My eyes are still recovering after four hours (four hours!) of sparkle exposure. (I complain, but I love it.) Part I of the DWTS finale was pretty jam-packed: in addition to their judges' choice dances, the four finalists had to do a samba relay challenge and a freestyle challenge.
The judges' choice dances were interesting to watch: the judges chose something they wanted to the see the competitors work on improving. We got to see repeats of old dances – most contestants improved, even Bill, who managed all nines. Next came the Samba Relay. As with many challenges, Corbin and Karina reigned supreme, though Amber got points from Carrie Ann ("That was some nice undulation going on"), and Bill got an honorable mention for briefly shakin' it with Derek.
The freestyles, as it turned out, were the main event for finale part I: they were basically an invitation to go all out. Bill and Emma went first, doing a rousing rendition of the Indiana Jones theme song, complete with multiple whips. Then came Corbin and Karina, who did a crazy (crazy good) Michael Jackson-meets-Cirque du Soleil routine to "Smooth Criminal," which blew everyone's socks off, then Jack and Cheryl with did a "showstopping" (according to the judges) hat-and-cane number, and finally, Amber and Derek finished things up with a Western-inspired saloon number – Len called her "Class, fast, and built to last" (now imagine it in a British accent). Aside from Bill, perfect scores were to be had all around – the dancers really had fun with their freestyle, and it sure showed.
After the numerous challenges came the dreaded elimination. Corbin and Karina and Amber and Derek were predictably safe, leaving Jack and Cheryl and Bill and Emma sweating under the lights. This time around, the reign of Bill Engvall finally came to an end: he was sent home. I'm quite glad he stuck around for so long – he was so well-liked by, well, everyone; his levity and charm made him compelling. And he and Emma had an absolutely adorable relationship; at the start of the episode he admitted, "I have a new best friend and fake-daughter," and after his elimination he echoed the sentiment.
Now, without any further ado, on to part II...as a first time DWTS-watcher, I was completely unprepared for the bonanza that lay ahead of me. It was quite the event – all of the contestants came back to dance encores, and there were live performances about with huge names including Lady Antebellum, Enrique Iglesias, Ylvis (which brought about the resurrection the ever-excellent Team Foxing Awesome), and Colbie Caillat.
Though with all of the replays and encores, we never lost sight of the true challenge that lay ahead: the fusion dances. Corbin and Karina took the stage first, with a cha-cha/foxtrot combo – it looked perfect to me, but apparently he missed a step at the end that led to nines as opposed to tens. Next up, Jack and Cheryl performed a Paso Doble/Salsa dance. Upon finishing, they got some pretty high praise from Len: citing his improvement week to week, Len told him, that out of al the dancers, "You have given me the most pleasure to watch." Finally, Amber and Derek did a near-flawless samba/quickstep concoction. Fun and energetic, it earned them a perfect score.
And finally, after much ado...the moment we've all been waiting for: the bequeathal of the coveted mirror ball trophy. Jack ended up taking third (he tied with his sister!), while Amber took the lead and Corbin second. Not a surprise, I guess? We knew right out of the gate that Corbin and Amber were the ones to beat (though to be fair, it was fun to watch Jack, the dark horse, come so close to the top). Quibbles aside – I mean, who can blame a reality competition for being predictable? – Amber definitely deserved the win; and let's hope she keeps on dancing!
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When we last left our heroes, they had conquered all opponents in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, returned home to their newly refurbished living quarters in District 12, and fallen haplessly to the cannibalism of PTSD. And now we're back! Hitching our wagons once again to laconic Katniss Everdeen and her sweet-natured, just-for-the-camera boyfriend Peeta Mellark as they gear up for a second go at the Capitol's killing fields.
