Thursday, December 21, 2006

Justin Timberlake = Best SNL Host Ever!

I haven't quite warmed up to Justin Timberlake's solo music (I can't stand "My Love"!), but it's undeniable that JT has a huge future in acting and comedy if he so chooses. I've seen him host Saturday Night Live twice now, and each episode ranks amongst my favorite episodes EVER. That dude is FUNNY!

The last time he hosted, his episode was so good that I burned it to DVD. There were so many memorable skits, including Omeletteville, which ranks up there with my favorite SNL skits of all time, a "Newlyweds" skit with Justin playing Jessica Simpson and Justin beating up Kermit the Frog while they sang "Rainbow Connection".

This past weekend, Justin added the Chipmunks' Christmas song to his repertoir, did another Omeletteville-type of skit, called Homelessville and did another Barry and Robin Gibb talk show skit with Jimmy Fallon.

The best of the lot, though, was one of the most hilarious skits ever - a new digital short music video.

If you haven't seen it yet, I won't spoil it with the title. Just watch it here. I haven't laughed this hard at anything on this show in a long time. It's classic.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Yul-Tide Winnings

Survivor 13 (Holy cow. 13?!?!?!) produced the most satisfying result in the show's history last night. The Aitu4, decimated at a 2-1 disadvantage after Candice and Jonathan's mutiny, defied the odds and took out 8 members of the other tribe to become the show's Final Four. They managed to widdle themselves down to the final three without having to backstab each other, and then the brain behind the entire operation and the most intelligent player ever in the game, not to mention one of the nicest, Yul Kwon, won the million dollars, 5-4, over the most physicaly dominant player ever in the game, Ozzy Lusth. Ozzy later won a car, so he didn't come away empty-handed.

The last two immunity challenges also provided drama, as the lone Raro member Adam nearly won the immunity challenge by solving what Jeff Probst called the hardest puzzle in Survivor history. Dumb-ass Adam! What the hell?! But Ozzy prevailed, again, allowing the Aitus to make it to the Final Four together. Adam did try to go out with a bang, trying to convince Ozzy and Sundra to flush out the Idol from Yul, but they thankfully didn't bite. And in the final immunity challenge, a balance/endurance challenge, Ozzy outlasted them all, despite a valiant and impressive effort from Sundra, who lasted for over 2.5 hours.

With Yul holding the immunity idol, it was down to Sundra and Becky for who would join the two men in the final. Yul offered up his immunity idol to Becky, but she ultimately decided she didn't want to take the easy way into the final. The editing made it seem as if she seriously was going to take it, but apparently, they quickly decided against it. Thank god, because if Yul had done that, he would have lost by a large margin. Ozzy came up with a brilliant idea to decide the girls' fate - a tiebreaker. It was the fairest thing to do, and no one would have to stab another in the back. It was the perfect scenario for the group, and I'm so glad that it did go down like that.

Becky and Sundra had the most hilarious tiebreak challenge - fire-building. As Probst put it, 39 days, and you can't build a fire? One hour later, and the girls couldn't build a fire with flint. Probst gave them matches, and still more ineptitude. The camera work was great here - they panned to shots of the jurors looking bored, Ozzy and Yul looking horrified and embarrassed for them, Probst looking exasperated. Half an hour or so later, Sundra ran out of matches, and then Becky finally built a fire. Based on interviews I've read after the show, it seems as if Becky and Sundra shared their supplies, and when Sundra ran out of matches, she cheered Becky on. That's great. She had the classiest exit ever (and I do have to give Adam props for his exit speech as well, where he congratulated the four for making it to the end).

So it was down to Becky, Yul and Ozzy for the last tribal council. Technically. Becky was a non-factor, receiving few questions and no votes. The final vote was justifiably close between the two people who dominated the show, Ozzy with winning every challenge and Yul with turning the game on its ear by engineering Jonathan's flop.

Ozzy totally gave Yul a run for his money with the jury questioning. His answers were passionate and heart-felt. In fact, I thought he had it won after he told his sob story about his biological father not wanting to be part of his life. Yul was a bit more political and PC, but he did give the best answer I've heard on this show in the final TC. When Jonathan asked him about lying and deceiving, Yul answered that everyone there knew what game they were getting into and what kind of game this was, and in real life he would never treat people that way. Jonathan had a similarly good answer in the reunion when asked about being considered the villain of the show. His response? "It's a game! There's no villain in Monopoly. There's no villain in a poker tournament!" Heh.

