Can a girl win American Idol? The answer is "yes," if you ask the men in the Top 8. As it turns out, American Idol producers may really get their wish after pushing for a girl all season.
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After his sub-par group performance with Devin Velez and Lazaro Arbos (the one that made Nicki Minaj so angry, she chastized them like they were her own children), Burnell Taylor spoke with Hollywood.com about his ambitions in the competition. "I’m being totally honest because I’m 100 percent real: my goal is to win but it’s pretty obvious that a girl is going to win," says Taylor. But the singer with whom Minaj offered to duet isn't disappointed about what he sees as a surefire outcome for Season 12. "A girl hasn’t won in a long time. I wouldn’t mind if a girl wins, so long as I’m standing next to her," he says.
And while Taylor surely seems to be right, the top performances Wednesday night were mostly from women, it's a bit strange that he's so candid about knowing this early on that he's not going to earn a confetti shower at the end. But he's not alone. Velez is even more certain that he's not going to be the last singer standing.
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"I want to move to the next round but I am not going to say that I want to be Number 1. Next week’s theme will be fun, so I hope that it pays off," says Velez. Still, he joined a singing competition and he clearly loves to sing. Why wouldn't he want to win something like Idol? "I think it’s a lot of responsibility and it gets complicated and you get tied down and I want to fly," he adds.
All this talk of realistic expectations and even acceptance of one's inability to win is a little strange. Idol is a show built on dreams, however unrealistic. It's a place that continues to give Arbos a shot because his courage through adversity demands it, even if his vocals aren't up to par. It's a show that lives and breathes on the belief that anyone of these contestants can pull ahead in the competition at any moment, however rare that possibility actually is.
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Velez's and Taylor's assertions that they're simply not this season's winners is disheartening, Velez's probably more so than Taylor's. To say that you don't even want to win is almost insulting, and let's not forget what happened to Mario Vazquez in Season 4 when he flat out quit early on in the competition on the grounds that he could do just as well as someone who made it to the finals. (Nothing. Nothing happened for Vazquez.) Velez isn't about to quit, but it's strange that his attitude already has.
Taylor's support of the ladies is admirable, but it does lend a feeling of predictability to the competition. If the contestants already know who's going to win, how can we find any drama or surprise in their future performances?
Reporting by Jean Bentley
Follow Kelsea and Jean on Twitter @KelseaStahler and @Hijean
[Photo Credit: Michael Becker/Fox]
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It's official: Dorothy Hamill is out of Dancing With The Stars for good. But unlike most reality show drop-outs before her, Hamill went out with a touch of class and a bit of honesty: she's putting her health before her ambition, taking time to fix her spinal cyst instead of risking it all for the mirror ball trophy.
And while she may feel a little blue after dropping out this early, it should be a comfort to know, that when it comes to reality TV, she is well above the usual fare that comes with the term "quitter."
See? The only emotions evoked by this reality quitter are the kind that make us want to give her a hug. Dorothy, you'll be missed, but take solace in the fact that you aren't these people:
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Seth Caro, Top Chef: Just Desserts
Caro lost control during his time on the pastry chef-specific season of Top Chef, while the other contestants were all trucking away in the competition. He finally broke down and grabbed his passport and suitcase, leaving the competition and (hopefully) his emotional meltdowns behind. Some people just aren't cut out for having cameras in their faces all the time.
Kim Zolciak, Real Housewives of Atlanta
Kim was clearly rather tired of the party in her last episode of RHOA in December 2012. But being on Nene Leakes' bad side, after their Season 3 fallout, would be a strain on anyone. Go in peace, oh ye of giant yellow hair.
Mario Vazquez, American Idol
At least Hamill knows she's not in the same boat as Vazquez, who quit Idol mere weeks after being voted in as a semi-finalist with the excuse that he'd be just as successful as a semi-finalist as he would at any other place in the competition. Right, because Mario Vazquez is a name we know just as well as his Season 4 cohort and winner Carrie Underwood. This David Letterman Top 10 list definitely wasn't the height of his ensuing fame.
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Angelina Pivarnick, Jersey Shore (Twice)
Then there's Angelina, who was so unlikeable to all the Jersey Shore housemates that she was driven to quit the show TWICE. The second time happened in Miami after this disgusting brawl.
NaOnka and Purple Kelly, Survivor: Nicaragua
These two ladies, who signed up for a competition series that requires its contestants to live like people stranded on a desert island. The entire point of the show is testing your own limits, but when things got a little too sweaty these ladies quit like a couple of pansies. Were they injured or mentally unstable? Nope. Just whiny and tired.
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Of course, Hamill also has come good company in the form of other contestants who wisely put their health or well-being ahead of reality victory. So fear not, Ms. Dorothy, you'll be just fine.
Alex Wong, So You Think You Can Dance
Fans were devastated when Wong left the competition to get surgery on his Achilles tendon with a subsequent three month recovery period, but after his departure, he went on to become one of the SYTYCD all-stars, who return to dance with the new contestants during the competition. When you quit for the right reasons, it all works out!
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler
[Photo Credit: Adam Taylor/ABC]
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The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.