a Lifetime TV movie about a father and daughter working through their issues.

And how about the way Dick's abusive behavior is softened in the editing? On last night's episode, for example, a clip was shown of part 1 of the HOH competition, with Dick doing a bit of yelling, and then shots of a maniacal-looking Zach hooting and hollering. I happened to be watching Big Brother After Dark on Showtime during that exact part of the competition, and what was shown on CBS could not have been a more off-base reflection of what actually happened during that competition. Dick berated Zach. For hours. But what was shown? Dick simply saying "I could stay up here all night," and then Zach's response.

True, Julie Chen did ask Zach how he withstood Dick's verbal barrage, but why didn't she ask Dick? Will she be as hard on Dick next week as she was on Zach after his elimination, straight-up asking him if he had ever made a strategic move in the game? (The fact that he hasn't is incidental)

I guess, bottom line, it makes good television for the heart of the story to be about a reconciliation between a father and daughter, and I'd be lying if I said it wasn't compelling stuff. I just think it's pretty clear that CBS loooooooooooves Dick and Daniele.

And when the two collect their combined $550K next week, I think the feeling will likely be mutual.

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Predicting the Emmys: Best Drama Series


I'm still giving my predictions for the 2007 Emmy Awards. Who was overlooked? Who should win? And who's gonna win?

BEST DRAMA SERIES
Boston Legal
Grey's Anatomy
Heroes
House
The Sopranos

Overlooked:
Friday Night Lights
Lost
Rescue Me
The Shield
The Wire

Should Win: The Sopranos

Will Win: The Sopranos

Potential Spoiler: Heroes

Believe it or not, The Sopranos, which many consider to be the best Drama series of all time, has only won one Emmy Award, back in 2004. It would be nothing short of shocking if the Academy didn't recognize the series one last time by giving it the top prize. Boston Legal doesn't stand a chance, House is more often acclaimed for Hugh Laurie than for the show itself, and the consensus is that Grey's Anatomy didn't have it's strongest season last year. That leaves newcomer Heroes as the only possible competition, but really...are they really going to deny Tony and co. one last shot at the gold? Fuhgeddaboutit.

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12 Best SYTYCD Dances Ever: Nick and Melody's Broadway at #7



Ok, I admit it...I miss So You Think You Can Dance. I know, I know, it's been almost three weeks since Sabra Johnson was named this year's champ, but I can't get those kids and their fancy footwork out of my head!

So, to satisfy my SYTYCD cravings, I thought I would take a look over the next week or so at the 12 Best SYTYCD Dances of All Time, including a youtube video when available. Like all best-of lists, these choices are subjective, so please feel free to post comments and let me know what you think.

Time for #7 -- Nick and Melody's Season 1 Broadway!

Nick and Melody had auditioned together for Season 1 of the show, and when they finally got the chance to partner up, dancing a Tyce Diorio routine to "All That Jazz" from Chicago, the result was pure heat. This is not one of the most technically demanding dances featured on the show, but Nick and Melody, that season's first and second place finishers, committed so fully and so brilliantly sold the number, you almost felt like you were sitting in a Broadway theater.

And how about those gorgeous smiles?

To read the rest of the Top 12 list, click for more So You Think You Can Dance

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Idol Thoughts Emmy Predictions Featured at AOL TV

Forgive a bit of self promotion, but...

Idol Thoughts Emmy Award predictions have been featured in AOL TV's "Emmy Awards: Bloggers Predict Who Will Win!" The site features predictions from what they call "some of our favorite TV blogs."

The Idol Thoughts pick for Best Actress in a Comedy can be found at #11 on the slide show.

Check it out by clicking here.

And be sure to check out 2007 Emmy Awards for the rest of my predictions for this year's awards.

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Big Brother's Daniele Proves Once Again To Be The Master Manipulator

One thing was clear, from beginning to end of tonight's Big Brother episode on CBS -- Daniele is the master manipulator.

First there was the HOH competition. She directed her father to "talk to" Zach, in an effort to distract him. Daniele is no idiot -- she knows what Dick "talking to" someone really sounds like. So the barrage of insults that Zach withstood over the next 6 hours was conceived of by Daniele. As I said, master manipulator.

