Monday, October 19, 2009

Jonathan Groff to Join Spring Awakening Co-Star Lea Michele on Glee

Well who didn't see this coming?

EW's Michael Ausiello reports that Jonathan Groff will join his Spring Awakening co-star Lea Michele for 5-6 episodes this spring on the hit Fox show Glee, playing the lead singer of rival show choir Vocal Adrenaline. Groff, who received a Tony nomination for playing Melchior in Awakening, recently appeared in Central Park in The Bacchae, and onscreen as Michael Lang in Ang Lee's Taking Woodstock.

According to series creator Ryan Murphy, Groff's character is “a male diva…a miva.” He will also be a potential love interest for Michele's character Rachel Berry. We know how steamy their Spring Awakening love scenes were -- can there be more in store on Glee?

Can't wait!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Listen to a Clip of American Idol champ Kris Allen's New Single "Live Like We're Dying"

I'm a big Kris Allen fan. Big. And I couldn't be more excited that the 23-second clip below of his rumored new single "Live Like We're Dying" sounds AWESOME. Like, One Republic meets Jason Mraz AWESOME. It's a cover of a song by a band called The Scripts, but since no one's ever heard of them, or the song, who the heck cares? The song is (have I mentioned?) AWESOME!

Listen below and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Idol Thoughts Interviews So You Think You Can Dance's Nigel Lythgoe

I just got off the phone with Nigel Lythgoe, and here's a few nuggets of information he shared about Season 6 of So You Think You Can Dance:

-Because of scheduling issues, the season finale episode will feature the Top 6, instead of the usual Top 4. This was to avoid starting with a "Top 18". By my estimations, this would put the finale on December 16, 2009.

-Adam Shankman joining the show does not mean the end of guest judges -- in fact, Jennifer Lopez, a big fan of the show, has expressed interest in joining the panel, and Nigel still hopes to get Paula Abdul from time to time.

-If the show is not successful in the fall Nigel expects it will return to the summer -- he can't imagine Fox would throw the baby out with the bathwater.

-Nigel thinks this past season was booooooooooooring, and though the dancers were technically adept, he thought they were seriously lacking in personality.

-He thinks Danny Tidwell is the best dancer the show has had, and thinks Travis Wall was a better dancer than Benji Schwimmer, and, in this past season, Brandon was a better dancer than Jeanine.

Episode 2 of the new season of SYTYCD airs tonight!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

SYTYCD's Will Wingfield Joins Broadway's "In The Heights"

So You Think You Can Dance is taking over the world!

First Lacey Schwimmer, Dmitry Chaplin and Chelsie Hightower infiltrated Dancing with the Stars, Travis Wall returned triumphantly as a choreographer on the show, Kherington Payne got cast in the remake of Fame and Neil Haskell showed up Off-Broadway in Altar Boyz and on Broadway in 9 to 5. Now Season 4's Will Wingfield will be the new "Graffiti Pete" in In the Heights!

I saw Will, who was egregriously kicked off in the Top 8 of SYTYCD two seasons ago, this summer at City Center Encore's The Wiz, where he played the head monkey. Though he didn't have much to do, he danced fabulously, and certainly had more energy than star Ashanti. I mean...

Also coming to the Great White Way this fall is Season 3 runner-up Danny Tidwell, who will be a featured dancer in Memphis. Love!

Now we just gotta find a place for Katee Sheean and Janette Manrara!

So You Think You Can Dance Season Six Top 20 Spoilers - Who Made the Cut?

We just finished So You Think You Can Dance Season Five, and already its time to focus on Season Six. I know there's a risk of too much of a good thing, but I, for one, am thrilled we get two seasons of my favorite reality show back-to-back. Bring on the dance! is reporting some spoilers of which dancers made it to Las Vegas, and as of today, they're saying the Top 20 has not been officially selected. For now, then, take a look at the list of folks who made the cut, and who got cut. You know the deal -- if you want to be surprised when Season 6 debuts on September 9th, don't look!


**All news courtesy of Take with a grain of salt.

Before we get to the full list, here's one big one for ya -- Evan Kasprzak's brother Ryan, who got tons of screen time in the audience during SYTYCD Season Five, got the boot. Guess they are not the new Benji and Lacey Schwimmer after all!

- Romulo Villaverde - Janette's audition partner for S4, S5
- Arielle Coker - auditioned for season 5 last year with Philip Chbeeb (S5)
- Megan Kinney - Caitlin Kinney's (S5) sister

- Jakob Karr (contemporary) - Married to Jeanine Mason on Facebook, "The Male Jaimie Goodwin", NYCDA National Outstanding Male Senior 2008
- Nathan Trasoras (contemporary/hip hop) - The 17 Now 18 Year Old Eye Candy
- Billy Bell (contemporary) - Jeanine Mason's Prom Date, West Coast Dance Explosion National Senior Elite 2008, Juilliard student
- David Hovhannisyan (ballet) - Principal with the Milwaukee Ballet
- Brandon Dumlao (hip hop) - Funkanometry SF company member
- Trump Card (contemporary) - BeyonD Dance Convention faculty member
- Victor Smalley (contemporary) - Another dancer from Miami
- BBoy Legacy (breakdancing/hip hop) - Perhaps the best bboy to be on SYTYCD
- Peter Sabasino (tap) - Tap dancer who auditioned S4
- Phillip Atmore (tap) - Really talented tapper
- Jeroboam Bozeman (contemporary/ballet?) - Tall, has a cool name

- Paula VanOppen (contemporary) - Trained at Dance Precisions with Kherington, Nathan
- Jacki Ford (contemporary/jazz) - Joey Dowling's sister
- Mollee Gray (contemporary) - HSM dancer, trained at The Dance Club (Randi, Allison)
- Bianca Revels (tap) - Hailed best female tapper to audition on SYTYCD
- Alexie Agdeppa (contemporary) - Beautiful dancer from Los Angeles
- Channing Cooke (contemporary) - Travis Wall likes her I think
- Pauline Mata (contemporary) - auditioned season five

** About four ballroom dancers in the bunch (2 boys, 2 girls); none of the girls as hot as Chelsie Hightower. One of the couples is married. There was another championship couple during Vegas but got cut.


