Curtis Finch, Jr., might have been happy following his Top 10 finish on American Idol, but some fans of the reality series certainly weren't. Since Idol's live performances began, viewers and critics have been responding just as negatively to the contestant's attitude as the judges have been responding positively to his undeniable vocal prowess.
Do you get the feeling that Curtis Finch Jr. has no trouble at all appreciating his own abilities? #AmericanIdol
— brian_mansfield (@brian_mansfield) March 7, 2013
Am I the only one that remembers Curtis Finch Jr being a jerk to Charlie Askew during group day in Hollywood???? #Idol
— Adrianna Barrionuevo (@adriannabarr) March 7, 2013
I just can't get behind Curtis Finch Jr. He's an amazing technical singing, but his is SMUG. #Idol
— Katie Boehnke (@ktbanks) March 7, 2013
The source of fans' ire: Finch's behavior during Hollywood Week. When Charlie Askew fell ill during group rounds, Finch showed little sympathy for the young singer, leaving fellow group mate Charles Mathis to care for Askew. Of not assisting Askew, Finch told Idol's cameras: "I'm here to send him home in the first place."
Now that Finch has made the Top 10, however, he's at the mercy of Idol voters, who are known to have all-too-reliable memories. (See the swift exits of former drama-magnets Antonella Barba, Tatiana Del Toro, Clint Jun Gamboa, and Reed Grimm. Hell, voters probably wouldn't have fallen for Scotty McCreery had he not offered an on-stage apology for kicking little Jacee Badeaux out of his group during Hollywood Week.) But, as Finch tells Hollywood.com, he's not concerned about how his Hollywood Week attitude might affect him in the competition. "I think it's important for America to know that American Idol is a TV show," he says. "It's been edited, and some things — most things — that happened during Hollywood Week were not shown."
As Curtis tells us, his fanbase is strong, and there's little reason to worry about viewers who were rubbed the wrong way by his behavior earlier in the season. "I always continue to look forward to tomorrow and not look back on yesterday, because I know who I am, and not everybody else does, so the people that like Curtis will vote for Curtis, and the people that don't will probably vote for Angie [Miller] or Amber [Holcomb] or Candice [Glover]."
And, should the latter be the case, Finch is fine with the outcome. "[Candice] is my baby," he says. "She is an incredible gift. She sings like nobody's business, and so I'm here enjoying all of this with her. She's incredible. I love her."
We'll have to see if fans can echo the sentiment about Finch.
[Image Credit: FOX]
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It's the first week of American Idol, so the top 10 finalists don't hate each other yet. In fact, they're all just so happy to be here! No, really: Literally every single one of them told Hollywood.com something to that effect — some in those exact words — when we interviewed the Season 12 finalists at the Top 10 party after the show's live taping.
"People keep asking me how I feel, and it’s so hard to come up with a word that describes how amazing it is," standout Angie Miller tells Hollywood.com on the red (well, actually blue) carpet after she was announced as a finalist.
There weren't any real surprises in the top 10, which, in case you weren't paying attention, consists of Miller, along with Lazaro Arbos, Janelle Arthur, Curtis Finch Jr., Candice Glover, Kree Harrison, Amber Holcomb, Paul Jolley, Burnell Taylor, and Devin Velez. Well, except for the contestants themselves — no matter how confident they were in their abilities, they were all still pretty shocked that they actually made it through.
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If any of the girls were a lock, it was likely Glover, who even had the coveted final slot in the ladies' semifinal show. "I actually didn’t [think I was a shoo in]," she tells Hollywood.com. "Everybody else was like 'Girl, you’re in the pimp spot. You know you’re good.' But I get extremely nervous, so I was totally out of it backstage. I didn’t know if they put me last to make an example of how bad I am! My mind plays with me a lot so I really didn’t know how to feel."
Finch knew his show BFF would make it, though. "That’s my baby," he said of his friend. "She is an incredible gift. She sings like nobody’s business, and so I’m here enjoying all of this with her. She’s incredible. I love her."
Even being the first person called didn't really provide much relief. Jolley was the very first finalist announced, but he tells Hollywood.com it was a little more nerve-racking not having anyone to commiserate with. "I'm a supportive guy, so usually I'm the one saying 'It's going to be okay, guys.' Being the first guy out there, I was like, 'Oh no, what do I do? There's no one else here to support!'"
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Arthur, who was the first girl called, says knowing her results first really helped her out in the nerve department. "I was so glad I didn't have to sit there and think 'What is going on? Is it going to be me next?' I was really dreading that, and luckily I just got it over with."
This is the first time Idol announced the results to the sequestered group of contestants, which Holcomb says made for some interesting backstage time for the girls while the boys were being announced. "We were all backstage trying to figure out whose music it was," she says, although they didn't find out which five guys made the cut until they actually got onstage.