Anyway, in the end brains won out over brawn. Not that Yul has no brawn. Hello, Mr. Six-Pack! Without Aqua Man Ozzy on his season, Yul would have been the physically dominant one, although I suspect he would have tried to downplay that so as to not put a target on him. Because he's smart that way.

It's a shame that Ozzy had to lose, but he can take solace in the fact that he lost in a close vote to the most brilliant player in the show's 13 seasons. There's always Survivor All-Stars II! I'd love to see him duke it out with hot fireman Tom Westman!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Shouting Is The New Talent?

While flipping channels tonight, I came across the Christmas In Washington concert. I watched last year's concert and was blown away by Jane Monheit singing "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas". Carrie Underwood also did a nice job singing "O Holy Night". So I thought I'd stay on the channel and watch the show and see if any great performances come out of it.

Corrine Bailey Rae sang, and she was great. And I have to admit that Taylor Hicks did a really good job on his songs, particularly on "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear". I normally can't take too much of Taylor, but he did well. He toned down the spaz considerably, and that's usually the only time I can tolerate him.

And then up comes Bianca Ryan, that little girl who won America's Got Talent this summer. I didn't watch the show at all, but I heard about her singing "And I Am Telling You" and "I Am Changing" from Dreamgirls. Well, here on this Christmas show, she sings "O Come All Ye Faithful" and proceeds, IMO, to make a big mess out of it. Normally I would feel bad doggin' on a little kid, but if she thinks she's "big" enough to sing "And I Am Telling You", well, I don't consider her a little kid anymore. And I personally feel like she mimics when she sings. It's just not believable. I mean, the girl can sing, but it all rings false to me. Anyway ... Bianca shouts her way through this Christmas carol, and I find myself yelling internally at her to SHUT! UP! I hate that loud and melismatic seem to equate to good in people's minds.

Then to make matters worse, Il Divo comes right up when Bianca finishes. And I'm wondering if Simon Cowell is somehow involved in this show since three of his creations (Taylor, Bianca and Il Divo) are the main singers. I cannot for the life of me figure out how these guys are so popular and sell so many records. Again, yes, they can sing, but is elevator music seriously popular? Seriously?! Give me Josh Groban any day (That reminds me, I need to pick up the new album!).

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Simple Unsober Life

The Simple Life star Nicole Richie was arrested early Monday morning for a DUI after being pulled over for driving on the wrong side of the 134 freeway. A police spokesman said that she "volunteered the information that she had smoked marijuana and taken Vicodin". She was booked for investigation of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, tested for drugs and released later Monday morning.

Her booking sheet stated that she is 5-1 and a whopping 85 pounds. Methinks that Nicole is so skinny (cougheatingdisordercough) that she took just one sip of alcohol or one hit of marijuana before becoming intoxicated.

If the drug test comes back positive, she could be in a heap of trouble, considering this isn't her first drug arrest. Three years ago, she was charged with felony possession of heroin and with driving with a suspended or revoked license.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Grammy Nods

Nominees for the 49th Annual Grammy Awards were announced this morning, and Mary J. Blige emerged as the big pre-winner, with eight nominations. Mainstream won out for once, with some pretty popular singers and songs being nominated for the major awards.

Here are some of the nominees:

Album of the Year
Taking The Long Way by Dixie Chicks
St. Elsewhere by Gnarls Barkley
Continuum by John Mayer
Stadium Arcadium by Red Hot Chili Peppers
FutureSex/LoveSongs by Justin Timberlake
My prediction: St. Elsewhere

Record of the Year
"Be Without You" by Mary J. Blige
"You're Beautiful" by James Blunt
"Not Ready To Make Nice" by Dixie Chicks
"Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley
"Put Your Records On" by Corinne Bailey Rae
My prediction: Crazy

Song of the Year (awarded to the songwriter)
"Be Without You" by Mary J. Blige
"Jesus Take The Wheel" by Carrie Underwood
"Not Ready To Make Nice" by Dixie Chicks
"Put Your Records On" by Corinne Bailey Rae
"You're Beautiful" by James Blunt
My prediction: "You're Beautiful"
(Interesting how Crazy is up for Record but not Song, and Jesus Take the Wheel is up for Song but not Record. Does that mean they think Crazy is a poorly-written song but Gnarls sings it well and that Jesus Take The Wheel is a good song but that Carrie doesn't sing it as well? I would've said vice versa.)

