May 11, 2013 11:08am EST
Every week, Hollywood gives us something to whine about, and the week of May 6 was no different. We could make a drinking game out of this week, but that would be too dangerous. Instead, we'll stick to the usual formula: varying levels of alcoholic respite depending on how bothersome the week's issues are. Is your biggest complaint this week a flimsy one? How about a light cocktail to take the edge off? Got a real bone to pick with a celeb or entertainment entity this week? Go ahead, grab a drink that'll put hair on your chest. Here are the week's entertainment stories that are forcing us to seek a bubbly or boozy refuge. And maybe an idea or two about how you should wash them down.
Lighten Up With a Mint Julep
Randy Jackson is leaving American Idol, further cementing the show's descent into pop culture past.
We actually love Anne Hathaway's loud blonde 'do. She stepped out with her new locks at the Met Gala on Monday.
We're jealous we didn't come up with this Ryan Gosling Meme. But we're pretty proud of finding it.
Manti Te'o's fake girlfriend is hotter than we are, at least according to the Maxim Hot 100.
We have mixed feelings about the public's reaction to Charles Ramsey. Especially this auto-tune of his heroic interview:
Wash This Week Down With a Gin Gimlet
Amanda Bynes is following in Lindsey Lohan's footsteps again. This time, by getting out of her deserved punishments.
The Great Gatsby movie is missing some very important scenes from the book. And it would have been so much better if it wasn't.
Twitter doesn't seem to think much of Elisha Cuthbert. They deemed her expression at her boyfriend's hockey game a b***h face. We beg to differ.
The sexiest vampire couple ever, Nina Dobrev and Ian Somerhalder of The Vampire Diaries (sorry, Robsten) has broken up. Perhaps Somerhalder has moved on to his true love: Grumpy cat.
Hit the Harder Stuff With a Bourbon Highball
Abercrombie & Fitch doesn't want fat customers. Or says the CEO, in a recently revealed (and reviled) statement.
Charlie Brown goes to rehab. Or, the voice actor who played Charlie Brown goes to rehab, but it still hurts, right in the childhood memories.
We lost too many wonderful Hollywood faces this week, like Bryan Forbes, Jeanne Cooper, Ottavio Missoni, and of course, film legend Ray Harryhausen.
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler
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May 02, 2013 3:01am EST
Whoa. Raise your hand if you accurately guessed that Malcolm’s Undertaking plans included completely destroying The Glades altogether? And put your hand down, you liars. Nobody could have seen that coming!
The reveal of Malcolm Merlyn’s mysterious Undertaking on Arrow was a big one, but it was hardly the only big, noteworthy twist that went down in “The Undertaking.” Let’s dive right in, shall we?
Since he hasn’t exactly been rectifying his situation with both Diggle and Tommy, Oliver instead decides to focus on The List and steals a corrupt accountant’s laptop. He wants to give money back to whom it was stolen from. It’s official: he’s a modern day Robin Hood! Shooting arrows, stealing from the rich, giving to the poor. But even though Oliver counted the mission as a win, since Diggle and Oliver still haven’t made up Felicity feels stuck in the middle of her friends. Good thing these are two, easy-going, forgiving guys, right? Oh wait, they’re the two most stubborn men in Starling City!
Back at Queen mansion, Thea decides to break the months of silence and bring up a certain missing father figure from the household. “I know we haven’t talked about Walter in a while [Side note: UH YEAH NO S**T] but I miss him too.” Thea says. It’s good to see the Queen family finally showing some stress and worry about their missing patriarchal figure. It’s only been, what, 12 episodes?
In our first flashback of the night – important to note that this week’s flashbacks are not of the island, but rather the events that led up to Oliver getting stranded on the island – we finally learn Malcolm’s plans for The Undertaking: what it is, why he wants to do it, etc. He wants to completely level The Glades “right down to the bedrock,” all 24 square blocks. He’s convinced the area can’t be saved from the corruption and crime that took his wife away from him. He’s fanatical, and while I hope the rest of the board sees how ridiculous this idea is… I know that since The Undertaking is going down in the present, I’m guessing they’ll hop on board his crazy train. Malcolm wants to frame it as a natural disaster, and Unidac Industries is five years away from a prototype that can create such a disaster. Coincidental timing? I think not.
In the first of many extremely awkward conversations of the night, Laurel confides in Oliver about Tommy breaking up with her. While that alone is enough to make anyone uncomfortable, things are made so much worse when Felicity enters the scene. That whole exchange where Laurel meets Felicity but Felicity already knows so much about Laurel was just gold. God, I want to rewind and rewatch that scene over and over.
The reason Felicity interrupted the heart to heart between Ollie and Laurel was because she found an entry in the accountant’s laptop for $2 million the day that Walter was kidnapped. If they find who the money leads to, they can find Walter! The man in question is the head of an underground casino, and since she’s the only one who could pull it off, Felicity volunteers to go undercover at the casino. She’s already grown so much as a character from when we met her at the beginning of this season, and this choice proves as much. She used to be timid and wary, and was extremely hesitant about joining Team Arrow in the first place, and now she’s convincing Oliver to let her go out in the field, volunteering for dangerous missions. They grow up so fast!
Back to the flashback, we (and Robert) learn even more tragic details of Malcolm’s wife’s death. This was a tough scene, and even though Malcolm is the big bad this season, I couldn’t help but shed a few tears for the poor guy. Apparently the night Malcolm’s wife Rebecca was shot and killed in The Glades, she had called him and he ignored her calls. She left a voicemail begging for help, calling his name, and gasping for air. He literally listened to his wife die over and over later that night via his voicemail. That is just too much. No wonder why the guy wants to destroy a whole community!
Before taking off on the mission, Felicity goes to Diggle to ask for his help and to come back to Team Arrow, but he won’t until Oliver apologizes. Something tells me he’s going to be waiting a long time for that. Don’t hold your breath, Dig! I don’t think Oliver even knows the words “I’m Sorry” even exist…
Taking Oliver’s advice, Laurel goes to talk to Tommy to get some closure or at least some honesty about why he broke up with her so suddenly, but she wasn’t prepared for the latter. Tommy drops the bomb that she belongs with Oliver, and that he’s still in love with her. Colin Donnell really sold this scene. His quiet rage and restrained hurt were so well played.
Out in the field, Felicity gets a final pep talk from Oliver where they discuss the plan one more time. Felicity is going to get caught counting cards in the casino, and so the mob boss, a.k.a. Alonso, a.k.a. their connection to Walter will bring her to his office to get a warning, and Felicity will plant a bug in his computer. I know this is supposed to be super serious, but Felicity is looking goooood in her fancy dress. Oliver, are you paying attention?
Not to be confused with the flashbacks of The Undertaking planning, in the present Malcolm announces to Moira that “The Markhoff” device passed its final beta test. You know what that means: The Undertaking is upon us! And the second awkward conversation of the night finds Malcolm claiming that he sometimes waivers in his convictions but his friendship with Moira is what propels him forward with his plans. You can sure as hell bet that Moira felt disgusted when she heard that. Moira says she wishes Robert could be celebrating with them and Malcolm flat out says, “I’m sorry I had to take him from you.” How is this conversation so civil?!? Seriously, I half expected Moira to pull out a gun and just take down this dude.
Back in the flashback, Robert confides in Moira about Malcolm’s plans to level The Glades without evacuating everyone and she seems shocked Robert would agree to it. Turns out, he’s been keeping secrets from Moira, like the time he refused to bribe a councilman from The Glades and they argued and the guy ended up dying. Robert sees the work he’s doing with Malcolm and The List as penance for the death of the councilman. And twist! Moira actually tried to convince Robert to stop The Undertaking from happening! That’s quite a different tune than what she’s singing in the present.