Although we're already familiar with some personalities, many of the contestants didn't get much screentime until recent weeks. Velez says he did start to worry when he wasn't being shown. "I was actually a little scared," he admits. But he's pretty confident about his abilities, especially since he hasn't really gotten any negative comments from the judges in the live rounds so far.
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"I think that gives me an advantage," Velez says. "I also think that I’m the only person singing in Spanish, that’s a big edge for me. I don’t want it to become predictable or cliché. I think it’s definitely a strength. I’ve done it twice already and it’s worked both times, but I think if I do it too much it’s like 'Nah dude, you’re going to become a Spanish singer,' and I don’t want that. But I want people to understand I can do both. It might come again later, but definitely for the next few rounds, no."
Though plenty of the newly minted finalists opted for soaring ballads to show off their voices, Holcomb tells Hollywood.com that she purposefully kept things upbeat. "They [told me I could] do the first song I you did, but I was like 'No, I don’t want to do that.' I want to show America something else; I don’t want to put them to sleep. I didn’t want to go out there and just stand still!"
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[PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Becker/FOX]
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Shocker: It’s still a girls game on American Idol. After a quick trip back to Los Angeles, the judges, Ryan Seacrest, and the Top 20 nestled into the Idol auditorium to find out who’d be staying on as part of the Top 10 finalists. Fan favorites like Kree Harrison, Angie Miller, Burnell Taylor, and Lazaro Arbos were easy fits, but as the night wore on, disappointment hit more than a few times.
Of course, most of those time were when we realized that likeable singers like Paul Jolley nabbed spots that could have gone to strong lady singers like castoff Aubrey Cleland were there not a strict five-spot-per-gender rule. Of course, if the past teaches us anything, it’s that voters probably would have kept a few too many of the ho-hum dudes and sent home girls who deserved to stay. Still, it was an exciting night on Idol.
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We got to see what it looks like behind Idol’s famous video screen door. We got to see the singers’ genuine reactions before the judges or the audience, thanks to Ryan delivering the news to them backstage, before anyone else could hear. We got to witness the adorable moment when Keith Urban let Nicki Minaj lean on him as they walked to their seats because Nicki wore impossibly high heels. We got to see Mariah Carey’s incomparable breasts peeking out from behind a mesh v-shape in her patent leather ball gown. We got to witness the cross-promotion of Carey’s new single and the movie she sang it for, Oz the Great and Powerful. But unfortunately, we still didn’t get to see much of Randy Jackson’s prized shoes, which is a shame because Seacrest once told me that Randy has a new pair for every single episode of the show.
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As the finalists were announced, they each got to perform a victory song followed by feedback, but not criticism, from their favorite judges. I know the point is that we’re not supposed to judge, but if you’re like me, the wheels in your brain were turning, you were judging each and every performance, and you’ve already got a ranking system in your head. Here’s mine:
10. Paul Jolley singing “Alone” by Heart: While he was much better than he was on Wednesday night, he’s still not the strongest of the bunch. But man, is he handsome.
9. Lazaro Arbos singing “Like a Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon and Garfunkel: It was a good emotional reprisal of his audition song considering he’s overcome adversity and made it to the final 10. It’s very sweet, and very much in his comfort zone, but he will need to step it up to make it past the other fantastic singers.
8. Devin Velez singing “The Power of One (Change The World)” by Isreal Houghton: Nicki clearly didn’t like that he shied away from a ballad, but he’s found a way to be a little more relevant with this upbeat song. His ballads are fantastic, but he’s got to be able to do upbeat to be a mainstream artist. And he gets a few bonus points for his adorable blue-eye-shadow-laden mama hitting on Ryan.
7. Curtis Finch singing “So High” by John Legend: Let’s just make peace with the fact that Curtis rubs me the wrong way. That feeling won’t go away, so I’m going to do my best to get past that long enough to write about his performance: I love this song, I love the effortless way in which John Legend sings it. Curtis’ vocal acrobatics prove he’s got a serious skill, but I’m not a fan of the way he pushes this smooth song. That’s why he’s so far down on this list, but still, I can admit he’s talented.
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6. Amber Holcomb singing “I’m Every Woman” by Chaka Khan: This is where I start to get a bit confused because I love, love, love everyone I’ve ranked from sixth to first. I love them all. While Amber has an issue with sounding current, it’s hard to deny she’s got an incredible voice. And she’s not even trying. At all. It’s almost infuriating. Her voice is so good, and the girl never even breaks a sweat.
5. Janelle Arthur singing “Home” by Dierks Bentley: Janelle has never been my cup of tea, but her emotional connection really brought it home on Thursday night. She finally chose a current song and it makes her feel like she really could be a singer with a hit single on the radio right now. And with tears in her pretty little eyes, she’s a delight to watch. America loves themselves a sweet, little blonde country singer.