Once she was eliminated from the competition, she sobbed convulsively, for a solid half hour, then realized her fate in the game depended on how her father did in the competition. So she got her shit together, went outside and gave him what she knew he wanted most -- to hear that she loves him. Talk about good timing. True, he ended up quitting anyways, but she was pulling out every trick in the estranged daughter book to get him to win. Brilliant.

Finally, there was her goodbye message to Zach. How savvy to play up their "friendship," when she knows Zach will be voting in just five days. The girl definitely knows what she is doing.

Alas, Dick and Daniele Donato are the final 2., and evil has prevailed in the house. Do I think Daniele is a bad person? No. Do I think she has encouraged and benefited from the way that Dick has treated people in the house? Absolutely.

She is, after all, the master manipulator.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Kimberley Locke Responds to Tour Rumors with Clay and Ruben

Former American Idol contestant Kimberley Locke has taken to her myspace blog to try and dispel some rumors about a potential tour featuring her, Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard (see Studdard, Aiken and Locke to Reunite on the Road?). Apparently Clay had responded that the rumors of the our were "unauthorized," which inspired Locke to set the record straight.

In the blog posting, excerpted below, she confirms that she gave the information to Billboard magazine, and says that she was being truthful in saying there were "talks." She also, it should be noted, makes a bit of a snide comment about her former roommate Clay, saying, "If Clay had chosen to return my phone calls over the last two months, he would perhaps not feel as "unfortunate," and he would have been made aware that I mentioned it to Billboard."

Ouch.

Here is an excerpt from the post:

"I just wanted to clarify that recently during an interview regarding my "Christmas" album with Billboard, I was asked about any fellow Idols that I may speak with. I mentioned that I had spoken with only Clay and Ruben because I do try my best to keep in touch with them. I went on to say in that interview that I had spoken with them about a reunion concert tour idea and that Ruben and Clay were game for it because they told me they were. In fact, in my last conversation with Clay he suggested that my manager and agents contact his. They did. And they have spoken. And in telling Billboard we were "in talks" and "Now it's up to our agents and managers to book it," I was being truthful in the information that I had received. I told Billboard I was "hopeful" that the tour would come together. (That didn't get printed.) In no way did I imply that we were all committed to this tour idea. So contrary to Clay feeling "unfortunate," that the story "found it's way to the press unauthorized," it was not "unauthorized." It was put out there by me, who conceived the touring idea and called my friends for their involvement. If Clay had chosen to return my phone calls over the last two months, he would perhaps not feel as "unfortunate," and he would have been made aware that I mentioned it to Billboard. I want to thank the fans of Clay and Ruben and my own who were positive and supportive of this idea, which again, was just an idea. It will now be put to rest."

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So You Think You Can Dance's Danny and Neil Ditch Their Shirts and Work it Out



Since they are no longer competing for the same title, I guess they figured they might as well work out together.

So You Think You Can Dance contestants Danny Tidwell and Neil Haskel got rid of their shirts and did some running. Gotta keep those perfect bodies in shape!

Both guys will be a part of the So You Think You Can Dance tour, which kicks off later this month. I'll be at the Nassau Colliseum show in Long Island on October 9th...and I can't wait!

These photos are helping to ease my SYTYCD withdrawl symptoms just a bit. If you haven't check it out yet, Danny has already made two appearances on my list of the 12 Best SYTYCD Dances of All Time. Click here to see who made the cut at #s 12-8.

Thanks to JustJared for the photos.





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Predicting the Emmys: Best Comedy Series



I'm still giving my predictions for the 2007 Emmy Awards. Who was overlooked? Who should win? And who's gonna win?

BEST COMEDY SERIES
Entourage
The Office
30 Rock
Two and a Half Men
Ugly Betty

Overlooked:
Desperate Housewives
Weeds

Should Win: The Office

Will Win: Ugly Betty

Potential Spoiler: 30 Rock

Two and a Half Men doesn't stand a chance (I hope!) and Entourage didn't have it's strongest season last year, which makes this a three-way race between newbies Betty and Rock and last year's champ The Office. The folks from Dundler-Mifflin deserve to win again, in my opinion, but Betty has charmed so many I'm guessing the ABC dramedy will go home with the award (if for no other reason than to get Salma Hayek onstage to accept). If the voters think giving America Ferrera the Best Actress trophy is enough recognition, however, don't be surprised if 30 Rock sneaks into the winner's circle.