Felicity gets caught counting cards as planned, plants her bug, but Alonso knows she is working with a partner. Cue Oliver swaggering in all protective of Felicity, taking down the entire security team like it’s no big deal (and that shattered glass in the eyes trick? Had to hurt). But when he corners Alonso, he reveals that when he delivered Walter to whoever hired him he heard gunshots and that meant Walter was killed. I’m sorry, but I didn’t for one second believe this was true. No way Moira would have allowed that. I call shenanigans.
Back in the flashback, it turns out that Moira convinced Robert to stop Malcolm’s plans, and Robert dug some more and found out Malcolm was lying. He was actually planning The Undertaking for a long time, buying up a third of the real estate of The Glades already and only pretended like it was a recent idea. Robert and Frank Chen (RIP both of these guys) decide to conspire behind Malcolm’s back and buy the remaining two thirds quietly, and they need money from Frank’s contacts in China. Hence, why Robert was sailing that way! The pieces, you guys! They’re starting to fit together!
Also in the flashback we learn why Oliver wanted to sabotage his and Laurel’s relationship before he set sail: she was pressuring him to move in with her. That’s why he slept with Sarah!
Back in the present, Oliver overheard Malcolm and Moira discussing that Walter is still alive, and will remain in Malcolm’s custody until The Undertaking is complete. Oliver now has undeniable proof that his mother is in on the evil plans! Oliver is on a mission… and he is pissed. Time to go to Bludhaven (though no Nightwing will be in attendance unfortunately)! To prove just how angry Oliver was, he took out 20 goons singlehandedly without even breaking a sweat! And he found Walter and delivered him home, safe and sound.
Another flashback twist! It turns out that Frank Chen went behind Robert’s back and told Malcolm what he was planning, and he was the one to plant the bomb on the Queen’s Gambit! I don’t feel so bad about Moira framing him for the hit on Malcolm a few episodes back. This dude deserved what he got. Also, pre-island Oliver was such a douche. My god, poor Laurel.
Back at the hospital, the Queens were back together again, one “happy” family. But damn, the look of pure rage on Oliver’s face when Malcolm was trying to figure out if Walter knew it was him behind the kidnapping was absolutely chilling. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, post-island Oliver is an incredible actor, and Stephen Amell is an even better one, portraying so many different sides and incarnations of the same character. I mean, playing a character who is playing a character, as well as playing different versions of that same character but just in different time periods? Impressive.
Laurel also made her way over to the hospital and asks Oliver to talk to Tommy and convince him they don’t belong together. Oliver, clearly done with all the lies and drama, refuses, and drops a bomb on her: he is still in love with her. Boom!
After all the emotional trauma he endured finding out Moira was in cahoots with Malcolm, Oliver swallowed his pride and made his way over to Diggle’s apartment and apologizes to him! Whoa! He needs help figuring out a way to stop Moira and Malcolm from whatever it is they’re planning. Team Arrow is back together, y’all!
Best quotes from "The Undertaking:"
Felicity: Let me guess. Some bad guy is missing his fancy new laptop?
Laurel: This coffee is terrible, Oliver.Oliver: That’s what you get for ordering coffee in a bar.
Diggle: What do you want?Felicity: Is that any way to treat a girl that just walked up six flights of stairs?Diggle: No it’s not. Welcome!
Laurel, to Tommy: Wow. You really look like your father.
Felicity: So just to be clear, the plan is for me to get caught counting cards in an underground casino filled with hardened criminals…Oliver: So you can get a friendly warning from Alonso and plant a bug on his office computer.
Felicity: It feels really good having you inside me. [Pause] And by you I mean your voice. [Pause] And by me I mean my ear. I’m going to stop talking right now.Oliver: That would be my preference.
Alonso: I heard you never miss.Oliver, after shooting an exploding arrow into the bullseye of the dart board behind his head: I don’t. [BOOM]
Laurel: Obviously, we can’t hang out at my house…Oliver: Because your father threatened to taser me the last time I closed the door to your bedroom?
Moira: We’re together again. Everything’s going to be all right. [Cue Oliver’s look of total disgust and betrayal and misery]
Diggle: I guess you do know where I live.Oliver: I’ve always known where you live.
Follow Sydney on Twitter: @SydneyBucksbaum
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April 26, 2013 12:35pm EST
So, everything pretty much worked out splendidly for an unbalanced Bradley Cooper and his musically-inclined, less-ignore-how-much-younger-she-is girlfriend Jennifer Lawrence. Following an arduous emotional journey, Silver linings Playbook wrapped up with a bubbly, charming, delusion-validating conclusion: as happy an ending as director David O. Russell is capable of mustering.
To some, it felt false. Where did this rom-com Hollywood ending spring from, after two straight hours of gritty realism? Apparently, it wasn't the first choice for the wrapping up of the Matthew Quick novel adaptation. Courtesy of MTV, we have been graced with an alternate ending to Silver Linings Playbook (one that will be available on the DVD). While still a satisfyingly happy ending, there's a more probing layer of cynicism, a very present imperfection, that makes it feel just a tad more lifelike. Check it out:
So which do you prefer? The sweet and smiling theatrical ending, or this new one that packs just a tad more bite?
The deliberation between the quality of a film's final cut and its alternate versions is an argument that has attached itself to many a Hollywood title. Sometimes, darker, harsher conclusions are tossed out to better please audiences, especially when it comes to crowd-pleasing comedies.
We find a classic example in Little Shop of Horrors, Frank Oz's musical comedy that opted, for theater-going viewers, to wrap the macabre story with bumbling hero Seymour (Rick Moranis) and his beloved Audrey (Ellen Greene) tying the knot and living happily together "someplace that's green" following their defeat of the nefarious carnivorous alien plant who terrorized Skid Row. The alternate version of the ending didn't have such a sweet tone to it, instead opting to kill both main characters and have the world overtaken by the plant and his brethren:
We find a more recent, albeit less severe, example in an unexpected place:
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. Making the subtitle a great deal more ironic, the original, unreleased ending of the Ben Stiller/Vince Vaughn comedy actually did not grant the good-natured Average Joes their ultimate victory, but instead lent the triumph to the powerhouse Globo Gym and its nefarious owner White Goodman (Stiller). After White scores the winning peg, the credits hit the screen abruptly, leaving viewers with a sense of unease. The rejection of this ending works to explain Stiller's inclusion of the post-credits scene in the theatrical version, wherein he laments the "good guy victory" of his film.
Darker yet is the unreleased ending to Pineapple Express, which, to be fair, is a great deal more realistic than the clean getaway made by stoners Dale (Seth Rogen) and Saul (James Franco) in the theatrical version. In the clip, the potheads just can't wait until they are safe and sound and off the grounds of the site at which they were nearly murdered moments earlier, to steal a drag from a handy joint, leading to their annihilation by a hidden gunman. The final moment of the below video, though, is kind of sweet...
Another meaninglessly morbid turn (as declared so by director Kevin Smith, which is why he opted to shift to the happier theatrical ending) occurs in this alternate version of Clerks, which closes the film after Quick Stop cashier Dante (Brian O'Halloran) shot dead by a robber. Had we seen this hit the big screen, we would never have been graced with Clerks 2 ... or the upcoming Clerks 3, for that matter.
The alternate ending to Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World isn't exactly darker than the theatrical version — at least compared to any of the above scenes, anyway — but it does stray from the anticipated romantic union of hero and heroine that director Edgar Wright eventually opted for. Here, we see Scott (Michael Cera) bid farewell to Ramona (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) as he gets back together with the wide-eyed high schooler Knives (Ellen Wong) and she skates off on her own journey of solitude. It's a bit more somber, sure, but we're up in the air on which we prefer...
Follow Michael Arbeiter on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter
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April 22, 2013 2:41pm EST
No matter how many jobs you're working, children you're raising, relationships you're juggling, or nations to which you're feigning allegiance in a grand effort to undermine the global economy, there's always time to add a new television show to your roster. Or, say, 30. Luckily for all the workaholics, doting parents, love-seekers, and double agents out there, E! has got a brand new slate of programs and specials on the way to distract you from your doubtlessly failing life expeditions.
