Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Pageant Girl's Worst Nightmare

At the Miss Universe pageant, Miss USA ate it while walking down the runway in the evening gown competition. Oof.

And then later in the interview portion of the competition, she got booed by the crowd, who started chanting "Mexico! Mexico!" as she was answering. They finally did cheer her when she addressed the crowd in Spanish, saying, "Buenos noches, Mexico. Muchas gracias."

Needless to say she didn't win, but kudos to her for getting up and not running off the stage crying.

Here's the video:

Monday, May 28, 2007

New Swing King?

So You Think You Can Dance started up its third season last Thursday with auditions in New York. By far the best audition came from Jamal Weaver, a hip-hop dancer from Massachusetts. Jamal is a big dude (think Allan from Season 1) with great facial expressions, and after he finished dancing (I'm still not sure what exactly he did ... krumping maybe?), the judges said they couldn't see any kind of structure in his dance. So Jamal offered up the fact that he could do swing, jazz, all kinds of dance. Nigel immediately called him on what he thought was a bluff and asked him to learn a swing routine and come back and audition again later.

Jamal's reaction? Open-mouthed stare and a "Huh?!". Heh.

So Jamal came back later with his pal E-Knock to do a swing routine. When the music started, all Jamal did was stand around and bob his head. Nigel stopped the music and was ready to send him away when Jamal said he was just waiting for the "doo doo doo" part. So he re-started again and proceeded to do the same head-bobbing until all of a sudden ...

Check it out:


I was seriously on the floor laughing. Jamal probably won't win the show (you really need to be incredibly diverse to win this competition) or win a swing dance-off with Benji Schwimmer, but he will go down in infamy as one of the most memorable auditions ever.

Other less memorable but noteworthy auditioners who went through were Stanislav's (season 2 finalist) sister, Faina; the ballroom couple (Anya and somebody) who Mary Murphy said was their best ballroom pair ever (and who Nigel was leering at ... dirty old man!); Hannah-Lee, who survived that horrifying accident in an Israeli club in 2001 where the dance floor collapsed; and the dance teacher and her student. The trainwrecks, like Sex and Dancing Derrick? Well, the less said the better.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Post-Idol Grand Finale Pics

After the American Idol grand finale on Wednesday, all of the Top 12 talked to the throngs of Fox media from around the country outside the courtyard at Hollywood and Highland. It was a little hard to get pictures due to the cameramen and reporters in front of the crowd, but I managed to get almost everyone (LaKisha was too short!).

Brandon Rogers Brandon Rogers
Brandon Rogers Brandon
Stephanie Edwards Stephanie Edwards
Gina Glocksen Gina Glocksen
Gina Glocksen and Melinda Doolittle Gina & Melinda
Haley Scarnato Haley Scarnato
Haley Scarnato Haley
Sanjaya Malakar Sanjaya and his teeth
Sanjaya Malakar Sanjaya Malakar
Phil Stacey Phil Stacey
Phil Stacey Phil
Chris Richardson Chris Richardson
Chris Richardson Chris R.
Melinda Doolittle Melinda Doolittle
Blake Lewis Blake Lewis
Blake Lewis Blake
Jordin Sparks Jordin Sparks
Jordin Sparks Jordin Sparks

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Inside The Kodak: 2007 AI Finale

I had the pleasure once again of being a seatfiller for the grand finale of American Idol, aka the crowning of Jordin Sparks as the latest Idol. As a result, I was one of the few people in the show's audience who actually got to see Green Day perform. Because, you see, that performance was pre-taped before they opened the doors (They actually tried it four times, twice in its entirety. The first time, they stopped it before the chorus because the teleprompter was not on). So when Ryan announced Green Day, you could feel the energy being sucked out of the room as soon as everyone realized they weren't really there. In person, though, it was great, even if the energy of the crowd was a bit dull. I think the song went over many of the people's heads. Billie Joe is a wee little man but funny and personable.

