The life of salsa legend Cheo Feliciano will be celebrated by his famous friends and collaborators at a special memorial concert at New York's Madison Square Garden on Friday (24Oct14). The singer and percussionist was killed in a car crash in Puerto Rico in April (14), at the age of 78, and now musicians including Gilberto Santa Rosa, Jose Alberto 'El Canario', Oscar D'Leon, Tito Nieves and Willie Colon will gather onstage in the Big Apple to salute Feliciano in a show titled, La Salsa Vive (Salsa Lives On).
Colon, who worked with the late star in the Estrellas de Fania band, tells Spanish news agency Efe, "Cheo was one of the 'last of the Mohicans' and a very talented one. His death hurt me a lot; it was a shock."
Previously, on The X Factor: An innocent panda bear was rushed to the hospital. A contestant let us know that she wasn't there to make friends. Simon Cowell got sick. Talent was discovered, maybe.
For Britney Spears, last night's auditions were the most exciting yet — mostly because they took place in Greensboro, North Carolina, which happens to be located in the American South. Britney is also from the South, and Greensboro's stewy, barbecue-scented air made her long for the days of walking around barefoot in gas stations with Jamie Lynn, far from the bright lights and big dreams that run rampant in the X-iverse.
But something was amiss in Greensboro last night. When our four heroes rolled in in their always separate luxury SUVs, all they saw were boarded up vacated shops and dust bunnies rolling through the streets. It was a ghost town. Where were its people? Where was the pulled pork? Who were these ashen, soulless vagrants wandering the empty streets, scavenging their detritus for human flesh?
They were the vacated shells of fallen X Factor contestants, that's who. And as for the approximately 275,000 live citizens of Greensboro, well, they were all in line to audition. They were next. You can't stop the moth from fluttering to that flame, and you can't stop the non-famous masses from fluttering to the potential promise of instant fame. It's just life, man.
The first moth was a successful moth: 17-year-old Willie Jones from Shreveport, Louisiana showed up with a glorious flattop and a sleeveless, acid-wash denim jacket. "It's very Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," Demi noted. Pretty much everyone in the room and on the panel was expecting hip-hop, so when Willie debuted his booming, beautiful country drawl, the judges were shocked — but in a good way:
He sang "Your Man," and it was simply beautiful. "I wasn't expecting that!" Britney exclaimed. (She didn't add the second part of that thought, which was, "because you're black.") Simon said he'll always want to remember the first day that he heard Willie Jones. So, he's through.
Next: Empty promises, broken dreams.
Next up was Kalvin McManigle, a 47-year-old toothless lawn mower putter-together who looked to be about 75. If you're lucky, you'll quickly forget him. Kalvin was like those Honey Boo Boo people in that he could not be understood without subtitles, and he just sort of stood there and jerked about and made a fool of himself for the sake of quality television. "Britney, I love you," he said once he was through. "I love you beautiful." Britney might actually have gone for it, but she was afraid that she might have been related to him. So, four no's.
Then came 18-year-old Julie Bullock, who had awful hipster hair and a lovely voice. But the best part about Julie was that she was in a band, and couldn't audition with them — so if she succeeded, the band would have to break up. DRAMA! One of her bandmates was her ex-boyfriend Christian, who said that if Julie went through he'd have to do something horrible, like get a normal job. And that would be it, for him. Dreams crushed. Life over. He'd work on the farm and marry that plain but pleasant brunette from junior year homeroom — the one that had always had a crush on him, but was too afraid to say it. But he knew. He always knew.
As for Julie — the girl that got away — well, she sang "Pumped Up Kicks" by Foster the People, and it was really good. When the judges let her through, Christian was really supportive (See enthused fellow on right):
Goodbye, hopes and dreams.
Next: Interference from the Gods
Someone has to be humiliated on every live audition episode of X Factor, and this week it was 21-year-old hairdresser Krysten Colon. Krysten came prepared with "Don't You Remember" by Adele, not knowing that Simon hates Adele. Or is just really, really sick of her songs like the rest of us. Halfway through her dreary rendition, Krysten was stopped by the judges, and the poor thing's legs were shaking like mine do every time I try to go to the gym like twice a year. "I think you need a classic song, and do your interpretation of it," Simon said. "What I'm saying is, I want to see you later, and that's a good thing." So, basically, she was given an undetermined amount of time to prepare a new song and try again. Second chances don't come easy in this X Factor business, so Krysten was clearly blessed.