But hold your horses — there's a good hour and a half before we step back into the arena. However, the time spent with Katniss and Peeta before the announcement that they'll be competing again for the ceremonial Quarter Quell does not drag. In fact, it's got some of the film franchise's most interesting commentary about celebrity, reality television, and the media so far, well outweighing the merit of The Hunger Games' satire on the subject matter by having Katniss struggle with her responsibilities as Panem's idol. Does she abide by the command of status quo, delighting in the public's applause for her and keeping them complacently saturated with her smiles and curtsies? Or does Katniss hold three fingers high in opposition to the machine into which she has been thrown? It's a quarrel that the real Jennifer Lawrence would handle with a castigation of the media and a joke about sandwiches, or something... but her stakes are, admittedly, much lower. Harvey Weinstein isn't threatening to kill her secret boyfriend.
Through this chapter, Katniss also grapples with a more personal warfare: her devotion to Gale (despite her inability to commit to the idea of love) and her family, her complicated, moralistic affection for Peeta, her remorse over losing Rue, and her agonizing desire to flee the eye of the public and the Capitol. Oftentimes, Katniss' depression and guilty conscience transcends the bounds of sappy. Her soap opera scenes with a soot-covered Gale really push the limits, saved if only by the undeniable grace and charisma of star Lawrence at every step along the way of this film. So it's sappy, but never too sappy.
In fact, Catching Fire is a masterpiece of pushing limits as far as they'll extend before the point of diminishing returns. Director Francis Lawrence maintains an ambiance that lends to emotional investment but never imposes too much realism as to drip into territories of grit. All of Catching Fire lives in a dreamlike state, a stark contrast to Hunger Games' guttural, grimacing quality that robbed it of the life force Suzanne Collins pumped into her first novel.
Once we get to the thunderdome, our engines are effectively revved for the "fun part." Katniss, Peeta, and their array of allies and enemies traverse a nightmare course that seems perfectly suited for a videogame spin-off. At this point, we've spent just enough time with the secondary characters to grow a bit fond of them — deliberately obnoxious Finnick, jarringly provocative Johanna, offbeat geeks Beedee and Wiress — but not quite enough to dissolve the mystery surrounding any of them or their true intentions (which become more and more enigmatic as the film progresses). We only need adhere to Katniss and Peeta once tossed in the pit of doom that is the 75th Hunger Games arena, but finding real characters in the other tributes makes for a far more fun round of extreme manhunt.
But Catching Fire doesn't vie for anything particularly grand. It entertains and engages, having fun with and anchoring weight to its characters and circumstances, but stays within the expected confines of what a Hunger Games movie can be. It's a good one, but without shooting for succinctly interesting or surprising work with Katniss and her relationships or taking a stab at anything but the obvious in terms of sending up the militant tyrannical autocracy, it never even closes in on the possibility of being a great one.
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A new Justin Timberlake video is a big deal. From the marionettes in "Bye Bye Bye," to the sleek, sophisticated party he threw in "Suit and Tie," to the entirety of "Cry Me A River," his videos are always iconic. The latest addition to his video collection is the cinematic clip for his new single "TKO." In it, Timberlake and Magic Mike star Riley Keough play a couple hurtling toward the end of their relationship, with all of the fighting, attempted reconciliation and frying pans to the head that such a situation entails. The video jumps between the couple in their home and Timberlake being dragged along the ground behind a pickup truck with Keough pouts behind the wheel. It's dramatic and highly stylized... but frankly, a little bit boring.
It's not a bad video; the underlying story fits well with the song, the washed-out filter gives it the right amount of grit and seriousness, and there's not a single boxing reference in sight. But we expect a lot from a Timberlake video, and in the context of his career, "TKO" just doesn't measure up. Even Timberlake himself seems bored by it, spending every scene in which he's not tied to a truck staring blankly off into the distance. He's gone for a cinematic approach before, like with the excellent short film he made for "What Goes Around... Comes Around," but there's just nothing exciting happening in this video, which is even more disappointing considering it was the perfect opportunity for Timberlake to win over fans and critics who weren't impressed by the single in the first place.
