Actors from U.S. TV show Nashville have teamed up with Rascal Flatts bassist Jay Demarcus to record a new Christmas album. DeMarcus appeared on the hit TV show last season and subsequently began working with actor Sam Palladio on a new song.
During the collaboration, DeMarcus decided to extend his duets and put together a holiday album, titled Christmas With Nashville, featuring tracks from castmates Connie Britton, Hayden Panettiere and Clare Bowen.
He says, "I was blown away by the consistent talent level of each actor as they came into the studio. I realised immediately that I was working with gifted singers, as well. They are so meticulous about their craft of acting, and they were just as meticulous about making sure the music was right."
Christmas With Nashville will hit stores on 4 November (14) and joins festival albums from Leann Rimes, Idina Menzel, Earth, Wind & Fire and Darius Rucker.
ABC Television Network
ABC has invited Nashville back next year for another 22-episode season of country-fried drama. And we're all for it. More acoustic sets at the Bluebird. More of Juliette's glorious side-eye. And the series definitely can't end until Rayna is back together with Deacon — we all know that's where we're headed. They're soulmates, y'all.
Nashville is an ensemble series. And with a sizable stable of characters, it does a series good to let a few of them fade to the background for a while. For Season 3, we're nominating the show's perpetual wilting flower Scarlett O'Connor for that position. Clare Bowen has had the sad duty of playing Nashville's resident victim. Scarlett doesn't make things happen. Things happen to Scarlett. Throughout her arc, she's held on to that bewildered expression — the one that makes her look like every step she takes is against her will. Does someone have a gun to your head, Scarlett? Is a man holding someone you love hostage, thereby forcing you to take off your apron and sing a few bars?
What's worse is that, as an audience, we're told that Scarlett is a rare talent — the makings of a sensation — but clearly she doesn't have the verve or personality to back it up. No one wants to watch a dead-eyed girl halfheartedly strum a guitar while gazing longingly at her ex. That's what college open mics are for. The last straw was Scarlett's generic perscription drug meltdown — the kiss of death for many an inscrutably tortured artist character. The pressures of performing! A crazy mother! That kicky red tutu that was so not her! Scarlett just couldn't take it and overdid it with a bottle of tiny white plot devices. When last we left her, she'd quit on Rayna, who had already spent who knows how much of her label's money on producing Scarlett's album and promoting her, and picked up a few shifts at the Bluebird. Can that please be it? Nashville is a series about country music. It's time to cut the characters loose who want no part of that.
The stars of TV's country music drama Nashville are taking their talents on the road for a mini-concert tour in America. The three-city tour in April and May (14) will feature performances by Charles Esten, Clare Bowen, Jonathan Jackson, Sam Palladio and Chris Carmack, with Will Chase joining the quintet for one date in New York. The series' stars Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere will not take part in the tour.
ABC Television Network
Nashville, the brainchild of Academy Award-winning writer Callie Khouri (Thelma & Louise), started off with a ton of promise. The pilot was heavily promoted and the audience that tuned in was treated to an inside look at the clashing generations within the country music industry... a real life storyline that has been repeating ever since the advent of rock-and-roll. Connie Britton seemed to take her Friday Night Lights character and make her a successful music icon along the lines of Reba McEntire, while Hayden Panettiere schemed convincingly as the up-and-coming singer who's part Taylor Swift, part ice princess.
Early on, the show focused on the yin and the yang of Britton and Panettiere's relationship, with the former's Rayna Jaymes stuck in a career rut and Panettiere's Juliette Barnes more interested in kicking the established Queen of Country while she's down than helping her get back up. Throw in Charles Esten's caught-in-the-middle guitarist and there was plenty of drama to go around. Certainly, there were some soap opera elements — the parentage of Rayna's older daughter and the political machinations of her husband and powerful father among them — but as long as Britton and Panettiere were at the center the show stayed fairly even keel.
Then came the back half of the first season and things started to go off track. After initially steering clear of cameos, despite shooting on-location in Nashville, suddenly every member of the Grand Ole Opry started popping up to squeeze in a line or two. Juliette's mother appeared and brought a little too much crazy, while Rayna's husband became the mayor and left her for Kimberly Williams-Paisley. Season 2 became even more scattered as the focus shifted to ancillary characters like Clare Bowen's Scarlett and Sam Palladio's Gunnar. Next thing you know, there are assassination plots and a murder-suicide, Juliette is ostracized for questioning the existence of God, and Rayna finds her Tim McGraw in Will Chase's Luke.
Enough! While it's fine that the show has some soap opera elements — so do Scandal and Grey's Anatomy — Nashville has gone so far off-course that some fans have already abandoned it. It's not completely a lost cause, though. With the second season winding down, there are still ways to fix it.
For starters, keep the cameos to a minimum. Just because Rascal Flatts or some NASCAR driver is available doesn't mean that you need to put them on the show. Once and a while is fine, but not every episode... and not when there really isn't any purpose to their being around. Next, lose the political intrigue. No offense to Eric Close, but we don't really care about Mayor Teddy.
