Bridgit Mendler relied solely on her natural acting talent and bubbly personality to emerge as one of the Disney Channel's biggest discoveries. Mendler bounced around as a supporting player on some of...
The recent dustup between Jennette McCurdy — star of the current Nickelodeon series Sam & Cat and former costar of the hit iCarly — and her employer brings up an on-going question: what, if any, responsibilities do actors in shows aimed at children have?
While there has yet to be clarification on why McCurdy, 21, has started to boycott Nickelodeon events — and there is a plausible explanation involves the discrepancy between the salaries of the actress and her costar Ariana Grande — there was plenty of speculation that one of the factors was the network's reaction to pictures that were posted online of McCurdy in her underwear.
Nickelodeon has had relatively few issues with its young stars, but the viral explosion over the leaked photos is something that rival Disney is well acquainted with. The media giant has worried over the public images of a series of young actresses — Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens — while they were working for Disney. (Lest they be accused of gender bias, the Mouse suits also fretted over Zac Efron's behavior as well.) While she was between movies in the High School Musical series, a nude photo of Hudgens emerged online and put Disney into spin control. While McCurdy's pictures were tame by comparison, the reaction to the seeming transgression was about the same: low-key generic support for the star mixed with an undercurrent of disapproval to appease the parents of young fans.
Trying to sell Hollywood products as "family friendly" is a tricky situation. Both Nickelodeon and Disney have to protect their respective brands and assure parents that their children can safely watch the content being put on the air. During her Hannah Montana days, it wouldn't have been acceptable for Cyrus to go on stage in Europe and light a joint the way that she did earlier this year. There are certain boundaries that are just part of the price of being involved in children's programming.
The problematic area, however, is two-fold. First, criticizing young performers for capitalizing on their sex appeal is hypocritical, especially when it comes from studios that continuously market the attractiveness of those same stars. Neither Nickelodeon nor Disney shies away from capitalizing on the fresh-faced good looks of the young actresses (and actors) that they employ. The companies have produced music videos for in-house stars like Victoria Justice and Bridgit Mendler that show them seductively singing to the camera and partying into the night. While it's all fairly chaste, in reality it's also not much of a ideological leap from doing a Maxim cover. If a studio can use someone's looks for their advantage, they can't then be concerned if that person uses it for their own.
The other part has more to do with the oftentimes unrealistic expectations of the public. Just because someone was on a show aimed at youngsters, that doesn’t mean that they have to continue to live up to some arbitrary standard of "purity." The outcry over Cyrus' more recent behavior — which has included showing far more skin than McCurdy — was ridiculous whenever it veered into concern over the impact it may have on the young people that used to watch her Disney show. Once they're no longer directly working on products being marketed to tweens, then the choices that actors make stop being tied to that. Hudgens and Gomez starring as bikini clad thrill seekers in Spring Breakers has no bearing on the TV shows and movies that they did as teenagers.
Both Nickelodeon and Disney have become launching pads for actors to break into the business, but it's hard to bemoan young adults from acting like… well, young adults.
The Kids' Choice Awards: where humans too young to drive pick the winners, nominees range from Lebron James to Jennifer Lawrence to SpongeBob SquarePants, and everyone goes home dripping in lime green slime. What a glorious awards show.
With Josh Duhamel at the helm, this year is a battle of the heavy-hitters. Justin Bieber is pitted against Bruno Mars, The Avengers against The Hunger Games, and Anne Hathaway against Kristen Stewart. In the only awards show where it's conceivable for Taylor Swift to beat Adele in a head-to-head race and for The Rock to triumph over Robert Downey Jr. (which he did, in the category of Favorite Male Buttkicker), this is anyone's game.
Watch the Kids' Choice Awards on Nickelodeon on Saturday, March 23 at 8 PM ET and check back here to see all the winners — we'll be updating the list during the broadcast.