If the 20/20 Experience has taught us anything, it's that even after a seven year hiatus, Timberlake is one of the biggest and best artists around right now. He can sing and dance incredibly, he's charming and charismatic, and he makes amazing videos, and even though "TKO" isn't one of them, everyone will forget about it and go back to freaking out the second he starts teasing what his next single will be. And if his next video is the kind of entertaining, stylish clip that manages to combine all of his talents — and preferably shows off some of his slick choreography - then all will be forgiven.
At least we can take comfort in the fact that no matter how boring the video may be, Justin Timberlake always looks incredible.
Recently there was a magazine photo spread featuring reunions of various casts from bygone shows of the past decades, including one from Boy Meets World. There is, of course, the spin-off coming soon called Girl Meets World , though, seeing the cast all together like that made me wonder why ABC didn't just resurrect the original show and call it Boy Meets World: 10 Years Later.
While Hollywood always seems to love featuring new blood, it can't be denied that the original cast had the perfect chemistry. With other networks are bringing back veteran actors like Michael J Fox and Robin Williams, there wouldn't be much to lose bringing back this cast, especially with its simultaneous syndication on The Disney Channel and MTV2. These people are still in the public consciousness.
Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel are reprising their old roles as Corey and Topanga, though they'll be parents now, and William Daniels is Mr. Feeny again (of course, because the show wouldn't be as awesome without him). There was talk of Will Friedle, Corey's brother Eric, and Rider Strong, who played Corey's friend Shawn, visiting the set of Girl Meets World but not being asked to join the show. That stinks, since the show could use the zaniness of Eric, playing an off-the-wall uncle to Corey and Topanga's children. Plus, Shawn could show them what life on the other side of the tracks is like. Heck, I'd even welcome a visit from Ethan Suplee's high school enforcer, Frankie.
ABC is doing us a disservice by not reuniting the whole cast, though I do hold out hope that once the show brings in a newer, younger audience, they'll slowly begin re-introducing the other former cast members. Otherwise, it'll turn into Girl Meets Harsh Reality Of Hollywood Business.
Hey Boy Meets World fans, Topanga and Shawn got married over the weekend! ... Except not in the way you were hoping.
In a cute coincidence, Rider Strong and Danielle Fishel both happened to get married to different people over the same weekend. Strong married long-time girlfriend Alexandra Barreto in a camp-themed ceremony in Oregon. The weekend wedding included festivities like a talent show and a rope course while guest accommodations included bunk beds. Fishel, on the other hand, married Tim Belusko in a more scaled-back event in Los Angeles that the actress' rep told People was "short and sweet." Unfortunately, this isn't some alternate version of the '90s sitcom where Cory falls in a ditch to never be seen again, and years of repressed feelings lead to love between Shawn and Topanga. Some Boy Meets World fan fiction sites got really excited for a minute there.
The big question is: whose wedding did Ben Savage attend?
Fishel and Savage will reprise their roles in the Boy Meets World Spin-off, Girl Meets World, which will follow the adventures of Cory and Topanga's daughter, Riley Matthews.
Somebody call Emma Pillsbury, because Gleeks may soon need some counseling: Glee's sixth season will indeed be its last. Creator Ryan Murphy confirmed the news at the Paley Center event on Wednesday night, when he talked about the impact that the death of Cory Monteith and his character Finn Hudson had on the show, saying "The final year of the show, which will be next year, was designed around Rachel and Cory/Finn's story. I always knew that, I always knew how it would end. I knew what the last shot was – he was in it. I knew what the last line was – she said it to him." Murphy and the show's writers are currently trying to figure out how to rework the show around Monteith's absence.