4. Candice Glover singing “I’m Goin’ Down" by Rose Royce: I love this girl. She’s so, so good. I like her rendition of this song better than Mary J. Blige’s cover, because it just pours out of her so naturally. She’s just strutting around that stage letting her incredible voice just flow, and after watching her go home too soon last season, it’s hard not to cheer her on a time like this.
3. Angie Miller singing “I Was Here” by Beyonce: She’s adorable and misty as she takes the stage in her sparkly pants. Despite being outside of her usual style. Beyonce’s ballad turned out to be a great choice. I like that she didn’t try to Beyonce-ify her performance. She just tried to make it as Angie as possible. It wasn’t a super clean performance, but the emotional connection was so great it almost doesn’t matter. She’s so marketable, so genuine. She belongs up there.
2. Burnell Taylor singing “Ready for Love” by India.Arie: I want a woman to win this year. I really, truly do. But if a man has to take the crown, it had better be Burnell. He. is. amazing. The intricate things he does with his voice are beautiful and his personality comes through every time he sings. He has every piece it takes to be considered the complete package. He’s going to seriously test my feminist resolve this season.
1. Kree Harrison singing “Evidence” by Susan Tedeschi: This girl rocks. Hard. She’s flawless and connected, just like she always has been. If we’re picking horses, this girl is the one to beat.
Now that gender is no longer a factor in who stays and who goes, let’s hope voters can see the great disparity between the incredibly talented women and the fairly talented men on this show.
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[Photo Credit: Fox]
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It was the trickle of pee heard around the world. Cannes attendees were aghast and/or amused an infamous scene from The Paperboy that shows Nicole Kidman urinating on Zac Efron; this is apparently a great salve for jellyfish burns which were covering our Ken Doll-like protagonist. (In fact the term protagonist should be used very loosely for Efron's character Jack who is mostly acted upon than active throughout.)
Lurid! Sexy! Perverse! Trashy! Whether or not it's actually effective is overshadowed by all the hubbub that's attached itself to the movie for better or worse. In fact the movie is all of these things — but that's actually not a compliment. What could have become somethingmemorable is jaw-droppingly bad (when it's not hilarious). Director Lee Daniels uses a few different visual styles throughout from a stark black and white palette for a crime scene recreation at the beginning to a '70s porno aesthetic that oscillates between psychedelic and straight-up sweaty with an emphasis on Efron's tighty-whiteys. This only enhances the sloppiness of the script which uses lines like narrator/housekeeper/nanny Anita's (Macy Gray) "You ain't tired enough to be retired " to conjure up the down-home wisdom of the South. Despite Gray's musical talents she is not a good choice for a narrator or an actor for that matter. In a way — insofar as they're perhaps the only female characters given a chunk of screen time — her foil is Charlotte Bless Nicole Kidman's character. Anita is the mother figure who wears as we see in an early scene control-top pantyhose whereas Charlotte is all clam diggers and Barbie doll make-up. Or as Anita puts it "an oversexed Barbie doll."
The slapdash plot is that Jack's older brother Ward (Matthew McConaughey) comes back to town with his colleague Yardley (David Oyelowo) to investigate the case of a death row criminal named Hillary Van Wetter. Yardley is black and British which seems to confuse many of the people he meets in this backwoods town. Hillary (John Cusack) hidden under a mop of greasy black hair) is a slack-jawed yokel who could care less if he's going to be killed for a crime he might or might not have committed. He is way more interested in his bride-to-be Charlotte who has fallen in love with him through letters — this is her thing apparently writing letters and falling in love with inmates — and has rushed to help Ward and Yardley free her man. In the meantime we're subjected to at least one simulated sex scene that will haunt your dreams forever. Besides Hillary's shortcomings as a character that could rustle up any sort of empathy the case itself is so boring it begs the question why a respected journalist would be interested enough to pursue it.
The rest of the movie is filled with longing an attempt to place any the story in some sort of social context via class and race even more Zac Efron's underwear sexual violence alligator innards swamp people in comically ramshackle homes and a glimpse of one glistening McConaughey 'tock. Harmony Korine called and he wants his Gummo back.
It's probably tantalizing for this cast to take on "serious" "edgy" work by an Oscar-nominated director. Cusack ditched his boombox blasting "In Your Eyes" long ago and Efron's been trying to shed his squeaky clean image for so long that he finally dropped a condom on the red carpet for The Lorax so we'd know he's not smooth like a Ken doll despite how he was filmed by Daniels. On the other hand Nicole Kidman has been making interesting and varied career choices for years so it's confounding why she'd be interested in a one-dimensional character like Charlotte. McConaughey's on a roll and like the rest of the cast he's got plenty of interesting projects worth watching so this probably won't slow him down. Even Daniels is already shooting a new film The Butler as we can see from Oprah's dazzling Instagram feed. It's as if they all want to put The Paperboy behind them as soon as possible. It's hard to blame them.