Among the notable entries among E!'s six upcoming series, 10 upcoming specials, and 17 projects in developmental stages are a reality show about the band members of The Wanted, an in-depth look at the life of 50 Cent, and an expedition led by multihyphenate Nick Cannon to give his grandparents a home makeover.
Check out E!'s complete list of new and developing shows and specials below:
The Wanted Life — Sunday, June 2 at 10:30 PM ET/PT (moves to regular timeslot starting Sunday, June 9 at 10:00 PM ET/PT)This new half-hour series will chronicle the personal and professional lives of the edgy pop music powerhouse, The Wanted, who has already taken the world by storm. Viewers will see an unfiltered look inside the world of the chart-topping UK pop band as they head to sunny California to record their third album, gear up for their new US & Europe tour later in 2013 and solidify their top ranking on American pop music charts, along with their surprising dynamics and interpersonal relationships. Produced by Ryan Seacrest Productions, Scooter Braun Projects and Global Talent TV.
Total Divas — Sunday, July 28 at 10:00 PM ET/PTRevealing the real women behind the WWE Divas for the first time, this new one-hour series proves that the drama is even bigger when the sexy superstars step outside the ring. “Total Divas” goes inside the personal lives of these glitzy, glamorous celebrities who entertain sold-out crowds in arenas around the world and are adored by millions of fans. “Total Divas” is produced by WWE and Bunim-Murray Productions. Jon Murray, Gil Goldshein, Jeff Jenkins and Russell Jay are Executive Producers for Bunim-Murray Productions.
Pop Innovators — July 2013This new series showcases the most influential names in pop culture in their own words. We love them for what they bring to our world, and how they have helped define pop culture and captured the collective zeitgeist. These are the people who, as leaders in their respective fields, have taken their fame and gone in new directions to become influencers across a wide range of topics, and who inspire others to do the same. The first episode of “Pop Innovators” will offer an in-depth look at the life and career of Will.i.am from his point of view and will also feature interviews with other celebrities that he’s influenced most.
Love and Other Contact Sports: Eric and Jessie — Late summer 2013From Khloé & Lamar to Kendra & Hank, E! has followed the romantic celebrity relationships of popular athletes and their gorgeous companions for years. The new Love and Other Contact Sports franchise will take viewers inside the confines of even more celebrity/athlete romances starting with country/pop singer Jessie James and her fiancé, Denver Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker whose wedding is quickly approaching. The series will chronicle the sexy young couple’s road to the altar as they juggle careers, relationships, family and more. Currently residing in their Denver dream home, they share an ambition to succeed, a charmingly fun and unfiltered outlook on life, and most of all, a red hot attraction for each other. Produced by Shed Media U.S.
Hello Ross (working title) — Fall 2013As the ultimate pop culture fan forum, this new interactive talk show is hosted by the super fan himself, Ross Mathews. Fans will have the unique opportunity to share their opinion on all the latest in pop culture, debate the most buzzworthy topics and come face to face with their favorite celebrities. From Borderline Amazing Productions.
The Trend — Fall 2013This news series will feature a team of experts and celebrity contributors discussing all things fashion, beauty and design.
Blinging Up Baby — Thursday, May 2 at 10:00 PM ET/PTThere is nothing more buzzworthy in Hollywood these days than celeb parents and their star tots who fill the pages of weekly magazines. In this one-hour special hosted by Melissa Rycroft, E! explores how the stars are heralding stork visits, from preparing luxurious nurseries, to exotic and ultra-pricey “babymoons,” to dazzling “push presents,” outrageous celebrity baby and toddler gifts, and more. If it is hot in the world of celebrity mommyhood, you’ll find out about it here. From Comcast Entertainment Studios.
Nick Cannon’s Big Surprise — Thursday, May 9 at 10:00 PM ET/PTSexy actor, singer and TV personality Nick Cannon has a big surprise. Grateful to his grandparents who helped raise him, Cannon shows his appreciation with a surprise home makeover. Through the process, the star will share childhood memories, photos and videos as the audience gets an intimate look back at his life. But will his highly opinionated grandmother, actually like what he does with her place? There’s only one way to find out. Produced by Entertainment One.
Holly Has A Baby — May 12 at 9:00 PM ET/PTHolly Madison just took on the biggest role of her life when she became a mommy to a baby girl she named Rainbow Aurora Rotella. In this one-hour Mother’s Day special, viewers will follow Holly to the hospital for the big event, and share in all she did to prepare for her new arrival with boyfriend Pasquale Rotella. Then, we’re invited home with the trio as they share with us exactly what the future holds for Holly and her new family, including the possibility of wedding bells. From Comcast Entertainment Studios.
The Untold Story: Jason Derulo — Tuesday, May 14 at 10:00 PM ET/PTSimon Cowell said he would be huge, Lady Gaga said he’s “a freakin’ superstar,” and Jordin Sparks calls him, boyfriend. He was well on his way to the top when an injury sidelined his career, and could have nearly ended his life. This half-hour special is a turbulent ride with Derulo as he battles his way back from injury. With never-before-seen footage and exclusive behind-the-scenes access, we’ll uncover the real man behind the persona of music royalty’s newest member. From Comcast Entertainment Studios.
Ryan Seacrest with The Wanted: An E! Special — Monday, May 27 at 10:30 PM ET/PTDays before the premiere of their highly anticipated new E! series, Seacrest is sitting down with the bad boys of pop, and no topic is off limits. Discussing their music, rock star lifestyles and their much-buzzed-about personal lives, The Wanted open up to Seacrest in this new one-hour special.
Bigger, Badder Celebrity Feuds — Tuesday, May 28 at 10:00 PMThe Hatfields and McCoys had nothing on some of Hollywood’s biggest and most explosive feuds, and this one-hour special pulls out all the stops to reveal the gritty details of what went down between Chris Brown and Frank Ocean, Halle Berry’s ex and her current squeeze, Kelsey and Camille, and many, many more. From Comcast Entertainment Studios.
E! Special: Brooke Burke — June 2013Giuliana Rancic is sitting down with the sexy actress and TV personality who has helped make Dancing With the Stars one of today’s biggest television sensations. Opening up about her career, family and personal life, Burke shares her ups, downs and everything in between with Giuliana from her home in Los Angeles.
Secret Societies of Hollywood — Late Summer 2013Beyond the red carpet and behind the security gates lies a forbidden Hollywood that only the rich and famous know about …until now. Secret Societies of Hollywood is a two-hour documentary that will expose the cults, cabals and underground clubs that exist in today’s entertainment industry. From Prometheus Entertainment.
50 Hours with 50 Cent — Fall 2013What is it like to be 50 Cent? One lucky super fan gets to find out. This special captures 50 hours with 50 Cent as one of his biggest fans gets to spend exactly that amount of time with him. Viewers will experience over two full days with this iconic rapper, entrepreneur and businessman as he enters global promotional mode leading up to the release of his newest album.
Inner Circle — Fall 2013A new experiment in storytelling from Executive Producer Ashley Tisdale, these specials will feature celebrities picking a member of their inner circle (a trusted friend, family member or close confidant) to tell their real story and to ask the questions. More conversation than interview, it’s an emotionally charged journey where the celebrities let their guards down, open up and have fun with someone from their “inner circle.” From Blondie Girl Productions and Relativity Television.
NEW UNSCRIPTED PROJECTS IN DEVELOPMENT (working titles):
Young SonomaThis series chronicles the personal and professional lives of premier families at the top of their game in world renowned wine country, Sonoma Valley. Featuring Envolve Winery’s Ben Flajnik (“The Bachelor”), Mike and Kate Benziger, Danny and Collette Fay, and B.R. Cohn Winery’s Vallerie and Tasha Cohn, the series goes inside the day-to-day drama that comes from living in a small town, working with friends and family, as well as being local and national celebrities. From Mandt Bros Productions.