Fans of Finn and Rachel will be pleased to know that they were always meant to be together in the end, and Murphy has promised that the new ending will "honor" Monteith. He's apparently planning to present his new plan to the network next week. Rumors that the show might be coming to an end started appearing around August, when Fox president Kevin Reilly said that they weren't thinking about the show past its sixth season. However, with the death of Monteith looming large over the show and the show's slow decline in popularity and quality, Glee's departure has started to seem inevitable.
With Finn no longer in the picture, fans have been speculating about the new direction the show will be forced to take. A popular theory is that the new ending will center around Kurt Hummel and his on new fiancé Blaine. Since Murphy has previously stated his affection for both characters, this seems like a probable ending. Rachel will most likely end up a big star, and without Finn to return to Lima for, we wouldn't be surprised if her final storyline centered on her career. Hopefully, some of the show's original cast can return again, and the audience can finally get some closure about Mercedes' singing career, Quinn's success at Yale, and what Brittany could possibly be getting up to at MIT. After all, does anyone actually care about the new group of glee club kids? And, in a perfect world, Tina would finally be able to get a plot where she can be successful without everyone around her tearing her down.
No matter what happens, we're sure Miss Pillsbury has some pamphlets that will help Gleeks through this tough time. Maybe something along the lines of "Moving On After Your Favorite TV Show Ends?"
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So long, Elliot — it was nice not knowing you. In a recent move made by Girl Meets World, Cory and Topanga's eldest child Elliot (Teo Halm) was cut from the show, according to TVLine.
Cory (Ben Savage) and Topanga's (Danielle Fishel) family on GMW, the Boy Meets World spin-off, will now only include two children: tween Riley (Rowan Blanchard) and her little brother Louis (August Maturo).
While a Disney Channel rep explains the departure saying, "Various creative changes are often made as a project transitions from pilot to series," we all know the real reason the older brother was dropped: No one can replace Eric. No one.
The series is scheduled to premiere in 2014.
More:Mr. Feeny Will Spread His Wisdom in 'Girl Meets World' PilotHow Do We Feel About Riley Matthews' New Love Interest in 'Girl Meets World'?A 'Boy Meets World' Reunion! Which Old Cast Members Visited the 'GMW' Set?
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Every Glee fan is looking toward this coming Thursday with a heavy heart. This week's episode will mark the series' commemoration of star Cory Monteith, who died suddenly in July following an episode of drug abuse. Monteith's character, Finn Hudson, has been written off the show via an unexplained death, and will be duly honored by his classmates in the form of song. Characters closest to Finn will pay tribute, including best friend Noah Puckerman (Mark Salling), stepbrother Kurt Hummel (Chris Colfer), one time lover Santana Lopez (Naya Rivera), and — perhaps most powerfully — fiancée Rachel, played of course by Lea Michele, who was Monteith's real life girlfriend.
In preparation of what promises to be a very heavy episode, difficult to bear for diehard and casual fans alike, Glee has released recordings of some of the songs we'll be experiencing on Thursday night. You can listen below by clicking each link, via ONTD:
"No Surrender," sung by Mark Salling
"And If I Die Young," sung by Naya Rivera
"Fire and Rain," sung by Kevin McHale and Chord Overstreet
"I'll Stand by You," sung by Amber Riley
"Seasons of Love," sung by Chris Colfer, Mark Salling, Jenna Ushkowitz, and Harry Shum Jr.
"Make You Feel My Love," sung by Lea Michele
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Every year, ABC's Dancing with the Stars ropes in a varied new batch of players to compete for a seat in Congress. (That's what the winner gets, right?) And every year, the amassed collections of actors, athletes, television personalities, and the odd astronaut have become more, let's say, "creative." Producers have shirked minor details like celebrity relevance in putting together eclectic teams for the competition series, taking the cake with their Season 17 lineup. Yes, the reactions to this year's players will range from "Not her again!"s to "Boy, he's really up and coming!"s to, "I had no idea he was still alive." Peruse the new DWTS contestants below, list compiled by Hollywood.com's Relevance Ranking (from least to most):
Corbin BleuAs the fourth billed star of the High School Musical movies, 24-year-old Bleu is the least relevant of the troupe, hardly even a thing back when he was a thing.