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Who Played the Best Big Brother Game? Ranking the Final 9 Houseguests

This season on Big Brother has all come down to Dick, Daniele and Zach, a somewhat unlikely trio to be sitting in the Final 3. With six other houseguests in the sequester house getting ready to cast their final votes next Tuesday, I thought it might be interesting to rank the gameplaying of the Final 3 and the jury members. Of course, sometimes external influences affected the way someone could play the game (Eric being America's Player, for example), so the list requires a bit of subjectivity. But, hey, a little subjectivity never stopped me before, especially not from making one of my beloved lists!

So here goes...

1. Daniele
I hate to say it, because she's so often whiny and annoying, but she's played the game like a pro -- winning competitions, strategizing, lying when she needs to, and kissing ass when it benefits her, not to mention brilliantly using her father to do a lot of her dirty work for her. Her one weakness was getting to emotionally wrapped up in Nick, but she's managed to use it as motivation, instead of having it hold her back. Definitely the best player in the game.

2. Eric
Yes, he screwed up big time by not using the veto the week Jessica was HOH, but beyond that he dealt with every twist America threw at him as best as he possibly could, and pulled off the best strategic move of the game by evicting Dustin and aligning with Dick and Daniele.

3. Dick
It seems being abusive and being a good player are not mutually exclusive. His strategy may have crossed the line way too often (see my post Is Dick the Most Hateful Reality Contestant of All Time?), but there's no denying he and Daniele were a force to be reckoned with.

4. Jessica
Her biggest strategic move was not to piss anyone off too badly, and to stay loyal to Eric, and until he guided her the wrong way (getting rid of Amber), it was working out just fine for her. Add in the fact that she won 2 HOH's over the course of 3 weeks, and you gotta give the girl some props.

5. Dustin
Dustin made one fatal flaw -- being overconfident. If he had not volunteered to put himself up on the block, he would have definitely lasted longer in the game, and with tight friendships with Amber, Jameka and Jessica, he would have had lots of support on the jury had he made it to the Final 2. Oh well.

6. Zach
Zach would probably be at the bottom of this list if he hadn't won 2 out of the past 3 HOH competitions, a veto, and been competing for the final HOH tonight. He hasn't made one effective strategic move, but emerged through a rocky few weeks no worst for the wear. He's more a survivor than a real player.

7. Jen
Sure, she self-destructed and essentially got herself kicked out of the house, but lest we forget, she won an HOH and several Veto competitions, so the girl could play. She could also lie with ease, a vastly underrated skill in the Big Brother house.

8. Jameka
Yes, she was handcuffed by not being able to compete in 5 HOH competitions, but even in the competitions she was able to compete in she never made a dent. She also had no apparent strategy, beyond staying friends with Amber and Jessica, although I do give her credit for accepting Evel Dick's deal, thinking it might take her further in the game.

9. Amber
Sorry, crying is not a strategy, and if, somehow, it was, it didn't work. Amber never won a competition and was completely delusional about her place in the house. Pathetic.

What do you think of these rankings? How would you rank the houseguests, in terms of gameplaying ability?

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Big Brother's Dick and Zach Will Face Off For the Final HOH: Who Will Win?

Part 2 of the final HOH competition on Big Brother is over, and the winner is...

Dick!

That means Zach and Dick will face off, live, tonight on CBS for the final HOH. The winner, of course, guarantees themself at least $50K, and chooses who they will sit next to in the Final 2.

You've got to figure that if Dick wins, he will bring Daniele, and if Zach wins, he will bring Dick, which means Daniele will be as nervous as the two competitors come 8PM tomorrow night.

If tradition holds, the final competition will be questions that have something to do with the houseguests' time in the house. If this is the case, I'd have to give Dick the edge in this one. Say what you will about the guy, but he seems to remember the events of the house pretty well. Zach, on the other hand, is a total dolt. So I'd give the edge to Dick in this one.

