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