Theater Thoughts: "His Greatness" at The Fringe Festival

Let me admit something up front -- even though I'm a total theater geek, I'm not a 'festival guy.' Every year The Fringe Festival in NYC comes and goes, and I barely pay attention. So please feel free to take what I have to say about His Greatness, a play by Daniel MacIvor receiving its US premiere with a grain of salt.

Having said that, theater is theater, right? So it shouldn't matter that I'm not a 'festival guy,' right? Right?


His Greatness is "based on a potentially true story" about "two days in the last years of the life of playwright Tennessee Williams," as the famous playwright drinks, does drugs, suffers scathing reviews, emotionally abuses his co-dependent assistant and sleeps with a hustler, whom he fancies will become his new muse. "Potentially" is the key word in that press release blurb -- all slander issues are sideswiped but not actually naming the lead character "Tennessee." Though Arthur Miller is name-checked, and Edward Albee is quoted, Williams is never called by name in the show, and is referred in the program only as "the Playwright." Got it?

Williams is certainly a complex enough historical personality to be worthy of exploration, but unfortunately this show just doesn't do him justice (and not just because there are repeated mentions of him shitting his pants when he's drunk). What we learn here is that he drinks, is emotionally tortured and possibly insane -- something anyone with a cursory knowledge of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof could probably gather. I had heard rumblings that there was controversial material here, but aside from the fact that it paints Williams in a rather depressingly sad light, and features a young hustler in red underwear (see photo above), there wasn't much titillation happening onstage at the Cherry Lane Theater. Though I am a fan of Williams, and am interested in the man behind Maggie the Cat and Blanche du Bois, the general feeling I walked away with was "who cares?"

I can't blame the actors for my apathy -- Peter Goldfarb (as Williams), Dan Domingues (as The Assistant) and Michael Busillo are certainly game, but they can't overcome the tepid material. Goldfarb's accent goes in and out, and he doesn't bear much of a resemblance to the playwright, but other than that he's totally competent (if a bit one-note), as are Busillo and Domingues. And though Tom Gualtieri's direction isn't horrible, he doesn't do much to enhance the material. If you're looking for a Williams fix, read one of his plays -- they are sexier, more human and much more complex than this show about his a couple of days at the end of his life.

Now back to my un-Festival-ness -- the sold-out audience I was with seemed to very much enjoy the show. Is it perhaps because many of them are frequent Festival-goers, and His Greatness, while no major work, exceeds most of the dreck they've seen in quality? Who knows? But as I've said, feel free to take this review with a grain of salt. Just don't "wage war" on this critic, as the young hustler suggests Williams does after his play gets panned in Vancouver -- I won't care enough to fight.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Dancing with the Stars Thoughts: Predicting the Order They Will Fall

This, of course, is a totally fruitless exercise, since I've never seen these people dance before (or, for that matter, even heard of some of them), but why not handicap the Dancing with the Stars field, now that the pairings of celebrities and professional partners have been officially announced? C'mon, it'll be fun!

NB: My undying love for Chelsie Hightower may impact where I place her on this list. I can't help it -- I'm human. I love her.

I'm gonna put them in order of first eliminated to winner. Here goes!

16. Kathy Ireland and Tony Dovolani
The model always goes first. Think Paulina Porizkova.

15. Joanna Krupa and Derek Hough
When there's two models in the group, the one who doesn't have Derek Hough as her partner is out the door right in front of the one who does. Sorry Joanna!

14. Ashley Hamilton and Edyta Sliwinksa
Poor Edyta -- always the tan, tan also-ran.

13. Tom DeLay and Cheryl Burke
The novelty is bound to wear off by Week 4, right? Not this time Cheryl.

12. Chuck Liddell and Anna Trebunskaya
I'm thinking the cross-over of WWE and Dancing with the Stars fans is probably pretty slight. We'll see...

11. Kelly Osbourne and Louis Van Amstel
Sharon Osbourne might have a chance at winning. Kelly? Not so much.

10. Natalie Coughlin and Alec Mazo
The Dancing folks do love their Olympians (Apolo Anton Ono, Shawn Johnson), but since his victory in Season 1 Alec has been a bit of a bad-luck charm. We'll see if Natalie can change that.

9. Macy Gray and Jonathan Roberts
Jonathan is booooo-ooo-ring, but Macy should bring enough squeaky-voiced drama for the two of them.

8. Michael Irvin and Anna Demidova
The footballer-s usually last awhile, but without a partner with a built-in fanbase, a midseason exit sounds about right.

7. Louie Vito and Chelsie Hightower
I've already acknowledged I have no objectivity when it comes to Chelsie. Love does that to you.

6. Aaron Carter and Karina Smirnoff
These two could be the best dancers in the bunch, and might bring some real heat to the floor.

5. Debi Mazar and Maksim Chmerkoviskiy
I can't wait for the behind-the-scenes screaming matches between these two! It'll probably be more dramatic than anything that happens on the dance floor!

4. Melissa Joan Hart and Mark Ballas
Two-time champ Mark doesn't have a shot at title #3 with Clarissa, but at least he'll have it all explained!

