Can a girl win American Idol? The answer is "yes," if you ask the men in the Top 8. As it turns out, American Idol producers may really get their wish after pushing for a girl all season.
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After his sub-par group performance with Devin Velez and Lazaro Arbos (the one that made Nicki Minaj so angry, she chastized them like they were her own children), Burnell Taylor spoke with Hollywood.com about his ambitions in the competition. "I’m being totally honest because I’m 100 percent real: my goal is to win but it’s pretty obvious that a girl is going to win," says Taylor. But the singer with whom Minaj offered to duet isn't disappointed about what he sees as a surefire outcome for Season 12. "A girl hasn’t won in a long time. I wouldn’t mind if a girl wins, so long as I’m standing next to her," he says.
And while Taylor surely seems to be right, the top performances Wednesday night were mostly from women, it's a bit strange that he's so candid about knowing this early on that he's not going to earn a confetti shower at the end. But he's not alone. Velez is even more certain that he's not going to be the last singer standing.
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"I want to move to the next round but I am not going to say that I want to be Number 1. Next week’s theme will be fun, so I hope that it pays off," says Velez. Still, he joined a singing competition and he clearly loves to sing. Why wouldn't he want to win something like Idol? "I think it’s a lot of responsibility and it gets complicated and you get tied down and I want to fly," he adds.
All this talk of realistic expectations and even acceptance of one's inability to win is a little strange. Idol is a show built on dreams, however unrealistic. It's a place that continues to give Arbos a shot because his courage through adversity demands it, even if his vocals aren't up to par. It's a show that lives and breathes on the belief that anyone of these contestants can pull ahead in the competition at any moment, however rare that possibility actually is.
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Velez's and Taylor's assertions that they're simply not this season's winners is disheartening, Velez's probably more so than Taylor's. To say that you don't even want to win is almost insulting, and let's not forget what happened to Mario Vazquez in Season 4 when he flat out quit early on in the competition on the grounds that he could do just as well as someone who made it to the finals. (Nothing. Nothing happened for Vazquez.) Velez isn't about to quit, but it's strange that his attitude already has.
Taylor's support of the ladies is admirable, but it does lend a feeling of predictability to the competition. If the contestants already know who's going to win, how can we find any drama or surprise in their future performances?
Reporting by Jean Bentley
Follow Kelsea and Jean on Twitter @KelseaStahler and @Hijean
[Photo Credit: Michael Becker/Fox]
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Taylor Swift may have been in a complete state of grace as she took the stage to rock the house during The X Factor on Thursday – but the remaining 12 contestants were singing an entirely different tune for the double elimination on Thursday night. Nerves were on edge, emotions were worn on sleeves, and waterworks were ready to commence at the drop of a hat. As if the drama wasn’t already heavier than an episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills after Lyric 145 was sent packing, the cheeky Simon Cowell put Demi Lovato in the toughest position yet, picking to save one of her two contestants: Paige Thomas, and Jennel Garcia. After Jennel as sent packing, which included a heartfelt sobfest, America’s mouths hit the ground, asking if these results were for real (were they?) when Khloe Kardashian and Mario Lopez revealed the top 10:
1. Tate Stevens
2. Carly Rose Sonenclar
3. Vino Alan
5. CeCe Frey
6. Fifth Harmony
7. Diamond White
8. Beatrice Miller
9. Arin Ray
10. Paige Thomas
Resurrecting – in only one day instead of three like J.C. – from the bottom 12 was CeCe Frey to number five, while Vino Allan played musical chairs with the number two and three slots with Carly Rose Sonenclar. Tate Stevens continues to dominate this rodeo, remaining in the number one spot for the second week in a row (can he get a yeehaw?). Hollywood.com chit-chatted with the mentors – and their co-hosts! – who had much to say about tonight’s diva-worthy revelations.
Simon Cowell, on his love/hate relationship with Demi:
Simon: If you like someone you can have that relationship, but tonight I just couldn’t help but do what I did, because I knew it was going to be the most uncomfortable thing. (Laughs) And everyone at home was thinking the same thing.