Could we be on the precipice of an all-Donato final 2? Or will Zach foil that plan?

I guess in about 19 hours we'll know...

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TV Thoughts on Weeds: Nancy Goes Ghetto

Uh oh, Nancy. This is a dangerous path you're on.

This week on Weeds, our favorite suburban drug dealer found herself the driver in a drive-by shooting and with a case full of heroin in her garage. Meanwhile, her elder son has become a full fledged drug dealer, and her younger son is enrolled in a summer school that employs bizarre abortion scare tactics. Parent of the year, anyone?

A few highlights:

-Nancy's breakdown while scrubbing the blood out of the backseat at her car, happening while Uncle Andy sported a ridiculous wig. Mary Louise Parker and Justin Kirk are simply brilliant.

-WWVMD -- What would Vic Mackey (The Shield) do? Genius. But to follow it up with "That's it, no more cable." A masterpiece of irony. Love it.

-Matthew Modine in all his smarmy glory. He is perfect for the part.

-The fact that Nancy and Silas have never been closer since he started dealing drugs. The relationship Nancy has with her children is the most complicated parent/child dynamics on the tube.

-Marvin's "Hi Nancy," while in agony from having been shot in the ass. Jenji Kohan, how I love thee.

Can't wait 'til next week when we get our first glimpses of Mary Kate!

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Theater Review: Playwrights Horizons' 100 Saints You Should Know

Kate Fodor's 100 Saints You Should Know, which is now in previews at Playwrights Horizons, is a thought provoking, funny and moving, if not entirely successful, play about the human desire for connection. At one point in the play a character says, "I wish I could focus like that, my brain is always going three places at one time," and I can't help but feel Ms. Fodor suffers from the same problem, as the piece does feel a bit scattered at times. Having said that, there are moments of real insight, a few surprises along the way, and two fantastic performances, more than making a trip to Playwrights a worthwile venture.

The play's two central characters, single mother Therese (West Wing's Janel Moloney) and priest Matty (Jeremy Shamos), are both dealing with their relationships with God -- she, a cleaning lady at the rectory, is contemplating a turn to religion, while he has been asked to leave the church under shady circumstances and is questioning his faith. They are both also dealing with complicated family members -- her daughter Abby (Zoe Kazan) is a 16-year-old trouble maker, while his elderly mother Colleen (Lois Smith) means well but can't find a way to see her son for who he is. Garrett (Will Rogers), a gawky, friendless neighborhood kid, rounds out the cast of characters.

How do we feel connected in this confusing world? It's a valid question, and Fodor has her characters look for answers in fascinating ways. She has chosen to frame her story around the relationships of parents and children, which is not a bad choice, but it's also where she gets into a bit of trouble -- her subjects may simply be too monumental to tackle in 2 1/2 hours. While her dialogue is sharp, and the theme of longing for human connection is woven well into the story, it's the characterizations that suffer. Backstories are a bit murky, and it's sometimes difficult to understand exactly how the each character has gotten to the place they are at. At one point Matty gives a full monologue to the audience, as though Fodor didn't know how to communicate the information she needed to.

But there are also touchingly written, honest depictions of the desire for connection -- Colleen and Matty's tense Scrabble game, for example, and a beautiful moment where Therese simply strokes Matty's hair. These moments, and others, almost made me wish Fodor had ditched some of the religious elements of the play, fascinating as they may be, and focused more on the individuals she was telling the story about.

Smith and Shamos are most successful at creating 3-dimensional characters. Adopting an Irish brogue, Smith is steely, vulnerable, hysterical and human -- it's a truly fantastic performance. Shamos, too, shows many different colors as a man who desperately needs to feel his "heart surge" -- his struggle is heartbreaking. Moloney, making her New York theater debut, is fine as Therese, but she's too generic to be truly believable as either a cleaning lady or a woman feeling herself pulled toward God. Both Kazan and Rogers have moments of comic genius, and Kazan is unexpectedly moving, but both are a bit affected with their teenage idiosyncrasies. Perhaps as they settle into their roles they will seem a bit less aware as actors of how quirky their characters are.

Despite its flaws, however, the show does work, overall, and made me think in ways I didn't anticipate. Not a bad way to spend an evening at the theater.