Queens Are WildDocu-soap that goes inside the high-stakes world of gambling and follows four of the top female poker players as they live together, travel the world and compete to win millions. From Tollin Productions, Inc.
Palazzo RiggiThrough the eyes of the outrageous family who lives there and the staff that run it, this new docusoap takes viewers inside a unique, luxurious world filled with eccentric personalities and gives viewers a glimpse into a jaw dropping, elaborate 24,000-square-foot family estate in upstate New York that boasts an authentic English pub, Balinese wellness spa and perfectly heated lawn that is designed to keep the paws of the family’s 35 dogs warm year-round. From AEP Media and Machete.
FlashThis self-contained competition elimination series pits up-and-coming photographers against one another. In each episode, the photographers are given a real world challenge with real clients from the world of pop culture, who expect an amazing photo to sell their brand, talent or idea. Each week the winning photographer will get the exposure that could help launch their career. From Super Delicious.
Sex & Real EstateSet in Miami, this new docusoap follows the personal and professional lives of a group of hot, successful real estate agents at the top of their game as they juggle a world where business always mixes with pleasure. From FremantleMedia North America and Purveyors of Pop.
The Soup InvestigatesThe Soup Investigates is a new spin-off series of E!’s popular comedy franchise The Soup that will answer all the questions that pop culture fans never thought to ask, and then some. How DOES that rose get from the grower’s field to The Bachelor‘s hand just in time for the all important rose ceremony? What is life like inside the fascinating world of the Mother Duckers, the families who make their living creating duck callers who WEREN’T cast inDuck Dynasty? Host Joel McHale and our investigative reporters will be working around the clock to get to the truth, or at least a very plausible facsimile thereof.
NEW TOPICAL / COMEDY PROJECTS IN DEVELOPMENT (working titles):
James Davis ShowSketch comedy show parodying a wide range of pop culture subjects and personalities starring actor/comic/writer, James Davis. From Funny or Die Media, Inc.
White People Can’t DanceFrom Executive Producer Jack Osbourne and Vin Di Bona, this tongue-in-cheek format show features a team of experts who analyze some of the more outrageous stereotypes perpetuated by pop culture. Each episode our team will put multiple stereotypes to the test to determine which are fact and which are fiction. From FishBowl Worldwide Media and Schweet Entertainment.
Secrets & LiesSecrets & Lies is the game show, based on the classic parlor game three truths and a lie, that tests pop culture fans’ knowledge of their favorite celebrities while revealing shocking secrets about the stars we THINK we know and love. From Shine America’s format label Ardaban.
NEW SCRIPTED PROJECTS IN DEVELOPMENT (working titles):
Laurel CanyonIn this drama from executive producers Josh Schwartz (The O.C., Gossip Girl, Chuck) and Stephanie Savage (The O.C., Gossip Girl, Carrie Diaries) and executive producer/writer Karen Croner (Admission, One True Thing), a young woman returns to her dysfunctional, extended family in Laurel Canyon with her son after hearing her rock-star legend father has passed away. Based on Croner’s experience of growing up in the Hollywood Hills, the project is from Schwartz and Savage’s Fake Empire in association with Warner Horizon Television. Fake Empire head of television Len Goldstein (The Carrie Diaries) also serves as executive producer.
The Stand-InA darkly psychological re-telling of The Prince & the Pauper set behind the scenes of one of Hollywood’s most famous actresses, who, tired of the spotlight, runs away in search of a normal life. Desperate, her family secretly hires a look-a-like to step into the star’s glamorous world and high profile career — only to have the doppelganger slowly lose herself in the process of becoming someone else. From Executive Producers Ryan Seacrest, Nina Wass and Adam Sher, Ryan Seacrest Productions, Universal Cable Productions and writer Craig Chester.
SongbyrdFrom writer Krista Vernoff (Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Shameless), a young, prolific songwriter of some of the best love songs struggles to find love in her personal life after her inspiration is revealed to be a lie. Featuring the songs and experiences of Grammy winner Diane Warren, who Executive Produces with Craig Zadan & Neil Meron (The 2013 Academy Awards,Chicago, Smash) and Vernoff. From Universal Television and Universal Cable Productions.
ExpectationsFrom writer Ron Bass (Oscar winning writer of Rain Man, Sleeping with the Enemy), inspired by the classic Dickens work, a soap about a morally corrupt family in the diamond business set in New York City. Executive produced by Oscar winner Dan Jinks (American Beauty, Milk). From CBS Television Studios.
The ShorelineThe golden child of a small coastal town in South Carolina returns home to see that a major Hollywood prime time soap, The Shore Line Yacht Club, is the biggest employer in town. An enormous class divide separates the cast and producers from the townspeople, yet their lives are now continuously and irrevocably intertwined — for better or for worse. From writer Carolyn Ingber and executive produced by Becky Hartman Edwards (Switched at Birth, Parenthood). From Fox Television Studios.
Dirty/PrettyFrom Keith Eisner (The Good Wife, Law & Order), Jason Markarian and John Mirabella, a dark comedy centering on a blue collar guy from south Boston who gets scouted to be a model in Miami. Life gets turned upside down when his two best friends join him and see his new life as a way to expand their criminal activities. Gale Anne Hurd/Valhalla Entertainment will act as Executive Producer. From Universal Cable Productions.
Fortunate SonFramed for a drug deal by a friend from his hard-partying days, society golden boy Michael Baron becomes a criminal informant and is at the mercy of the police. He bounces between his privileged west side of Los Angeles existence and the case he is forced to work in the slums. But his dark past gives Michael some leverage over his fate, and he makes a dangerous deal that could clear his name. Or get him killed. From writer and Co-Executive Producer Joey Falco and Executive Producers Kevin Spacey, Michael DeLuca and Dana Brunetti. From Universal Cable Productions.
The RoyalsPart fairy tale, part cautionary tale, this contemporary family ensemble is steeped in all of the regal opulence of the British Monarchy and framed by Shakespeare’s Hamlet. It’s a tale of men and women corrupted by power, wealth and desire while looking at the nature of celebrity from a Royals’ point of view. Executive produced and written by Mark Schwahn (One Tree Hill) and executive produced by Brian Robbins and Joe Davola (One Tree Hill, Smallville). From Lionsgate
Follow Michael Arbeiter on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter
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April 01, 2013 9:02am EST
It would seem like perfect timing for Chris Brown to start his forgiveness campaign. He is in the midst of releasing new songs and on Monday morning, even debuted a music video on the Today show. But can the world really overlook the fact that Brown beat up his girlfriend Rihanna back in 2009? Last week he campaigned hard on Ryan Seacrest's KIIS FM radio show, claiming that he is a changed man. And on Monday, Brown furthered the campaign by telling Matt Lauer that beating up Rihanna "was totally wrong."
"For me, I've been humbled by the whole experience," Brown said. "For me losing everything to having to regain public opinion or whatever it is, but most importantly knowing that what I did was totally wrong. And having to have kind of deal with myself and kind forgive myself in the same breath, and being able to apologize to Rihanna and being able to be that man that can be a man."
Matt Lauer then pointed out that Brown has allegedly been in a fight with Frank Ocean and Drake, adding that people might not view Brown as a "changed" man. "For me, it's just a learning process," Brown replied. "I have to just take it one day at a time. I can't make everybody like me. It's just about me being positive." He added that he hopes people who have been in the same situation as he has been can be "inspired" to learn from his music.
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But while the rest of the world may have a hard time trying to get "inspired" by this man's mistakes, there's no denying that Rihanna has forgiven Brown and that they are back together. "Yeah, everything is good," Brown said of their relationship. "We're fine."