On the future of Britney’s contestants:
Simon: She’s got one act doing well. She’s going to lose a couple in the next few weeks, trust me. It’s quite clear with Carly that she’s going to be there all the way through to the end, she was incredible last night.
On Britney’s recent feistiness on the judging panel:
Simon: It’s like, you know, having a dog that normally licks you and decides to bite you out of nowhere one week. I prefer the licking.
Demi Lovato, on choosing to save Janelle:
Demi: I genuinely think that Janelle is just more talented. I think that Paige has a more star quality to her – which is going to help her as an advantage. I think that Janelle definitely didn’t deserve to go home, and I couldn’t let her go home tonight.
Britney Spears, on having none of her contestants eliminated:
Britney: I think they are just really spectacularly talented kids. You know? And that is really rare to come by, and they are really gifted.
On the competition between the judges increasing:
Britney: Yeah, we were all kind of a little out for our team big time. There is a lot of competition going on.
On voting to eliminate Jennel Garcia:
Britney: It was a hard decision. It really was. Just because they both – they are all so talented. Any time you have to pick someone out specifically for something like that – it is their dream, so it is kind of crucial.
Jennel Garcia, on her post-elimination conversation with Demi:
Jennel: She talked to me afterwards – but that is something confidential, and I want to keep that to myself. I think she feels the same way I do. It's a little bit frustrating, too. When you know what goes on behind the scenes. It's frustrating I know that she is a little upset over it. I'm just glad that she believed in me so much.
Khloe Kardashian-Odom, on being yelled at by producers for consoling eliminated contestants:
Khloe: Khlo-money, that is my alter ego for years! I think everyone was like, “What are you talking about?” It’s just – I think everyone – I personally have split personalities, but I embrace it and love it. I could just turn crazy, but Khlo-money is the one that I love. I’m just like, fierce, and fun. I could also be pretty bitchy, but it’s a fun moment. Trust me. It’s not like – you’ll want to see it. It’s like, “I need purple M&Ms now!”
On her alter ego:
Khloe: It’s hard to ignore someone yelling at you like, “We’ve got to run on time!” Like, screaming, screaming, screaming! I’m like, “I just want to hug someone.” It’s hard, and I don’t know if I’m like, going to get in trouble for not pushing them out fast enough – but I was like, “I’m just going to finish hugging. I’m just going to hug.”
On husband Lamar Odom’s advice for the show:
Khloe: The only tip he gave me was – don’t show your nipples anymore. He said, “Please do not have your tits out.” I said, “Oh, good tip.”
L.A. Reid, on CeCe Frye staying in the competition:
L.A.: I am honestly happy for her, very happy that she got through, and that she actually made it into the top five! Very, very happy for her, and I can’t quite explain that except that maybe people thought that we were a bit harsh, and because of that people went and saved her, right? That’s what I think happened.
Mario Lopez, on his long friendship with Taylor Swift:
Mario: I've actually known her since she was like 15, because when she was 15, I think I was doing something at, like, a state fair, and she was a performer. And her mom – who's real sweet – she remembers all the time. And I've seen her throughout the years, since then, and watched her blow up how she has. She's remained the same sweet person, and her mom's super cool, and her manager. So, yeah, but she's super cool.
[Photo Credit: FOX]
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In the 2006 animated blockbuster Happy Feet an alienated emperor penguin named Mumbles found empowerment through tap-dancing and in so doing managed to both attract a mate and stop the overfishing that imperiled his Antarctic habitat. Directed by George Mitchell – the same George Mitchell who gave us the post-apocalyptic Mad Max trilogy and the almost despairingly bleak Babe: Pig in the City – Happy Feet paired its broadly conventional narrative with a darker sensibility not often seen in talking-animal fare.
The film’s sequel Happy Feet Two finds Mitchell (co-directing with Gary Eck) both more jovial and more easily distracted. The story begins straightforwardly enough with Mumbles (Elijah Wood) now grown-up and by all appearances well-adjusted ceding the mantle of self-discovery to his son Erik (Ava Acres). Boogie fever has swept the once dance-averse penguin nation but in a cruelly ironic twist Erik has inherited none of his father’s nifty moves. But just as Happy Feet Two appears intent on recycling its predecessor’s basic storyline the film abruptly changes course and embarks on a series of detours that seemed geared more as fodder for throwaway gags and showy set pieces than anything else. The disparate narrative elements while enjoyable in isolation never quite coalesce into a meaningful whole leaving us entertained but unfulfilled.