Favorite TV ShowGood Luck CharlieiCarlyVictorious — WINNERWizards of Waverly Place
Favorite Reality ShowAmerica's Got TalentAmerican IdolThe VoiceWipeout — WINNER
Favorite CartoonFairly OddParentsPhineas and FerbSpongeBob SquarePants — WINNERTom and Jerry
Favorite TV ActorJake T. AustinLucas CruikshankRoss Lynch — WINNERCarlos Pena
Favorite TV ActressMiranda CosgroveSelena Gomez — WINNERVictoria JusticeBridgit Mendler
Favorite Male AthleteLebron James — WINNER Michael PhelpsTim TebowShaun White
Favorite Female AthleteGabby DouglasDanica Patrick — WINNERSerena WilliamsVenus Williams
Favorite BookDiary of a Wimp Kid seriesHarry Potter seriesThe Hunger Games series — WINNERMagic Tree House series
Favorite VideogameJust Dance 4 — WINNERMarioKart 7Skylanders GiantsWii Sports
Favorite AppAngry BirdsFruit NinjaMinecraftTemple Run — WINNER
Favorite MovieThe Amazing Spider-ManThe AvengersDiary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog DaysThe Hunger Games — WINNER
Favorite Movie ActorJohnny Depp — WINNERAndrew GarfieldZachary GordonWill Smith
Favorite Movie ActressVanessa HudgensScarlett JohanssonJennifer LawrenceKristen Stewart — WINNER
Favorite Animated MovieBraveIce Age: Continental DriftMadagascar 3: Europe's Most WantedWreck-It Ralph — WINNER
Favorite Voice From an Animated Movie Chris Rock (Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted)Adam Sandler (Hotel Transylvania) — WINNERBen Stiller (Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted)Taylor Swift (The Lorax)
Favorite Female ButtkickerAnne HathawayScarlett JohanssonJennifer LawrenceKristen Stewart — WINNER
Favorite Male ButtkickerRobert Downey Jr.Andrew GarfieldChris HemsworthDwayne Johnson — WINNER
Favorite VillainReed Alexander (iCarly)Simon Cowell (The X Factor) — WINNERTom Hiddleston (The Avengers)Julia Roberts (Mirror Mirror)
Favorite Music GroupBig Time RushBon JoviMaroon 5One Direction — WINNER
Favorite Male SingerJustin Bieber — WINNERBruno MarsBlake SheltonUsher
Favorite Female SingersAdeleKaty Perry — WINNERPinkTaylor Swift
Favorite Song"Call Me Maybe""Gangnan Style""We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together""What Makes You Beautiful" — WINNER
Celebrity Slime Count: 8 (Pitbull, Dwight Howard, Sandra Bullock, Neil Patrick Harris, Josh Hutcherson, Amanda Seyfried, Josh Duhamel, Nick Cannon)
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Ladies, you may want to get your Kleenex ready. Audiences likely noticed the horror on Britney Spears’ face when Fifth Harmony proved that miracles can happen after they advanced to The X Factor finals over future teen sensations Emblem3. They may have been unanimously praised by their fellow semi-final acts last night — and were compared to The Beatles, while delivering two of their best performances in the competition — but E3 shockingly didn’t have The X Factor. (“I don’t get it,” Spears said in the distance. Neither do we, Brit. Neither do we.)
The Huntington Beach trio kept as cool as cucumbers, continuing to smile as they were sent packing. In between the results, the Grammy winner Bruno Mars belted his new single “Locked Out of Heaven,” while Bridgit Mendler hit the stage with her single “Ready Or Not.”
After the semi-finals result show, Hollywood.com sat down with the lady killers from E3 to get the nitty-gritty on what their mentor (the one and only, Simon Cowell) told them after their elimination, their favorite moments on the show, which contestant they think deserves to win the $5 million, Keaton Stromberg’s secret talent (his not-so-secret paramour Lauren Jauregui from Fifth Harmony may know some others, too. Oh la la!), and thoughts on L.A. Reid’s exit from the show. Check out exactly what they had to say below:
On Simon’s words post-elimination:
Wesley Stromberg: [Simon] said this was just the start, and that we will have huge careers.