Jack OsbourneNot far ahead of Chaz Duckworth, or whatever it was, is the youngest and least significant member of a flavor-of-the-week MTV reality show that aired back in 2002 (and lasted, despite your recollection, all the way to '05).
Bill EngvallNeck and neck with Jackie O is Bill Engvall, best known for his frequent proximity to Larry the Cable Guy.
Christina MilianWhen you cap your music career by reading tweets on that reality show that people watch when Idol is out of season, you know you're a prime candidate for DWTS.
Brant DaughertyAdmittedly, Daugherty's role on the conversation piece Pretty Little Liars could justify a more prominent placement on this list. But he's also in The Starving Games, which kind of robs him of any of those points.
Keyshawn JohnsonRight in the middle of the pack is Keyshawn Johnson, who used to play football. Football is still cool, right?
Elizabeth BerkleyThanks to the onslaught of '90s nostalgia perpetuated by our generation's nagging inability to grow up, we have granted Saved by the Bell star Elizabeth Berkley an everlasting spot at the corner of our conscience. Remember when she took the caffeine pills? Of course you do. Hey, that might work on this show!
Leah ReminiLeah Remini's name has been thrown around a lot lately, mostly in connection to The Talk firings and Sharon Osbourne controversies. Hmm, perhaps we'll find a bit of a rivalry between her and Sharon's son Jack? That could bump him up an Engvall or two.
Amber RileyShe's on Glee, so there that is.
Valerie HarperTo be sincere for a minute, we pay legitimate credit to Valerie Harper, who is not only tackling cancer, but has long served as an inspiration to fellow sufferers, not to mention actors (she rejects the word "actress") and women everywhere. Some pop culture relevance is the kind you earn.
Snooki...and some, alas, is the kind that forms atop your head in the shape of a ravenous koosh ball. As much as it pains us to say this, Jersey Shore star and new mom Snooki is DWTS' big get of the season.
But that's only 11. What about the last new contestant?
Ah, yes, Bill Nye the Science Guy. A man who exists beyond the realms of pop culture relevance. A man who cannot be defined, but who himself doles out definition. A man against whom all other men are measured. Often in Berzelius beakers. Science rules.
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There's a reason we all grew up loving Boy Meets World. It is because, while the rest of television's leading males were handsome, debonair, quick-witted, and handy with a torque wrench, Cory Matthews was, instead, average. Average in looks, in smarts, in "cool," in just about every facet. Cory was the everyman. And Topanga, beautiful though she may have been and academically proficient to boot, was hardly your idea of Hollywood attractive. The pair was different from anything else you'd find on television at the time... or now. It was something in which the series might have taken pride. Now, in the construction of young Riley Matthews' budding love life on the upcoming spinoff Girl Meets World, we find one Peyton Meyer cast. The acting newcomer will play Riley's romantic interest Tristan Friar... and we're not sure how to feel about it.
We're not going to denounce Meyer before even giving him a chance on screen. For all we know, he could have the comic chops or the dorky charm of Ben Savage. But obviously, this kid has got the sort of appearance that showbiz champions. His traditional good looks could land him a spot on any television show about young love, which seems to land Girl Meets World a far cry from the "average Joe" ambiance presented by its predecessor.
This isn't necessarily a terrible thing. Maybe as the Topanga to Riley's Cory, Tristan is meant to present an alternative to the small screen trope of the schlubby guy vying for (and winning) the trophy girlfriend. Or maybe, quite simply, he's just a talented young actor who was the best possible candidate for the job. Only our return to Philly will provide the answer.
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More:Meet Cory and Topanga's SonMr. Feeny Will Spread His Wisdom in 'Girl Meets World' Pilot'Boy Meets World' Reunion on 'Girl Meets World' Set
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