So when they finally opened the doors, I thought I was going to get lucky and keep my floor seats. Then, with 10 minutes to go before airtime, I got da boot by none other than ... The Hoff. Huh. I thought he'd be in rehab by now. So I moved once, moved twice, sat in the same row as Vonzell Solomon and Anwar Robinson for all of five seconds before getting moved for being in Justin Guarini's seat. Then I moved to the second tier of seats on the floor and settled in behind Jared Cotter and AJ Tabaldo. I told AJ the same thing I said to Jared yesterday - that he should've been up there in the Top 12. Because, really ... Sanjaya Malakar and Chris Sligh? Very expendable. Although Sligh's train-wreck blogs almost make his Top 12 inclusion worth it. AJ is as cute as ever to watch, dancing with his arms over his head as we saw many times in the girls semifinals.

The show's highlights ...
*The Guys' group song (holy wow, they sounded amazing ... even Sanjaya and especially Phil Stacey! And Brandon Rogers? Boy can move too!)
*The girls' group song (LaKisha Jones and Melinda Doolittle got well-deserved serious love from the audience on their solos. Too bad Gladys Knight stepped over the opening of Melinda's)
*Sanjaya's wind fan
*Kelly Clarkson rocking harder than Daughtry
*Tony Bennett showing how the octaganerian set can SANG
*Ruuuuuuuuuben Studdard's velvety voice
*Doug E. Fresh and Blake Lewis bringing something fresh to Idol

Lowlights:
*Clive Davis' backhanded comments towards Taylor Hicks and Katharine McPhee while puffing up Chris Daughtry
*The Golden Idol Awards. Yes, let's have another chance to laugh at the mentally ill. The best buddies award was particularly cringe-worthy because poor Jonathan is not all there.
*So much superfluous filler at the expense of more musical numbers by the actual Top 12
*Carrie Underwood sounding super pitchy on "I'll Stand By You", and Bette Midler sounding super flat on "Wind Beneath My Wings"

Funny reactions:
*Simon looking on with bemusement and perhaps bewilderment as Taylor Hicks sang "Heaven Knows" and started spazzing out on the platform. He seemed to have that same look during the Blake/Doug E. Fresh beat-box number.

Post-show press:
*Blake is SO going to get fugged for his ensemble of a light blue suit with t-shirt and tuxedo stripe on the pants.
*Melinda seemed to be the sweetest with the fans, waving and smiling to everyone in between interviews.
*Sanjaya was the one everyone wanted to talk to. Scary.

Random thoughts:
*Jordin does more open mouth faces than Katharine McPhee and cannot dance worth a lick. But her song with Ruben was her best up-tempo(ish) song she's done all season (when she wasn't inaudible on the low notes, that is).
*Blake not getting a solo in "Ooh Baby Baby" did not go unnoticed. He would have been the weakest link there with all the falsettos.
*Gwen Stefani AGAIN? She must have one hell of an agent to be getting all these appearances. Girl looked ROUGH in her close-ups, though.
*One of the photographers inside the theater (maybe the official AI photographer?) is a TOTAL fangirl, one step shy of Ashley Ferl.

Celebrity spottings:
Jerry Springer, David Hasselhoff, Christina Applegate, Kathy Najimy, Lori Loughlin, Benji Schwimmer, Peter Noone, Jeff Foxworthy, Teri Hatcher, Zac Efron (who was swarmed by the little girls in the audience), Dave Foley, David Allan Grier. Star quality was more than a bit lacking this year. Fitting, I suppose.