Drew Chadwick: Simon made it very clear to us that he is definitely interested [in signing us], and he actually said, “You guys are going to have amazing careers, or a big career ahead of you.” That's what he said. … L.A. Reid has said that he's interested, too.
On their experience on the show:
Drew: The bottom line is we had the dopest experience. We got everything we really wanted out of this competition, which was a solid international fan base. We expanded our comfort zone by stepping out of it. We learned how to do interviews. It was like training, going to trade school, or college. It was like the musical industry on miracle grow, or steroids, we learned a lot and now it's over and we are about to go do it for real.
On their favorite moments in the competition:
Wesley: There are a lot of them.
Keaton: My favorite moment was our first audition, Sunset Boulevard… that was awesome.
Drew: I don't have a specific single moment, but all in all, sharing the love with all the other contestants and the crewmembers, and just building awesome relationships with all these people that are interested in the same thing.
On fighting to keep their authenticity:
Drew: The past couple of weeks, I obviously have not been in the best mood because I felt like we weren't staying true to who we were. But the bottom line is, in any industry, you have to make sacrifices if you want to work your way up the career ladder. So, we had to expand in order to reach out to a bigger demographic, and get more votes.
Wesley: It's about votes.
Drew: Even if that meant doing songs we didn't like, or didn't feel. But, I mean, it was awesome, and even though I was down about the past two weeks, and the songs I didn't feel comfortable performing, last night we got to resurrect the true us again. We prove to everyone that we are still here – but we just have to play by the rules for a little while. Last night was like damage control. We got to be us again, and that was sick.
On Tate deserving the $5 million:
Drew: Tate is a little older and is amazing. He has been playing music for a long time, and is a family man with a great heart. He has pure intentions, and is a good guy. I feel like he really deserves it. He needs a break, and I love him. I love Carly [Rose Sonenclar] and Fifth Harmony, but I think he is the most deserving. That's why he's doing it right now, and why he does it, he can't hide it this would make his life. He's awesome, and a great guy so he deserves it.
On Keaton’s skills at producing:
Keaton: I started when I was 13. My dad bought me an Apple computer, so I started with GarageBand. I've basically been studying and teaching myself everything I can [about] audio engineering and producing. It's a true passion because, honestly, I never planned on being a professional musician before we started the band and went into the X Factor and did all this stuff. They basically wanted to be an audio engineer and produce other people's music, so it's been a really big honor to record our own music and then now we are becoming someone and people still recognize that. It's really cool.
On celebrating their run on the show:
Wesley: We are going to Washington state, and going snowboarding.
Drew: With all of our buddies.
Wesley: It's that right time of year, so we have to go.
Drew: I'm already checking the snow reports and stuff. We are leaving tomorrow.
On giving Lauren Jauregui from Fifth Harmony a special good-bye:
Wesley: Is she—?
On L.A.’s departure from X Factor:
Drew: I think that L.A. Reid is more of a creative, behind-the-scenes production type of dude. I don't think he was really into reality TV. It's more about the TV show, and producing the TV show than the actual music. He and I had a lot in common in that sense.
[Image Credit: Ray Mickshaw/FOX]
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The actors are encouraging children between the ages of six and 14 to treat each other with respect online.
The crusaders are also urging parents to monitor their kids' use of cell phones, social networking and gaming sites.
Lab Rats star Unger, 16, has drawn on his own experience to help promote the movement - he was taunted with names such as "small fry" and "shortie" in his early school days.
The actor was given the boost he needed to stand up to bullies after a casting agent informed him a shorter height was advantageous for a child entering the entertainment industry.
In a statement, he said, "So from that point on, when people called me small fry or shortie I was like: "Yeah, you're right and I am proud of it."
Disney today debuted an official trailer for The Secret World of Arrietty, its upcoming English-language version of Hiromasa Yonebayashi's animated film. Adapted from Mary Norton's acclaimed children's book series The Borrowers by Hayao Miyazaki and Keiko Niwa, it features the voices of Bridgit Mendler, Amy Poehler, Carol Burnett, and Will Arnett:
The Secret World of Arrietty opens February 17, 2012.