Best New Artist
James Blunt
Chris Brown
Imogen Heap
Corinne Bailey Rae
Carrie Underwood
Prediction: James Blunt

Best Female Pop Vocal Performance
"Ain't No Other Man" by Christina Aguilera
"Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield
"You Can Close Your Eyes" by Sheryl Crow
"Stupid Girls" by Pink
"Black Horse And The Cherry Tree" by KT Tunstall
Prediction: Black Horse and the Cherry Tree

Best Male Pop Vocal Performance
"You're Beautiful" by James Blunt
"Save Room" by John Legend
"Waiting On The World To Change" by John Mayer
"Jenny Wren" by Paul McCartney
"Bad Day" by Daniel Powter
Prediction: Waiting on the World to Change

Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal
"My Humps" by Black Eyed Peas
"I Will Follow You Into The Dark" by Death Cab For Cutie
"Over My Head (Cable Car)" by The Fray
"Is It Any Wonder?" by Keane
"Stuckwitu" by Pussycat Dolls
Prediction: Over My Head (even though I'm beyond sick of this song)
(My Humps, Pussycat Dolls, Grammy. What word does not belong here? Hmmm ...)

Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals
"For Once In My Life" by Tony Bennett/Stevie Wonder
"One" by Mary J. Blige & U2
"Always On Your Side" by Sheryl Crow & Sting
"Promiscuous" by Nelly Furtado & Timbaland
"Hips Don't Lie" by Shakira & Wyclef Jean
Prediction: Mary J. & U2 (even though she tends to turn that awesome song into a Mary J. melismatic solo mess)

Best Pop Vocal Album
Back To Basics by Christina Aguilera
Back To Bedlam by James Blunt
The River In Reverse by Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint
Continuum by John Mayer
FutureSex/LoveSounds by Justin Timberlake
Predicition: Christina Aguilera (best singer of the group, hands down. JT nominated for VOCALS when he basically talks through Sexy Back?!)

Best Rock Song (awarded to the songwriter)
"Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol
"Dani California" by Red Hot Chili Peppers
"Lookin' For A Leader" by Neil Young
"Someday Baby" by Bob Dylan
"When You Were Young" by The Killers
Prediction: CHASING CARS! (I love this song!)

Best R&B Song (awarded to the songwriter)
"Be Without You" by Mary J. Blige
"Black Sweat" by Prince
"Deja Vu" by Beyonce, featuring Jay-Z
"Don't Forget About Us" by Mariah Carey
"I Am Not My Hair" by India. Arie
Prediction: Be Without You, since it's nominated for everything else (I personally would have chosen Don't Forget About Us. But Mariah always gets shut out of major awards, so that ain't happening.)

Best Rap Song (awarded to the songwriter)
"It's Goin' Down" by Yung Joc
"Kick, Push" by Lupe Fiasco
"Money Maker" by Ludacris, featuring Pharrell
"Ridin'" by Chamillionaire, featuring Krayzie Bone
"What You Know" by T.I.
Prediction: Ridin' (I guess? I turn the channel on those songs)

Best Country Song (awarded to the songwriter)
"Every Mile A Memory" by Dierks Bentley
"I Don't Feel Like Loving You Today" by Gretchen Wilson
"Jesus, Take The Wheel" by Carrie Underwood
"Like Red On A Rose" by Alan Jackson
"What Hurts The Most" by Rascal Flatts
Prediction: Jesus Take the Wheel, since it's up for Song of the Year (I would've picked What Hurts The Most)

Carrie Underwood is up for Best New Artist and for Best Female Country Vocal Performance against Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, LeAnn Rimes and Gretchen Wilson. She has an excellent chance of winning the latter. Too bad Faith Hill isn't nominated to see her reaction/meltdown when Carrie does win. Heh. LeAnn Rimes, judging from her website posting after Faith-Gate, might give us some bitch-face in her place.