3. Mark Dacasos and Lacey Schwimmer
Lacey deserves a good showing after putting up with Steve-O this year, but a third place finish is probably the best she can hope for.

RUNNER-UP: Donny Osmond and Kym Johnson
I just couldn't award Donny the win -- he wants it too bad. Still, long-suffering Kym definitely deserves a chance to hoist the trophy over her head.

WINNER: Mya and Dmitry Chaplin
Dmitry gets paid back for putting up with Holly Madison last season, and Mya gets the hottest pro on the show. Sounds like a win-win for the win to me!


TV Thoughts: "Hung"

Finally got around to watching the series premiere of "Hung" last night -- yes, about a million years after it premiered. I was dragging my feet to start watching the show, having read some so-so reviews, and wondering whether after watching Weeds and Nurse Jackie if I could handle many more half hour dramedies.

I'm glad I took the plunge, though, as I found myself sucked in pretty rapidly. It's sorta like 17 Again if Matthew Perry became a male escort instead of being transformed into Zac Efron. I mean, not really at all, but both feature former athletes whose lives have gone to shit. All of the double entendre references to Thomas Jane's penis were a bit over the top -- did we really have to have the word "tool" repeated over and over again? -- but ultimately it's a clever premise that was pretty well executed. I can't say I'm a huge Thomas Jane fan (he's handsome, I guess, but a little bland for my taste), but I do love me some Jane Adams and Anne Heche, even though the latter had nothing to do in the premiere episode except scream like a shrew. (Fun fact -- Jane is married to Patricia Arquette!)

Though I know we'll never see his "gift," I'll keep watching to see what happens...

Movie Thoughts: "Last Chance Harvey"

Watched "Last Chance Harvey" last night, starring Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson. God I love me some Emma Thompson -- the woman radiates warmth, intelligence, humor and all things good. She was in fine form during the flick, as was Dustin, and the two shared a genuine chemistry, but all in all the movie was a bit of a letdown -- it all just felt a little trite. As my boyfriend asked, "With two stars like these, why couldn't they have come up with a better movie?"

Still, not a total waste of time -- there were moments of real sweetness, as these two lost souls connected in ways neither thought they were still capable of. Maybe next time the two Oscar winners are cast in a movie together they'll be given some more substantial material to work with.

It was good to see Kathy Baker, though! True, she hasn't played a good role since Picket Fences went off the air a million years ago, but I can't help but smile when she appears onscreen. Richard Schiff, as well -- true, he's always playing a version of Toby from West Wing, but I still love him.

X-Factor's Danyl Johnson - Bisexual?

Below is a video of X-Factor contestant Danyl Johnson, who Simon Cowell said gave the best first audition he's ever seen. I's good, sure, and the guy certainly has stage presence, but methinks Cowell overstates just a bit.

I'm more interested in a quote he gave to London's The Mirror, in which he declares he dates both women and men, and says, "I don’t like to conform or be put into one box or another and if I’m honest all the judges are good-looking. If I like someone’s personality it doesn’t really matter what they look like or what sex they are."

Looks like Adam Lambert is not the only singing contestant who likes the fellas!

Gay, straight, bisexual -- do you love this guy? And is he the next Susan Boyle? Let me know your thoughts.

Zac Efron -- New Pictures, Shirtless and Ripped

I wasn't feeling Zac Efron's new haircut, but if he's going to accessorize it with abs and pecs that look like this, I guess I really can't complain.

And let it be said the boy is a tease -- he is pulling down those pants to show off his pubes. And what is that bulge he's got going on in those sweat pants of his? If you're going to taunt like that, Zac, you might as well just take it all of and show us what you've got.


Wednesday, April 01, 2009

AMERICAN IDOL Top 9 Recap and Elimination Prediction

I was really looking forward to last night's episode of American Idol, to see if this year's crew could tackle contemporary songs and demonstrate to the audience where in the pop music landscape they would fall. With two notable exceptions, however, I was quite disappointed -- poor song choices and karaoke-esque performances abounded. There's no doubt we've got a Top 9 brimming with talent, but are they losing steam about halfway through the competition?

Before I get to my elimination predictions, here's my rankings of the Top 9:

1. Kris Allen, A-
2. Adam Lambert, A-
3. Danny Gokey, B+
4. Allison Iraheta, B-
5. Lil Rounds, B-
6. Scott Macintyre, C
7. Matt Giraud, C-
8. Anoop Desai, C-
9. Megan Joy, D

Ok, on to the elimination prediction...

Green Zone - Totally Safe
Kris Allen, who I develop a bigger crush on by the week, once again showed he's taking this thing seriously, reinventing "Ain't No Sunshine" into a self-accompanied showstopper. Sure, this guy doesn't have the best voice in the competition, but 4 solid performances in a row mean he's gonna be in it for the long haul.

Ditto Adam Lambert, who gave a totally joyful performance of "Play that Funky Music" that allowed him to show off the lighter side of his personality and his killer voice. In my mind, if Adam doesn't win the whole thing, America is most definitely not voting for the strongest vocalist.

I'm also going to include Danny Gokey in this group, even though he's been slipping the past few weeks. After last week's "clumsy" showing, his choice to sing a Rascal Flatts song was an inspired one, and he delivered it with gusto. While it wasn't nearly as musically interesting as Kris or Adam, it should be more than enough for him to advance to the Top 8.