Idol alum spottings:
Justin Guarini, Kimberly Caldwell, Jennifer Hudson, Vonzell Solomon, Anthony Fedorov, Constantine Maroulis, Anwar Robinson, Ace Young. The rest of this year's Top 24 got better seats than last year's semifinalists, who were seated in the first balcony row. This year's group (Sabrina Sloan, Jared Cotter, AJ Tabaldo, Alaina Alexander, Rudy Cardenas) was on the floor but on the second tier of seats. Rudy got booted from his seat right as the show started. Doh!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

More Pics From Tuesday's Idol Scene

Justin Guarini with crying girl Ashley Ferl Justin Guarini w/ crying girl Ashley Ferl
Kimberley Locke Kimberley Locke
Justin Guarini Justin G.
DAUGHTRY!!!!1111! at Starbucks DAUGHTRY!!!!11!
Kimberly Caldwell and Jasmine Trias Kimberly Caldwell and Jasmine Trias
Jared Cotter Jared Cotter
Kimberley Locke and Nadia Turner KLo and Nadia Turner
Scotty the Body Scott Savol
Melinda Doolittle Melinda Doolittle
Lisa Tucker Lisa Tucker
Diana DeGarmo Diana DeGarmo
Justin and Kimberly Justin and Kim
Jon Peter Lewis JPL
SYTYCD judge Mary Murphy SYTYCD judge Mary Murphy
Anthony Fedorov A-Fed
Blake mania Blake mania
Justin Chambers, aka Dr. Alex Karev Justin Chambers (aka Dr. Alex Karev)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Soul Sucked Out In AI Finale

And that sound you heard in the middle of the "This Is My Now" coronation song on American Idol wasn't the gasping for air that seems to mar nearly every Jordin Sparks performance. It was the sound of Blake Lewis' artistic soul being sucked out of the Kodak Theater stage. Whoo boy is that song all kinds of wrong for him! Like him or not, Blake Lewis is not a rainbows and puppies kind of artist, and he got screwed with this song. Technically, the song is fine for a male singer, but lyrically and melodically, it was an even worse fit than his pink shirt and green/brown argyle sweater.

Now Jordin Sparks, on the other hand, well, she's just 17 years old. Did you know that?!! I swear I just heard that for the first time tonight!!!!

Anyway, Jordin is more rainbows and puppies than anyone else on the show, and that coronation song was right in her wheelhouse (although lyrically it seems as if it was written specifically for Melinda! And what I wouldn't have done to see HER in the finale singing this song ... even if it is dreck). It had the requisite glory note, and she choked up at the end, a la Carrie Underwood on "Angels Brought Me Here" in season 4. That (and a strong vocal on "A Broken Wing") pretty much sealed the deal for her (even if we never actually saw tears in her eyes until Simon's comments and even though she was not so hot on "Fighter" in round one). Blake probably wanted to cry after singing lyrics that made him sound like a total wuss. Poor guy.

It didn't help Blake, either, that he preceded "This Is My OW" with "She Will Be Loved". Closing the show with two ballads is only good if you're a ballad singer (Jordin), and that Blake is not. And his falsetto on "She Will Be Loved" was. not. good.

So I fully expect Jordin to take the crown Wednesday. I can't imagine that Blake's fans want him to have to sing "This Is My Now" for all of eternity.

On another Idol note, I went to the Kodak before the show and saw a ton of AI alumni, including Justin Guarini, RJ Helton, Kimberley Locke, Kim Caldwell, Diana DeGarmo, Jasmine Trias, Jon Peter Lewis, Anthony Fedorov, Nadia Turner, Scott Savol, Chris Daughtry, Lisa Tucker, Jared Cotter, Melinda Doolittle, Blake Lewis and Jordin Sparks. The highlight, though, was Justin Chambers from Grey's Anatomy. It was a nice reprieve from all Idol all the time. :)

Monday, May 21, 2007

AOL's Top 20 Idol Performances

AOL released a Top 20 Best Performances list for American Idol's 6 seasons. Here's their list:

1. Fantasia - Summertime
2. Bo Bice - In A Dream
3. Melinda Doolittle - My Funny Valentine
4. Chris Daughtry - Wanted Dead Or Alive
5. Kelly Clarkson - Stuff Like That There
6. Blake Lewis - You Give Love A Bad Name
7. Clay Aiken - Bridge Over Troubled Water
8. Carrie Underwood - Alone
9. Jennifer Hudson - I Have Nothing
10. Katharine McPhee - Over The Rainbow
11. Ruben Studdard - Superstar
12. Jordin Sparks - I Who Have Nothing
13. Elliott Yamin - Open Arms
14. LaKisha Jones - And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going
15. Constantine Maroulis - Bohemian Rhapsody
16. Paris Bennett - Midnight Train To Georgia
17. Taylor Hicks - Takin' It To The Streets
18. Mandisa - I'm Every Woman
19. Diana DeGarmo - Don't Cry Out Loud
20. Kellie Pickler - Something To Talk About

It's a little bit heavy on the more recent seasons (7 from last year, 4 from this year) and includes a few dubious choices, such as Elliott's "Open Arms" (SERIOUSLY?! WTF?! He had about 10 better songs than that, like "A Song For You", "Moody's Mood For Love") and Pickler's "Something To Talk About". "Stuff Like That There" is FAR too low for my liking (I'd put it No. 1 or 2 ... can't choose between this and Bo's "In A Dream"), as is "Over The Rainbow" (I'd put it Top 5). I've always found "Summertime" to be a bit over-rated, although I can't deny Fantasia's passion the first time she sang it; I just wasn't a big fan of the tone of her voice. JHud's "Circle Of Life" was better than "I Have Nothing". And where in tarnation are Tamyra's "A House Is Not A Home", LaToya London's "All By Myself" or Kim Locke's "Inseperable"?

Other changes I would make - I'd swap LaKisha's song with "This Ain't A Love Song", swap out Daughtry's "Wanted Dead Or Alive" with Phil Stacey's "Blaze of Glory" and throw in Daughtry's "Hemmorhage" somewhere else. I personally wouldn't put Blake's Bon Jovi song in there, but I was the half that Simon said would hate it. I do, however, understand its place in there.

So what else is missing from this list? There have been so many seasons, I can't even keep it straight anymore.

Ugly Disco Ball Up For Grabs

The top 3 battled it out tonight in the finale of Dancing With The Stars, performing a dance selected by the judges, plus the always eagerly-anticipated freestyle dance. This year's battle for the ugly disco ball between Laila Ali, Apolo Anton Ohno and Joey Fatone is the most evenly-matched and, hence, unpredictable of the four seasons, and the judges separated the three by just 3 points (Apolo - 58, Joey - 56, Laila - 55).

After last week's 10-fest, I thought the judges would cop out and give 10s to every performance, but each star faced their share of criticism. Laila's old-school Michael Jackson freestyle was a bit uninspired (until the end), and the judges dinged her for not showing off what makes her stand out - her elegance. Her paso doble, on the other hand, was fiery and passionate, and one of the best performances of the night. Apolo's rumba was called overperformed and not that passionate (which I agreed with, even though Julianne did her best to create an aura of passion with her barely-there clothing), but his hip-hop/breakdancing freestyle was pretty awesome (although cute little Julianne ... maybe not so believable as a hip-hopper), and the crowd went absolutely nuts. Joey's cha cha cha was ripped for being more freestyle than cha cha cha (which I was screaming at the TV as they were dancing), but his disco freestyle was given a perfect 10 for the effortless lifts and tricks, which included a sky-high jump over his tall partner's head! (higher than Drew Lachey's jump over Cheryl Burke in season 2).

Heh. I kept thinking about Tony Davolani and his gawd-awful disco freestyle that sunk Stacy Keibler in season 2. Now Joey's partner Kym and Stacy Kiebler are like clones - both blondes with great figures and legs that go on for days. Both teams used some cheesy 70's disco moves, but overall, comparing the dancing and the choreography on those two freestyles, I have to say that Joey made Tony look like the amateur in comparison. Apolo's freestyle made Mario Lopez's hip-hop freestyle last year look bad as well. Laila, on the other hand, made Jerry Rice's look much better. Oof.