As before Happy Feet Two features a variety of buoyant song-and-dance numbers with Alecia Moore (aka P!nk) lending her formidable pipes to spirited re-workings of “Rhythm Nation” and “Under Pressure ” among others. Robin Williams returns for double duty as both Ramon a diminutive oversexed Latin lover and Lovelace a fiery Southern-preacher type. (Lovelace later adopts a Rastafarian dialect allowing Williams to achieve the rare culture-caricature trifecta.) His voracious scenery-devouring is all the more impressive given the grandeur of the scenery. Not to be left out of the quasi-Vaudevillian comic shenanigans Hank Azaria lays on a thick Scandinavian shtick as Sven a charismatic Arctic émigré who presents himself as the only penguin in the world who can fly. Azaria is a hoot but the film’s best moments come courtesy of the cast’s highest-profile additions Matt Damon and Brad Pitt voicing Bill and Will (respectively) two tiny krill in search of meaning at the bottom of the food chain.
Disney's new movie Mars Needs Moms suffers from a classic mistake: focusing too much on one aspect of a production -- and in this case it's the visuals. The result is an unbalanced mess that looks terrific but doesn't have enough substance to leave the audience with anything more to "ooh" and "ah" at other than all the pretty colors. As we all know from that one really really hot girl/guy in high school who's now overweight and working a dead-end job looks can only go so far.
Adapted from the children's novel by Berkeley Breathed and directed by Simon Wells Mars Needs Moms follows Milo (acted by Seth Green voiced by Seth Robert Dusky) as he chases after his mother who's been stolen by Martians just a few hours after he told her he'd be better off without her. Once he arrives on Mars (by sneaking on the ship) he meets Gribble (Dan Fogler) who informs him of his problem: the Martians are ruled by a ruthless queen-like Supervisor (Mindy Sterling) who's decided that the hatchlings (babies who sprout from the ground like vegetables) must be divided: all males are thrown away into the dump and the females are raised by "nanny-bots" -- robots programmed by the "discipline" energy of good moms like Milo's from Earth. Milo and Gribble buddy-up and with the help of a rebel Martian named Ki (Elisabeth Harnois) the three of them venture to save Milo's mom before it's too late.
And venture on they do. Coming from producer Robert Zemeckis and utilizing the same motion-capture technology as The Polar Express A Christmas Carol and Beowulf Mars Needs Moms rushes forward embracing its visually stunning universe without taking a moment to stop and breathe. The characters never have a chance to do anything significant that would make the audience think they're substantial or important -- especially Gribble whom the filmmakers really really want us to care for. On top of that it relies on a plot line that we've all seen before and instead of diving into the parts that made it interesting (like the question of why men were thrown in the garbage and not women) it skims safely along the surface doing its best to avoid anything deeper than basic themes.
But that may be a little too picky. After all the movie is just supposed to be a fun little child's tale right? In that vein it succeeds. We feel like we're on an amusement park ride thanks to Ki's vibrant '60s flower-power paintings and the adventures on the Red Planet's surface. Even the moments that aren't super fast-paced present environments that are beautiful. Plus Fogler's performance as Gribble (as Jack Black-esque as it was) gives us some fun enjoyable moments and one-liners that kids will no doubt love.
Yet at the same time Mars Needs Moms' visuals aren't all glorious. In fact some hurt the plot because frankly the humans aren't animated very well. There's no life in their eyes. Simple movements like walking look awkward and too often characters facial expressions don't match the urgency found in their voices. Instead the animation just turns all the characters into weird cartoony versions of themselves that look so "almost human" they appear fake. And as always it's difficult to care for fake people.
Children will definitely enjoy Mars Needs Moms but from a filmmaking standpoint Wells really missed an opportunity to deliver something other than neat visuals and one-liners.