People still worry about Rihanna, though. But Brown said that he will "absolutely" never hurt Rihanna again. "I think it's me just me proving myself once again and also just me being a man, and knowing what I did was wrong and never doing again," he said. "So as far me [hurting her again], she knows my heart and I know her heart. I'm not really focused on the negative. Everything is positive for me.""
Brown said that a 52-week domestic violence counseling programed helped him learn how to move forward. And Brown doesn't care if his haters think he has changed or not. "I think for me it’s about proving myself to my fans," he said. "I think the fans have been the number one support for me, so I think the naysayers are going to have their opinions. Anything I do... it’s not going to be always, 'Chris is the greatest.' I’m not going to focus my life on [trying to] please those people.”
Follow Lindsey on Twitter @LDiMat.
[Photo Credit: NBC]
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March 28, 2013 2:04am EST
Tonight’s Arrow saw a lot of characters finding “Salvation,” but for some, that came with consequences.
Team Arrow is functioning normally after the whole McKenna/Helena debacle, and it seems like Felicity is now fully on the dark side, aka Team Arrow! For real! We knew it wouldn’t take long. As Team Arrow is discussing their next target, Oliver multitasks and does some fancy-looking pull-ups shirtless. Felicity, you ogle Ollie as much as you want, honey. I approve (hell, I was ogling him as well… I think I may have rewound that scene a few more times than may be healthy… No shame!).
Oliver sets off to take down his target, but someone else got to him first. Who is this mysterious kidnapper with a List of his own?
While Felicity worked on figuring out who else might have had a grudge against the target, Ollie didn’t want to go home or call it a night so he plans to move on to the next person on The List. Diggle stops him, though, and makes him take a break. That’s right, it’s time for a bromantic heart to heart: Diggle’s taking Ollie out to dinner! Too. Cute. How do I get an invite to these dinners? No, seriously: I want an invite.
Meanwhile, Thea and Roy have certainly wasted no time in getting to know each other. We see them getting hot and heavy in Roy’s place in The Glades, and it did not look like it was going to stop anytime soon… until one of Roy’s "friends" shows up to deliver a package and remind Roy about some sketchy job they were planning for the next night. Turns out the package was a gun, and Roy and his friends were planning on robbing a liquor store. Obviously, that doesn’t sit too well with Thea because she thinks Roy has the potential do more in life than just commit crimes. However, he thinks his only option is crime. Thea – frustrated and hurt – doesn’t want to see her new guy wasting his life, so Roy empties the bullets out of the gun. He won’t actually be armed, but the store owners will think he is. All I could think as I watched him empty the gun is, That decision is probably going to bite him in the ass. And oh lordy, was I right. But we’ll get to that.
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Remember how last week, Laurel and her mother were trying so hard to convince Quentin that Sarah was still alive? It worked better than Laurel thought: she comes home from work to see her mom and dad playing nicely together! They’ve set up their own Homeland wall of clues, and are diving deep into their investigation. Plus, they’re getting handsy with each other… Be careful what you wish for, Laurel! The surprising thing is, it turns out Laurel never truly believed Sarah was alive. She actually wanted her dad to help her mom see reason and accept Sarah’s death, like they have. Instead, they suck her in and get her to believe there might be validity to their theory. Poor Lance family – you know there is no happy ending to this saga and yet you can’t turn away. It’s like a particularly grisly car wreck.
Back at the bromantic dinner for two, Diggle begins his lecture to Ollie. Diggle thinks Oliver has been spending too much time recently (i.e. since McKenna’s departure) doing vigilante things and not enough normal things, and he doesn’t like Oliver’s new plan to be alone. Diggle knows that a person can’t live happily like that, but before he can truly make Oliver see reason, they need to press pause on the lecture: a Gossip Girl type blast is sent to any phone registered in The Glades for the website gladesbetrayed.com! Team Arrow’s missing target is murdered live, via a video stream on the site, and now Oliver knows who stole his target, and that this mysterious murderer is planning on continuing his streak with others who corrupted The Glades. All during this scene, all I could think of was, whoa, now the entire Glades population has seen murder! Live! That’s scary, creepy, and all-around utterly disturbing.
When another victim is kidnapped by the guy who dubs himself “The Savior of The Glades,” back in the Arrow Headquarters Oliver pressures Felicity to find the location of where the video feed is broadcasted from. He wants to save the victim even though it’s someone he would target, because Oliver gives his victims the chance to change and right wrongs, whereas this vigilante is just a killer. The only information they could find on him was through the NSA: The Savior is a digital savant so skilled that he hacked himself right off the radar. When Oliver tries to give Felicity tips on her computer skills, she rightly shoots him down. Don’t tell her how to do her job, Ollie! She finally gets an address, and Oliver goes off, de-Hooded (since it is the middle of the day, plainclothes is much less conspicuous than emerald green leather and a bow and arrow).
Damn, Ollie has to kick in a lot of doors to try and find The Savior and his victim before it’s too late. Oliver’s got some rage at being unable to find them, and Felicity is feeling it. After some technological cloak and daggers, Felicity gets the correct address. Ollie does some hardcore parkour across the tops of buildings, but the address turns out to be an empty lot. They’re too late: The Savior kills his victim.
Felicity freaks out, and Oliver looks like he wants to break a few bones. But Oliver isn’t actually mad at Felicity, he was just frustrated. Felicity, however, is blaming herself for not being to catch the bad guy in time. It’s the first time she’s lost on Team Arrow. Oliver is more used to it, and knows it’s just the price of what they do. But Felicity takes it as a sign that it’s better to be alone, since she can’t exactly go home and tell some guy about her day. Clearly, Felicity and Oliver don’t understand that that problem could be fixed simply by being with each other!
Meanwhile, Moira is worried about Malcolm’s desire to find out who ordered a hit on him – because, duh, that would only lead him straight to Moira! She meets with Frank, the only other person who collaborated with her on the kill order, to tell him that Malcolm is looking for answers. I feel like Moira is going to frame Frank for trying to kill Malcolm. She’s totally getting information from him about how he paid the Triad so she can use that against him, right? She even tells him, “There’s nothing I wouldn’t do to protect my children, Frank.” Boom, that’s her warning right there. Frank is done-zo.
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After her disastrous date with Roy, Thea goes to Laurel for relationship advice. HA. Sorry, that’s the funniest joke I’ve ever heard. Apparently, since Laurel has dated “a bajillion bad boys,” she is the perfect person to advise Thea on how to deal with her Roy situation. Laurel tells Thea to run, but come on: there’s no way Thea’s going to dump those cheekbones, or that jaw line, or those eyes, or… sorry. Got sidetracked. Colton Haynes, guys! This.
After failing to convince Thea to ditch her criminal beau, Laurel gets some information from the Chinese Embassy. Apparently, the mystery girl from the photo her mother found is in the states and Laurel gets an address. Could this really be Sarah? Laurel starts to truly hope again that she might find her sister alive. Hell, even I am hoping this might be true!
Unfortunately for all parties, the girl in the photo was just a random girl. This was a truly crushing blow for Dinah. But Laurel and Quentin already knew the truth. Even though they may have started to hope again, they knew deep down that Sarah was gone.
Thea does exactly the opposite of what Laurel warned her to do and goes to see Roy (that's mah girl!). They fight about Roy’s potential, and Thea gives up, saying that he is just a waste. But before they can truly hash things out, The Savior attacks them! I knew that bulletless gun was going to be a bad idea. Roy can’t save himself, and Thea gets knocked out. He gets a syringe full of sedative in the neck – the needle alone must have been torture for the guy who almost passed out at the sight of one last week – and now we know The Savior’s next target: Roy Harper, Glades gangbanger.
At Verdant, Tommy turns up the news to see a familiar name as The Savior’s target: the boy Thea asked Tommy to hire at the club. Side note: I love this one random reporter that’s always giving the news. He’s the same one from the pilot, and every other time major news breaks in Starling City. This dude has the monopoly on broadcast journalism.