But I do have to say ... as exciting as Apolo's routine was, it wasn't at a Drew/Cheryl "Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy" level. I know it's freestyle, but one of the things I loved about Drew and Cheryl's dance is that they still used elements of ballroom in that dance. There is no ballroom in hip-hop.

It's really hard to predict who will win. Apolo has the hearthrob vote, as well as the younger vote. Joey has the N Sync vote. Laila has her own voting bloc as well and could benefit from a split vote between Apolo and Joey. If one of the men go out in third place, expect the other man to win. I have a hunch Apolo will win.

Oh, and as if it hasn't been said enough, the song choices are utterly absurd on this show. Doing a rumba to "Midnight Train To Georgia"? A cha cha cha to "Groove Is In The Heart"? And hearing those singers perform "Bust A Move"? Ha! I've heard it done better in karaoke bars.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

All-Star Season Produces Another Dud

And once again, an all-star season of a reality show generates another blah winner, and the people who truly deserved to win didn't. First, it was Amber winning Survivor: All-Stars when Boston Rob was the one who dominated and manipulated the game. Then Boogie (barf) won Big Brother: All-Stars when it was Evil Dr. Will who manipulated the game. Tonight, Eric and Danielle, who spent most of their race following other teams and throwing temper tantrums when people actually tried to get ahead in the game (GASP!), won The Amazing Race: All-Stars.

In what was a really poorly constructed final leg, the outcome was basically decided in one final task that basically just showed who the best gossipers were or who would fare best in a twisted version of The Newlywed Game. One of the team members had to go into a room and answer questions about the other teams like "Who was the least trustworthy team?" and "Who had the best sense of humor?". When they finished, their partner had to come in and get the same answers to unlock a code. Dustin (one half of the Beauty Queens) inititally answered Rob & Amber for the least trustworthy question but then inexplicably changed it to the Guidos. That probably cost them the race because Kandice's put Rob & Amber down for her answer. Eric and Danielle were the only ones to actually get the answers right, and they won because of it.

Based on their racing in the final leg, they deserved to win, but it's so hard to get behind a guy (Eric) who treats his "girlfriend" like dirt. Danielle spent most of the race living in fear that Eric was going to yell at her for not racing face enough. And they (mostly Eric) were so bad at getting angry with other teams for, God forbid, RACING. Because, you know, it's a RACE. The barbs he threw at the BQs and Danny and Oswald for yielding them were ridiculous. A yield is a tool in the race to get ahead. If someone chooses to use it, oh well, it's not against the rules of the race. It's there to help you get ahead. Eric's tantrums at getting yielding were way over the top.

Plus, I have issues with them even being selected to this show. They were a newly constructed team, having raced with different partners on their season, which I found to be the most boring one in TAR history. Eric came in second with his partner, but Danielle and her partner were one of the first to go that year. There's no way I would have even considered Eric to be an all-star, let alone Danielle.

The BQs were the best racers of the season and had great attitudes and deserved to win. It's unfortunate that the one instance of indecisiveness cost them in that lousy final leg. Charla and Mirna were batshit crazy (mostly Mirna) but tremendous racers given the circumstances of Charla's little legs and Mirna's shriekiness. Mirna can work an airport like no other, though. Again, it's unfortunate that her finangling of an earlier flight to Honolulu ended up meaning absolutely nothing.

So there are rumors of another Survivor All-Stars season upcoming. I'll call it right now ... Johnny Fairplay for the win. Ugh.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Grey's Spinoff Spins Way Off Course

This week's special two-hour Grey's Anatomy "event" was nothing more than an introduction to the upcoming Grey's spinoff featuring Kate Walsh, aka Addison. And it made quite a BAD first impression. First of all, it couldn't retain my interest long enough to keep me awake. Second of all, when I did stay awake to see it, I was cringing and rolling my eyes at the ridiculous situations the characters were put in and the awful dialogue these otherwise good actors were forced to put out there.