Yellow Zone - On Shaky Ground
Mark my words -- Matt Giraud is going to have a nervous breakdown live on TV. The poor guy clearly wants to be a rockstar, but the judges (and, likely, his fans at home) would prefer he stick to the Timberlake-esque tunes. I think he'll be okay this week, though, as his Bottom 2 scare should motivate his fans (even those who didn't love his rendition of The Fray's Adult Contemporary hit) to pick up the phone. Still -- get the straight jacket ready.

Then there's Lil Rounds, who I consider the competition's biggest disappointment thus far. There's no doubt she can sing, but this girl has absolutely no originality. "I Surrender"? Really? I love the song (especially when Kelly Clarkson killed it back in Season 1), but I though Lil was this year's R&B diva. How about showing some spunk, as opposed to singing every note exactly as it was written? Still, I think she'll live to sing another week.

Red Zone -- Danger Danger Danger!
That leaves Scott Macintyre, Anoop Desai, Megan Joy, and my beloved Allison Iraheta in the danger zone. Allison, you say? How could that be? Well, after last week's strong showing I'm afraid her fans may take her safety for granted, and her just so-so performance of No Doubt's "Don't Speak" may not have been enough to remind them she needs their votes.

As for Scott, will a leather jacket and a new (pompadour) 'do be enough to spare him? While I was bored to tears by his performance, there's no doubt this guy knows who he is (an Adult Contemporary artist through and through), and that's more than we can say for...

Anoop Desai. Oh, Anoop, what were you thinking choosing Usher's "Caught Up"? When are you going to get it through your head that you are not an R&B star? Perhaps a trip to the Bottom 2 (or, worst, an elimination) will finally convince him to stick to the ballads and leave the "entertaining" to Mr. Lambert.

Then there's Megan, who I really did adore during the first couple of weeks in the competition. Unfortunately, in the last couple of performances she has displayed absolutely zero performance savvy, and on top of that she's now coming off a bit cocky. (If I hear her mention "my fans" one more time I'm going to scream!) I think it may be time to put this quirky songbird down.

Final Prediction

Bottom 3:
Allison Iraheta
Megan Joy
Anoop Desai

Bottom 2
Megan Joy
Anoop Desai

Eliminated: Megan Joy

Agree? Disagree? Sound off in the comments section below!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Check Out the Trailer for "Taking Woodstock," Starring Jonathan Groff and Emile Hirsch

Check out the new trailer for Taking Woodstock, the new film directed by Ang Lee, starring Jonathan Groff from Spring Awakening, Emile Hirsch, Demetri Martin, Imelda Staunton, Liev Schreiber, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ok, I'll Say It -- The New Judges Save/Sing-For-Your-Life Is Icky!

As if it wasn't bad enough that America voted off the talented and lovely Alexis Grace on last night's American Idol, leaving the far less talented Michael Sarver in the competition and on the tour, the poor girl wasn't even allowed to exit the show with dignity. Instead, she was forced to "sing for her life," while the judges decided whether or not she was worthy of using their "save" on.


Now, I can't say I disagree with the judges' choice not to use the save, but forcing Alexis to desperately make her case, just moments after being told she received the fewest amount of votes in the Top 11, was just wrong. What happened to the lovely send-off video and kind words from the judges? Gone. Instead, she had to plead her case to the judges via the very song they said they don't think she should have chosen, and then listen to Simon tell her "You were good, but not good enough."

I repeat -- gross!!

There's got to be a better way for the end of the show to go down, right? Right????

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Are the DANCING WITH THE STARS Professionals Now More Famous Than Their "Celebrity" Partners?

A thought occurred to me over the past two weeks of watching Dancing with the Stars, as I found myself nervous that new pro Chelsie Hightower would be eliminated the first week out, and feeling for Lacey Schwimmer as she stood alone receiving comments without her partner Steve-O -- are the professional dancers on the show now more famous than their "celebrity" partners?

Think about it --

-Three of the pros (Chelsie, Lacey, and Dimitri Chapin) amassed sizable fanbases on So You Think You Can Dance (a show that gets a lot more viewers than Holly Madison' Girls Next Door).
-Edyta Sliwinska has been on eight cycles of the show
-Cheryl Burke has won twice and is a tabloid fixture
-Julianne Hough has a country CD and has been nominated for several awards
-Former champs Derek Hough and Mark Ballas have a new CD in stores
-Maksim Chmerkowskiy and Karinna Smirnoff are engaged, and constantly in the press

Now, this is not to say that some of this year's "stars" are, in fact, accomplished -- no one can take away Shawn Johnston's gold medal or Lil' Kim's notoriety or Laurence Taylor's football records. But in the Dancing with the Stars universe, there is no doubt that some of the pros have eclipsed their partners in terms of viewer affection.

Which begs the question -- is the playing field now stacked in favor of the pros who have their own fanbases? Lacey, Chelsie and Dimitri have fans who are used to voting for them -- does this, as a result, help Steve-O, Ty and Bridget? Will Julianne and Chuck last in the competition because of the audience's affection for Julianne? Will Denise Richards hang around because viewers can't get enough of Maks?

And does it even matter?

Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

American Idol Top 11 Recap and Elimination Prediction

I'll be the first to admit that I was skeptical about this year's talent, but after two solid weeks of performance shows, I've gotta say -- the talent pool on this year's American Idol just might actually be the best yet.

Of course, let's acknowledge that there are 10 weeks left in the competition, and though contestants like Danny Gokey, Adam Lambert, Allison Irahata and Alexis Grace have shown they have talent in spades, and others like Kris Allen, Anoop Desai and Matt Giraud have proven themselves capable of delivering top-notch performances, we've still got a lot of ground to cover. And while there hasn't been a trainwreck yet, there have also not been jaw-dropping displays of vocal virtuosity (save, perhaps, Adam's "Black and White" last week).