Click below for more images of Amy Poehler:
Landed first onscreen role on the popular daytime series "General Hospital" (ABC)
Landed a role in the Betty Thomas-directed "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel"
Acted in the teen comedy "The Clique"
Co-starred in the Disney Channel film "Lemonade Mouth," about a group of high school students who form a band while in detention
Cast in the family film "Alice Upside Down" opposite Luke Perry
Starred on the Disney Channel family sitcom "Good Luck Charlie" as a teen who videotapes on-camera advice to her baby sister; also performed the theme song "Hang in There Baby"
Voiced the title character in the U.S. release of the Studio Ghibli animated fantasy film "The Secret World of Arrietty"
Bridgit Mendler relied solely on her natural acting talent and bubbly personality to emerge as one of the Disney Channel's biggest discoveries. Mendler bounced around as a supporting player on some of the network's most popular teen shows until she landed a starring role on "Good Luck Charlie" (Disney Channel, 2010- ), a series that marked the return of the family sitcom. Mendler played a teenager who documented her suburban family's life on camera for her baby sister to watch when she grows up. Mendler further cemented her status as a suitable successor to former teen queen Miley Cyrus when she starred in "Lemonade Mouth" (Disney Channel, 2011), where her relatable charm and squeaky clean image made the young actress a role model in her own right.<p><p>Bridgit Claire Mendler was born on Dec. 18, 1992 in Washington D.C. The future star moved to Northern California, just outside San Francisco, when she was eight years old. Mendler began to express an interest in acting as a young girl, and pursued an entertainment career by the time she was 13. She landed her first onscreen role in 2006, appearing on the popular daytime series "General Hospital" (ABC, 1963- ). Her Hollywood career took off shortly after her daytime soap debut, whereupon she was cast in the family film "Alice Upside Down" (2007) opposite Luke Perry, as well as the teen comedy "The Clique" (2008), about a young woman who tries to fit in with the most popular group of girls in her middle school.<p>Mendler's career went full speed ahead in 2009 with a role in the Betty Thomas-directed "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel," the follow-up to the hit family film, "Alvin and the Chipmunks" (2007). That same year, she co-starred opposite former Disney darling-turned-tabloid queen Lindsay Lohan in the comedy "Labor Pains." Mendler was cast as the younger sister to Lohan's character, a woman who fakes her own pregnancy in order to save her job. Mendler also reportedly auditioned for the lead role on "Sonny with a Chance" (2009- ), a Disney Channel series about a young Midwesterner who moves to California after winning a featured spot on her favorite TV show. The role eventually went to singer and actress Demi Lovato, who the network touted as "The Next Big Thing."<p>Disney Channel, however, took note of Mendler's star potential. In 2009, the network cast her in a recurring role on its hit comedy "Wizards of Waverly Place" (2007- ) as a young vampire who falls in love with a teen wizard (David Henrie) living in New York. That same year, she was cast as a love interest for another heartthrob, Nick Jonas of the Jonas Brothers. Mendler played a girl who inspired the rocker to write a song about her on an episode of "Jonas" (Disney Channel, 2009- ). Mendler finally landed a starring role on a new Disney Channel sitcom in 2010, "Good Luck Charlie." The series revolved around a suburban family who grows after the birth of their fourth child, Charlotte (aka "Charlie"). Mendler played the eldest child Teddy, who videotapes life around their home and gives on-camera advice to her baby sister. "Good Luck Charlie" also starred comedians Leigh Allyn Baker and Eric Allan Kramer as the parents, and Jason Dolley and Bradley Steven Perry as her troublemaking brothers. The show focused on bringing the family sitcom back to the small screen, but it also launched Mendler - who performed the theme song "Hang in There Baby" - as a Disney Channel breakout star. In 2011, Mendler starred in the TV film "Lemonade Mouth," about a group of high school students who meet in detention and form a band.