The spinoff part of the show started off with a cliched LA scene that featured Addison in a convertible trying to keep the hair out of her eyes while she cruised down PCH (and of course when she gets out of the car, her hair is perfectly in place). She goes to some sort of medical practice, where her med-school friend is working, along with her ex-husband (Taye Diggs). In the elevator on the way up, Addison encounters Tim Daly and engages in some cringe-inducing dialogue about how elevators are an aphrodisiac where she comes from. It's just an incredibly ridiculous conversation and quite out of character for her. She's not the blurty one on Grey's ... that is more like something Meredith or Izzie would say (if even that), not Addison.

And it gets worse. Later in the show, prior to kissing her, Tim Daly tells her he's going to kiss her with tongue so she can feel it. Seriously?! Who the hell talks like that?!

Then there's this young male receptionist, played by Piz from Veronica Mars, who is supposed to be the eye candy of the office and has a thing for Addison's friend but is like at least 10 or 15 years younger than everyone else in the office. And he's not really eye candy unless you're like 14 years old and think that he, like, totally looks like Zac Efron.

Speaking of age, the characters on this new show seem so OLD. If this is supposed to be Grey's for an older set, I guess ... but the show seems like it's trying to be a mix of Grey's/thirtysomething/Desperate Houswives and lord knows what else. All I know is I won't be watching if it actually does make its way to the fall schedule. And I really hope Kate Walsh has something in her contract that says she can come back to Grey's if this new show tanks. Because I think she'll be back on Grey's by May sweeps next year, if not earlier.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Rock Me, Simon Cowell

Bon Jovi songs was the theme for this week's American Idol, and there was nary a rocker in sight. Except for Gina Glocksen, who was sitting the audience wishing she were still in the competition. Instead, we got two soul singers with gospel roots (Melinda and LaKisha), a pop/R&B princess (Jordin), a beatboxer (Blake), a white R&B singer who sings through his nose (Chris) and someone who has no idea what he is but has gotten the best feedback from singing country (Phil). So this night was not looking promising. Especially considering what happened on Rock Star when someone sang Bon Jovi (Dana Andrews - It's My Life, anyone?)

But surprisingly, most of the Idols pulled it off really well, particularly Phil Stacey, LaKisha Jones and Melinda Doolittle.

Phil tackled "Blaze of Glory" which is all about huge vocals, and he absolutely nailed it vocally. He has been coming on like gangbusters lately, and hopefully it's enough to keep him in the competition because I have really been enjoying him these last few weeks.

LaKisha and Melinda should have had problems this week, but both of them were fantastic. LaKisha was my winner tonight, singing "This Ain't A Love Song". Now THIS was the LaKisha who was considered to be THE front-runner at the start of the season. She brought it all to the table - incredibly strong vocals, passion and conviction. It was excellent and her best in a long, long time. She has really lost a lot of sparkle these last few weeks, but a performance like this could bring her back towards the front of the pack. She was so good that it warranted a kiss from Simon Cowell (see pic above).

Melinda picked "Have A Nice Day", giving her three "new" songs in a row after sticking with the oldies for much of the competition. New songs, new look. I like it! And this was another great performance by Melinda. She brought out her inner-Tina Turner once again and put on a show up on that stage.

Half of America will think Blake Lewis really knocked it out of the park with his complete overhaul beatboxing of "You Give Love A Bad Name", but I'm with the other half that couldn't listen to it without cringing. Sorry! I give him all the credit in the world for originality and staying true to himself, but good lord, that song is a rock classic! It was like rapping Stairway to Heaven.

Chris Richardson was just okay with "Wanted Dead Or Alive", which pretty much guarantees his exit tomorrow. Jordin Sparks should join him after that horrific performance of "Livin' On A Prayer" that was out of tune, weak on the low notes and shrieky on the high notes. All of it was just ... FAUX and poseury. It was like bad karaoke. But Jordin isn't going anywhere, so it will probably be between LaKisha and Phil for the second elimination tomorrow. Sad because they were the best two tonight.