Thea rushes to Verdant to tell her brother and Tommy what happened, and Oliver now knows Roy is Thea’s friend. He sets out to save him, and Tommy knows just how he’s going to do it. Time for the hood to come on.
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Things are not going well for Moira, either. Malcolm called her up to deliver some “good” news: a member of the Triad was going to give up the name of whoever hired them to kill Malcolm for a reduced jail sentence. I love how Moira tripped a little when Malcolm revealed that. She is freaking out, and rightfully so. Time to think of Plan B!
Even after finding out the girl in the photo was not Sarah (even though she was wearing Sarah’s favorite hat), Dinah is still convinced she can find her, reasoning be damned. Laurel catches on to something, though, that might explain why Dinah was so adamant about Sarah being alive: Dinah knew Sarah took her hat with her onto the Queen’s Gambit with Oliver, because Dinah knew Sarah was going off with Laurel’s boyfriend! Dinah breaks down, because if she had stopped her daughter, she would still be alive and her other daughter wouldn’t be betrayed. Their family would still be together. Tears were shed by all the Lances that night, and they finally all accepted Sarah was gone.
Dinah packs up her things and gets ready to leave now that her mission is done. Her plans are to take “the red eye to Central City. Should be home in a flash.” Is Dinah making a reference to the DC comics city that is home to Barry Allen, aka The Flash? Or is this just a tongue-in-cheek Easter egg? Either way, Laurel hugs her mother goodbye, and makes sure Dinah knows that Laurel doesn’t blame her Sarah’s death. She forgives her. But is she really telling the truth? The look on her face as they hugged did not look like Laurel meant what she said.
Back to the action: determined to save his sister’s “friend” Oliver went straight to Felicity to figure out who The Savior was and stop him for good. Turns out, The Savior’s wife was murdered by corrupt gangbangers in The Glades, and that’s his motivation for “cleaning up the city.” And Felicity hit the jackpot: he was using the old abandoned subway line in The Glades to get around! That’s why she couldn’t get a lock on him before, and why Oliver didn’t find him above ground. He was under it! He sets off to save Roy, but he better hurry: Roy doesn’t believe he should live, and he tells The Savior to kill him. You could tell Thea’s words truly affected him when he spit them out to the camera recording his death: “No one’s going to miss me. I’m just a waste.” No, you’re not! Don’t give up, Roy! THIS!
Oliver swoops in and shoots a mini arrow next to Roy’s bound hand, and while Ollie distracts The Savior with small talk, Roy uses the arrow to hack away until he’s free. That small talk Oliver traded with The Savior? Yeah, this dude thinks he’s the same as the Hood, but he’s completely misguided: The Hood gives second chances. And when he gives The Savior a chance to let this go and stop killing, he doesn’t take the out, so Oliver kills The Savior! Roy is left with his own tidal wave of relief, and he realizes maybe he doesn’t actually want to die.
Back at Verdant, we – and Oliver, and Team Arrow – are treated to a beautiful reunion between Roy and Thea. These two crazy kids have some deep feelings for each other, and Oliver realizes the guy he just saved is more than just Thea’s “friend.” Also, thank you Felicity for pointing that out awkwardly to her older brother!
Interestingly enough, Roy kept the arrow that saved him. Is this foreshadowing an alliance between Roy and Oliver like in the comics? Maybe he has seen a way to make his life meaningful, a way to live without committing crimes: cleaning up the city rather than making it dirty. But first, we need to see Roy and Oliver meet formally! Alas, we’ll have to wait for that moment – but I’m sure it will be epic and totally worth it.
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After the craziness dies down, Oliver heads outside for a quiet moment but is interrupted when Laurel shows up to Verdant. Side note: I love the moments where we see Oliver almost roll his eyes and slump his shoulders with a sigh before jumping into his upbeat and carefree façade for his family and friends that don’t know his secret. When he turned around to say hi to Laurel, you could clearly see that shift from weighted down and deeply emotional to lightweight and cheerful. Subtle, but necessary for him to keep up appearances. Laurel has a heart to heart with Ollie, revealing her family struggles from the past week, and for a moment, you can forget all their history and see the connection between these two. Could this be foreshadowing of Ollie and Laurel getting back together? I have to say, Oliver’s smile when she said yes to getting dinner or coffee and Ollie realized he truly did want to not be alone anymore looked pretty real. Is that the first time he was truly open and honest with Laurel since getting back from the island? I think she recognized it too, and something shifted between them. Something good, and warm.
Something that is not good and warm is Frank… Malcolm as the Dark Archer killed him. That’s right, Frank’s dead. Moira framed him, just as I thought! The interesting takeaway though is that Moira doesn’t know that Malcolm’s the Dark Archer. Also, she literally walked away with Frank’s blood on her hands, and she breaks down. Moira really does feel emotion! This villain keeps getting more and more complex.
Back in Arrow Headquarters, Felicity is officially a goner for Oliver. The moon eyes she gives him when he puts his hand on her shoulder and tells her she can always talk to him about her day were totally warranted. Time to officially start shipping these two!
The moment is cut short, though, when Oliver realized the subway map looks familiar… it’s actually the cryptic symbol that is in the front of The List! Turns out, The Undertaking, The List, and basically everything shady is all connected to The Glades. But what does it mean?!?
And in our island flashback of the week, we meet Yao Fei’s daughter, Shado! Oliver and Slade Wilson’s attempt to trade the circuit board of the missile launcher for a boat off the island goes south when Fyers threatens to kill Shado instead. Since Oliver and Slade are good people, they obviously can’t let this innocent girl die, so there goes their way off the island. A fight ensues – natch – and we learn that Shado’s got some badass moves of her own! Even Oliver gets in some good hits. Their luck runs out, however, when Yao Fei gets shot, and he forces them to leave him behind. More bad news: Fyers stole the circuit board back while they were discussing their “trade.” They got played, but they decide to thwart whatever his plans are. Good thing Shado knows what he’s planning… and speaks English (much to Slade’s surprise)!
The best quotes from "Salvation:"
Roy: We don’t all have butlers. Some of us actually have to answer our own doors.Thea: The horror!
Diggle: You’ve been spending a lot of time underneath that hood these past few weeks.Oliver: Keeps my ears warm.
Diggle: You’ve been home for 8 months, Oliver, but I don’t think you left that island yet.
Felicity: Oliver, no offense, but I don’t tell you how to sharpen your arrows.
Diggle: You gonna hood up?Oliver: It’s the middle of the day!
Oliver: Where’s Diggle?Felicity: I asked him to leave me alone. In my loud voice.
Slade: Oh good. Small talk.
Oliver: Want to have dinner? Or coffee? I don’t know.Laurel: Why?Oliver: I don’t want to be on an island anymore.Laurel: Yes.
Oliver, to Felicity, pleasing Olicity shippers everywhere: If you ever need to tell someone about your day, you can tell me.
Follow Sydney on Twitter: @SydneyBucksbaum
[Photo Credit: The CW]
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March 14, 2013 5:30pm EST
For those who walked out of the 2012 indie comedy Safety Not Guaranteed with their eyes midway through an infuriated roll, scowling over the seemingly contradictory ending of Chris Trevorrow’s time travel picture, prepare to experience a complete 180. It seems that when Jake Johnson and Aubrey Plaza succeeded in going back in time at the end of the film (apparently a lot further than we thought), it was so that director Trevorrow could continue their adventures in his newly announced next movie: Jurassic Park 4.
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The dino franchise producer Frank Marshall announced on Twitter that Trevorrow would be taking on the next chapter of the Jurassic Park universe.
Thrilled to have director on JP4, Colin Trevorrow, an exciting young filmmaker who understands and respects the world that is Jurassic Park.
— Frank Marshall (@LeDoctor) March 14, 2013
Trevorrow, whose only feature to date is Safety Not Guaranteed, might seem a surprising choice for Stephen Spielberg’s forthcoming science fiction adventure film, but those who caught the 36-year-old newcomer’s name in the chatter for Star Wars VII in the pre-Abrams days might consider this new turn the young artist getting the blockbuster he’s been due.