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Predicting the Emmys: Leading Actor 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 LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA
James Gandolfini, The Sopranos
Hugh Laurie, House
Denis Leary, Rescue Me
James Spader, Boston Legal
Kiefer Sutherland, 24

Overlooked:
Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights<
Michael Chiklis, The Shield
Patrick Dempsey, Grey's Anatomy
Matthew Fox, Lost
Michael Hall, Dexter

Should Win: Denis Leary

Will Win: James Gandolfini

Potential Spoiler: Hugh Laurie

This was one of the year's most competitive categories, with incredibly worthy actors like Kyle Chandler, Michael Hall and Matthew Fox missing the cut. Denis Leary gives a searing performance as Tommy Gavin on Rescue Me, and he'd be my choice to take the top prize, but can the voters really turn down the chance to recognize James Gandolfini for years of stellar work as the iconic Tony Soprano? The only way Gandolfini won't take home the award is if the voters try to correct last year's snub of Hugh Laurie by giving him the award this year. Never count out Dr. House!

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12 Best SYTYCD Dances -- Danny and Lacey's Season 3 Samba at #8



Ok, I admit it...I miss So You Think You Can Dance. I know, I know, it's been almost three weeks since Sabra Johnson was named this year's champ, but I can't get those kids and their fancy footwork out of my head!

So, to satisfy my SYTYCD cravings, I thought I would take a look over the next week or so at the 12 Best SYTYCD Dances of All Time, including a youtube video when available. Like all best-of lists, these choices are subjective, so please feel free to post comments and let me know what you think.

Time for #8 -- Danny and Lacey's Samba

Talk about chemistry and heat!

Danny and Lacey burned up the floor in this ridiculously sexy samba. The pairing was eagerly awaited -- both were siblings of Season 2's Top 2 contestants, and Travis' brother and Benji's sister most certainly did not disappoint. It's basically sex on stage! The dance was so hot, in fact, even Perez Hilton posted the video clip above on his website. When you've gotten Perez to pay attention to SYTYCD you know you've done something right!

Click for #9 -- Ivan and Allison's Season 2 Hip Hop

Click for #10 -- Danny and Anya's Season 3 Waltz

Click for #11 -- Benji and Donyelle's Season 2 Broadway

Click for #12 -- Blake and Ashley's Season 1 Salsa

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Is Big Brother's Dick the Most Hateful Reality TV Star of All Time?

Dr. Will was manipulative, but charming.

Johnny Fairplay was obnoxious and a liar, but not abusive.

Omarosa was an overbearing snot, but she never resorted to name calling.

Big Brother's Dick, however, is a whole different story. He lies, then pretends he doesn't. He manipulates, but accuses others of doing the same thing. He's loud and obnoxious, spitting and farting throughout the day. And he can instantly, and easily, slip into foul-mouthed eight year old mode, where he calls you every name in the book, attacking you where he knows it will sting the most. He used Dustin's sexuality and Jameka's faith against them, and tried to make Amber feel like a bad mother. The way he has gone for the personal jugular has been at times astounding.

Was it a strategy for the game? Perhaps. And if so, it certainly worked -- he's in the Final 3, after all. But just because it's technically within the rules, and that it "worked," doesn't make it an acceptable way of playing the game. I hope, and expect, the jury will consider this when casting their final votes, should Dick make it to the Final 2.

Yep, I'd say Dick has my vote for most hateful reality TV star of all time. Quite an honor.

What do you all think? Is there someone I'm forgetting?

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New Celebrity Crush: Gossip Girl's Penn Badgley



One of the best part of the Fall TV season are all the cute new boys on the tube. First up, and perhaps most delectable, is Gossip Girl's Penn Badgley.

You may remember this kid from the film John Tucker Must Die, the short-lived ABC sitcom Do Over, or the similarly short-lived WB drama Bedford Diaries, but it is Gossip Girl that is going to turn him into a star. Not only he is gorgeous, in a soulful, sensitive way, he's also charming, humble and funny as Dan Humphrey on the new CW drama. This is one of my favorite new shows of the season (watch it, you won't be sorry!), and Badgley, as of now, is a big reason why.

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