Unfortunately for Krysten, her second chance was more Britney Spears at the 2007 VMAs than Britney Spears at the 2011 "Femme Fatale" comeback tour. She came back with Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing," and it was pretty horrible. The high notes were pitchy, she was shaking like a leaf, and it was just bad, bad, bad all around. But don't take my word for it — go ahead, ask Britney:
For a second time, Krysten was interrupted before she could finish — this time by a huge clap of thunder that the judges felt was sent from the Gods. "I was about to blow it," she said. "Sweetheart, you already blew it," L.A. replied. Harsh!
Krysten didn't take her rejection well, so of course the cameras followed her to document her total mental breakdown. She screamed at her family, at the camera operators, and at the gaggle of Dickensian orphan children begging for Pepsi products outside of the arena. "I don't want to be on camera," she screamed, before throwing a water bottle at said camera and running around with a chair. Security escorted her out of the building, and her mother apologized on her behalf. Moving on.
Let's end on a high note: 36-year-old hot dad Jeffrey Gutt gave one of the best auditions we've seen thus far. In fact, it was so good that I'm ignoring the fact that he named his son Talon, like a bird's claw. Okay, no I'm not. Talon is a stupid name. Anyway, Jeffrey sang Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" — a talent show audition staple — and he knocked it out of the park.
"God is even rocking out right now," Demi said. (Demi typically knows what God is up to.) Simon said it was one of the most brilliant auditions he'd ever heard — he says that all the time, but this time I'll choose to believe him. Everyone gave Jeffrey an enthusiastic yes, and Talon came running onstage for a big, adorable, totally unplanned by the producers hug. "He was like the Josh Groban of rock and roll," Demi said as he walked offstage. I have no idea what that means.
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[PHOTO CREDIT: Fox]
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Beginning as a black-and-white documentary we meet Puchi (Lopez) the wife of salsa master Hector Lavoe (Anthony) who is reluctantly being interviewed. "If you want someone else's version then go get that " she quips to the documentary filmmaker. The film brightens to color when she reminisces about her two decades with the colorful singer from Puerto Rico. Puchi is a brash outspoken woman who knows the minute she meets Hector he will become famous. And he does--rather quickly too after moving to New York and hooking up with bandleader and trombonist Willie Colon (Johnny Ortiz). Together they revolutionize the sound and sensibility that redefined Latin music in the 1960s and ‘70s becoming international sensations. But Lavoe also finds lots of other women and drugs along the way and ends up paying more attention to his vices than to his family including his son Tito (Christopher Becerra). Puchi tries desperately to stop his downward spiral but to no avail. Tragedy strikes when Lavoe dies prematurely in 1993 from complications related to AIDS. Without a doubt this is Lopez’s most stunning and talented performances to date her version of Salma Hayek's Frida or Madonna's Evita. The actress is captivating and gorgeous in every scene even when she's crying or drug-addled. In the good loving moments between Puchi and Hector it's easy to see how the real-life couple may interact. As an actor however Anthony is harder to gauge because he is known more as a singer. Still he fully embodies the well-known salsa star and gives it his all. Neither he nor Lopez should be overlooked when Oscar time rolls around. The movie is so dominated by this couple's dysfunctional relationship that hardly anyone else is even noticeable—except for maybe Ortiz who does a fine job as the guy who's like a brother to the singer but also spiraling out of control just as much as Hector. Director/co-writer Leon Ichaso was handpicked by producers Anthony and Lopez. Ichaso best known for writing and directing Pinero another Latin hero who falls on hard times. To string the story together he allows the documentary style to interrupt the memories of Lavoe's life. He creatively uses settings in Puerto Rico and Manhattan and recreates incredible musical performances including one at Madison Square Gardens which Puchi describes as the highlight of their lives. The music and dancing makes it impossible to avoid tapping a foot or nodding to the music but the best moment of El Cantante is when singer Ruben Blades stages the actual moment he first sang "El Cantante" to his friend Hector Lavoe. It’ll give you shivers.
Top Story: Britney Spears Bitter About Men
Pop princess Britney Spears says she became bitter with men after her very public breakup with ex Justin Timberlake. In an interview with Newsweek magazine in its Nov. 3 issue, Spears says she swore off dating for a while after the experience. "There was a time when I was like, 'OK, I'm over men. They're mean,'" she says. "For like six months, not a single thing happened. Not like they weren't drawn to me, but there wasn't a single real attraction. I'm like, 'What's happening? I know I'm not a lesbian.'" Spears says she is still not involved with anyone and denies reports that she hooked up with 21-year-old Columbus Short, a married backup dancer. Spears also talks about her suggestive layouts for Rolling Stone, British Elle and Esquire magazines. "I did feel kind of weird after those photos," Spears says. "I was in a moment. I had, like, eight Red Bulls and said, 'OK, let's do it.' I learned my lesson and you won't see me like that for a while. I'm kinda over it myself. Not that it's dirty or tacky, but it is really revealing and I wouldn't want my kid, at 21, to be dressing like that."