Still -- so far, so good.

Before I get to the elimination prediction, here are my rankings for the Top 11:

1. Kris Allen, A-
2. Anoop Desai, A-
3. Allison Irahata, A-
4. Matt Giraud, A-
5. Danny Gokey, B+
6. Alexis Grace, B+
7. Adam Lambert, B
8. Megan Corkrey, B-
9. Lil Rounds, B-
10. Michael Sarver, C+
11. Scott Macintyre, C

On to the elimination predictions...

Green Zone - Totally Safe
Danny Gokey played right into his Christian rock comfort zone last night, and as a result, he should be just fine this week. Ditto Adam Lambert, whose goodwill from last week should power him through to the Top 10 despite the fact that he took a risk that didn't quite pay off. (Say what you will about the guy, but he definitely stayed true to his own sense of artistry.) Then there's the three gentlemen who tapped into their tender sides -- Kris Allen, Matt Giraud and Anoop Desai. All three sounded great and really connected with the songs they chose, and all three should have no problem advancing in the competition.

Yellow Zone - On Shaky Ground
There's no denying Lil Rounds has a killer voice, but her decision to "respect" the country song she choose, as opposed to infusing it with her own R&B flavor, made the end result pretty bland. She should be fine, but she better step it up in weeks to come or she'll find herself in the Red Zone.

Red Zone - Danger Danger Danger!
I've put five contestants into the Red Zone this week, and truly any of them is in danger of going home. Allison Irahata was fantastic last night (as you can see above, she was my third favorite of the evening), but I'm concerned that her consistency may actually be working against her -- could she fall into the Bottom 3 tonight, or even worse be eliminated? Alexis Grace has also given three strong performances thus far in the competiton, but the judges lukewarm reaction to her rendition of "Jolene" could spell trouble.

Then there's Megan Corkrey, who may just be saved by the revelation that she performed with the flu. I'm actually quite fond of this girl, quirky dancing and wonky notes and all, but I'm getting the sense that America may be tiring of her. Will they kick her while she's down and eliminate her this week?

That leaves Michael Sarver and Scott Macintyre. Sarver adequately performed Garth Brooks' tounge-twister (previously performed on Idol by Josh Gracin and Latoya London), but going first and not doing anything spectacular with the song may be doom for the oil rigger. As for Macintyre, he sounded just fine, but he's so Adult Contemporary boooooring that I'm having trouble imagining people running to their phones to vote for him. Neither gentleman is a bad singer, but either could easily go home this week.

Final Prediction
Bottom 3:
Michael Sarver
Alexis Grace
Scott Macintyre

Bottom 2:
Michael Sarver
Scott Macintyre

Eliminated: Michael Sarver

There you have it folks. Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment and let me know!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Kelly Clarkson Is Back At #1!

Don't count Kelly Clarkson out...with her new album "All I Ever Wanted" flying off the shelves, she's back and better than ever!!

Hits Daily Double is reporting that Kelly sold 254K copies of her fourth album this past week, easily topping the Album Chart. While this number is slightly less than the first week totals for her last two albums, the success of lead-off single "My Life Would Suck Without You," along with four or five potential singles on the disc, mean this album should be selling well for quite some time.

And can I just say -- I love the album! "Cry," "Ready," and "I Do Not Hook Up" are my current favorite tracks, but I'm also diggin' on "Don't Let Me Stop You," "All I Ever Wanted," "I Want You," and "Long Shot." What am I saying -- I love the whole damn thing!

The Dream grabbed the #2 spot on this week's album chart with 147K discs sold, followed by last week's #1 U2, J. Holiday, and Taylor Swift.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

American Idol Top 13 Recap and Elimination Prediction

The first round of the American Idol season 8 finals is over! Before I get to elimination predictions, here's how I'd rank the Top 13:

1. Adam Lambert, A
2. Danny Gokey, A-
3. Lil Rounds, B+
4. Allison Irahata, B+
5. Alexis Grace, B+
6. Megan Corkrey, B
7. Kris Allen, B
8. Scott Macintyre, B
9. Matt Giraud, B-
10. Michael Sarver, B-
11. Jorge Nunez, C+
12. Anoop Desai, C
13. Jasmine Murray, C

You know it's a good week when even the lowest score is a C! Good job Top 13!

Now, on to who is going home tonight -- much complicated by the rule change (read POSSIBLE SPOILER - THE SCOOP ON THE AMERICAN IDOL RULE CHANGE). First let's identify who is totally safe, who is on shaky ground, and who is in the danger zone.

Green Zone - Totally Safe
Get used to seeing these three names in the Green Zone -- Danny Gokey, Adam Lambert and Lil Rounds. Lambert was on fire last night, showing off his vocal fireworks and his total control of the stage -- this guy is definitely in it for the long haul. Gokey also had a good night -- he sounded great, and he toned down the dramatics around his wife's recent death, in the process cementing his frontrunner status. And though Rounds had the dreaded first performance slot of the night, her assured singing and poise on the stage ensure her at least a few more weeks in the competition.

Yellow Zone - On Shaky Ground
While Anoop Desai had arguably the worst performance last night, turning in a total karaoke showing, his extremely large fanbase will make sure he's not in danger of elimination so early on. Scott Macintyre, meanwhile, showed us that he really is better when he's behind the piano, even if he isn't the most dynamic of the performers on the show. Alexis Grace, while oversinging a bit at times, proved her semifinal showing wasn't a fluke -- this girl has pipes and attitude, and could end up a force to be reckoned with. And then there's Matt Giraud, who I'm still not totally sold on. He definitely seems more comfortable pounding those keys, but how long until his breathy singing and wavering vibrato start getting annoying? I'm giving it two weeks.