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In addition to the announcement of Trevorrow behind the camera, Deadline reports that Jurassic Park 4 will be shot in 3D and is slated for a June 13, 2014 release date.
So with only Safety at our disposal for judgment, can we comfortably let Trevorrow take the reins from Spielberg and his threequel replacement Joe Johnson? Or is JP4 setting up to be a world that would serve better just getting lost?
Follow Michael Arbeiter on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter.
[Photo Credit: Universal Pictures]
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March 01, 2013 12:24am EST
Be afraid. Be very, very afraid. Because if Thursday’s episode of American Idol is any indication, a large part of the series’ audience has no idea what a good singer sounds like, and next week, those people are going to start determining who goes home.
Throughout Thursday’s episode, during which the final 10 guys sang for their spots in the top 20, the judges were at odds with the audience, who were apparently watching a different show than the rest of us. When Nicki Minaj or Randy Jackson would do their jobs and point out the issues with each singer’s performance, the audience would not only groan, but boo so vehemently that at one point Nicki was forced to fire back at them just so she could finish speaking. This is not good news.
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Next week, half of the performers in our top 20 will be voted off the show, and if the sizable audience in Las Vegas couldn’t tell the difference between a cute guy with little talent and a truly spectacular performer, how can we trust the audience at home? Perhaps we should just hope and pray that the people in Las Vegas were just drunk off the fumes from all the spilled alcohol throughout the streets of the party town.
But complaints aside, the main event of the evening were the performances, because surprise, that’s the point of the show.
First up is the never totally pleasant Mathenee Treco, who continues his trend of wasting the parts of his performance style that are appealing by covering them up with his brand of bro karaoke. He’s got a good voice under it all, but the guy has no idea what to do with it. His rendition of “A Little Less Conversation” is spastic and unpleasant; he allows the song to take him over and it swallows him whole. Randy, Nicki, and Keith dislike the performance, though Nicki’s the only one who points out that it’s the fault of Mathenee’s cheese-factor and not just his poor song choice. Mariah says she likes him, because she’s proved she can offer no other commentary, but it’s not enough to keep him from going home.
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Gupreet Singh Sarin follows Mathenee right out the door, and to be honest, I have no idea how this guy got this far in the first place. Sure, Nicki loves him, but even in his last performance, which all of the judges reminisce about as some great “moment” (and we all know how they love those moments), Gupreet was only mediocre. This week, “Nothing Ever Hurt Like You” is just plain awful. There’s nothing remarkable about any of it. His vocals are boring and off-key. It feels like the last hour at a wedding when your drunk cousin grabs the mic and starts making up words to all the instrumental parts of songs. It’s terrible and even Mariah agrees, though she’s not quite at Nicki’s level of “Hell. No.”
Finally, one of the guys is worth watching. Vincent Powell is someone I could actually imagine voting for. While his look is somewhat stolen from Cee-Lo Green’s closet, his performance of “Because I Love You” is pretty incredible. He’s got an interesting voice, control over his vocals, and a knack for completely organic runs. The guy’s got what everyone in this competition keeps pretending to have: a sense of artistry. Luckily, the judges saw the same thing I did (though I didn’t quite have the panty-throwing urge Nicki was clearly having) and Randy even connected Vincent’s style to Miguel and Frank Ocean, two artists who are owning this moment in music. He’s a real singer and he makes sense in the current scene, so thankfully he’s sticking around for the big vote next week.
Delivering a bit of a disappointing number is Nick Boddington, who tries “Say Something Now.” This guy was so incredible during Hollywood week, but Thursday’s performance is boring. He’s got a nice voice, but there’s little connection to the song. It’s something Keith and Nicki pick up on, but Randy says he knows Nick can do better if he could just get himself one of those moments Randy never stops ranting about. Regardless, Nick was happy in the final moments of the episode, because he managed to eke out a spot in the top 20.
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And from a lack of connection to a lack of touch, the famous pants-ripper Josh Holliday steps onstage to sing an original song he wrote during Hollywood Week. You’d think the guy would want to do a song that’s had a little more time to gestate, but this is the person who didn’t think before doing a split in non-stretch khakis on a stage in front of 20 guys and four industry experts. The performance is alright and almost a little tender when Josh starts at the piano, but as he continues singing his trite lyrics and gets up from the piano to dance around and feign emotion, any potential he had dissipates immediately. He’s showy and cloying, not passionate, and the judges can feel it. Keith gets away with saying Josh needed to be more passionate, but Nicki is booed to death by the audience when she dares to suggest that Josh wasn’t all that great (now, if only she wasn’t totally and completely CORRECT). Randy’s not impressed and even Mariah defers her commentary to the audience, suggesting “Well, at least the audience sure loved it.”
And this is why I’m worried. Josh was not good. If we’re going to sugarcoat it, sure, he lacked passion, but the audience couldn’t even deal with the suggestion that it wasn’t great. These people are going to be the ones sending good singers home next week. Luckily, Josh is sent home, so he won’t be around to cloud their judgement.
The judges aren’t always right though. David Wallis makes a mistake with his song choice, but still manages to prove he’s a good singer who’s ready to take his talent to the next level. He sings “Fever” and it leaves him in a bit of a rut until he gets to the song’s finale and breaks out something a little special. And even though he gets a little too comfortable in his little rocking back and forth groove, it’s a good groove. Randy and Keith like it, but they think he needs a bigger opportunity to show off. Nicki thinks it’s amateur and that he wasn’t current enough, but perhaps that’s because his rendition wasn’t super sexy. Either way, his journey ends, likely so Lazaro Arbos, the heartbreaking so-so singer can stay on a little longer.
Bryant Tadeo of Hawaii takes us into his laid back world, but perhaps we takes it back one too many notches. His performance of “New York State of Mind” shows that he’s clearly got a good voice, but man is it cheesy and boring. You can’t do this song with this arrangement without it feeling dated unless you are the Piano Man, himself. While Keith likes it, Nicki hates everything except for the last couple of notes, earning her some serious anger from the crowd. But Randy agrees, saying the song didn’t go anywhere and as the crowd loses its mind over the truth, Mariah brings them back into “woo-hoo” territory when she simply says he sounded “professional.” That’s not a compliment, Mariah. I have a green shift dress that is very professional, but I never wear it because it’s no fun and I’d much rather wear basically anything else I own. “Professional” is not the mark of a good performer, sweetheart, and it’s not the mark of someone who gets a spot in the top 20.
Thankfully, the bad taste in our mouths is abolished by the sweet, sweet singing of my favorite guy on the show, Burnell Taylor of New Orleans. He wisely and bravely chooses “This Time” by John Legend, which is an excellent song choice because he’s got a voice in Legend’s genre without sounding exactly him. He’s good, a little strange in his movements, but totally genuine. While Burnell doesn’t have a huge range, he’s a great singer and the sort of person whose effortless style ropes an audience in until they're hopelessly devoted to his every last work. He’s got it all. He’s wonderful. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s super cute. While Keith and Randy simply love it, Nicki has to take it up a notch: she would pay to hear him sing RIGHT. NOW. BOO. And while Nicki connects to his story of misfortune (which is exactly what we hate about Idol), it is actually very sweet that she wholeheartedly thinks he deserves it. Mariah pitches in and says a lot of things, but it’s not worth trying to crack that code because no one doubted that Burnell was going to be asked to stay on for another week.