Price Is Right Announcer Dies
Veteran television announcer Rod Roddy died Monday at Century City Hospital of colon and breast cancer at age 66, The Associated Press reports. For 17 years, Roddy's voice was familiar to fans of the television game show The Price Is Right for the legendary phrase: "Come on down!" Host Bob Barker said Monday that Roddy, who taped his last show two months ago, stayed with the CBS show as long as his health permitted. "The courage he showed during those difficult times was an inspiration to us all," Barker said. "He was quite a character. He was important to the success of the show." A private funeral service will be held in Texas, with a memorial service planned sometime later in Los Angeles.
California Fires Destroy Part of Aviator Set
The Southern California wildfires, which have destroyed at least 1,134 homes, killed 15 people, forced thousands to evacuate and disrupted auto and air traffic, also partially destroyed a set for Warner Bros.' Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator in the Simi Valley area over the weekend. According to Variety, the blaze at Big Sky Ranch forced the production to switch to interior shooting in Long Beach, Calif. Mike Dilorenzo of Santa Clarita Studios said his facility is operating at full capacity with CSI and Carnivale shooting, but added that the studio was on full alert with fires hoses hooked up and ready to go.
David Bowie and Iman To Appear in Hilfiger Ads
Rock icon David Bowie and his wife, supermodel Iman, will appear in their first ad campaign together. According to Billboard.com, the couple will be the new faces for designer Tommy Hilfiger's new H Hilfiger line, to be launched in spring 2004. The collection, described as "sophisticated, sexy and refined," will be part of Hilfiger's high-end line. The ad campaign, shot this month in Amsterdam by renowned photographer Ellen Von Unwerth, will debut in American magazines in April 2004.
Rosie O'Donnell, G+J Court Date Delayed
The court battle between Rosie O'Donnell and her ex-publishing partner, Gruner + Jahr USA Publishing, was put on temporary hold on yesterday as a scheduling conflict caused the judge to delay Tuesday's start date. G+J charges that everything unraveled at the now defunct Rosie magazine when O'Donnell shut down her daytime TV show in 2002 and went from being known as "fun-loving" to becoming a self-proclaimed "uber-bitch." O'Donnell, however, claims the publisher seized control of the magazine, fired editors who were loyal to her and tried to smear her reputation. Manhattan Supreme Court officials told Reuters the breach-of-contract case over the messy demise of the entertainer's namesake magazine will likely open later this week.
Fox Pulls Plug on Luis
After only four airings, Fox has decided to pull the plug on its freshman series Luis. The show starred feature character actor Luis Guzman as a doughnut shop owner in Spanish Harlem, but it opened to poor reviews and ratings, averaging 3.6 million viewers in its four airings. According to The Hollywood Reporter, production on the series, which aired Friday at 8:30 p.m., was shut down Monday. Ten episodes of the comedy were produced overall. For the next two Fridays, Fox will air original episodes of Wanda at Large at 8 and 8:30 p.m. The network had previously scheduled movies to run on the last two Fridays of the November sweep.
ABC News: Oswald Acted Alone
ABC said Monday that an in-depth investigation of the Kennedy assassination conducted by ABC News indisputably confirms that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. The network said ABC News worked with an expert who created a computer-generated reconstruction of the shooting based on maps, blueprints, physical measurements, more than 500 photographs, films and autopsy reports. Through interviews and other documentation, ABC News also concludes that Jack Ruby, who later killed Oswald, acted simply out of his love for Kennedy, the AP reports. The two-hour special on the event is scheduled to air Nov. 20, two days before the 40th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination.
Tim Robbins To Host Cash Tribute
Actor Tim Robbins will host the Nov. 10 musical tribute to country legend Johnny Cash, who died Sept. 12 at age 71 of complications from diabetes. According to the AP, The Bull Durham star did an audio interview with Cash for promotion of the singer's 2000 album, American III: Solitary Man. Cash also wrote and performed "In Your Mind" for the soundtrack to Dead Man Walking, a 1995 film Robbins directed. Tickets for the tribute concert, which will take place at the Ryman Auditorium, were free and distributed by lottery. John Mellencamp, Dwight Yoakam, George Jones, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Sheryl Crow, Hank Williams Jr., Jack Clement, Steve Earle, Larry Gatlin and Cash's daughter, Rosanne, are scheduled to perform.