Red Zone - Danger Danger Danger!
The five members of this group did not necessarily give the worst performances last night -- in fact, some of them were in my Top 5 for the night. As counterintuitive as it sounds, at this early stage in the finals it's almost more important than you stand out than that you sing well. Thus, I've got to put Allison Irahata in this category. She was fantastic last night, but I'm not quite sure she convinced viewers to head to their phones and power-dial. Ditto Megan Corkrey -- unlike the judges, I adored her rendition of "Rockin' Robin" and think her unique vocal stylings are essential for the competition, but I'm worried the majority of Americans might disagree with me.

Then there's cutie Kris Allen, who was totally charming strumming his guitar and crooning Jason Mraz-style -- but was he too lowkey to stand out? Michael Sarver was way better than I expected him to be, but he still strikes me much more as a "good singer" than a potential American Idol. As for Jorge Nunez, is there any doubt after last night's performance that he's corny and old fashioned? And Jasmine Murray, while totally adorable, continues to choose the wrong songs for her voice (and age), and could find herself in serious trouble tonight.

Predictions need to happen in two waves this year -- guessing who America put into the Bottom 3, and then imagining who the judges will send home from that group.

I think the fangirls will save Kris, and Megan has enough fans to keep her out of real danger for at least one more week, meaning...

My guess for the Bottom 3:
Jasmine Murray
Jorge Nunez
Michael Sarver

Can the judges really give Jasmine another chance? And is it just me, or do they seem a little over Jorge? Thus...

Eliminated Contestants:
Jasmine Murray
Jorge Nunez

Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment below and let me know!

Possible Spoiler: The Scoop on the American Idol Rule Change

If you watched American Idol to the bitter end tonight, you heard Ryan and Simon tease a game-changing rule adjustment that "involves the judges more," and that America may or may not be happy about.

(Read American Idol Top 13 Recap and Elimination Prediction: Bye Bye Jasmine?)

To me, a longtime watcher of Idol and countless other reality television shows, that could only mean one thing -- America will determine the Bottom 3 (or possibly 2), and the judges will ultimately choose which individual goes home. There's a possibility the contestants could have to sing again for the judges (the "sing-off" has already been deployed once this season, during the judge's mansion episode), but in my mind there is no doubt the judges will be stepping in in a major way.

I'm not coming up with this out of thin air -- there is definitely a precedent, as this is the way it is done on X-Factor, the show Simon Cowell judges in Britain (and that produced Leona Lewis), as well as the early rounds of the finals on So You Think You Can Dance. And I will add that I can't imagine this rule will be in effect much beyond the Top 7, if it even goes that far. But still, this is a major game-changer.

Is this a good thing or a bad thing? On the one hand, contestants sent packing way before their time (Jennifer Hudson, Carly Smithson) would have survived much longer in the competition, and contestants who long overstayed their welcome (Sanjaya Malakar, John Stevens, Haley Scarnato, countless others) would have had their Idol journeys significantly shortened. On the other hand, contestants who the judges didn't much care for at first but America believes in (Jason Castro, Trenyce) won't get a chance to shine.

There's undoubtedly an element of the show's democratic nature being taken away here, but could it actually benefit the show's entertainment value as a result?

I'm getting ahead of myself -- the "twist" has not even yet been officially announced. But it's my pseudo-Idol historian's hunch.

What do you think of this as a possibility? Fair? Unfair? Sound off below.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Random American Idol Musings: Adam, Kris, Matt, Lil, Anoop and Ricky (!!)

Since I've been MIA since the start of Idol season, I thought I'd share some thoughts from the past couple of months:

  • Though I don't think she's offered anything particularly noteworthy thus far, I'm kinda digging Kara DioGuardi. In fact, I'd give Randy Jackson the boot and keep Kara!
  • Is it just me, or has Ryan Seacrest been looking kinda cute this season?
  • While I was diggin' on Matt Giraud during Hollywood week, I'm already over him. Note to Matt: smugness ain't pretty.
  • I miss Ricky Braddy already. That kid could sing!
  • Lil Rounds is gonna have to really blow it out to live up to that Fantasia/Mary J Blige connection. So far I'm just not seeing it.
  • I have a huge crush on Chris Richardson...I mean Kris Allen. He's dreamy!
  • I think Adam Lambert has a sick voice, and unlike some of the judges, I couldn't be happier to have a Broadway belter on the show.
  • I think Anoop is totally likable and charming, but I can't help remembering he comes from a college a capella group, and that makes me nervous. Just saying.
  • Michael Sarver does absolutely nothing for me. Ditto Jorge Nunez and Scott Macintyre.

Of course I'm leaving out about 10K other thoughts I've had, but this is all I can thing of right now. More, surely, to come.

Forecasting Idol: Which One (or Two) of the Top 13 Will Go Home First?

Well, I've been quiet during the first two months of American Idol, but I can't keep my opinions to myself any longer! (Click here to read I'M BACK -- FOR REAL THIS TIME).

To kick off my return to the world of Idol commentary, I thought I'd take a look at the Top 13 and try to predict which one (or, based on the fact that there may be a double elimination tonight, two) contestants will receive the distinction of being the first (and possibly second) to get sent packin'. Keep in mind I am writing this without knowing the performance order, the contestants' song choices, and, of course, how well (or badly) they will perform.

Here goes!


Danny Gokey
Sure, controversy has brewed around this recent widow, but I think he's heard the message loud and clear -- steer clear of the dead wife talk, and stick to the singing. There's no doubt this guy has a killer voice, and as long as he lets the viewers focus on that, there's no way he won't be around for awhile.