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Now comes the hard part: total sweetheart and chronic stutterer Lazaro Arbos hits the stage looking dapper in his bright pink button-up and little black bowtie to take on Keith’s song “Tonight I Wanna Cry.” He’s a sweet, loveable guy, but he’s simply out of place in the competition. And it’s not for lack of vocal quality: it’s lack of training. Another year, after some training, perhaps Lazaro could be a strong enough performer and confident enough to be a real contender. This year, he’s either going to get swallowed up, or pushed along through the competition with sympathy votes until voters can’t support him any more. But he doesn’t deserve that. This sweet guy deserves to be told the truth, do some work to better his performance, and return triumphantly like the girls’ Candice Glover did this season. Still, the judges can’t send him home and he stays on for another week.
For the finale, the show gives us Cortez Shaw, who’s still a little too cocky for his own good. He does a slow rendition of “Titanium” by David Guetta, which is a song I hate and if I’m being honest, I spent the first half of Cortez’s performance trying desperately to conquer my hatred. Once that subsided enough to hear clearly, it was obvious that Cortez’s vocal range is a thing of beauty; he can hit high notes that most men can’t even dream of. But as Keith points out, his chosen tune exposes all the flaws in his voice and while the good parts are great, the connecting parts are lacking. It’s something that can’t last if this guy is to stick around and become a serious performer. Nicki doesn’t seem to see an issue because she’s blinded but the fact that she finds Cortez sexy. (Hey, let’s give the girl a break. Getting booed for two hours probably does something a little unkind to one’s brain.)
Mariah is impressed (or something, who knows what she was really saying), but it’s Randy’s comment that really seals the deal for Cortez before he’s told he gets to stay: according to Mr. Yo Dawg, Cortez is extremely current and marketable. And to some extent it’s true. He’s handsome and has a smooth voice, but is he one of a kind? So far, no. Still, he’s another crowd favorite and if the applause is any indication, this crooner is going to take one of the few spots available to the Idol finalists at the end of next week. Color me as concerned as can be.
Are you worried that voters will pick the wrong singers next week? Who can’t you live without?
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler
[Photo Credit: Michael Becker/Fox]
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February 28, 2013 6:08pm EST
We are in the Beyoncé era. A woman is officially the most beloved person in music (if you disagree, go ahead and try to get a ticket to one of her Mrs. Carter Tour shows, and let me know how many buckets of tears you cried when you're done), so in a way she's right: Girls run the world. Well, girls can run the world, but if we trot away from Beyoncé's solo excellence and over to the realm of bands, pop groups, and ensembles, it's a man's world. That's why, as skeptical as we are about Scarlett Johansson's new girl band venture, it's exactly what the music world needs.
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Wednesday, ScarJo announced that she's returned to music with her band The One and Only Singles. "We're kind of doing a Go-Gos thing," she told Michael Strahan and Kelly Ripa on Live! With Kelly and Michael, as Noisey first reported. For anyone who took the time to listen to Johansson's middling 2008 album of Tom Waits covers (and one original song) Where I Lay My Head — which had most critics scratching their heads, as only a few sang muddled, ambiguous praises — this news is rather middling as well. But there is one very good thing about ScarJo's venture: chatter.
A great, majorly successful girl band is something the music industry is largely missing. Hell, even a great indie or marginally successful girl band is far more difficult to find than a million beloved bands comprised of male musicians (and while Brittany Howard's frontwoman role in the Alabama Shakes is nothing short of kick ass, the Shakes is a band that's mostly men). This defecit is something even the broad strokes judges on American Idol and The X Factor can see: both Nicki Minaj and Simon Cowell have professed that there's a great big gap in the market just waiting for the right girl group to step in and reap the benefits. And they're right.
For some reason, unlike the Brits who latch onto girl groups quite easily and follow them quite ardently (lucky you, Girls Aloud and more recently, The Saturdays) Americans haven't elevated an all-girl group to star status since the fall of Destiny's Child. It's time.
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Cowell's pet project Fifth Harmony is certainly doing its best to be women's answer to One Direction, covering Frank Ocean's "Thinkin' Bout You" with as much sacharrine pizzazz as possible to drum up some publicity on Wednesday, but they haven't quite bridged the gap.
In the world of critically beloved, but lesser-known music, Los Angeles-based Dum Dum Girls impressed critics across the board with their EP End of Daze, even receiving the "Best New Music" rating from Pitchfork. And while their critical success in encouraging, letting us dare to hope that this is beginning of something much bigger, one fantastic EP isn't the thing that will push the potential movement into hyperdrive.
Johnasson's new venture, however, could certainly be the third integral piece to this puzzle. While Fifth Harmony works on the younger, Beiber-loving set and Dum Dum Girls work on the more discerning music-lover, Johansson puts a famous face on the idea of the "girl group," giving it far more lift than those folks the average music fan might see as nameless faces.
Of course, while our hope is that Johansson's Go-Gos-inspired band is great, there's always the chance The One and Only Singles will make us hide our faces in shame for having dreamed even the tiniest dream that they could be decent. But, even without an album by which to judge the group, a famous face throwing her name into the ring in the quest to bring about the return of the girl band is an element that certain can't hurt.
Perhaps we Americans are secretly, inherently a sexist expanse of music-listeners who can't get into a group unless there's a man somewhere in there, holding down the fort, but I'd like to think we're not that hopeless.
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler
[Photo Credit: John Shearer/WireImage; Sub Pop]
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February 16, 2013 1:29pm EST
Each week, Hollywood gives us something to whine about, and the week of Feb.11 was no different. We could make a drinking game out of this week, but that would be too dangerous. Instead, we'll stick to the usual formula: varying levels of alcoholic respite depending on how bothersome the week's issues are. Is your biggest complaint this week a flimsy one? How about a light cocktail to take the edge off? Got a real bone to pick with a celeb or entertainment entity this week? Go ahead, grab a drink that'll put hair on your chest. Here are the week's entertainment stories that are forcing us to seek a bubbly or boozy refuge. And maybe an idea or two about how you should wash them down.
Take It Easy With a Little Mulled Wine. What? It Has Fruit In It.
Happy Endings Can't Catch a Break: Our favorite gaggle of Chicagoans can’t seem to find a spot that sticks in ABC’s lineup. Now, they’re occupying the death-slot: Friday nights. Pray for Penny and her a-mah-zing friends, people!
Lady Gaga Can't Go On With Her Tour: But that just leaves us wondering, she was still on tour?
Once again, No One is Watching Community: Then again, if the NBC cult favorite was raking in huge ratings, we’d have to wonder what tragedy took place to settle out the balance.
Britney Might Have Milli-Vanilli'd "Scream and Shout": Perhaps it's time for another cleansing comeback?
Let Loose With a Girly Cocktail. We Won't Tell Your Buddies About It.
Can Melissa McCarthy Please Get a Decent Role?: Our girl is hilarious, so why’s she stuck playing the same character over and over?
"Beiber Feuds" is Now a Legitimate News Beat: Really, Biebs? Now you’re fighting with The Black Keys? The Hamster League of America wasn’t enough for you?
We're Still Having a Hard Time Admitting We Didn't Like Frank Ocean's Grammy Performance: We love you, Frank. But we’re just trying to forget your Grammys number happened.
This Poor Woman Gets Confused with Kim Kardashian "All The Time": Kim Kashkashian won a Grammy, but the poor lady still has to tell people she’s not dating Kanye.
Nope. Throw in The Towel and Make Whatever You're Drinking a Double.
Brangelina’s Daughter Probably Makes More Money Than You: Four-year-old Vivienne Jolie-Pitt reportedly raked in $3,000 a week for her work as Baby Aurora in Maleficent, and apparently, that shouldn’t surprise us.
Chubby Checker is No Longer The Man Who Gave Us "The Twist": Unfortunately, Chubby now has to defend his good name thanks to a penis-measuring app that shares his name. Just think about it for a second.
Nicholas Sparks Says Gay Romance Isn't Really His Genre: And that makes sense how?
Taylor Swift is Still An Obnoxious Awards Show Attendee: Look, we're all about having fun at an awards show, but did Swifty really need to act like a 12-year-old at a Justin Bieber concert?
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler
[Photo Credit: ABC]
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