Adam Lambert
Those somewhat shocking photos of his man-on-man tongue kissing might have meant doomsday for a lesser performer, but Adam's ridiculously good voice should continue earning him enough fans to overcome the homophobic naysayers that claim America can't have a gay Idol. Adam seems totally comfortable with who he is, which should help put viewers at ease, and allow them to be entertained by this fantastic vocalist.

Allison Irahata
While one performance does not an Idol make, Allison's great take on Heart's "Alone" has earned her enough goodwill (and a bit of frontrunner status), that even a stumble during Michael Jackson week won't be too troubling for the pink haired teenager.

Anoop Desai
In some ways the Wildcard contenders come into the Top 13 with the biggest advantage -- America has heard them sing twice. Anoop, particularly, will reap the benefits of this, as his infectious performance of "My Perogerative" reminded voters what they love about him, and that love is not likley to disipate any time soon.


Scott Macintyre>
I'm still not sold on the vocal stylings of Idol's first blind contestant, but there's no doubt the guy is likable. He's got a free pass to at least the Top 10.

Kris Allen
I know Kris isn't the best singer this show has ever seen, but he's so darn cute! You best believe I'm not the only one who thinks so, and in a crowded field of 13, expect his cutie patootie-ness (and not bad voice) to stand out.

Lil Rounds
Perhaps I'm jaded by the top-notch R&B divas this show has produced in the past (J-Hud, Fantasia, Latoya London -- heck, even Trenyce!), but Lil just hasn't blown me away yet. That may change, but I wouldn't call her a sure-thing just yet.

Matt Giraud
His performance last week was MILES better than his initial semifinal audition, but I just can't get his wobbly version of Coldplay's latest single out of my mind. I think he'll make it through this week, but he'll have to string together some solid performances to really make a dent in the competition.


Alexis Grace
Her week one semifinal performance was undoubtedly strong, but that was a long time ago -- will America remember how much they like this pixie-ish wailer? She's going to need a couple more strong performances if she wants to be more than a week one flash-in-the-pan.

Jorge Nunez
His strong voice and endearing tears helped him beat out Ju'not Joyner for a spot in the Top 13, but his style is so old-fashioned, I just can't picture him every getting to the front of the pack. One bad performance and this guy could be gone.

Michael Sarver
Easily the least inspired performer in the Top 13, this guys is, in my eyes, the least likely to crack the Top 10. How far can being an oil rigger really propel him?

Megan Corkrey
I love this girl's unique voice and winning smile, but I'm not so sure the rest of America does. As one of only five women she's likely to stand out, but she's going to have to start amassing fans quickly if she wants to last awhile.

Jasmine Sullivan
This year's "huh?!?" finalist would seem to be the easy pick to go home first, and if Season 3 is any indication, when Leah Labelle creapt into the Top 12 only to be eliminated a week later, we may not be seeing Jasmine for very long. Consider Carmen Rasmussen in Season 2, who was also a "huh?!?" choice -- she ended up cracking the Top 6. Which way will Jasmine fall?

So, there it is. While Megan and Jorge are on thin ice, I think it will ultimately be Michael Sarver (if one goes), or Michael and Jasmine Sullivan (if two get sent home).

Agree? Disagree? Sound off in the comments section below!

I'm Back -- For Real This Time

I took some time away. And now I'm back.

Here's the thing -- after two years of writing this blog, it was sometimes feeling a bit like an obligation. And, as I wrote at the beginning of this year, my professional and personal lives are quite busy right now, so the blog got pushed to the back burner.


Since this season of American Idol began, I have been desperately missing my outlet -- my chance to share my crazy thoughts about this crazy show. I've also been searching for intelligent commentary on the show, and found it VERY difficult to find. I love Michael Slezak over at Entertainment Weekly, and has good spoilers, but where are all the fun lists? The fascinating analyses?

Now, I am definitely NOT trying to say that every word I type is sheer brilliance -- far from it. But I missed writing about the show (and other shows, like The Biggest Loser -- which I am LOVING -- Dancing with the Stars, Survivor, Amazing Race and more), and I missed the comments and dialogue with my readers.

I may not post as often as I once did, but from here on out I plan to share at least some of my thoughts with you all.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Cute Boys of Pop Culture


New Zac Efron Photos: Shirtless and Ripped

NEW PHOTOS! Zac Efron Heads to Hawaii -- And Promptly Takes Off Shirt, Revealing CK Underwear

Watch the Trailer for 17 AGAIN, Starring Zac Efron, Matthew Perry and Hunter Parrish

BOLD PREDICTION: Zac Efron Will Receive a Golden Globe Nomination for HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3

Jonas Brothers Show Off Their Asses In Super-Tight Jeans

When Did New Kids on the Block's Jordan Knight Get Such a Hot Body?

The OC's Benjamin McKenzie Gets Into Uniform For New Pilot

Tennis Player Rafael Nadal's Famous Butt -- Naked!


VIDEO: Mark Wahlberg Gets Briefs Torn Off By A Dog

Everwood Star Mike Erwin Shows His Butt on Dexter!

Joshua Jackson (Pacey!) Showed His Butt In a Movie!

Photo Flashback: Neil Patrick Harris Showed His Butt In a Movie!

Heroes Star Milo Ventimiglia Showed His Butt In A Movie!

EXCLUSIVE: Hunter Parrish Shows Butt Again in WEEDS Season Finale

Photos: Mario Lopez Posing Half-Naked as Marky Mark, Brad Pitt, Burt Reynolds and Christopher Atkins

What Happened to Jason Priestly? He's a Hairy Monster!

Weeds' Hunter Parrish Finally Shows His Ass!

Big Brother 10's Jessie Models in the Nude

New Zac Efron Beach Photos!

All David Beckham Underwear Pics in One Place

Yes, More Zac Efron -- Shirtless and Wet

Zac Efron Rolling Stone Cover

Lots of Ryan Phillippe Goodness -- Pics, Trailer of New Movie and More

John Mayer Shows Off His 'Wonderland' of a Body

Things Get Hot on Make Me a Supermodel

Heath Ledger: A Photo Retrospective

Zac Efron Shows Off His Blue Underwear

Broadway's Cheyenne Jackson Showing What He's Got Going On Underneath the Short Shorts

A Look Behind...At Ryan Phillippe's Fine, Fine Butt!

A Retrospective on Marky Mark

Patrick Dempsey Lookin' Hot for Versace

Thank God He's of Age! Chris Brown Shows What He's Got

Ryan Reynolds Shows His Manly Side

Grey's Anatomy's Eric Dane Gets McSteamy for Flaunt Magazine

Three Questions About Dreamy Paul Rudd

Jake Gyllenhaal Sports a Neck Tattoo

Appreciating Christian Bale's Body...Of Work

Jared Leto Makes Out With Paris Hilton -- Remember When He Was Hot?

Prince William Gets into Uniform

Poll: Which Gossip Girl Guy is the Hottest?

Celebrity Crush: Weeds' Justin Kirk

Dancing with the Stars' Maks Broods for the Camera

Where is Queer as Folk's Charlie Hunnam?

Yet Another Beckahm Underwear Picture (The Third!)

Where is CK Model Travis Fimmel?

New, Different David Beckham Underwear Ad!

Parting Shots of Beautiful Neil Haskell

Wentworth Miller Gives Good Face

Ten Favorite Reality Show Contestants: SYTYCD's Travis Wall at #7

Youtube Video: Zac Efron Gets Down to "Soulja Boy"

Gossip Girl's Chace Crawford Takes it Off!

Colin Farrell Hits the Field -- And Looks Hot Doing It!

Celebrity Crush: Friday Night Lights' Zach Gilford

Reliving the SYTYCD Tour -- 20+ Photos!

David Beckham's Armani Underwear Ad Revealed!

Daniel Craigs Vows to Go Nude in Next James Bond Film

Is Mario Lopez' Body Even Real??

Great Performances: Emile Hirsch in Into the Wild

How Cute is TR Knight??

Jake Gyllenhaal is Smokin' Hot in Interview Magazine

Celebrity Crush: Hugh Dancy

Cute Boy Face-Off: Scott Speedman vs. Scott Foley

New Celebrity Crush: Gossip Girl's Penn Badgley

New Celebrity Crush: James McAvoy

Andy Roddick Heats Up the US Open

Someone Please Write a Movie Musical For Justin Timberlake

Zac Efron Shows Off His Guns

Zac Efron Yearbook Photos Through the Years

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

I Officially Have David Beckham Fever

David Beckham -- Mmmmmmm

Friday, January 30, 2009

Major American Idol Spoilers: The Top 36 Semifinalists


An alleged list of the Top 36 American Idol semifinalists has been leaked...take it with a grain of salt, but here it is!

Adam Lambert
Alexander Wagner-Trugman
Alexis Grace
Allison Iraheta
Ann Marie Boskovich
Anoop Desai
Arianna Ayesha Afsar
Brent Keith
Casey Carlson
Danny Gokey
Jackie Tohn
Jasmine Murray
Jeanine Vailes
Jessica Langseth
Joanna Pacitti
Jorge Nunez
Junot Joyner
Kai Kalama
Kendall Beard
Kristen McNamara
Kris Allen
Lil Rounds
Matt Breitzke
Matt Giraud
Megan Corkrey
Michael (unclear if it's Sarver, Tristan, Bartul or Castro)
Mishavonna Henson
Nate McGee (listed as Nathaniel Marshall on the AI site)
Nick Western
Ricky Braddy
Scott MacIntyre
Stephen Fowler
Stevie Wright
Taylor Vaifanua
Tatiana Del Toro
Von Smith


Friday, January 09, 2009

Listen to a Clip of Kelly Clarkson's New Single "My Life Would Suck Without You"

Finally -- a clip of Kelly Clarkson's new single "My Life Would Suck Without You" has leaked onto the web.'s amazing!! Welcome back Kelly!

Listen to the clip below and let me know what you think.

Welcome Back!

So...I've been a bad, bad blogger.

Here's the thing -- I've got a job. And a beautiful boyfriend. And a life. I had reached a point somewhere in the middle of last year where blogging ceased to be fun, and was feeling more and more like an obligation.

So I took a break.

And now I'm back, feeling refreshed and rejuvenated! You'll notice that things here at Idol Thoughts will be a little different from here on out -- I'll still be bringing you news and gossip from the worlds of television, film, music, theater and pop culture, but I'll be simplifying the format a little bit, so you don't have to go searching for what you're looking for. Updates may not be as bountiful as they once were, but hopefully they'll be a bit more substantive. And while I'll still put up a picture of a cute, shirtless boy when I see him, don't expect that to be the thrust of the site. I mean, I like looking at cute, shirtless boys as much as the next guy or gal, but the satisfaction it brings to post is not quite what it once was. Sue me.

I hope you'll bookmark Idol Thoughts (if you haven't already), and continue to check back. There's lot of exciting things on the horizon -- the Academy Awards, Idol season, the returns of Survivor, Amazing Race, Top Model, Biggest Loser and much much more.

Happy 2009!