Most importantly, put the focus back on Rayna and Juliette. Britton and Panettiere aren't just capable actresses, at their best they are both mesmerizing. Preventing them from engaging with each other — whether in conflict or in country congeniality — is like moving Scandal's Olivia Pope out of D.C.; the whole reason for the show would be lost. Keeping Juliette down too long is a mistake, just as it would be to tone down her ego or her conniving. We don't need her in a happy relationship with Jonathan Jackson's Avery... we need her using all of her assets to get back to the top.
Similarly, Britton needs a good, juicy storyline to sink her teeth into. Having a happy and contented Rayna is not in the best interest of the show. She should be scraping and clawing to maintain her career, not chit-chatting with other country music royalty about her fledgling record label.
The show is teetering on the brink of oblivion — or, worse, irrelevance — and needs to act fast to bring back into focus the stories that drew us in at first. Otherwise, it will be a tough sell to get viewers to come back for season three… if there even is one.
Summit via Everett Collection
You can imagine that Renny Harlin, director and one quadrant of the writing team for The Legend of Hercules, began his pitch as such: We'll start with a war, because lots of these things start with wars. It feels like this was the principal maxim behind a good deal of the creative choices in this latest update of the Ancient Greek myth. There are always horse riding scenes. There are generally arena battles. There are CGI lions, when you can afford 'em. Oh, and you've got to have a romantic couple canoodling at the base of a waterfall. Weaving them all together cohesively would be a waste of time — just let the common threads take form in a remarkably shouldered Kellan Lutz and action sequences that transubstantiate abjectly to and fro slow-motion.
But pervading through Lutz's shirtless smirks and accent continuity that calls envy from Johnny Depp's Alice in Wonderland performance is the obtrusive lack of thought that went into this picture. A proverbial grab bag of "the basics" of the classic epic genre, The Legend of Hercules boasts familiarity over originality. So much so that the filmmakers didn't stop at Hercules mythology... they barely started with it, in fact. There's more Jesus Christ in the character than there is the Ancient Greek demigod, with no lack of Gladiator to keep things moreover relevant. But even more outrageous than the void of imagination in the construct of Hercules' world is its script — a piece so comically dim, thin, and idiotic that you will laugh. So we can't exactly say this is a totally joyless time at the movies.
Summit via Everett Collection
Surrounding Hercules, a character whose arc takes him from being a nice enough strong dude to a nice enough strong dude who kills people and finally owns up to his fate — "Okay, fine, yes, I guess I'm a god" — are a legion of characters whose makeup and motivations are instituted in their opening scenes and never change thereafter. His de facto stepdad, the teeth-baring King Amphitryon (Scott Adkins), despises the boy for being a living tribute to his supernatural cuckolding; his half-brother Iphicles (Liam Garrigan) is the archetypical scheming, neutered, jealous brother figure right down to the facial scar. The dialogue this family of mongoloids tosses around is stunningly brainless, ditto their character beats. Hercules can't understand how a mystical stranger knows his identity, even though he just moments ago exited a packed coliseum chanting his name. Iphicles defies villainy and menace when he threatens his betrothed Hebe (Gaia Weiss), long in love with Hercules, with the terrible fate of "accepting [him] and loving [their] children equally!" And the dad... jeez, that guy must really be proud of his teeth.
With no artistic feat successfully accomplished (or even braved, really) by this movie, we can at the very least call it inoffensive. There is nothing in The Legend of Hercules with which to take issue beyond its dismal intellect, and in a genre especially prone to regressive activity, this is a noteworthy triumph. But you might not have enough energy by the end to award The Legend of Hercules with this superlative. Either because you'll have laughed yourself into a coma at the film's idiocy, or because you'll have lost all strength trying to fend it off.
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ABC’s country music-based Nashville has made a name for itself within the musical television drama world. Its only other competitors are veteran Glee and already-knocked-out Smash. While Glee appeals to the younger demographic and Smash appealed to no one, Nashville has drawn in the older crowds who love music — not necessarily country — as well as fully developed plots and characters.
In Nashville’s sophomore season, they’ve focused a little less on the music and more on the complicated relationships and stories that make the show so entertaining. Although some fans may complain, this is actually a step in the right direction. While most episodes in Nashville’s first season more resembled three to four music videos loosely strung together by weak plotlines, the show’s second season has been able to weave the musical performances into the narrative more seamlessly.
Plus, since Rayna James (Connie Britton) went a couple episodes without singing at all and Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) is more focused on her business, the show has been able to feature other artists more heavily. Scarlett O’Conner (Clare Bowen) has more songs on the season two soundtrack than anyone else. Meanwhile tracks from Layla Grant (Aubrey Peeples), Will Lexington (Chris Carmack) and Zoe (Chaley Rose) are highlights on the album.
Besides, there are some seriously catchy tunes on Nashville’s season two soundtrack like “Crazy Tonight,” “Trouble Is,” “Gonna Get Even” and “What If I Was Willing.” These songs, like those from the first season, are fun and enjoyable even for people who claim to hate country music. (You can tell yourself it’s not country because it’s from a TV show, but it is. Just embrace it.)
Every hero needs a villain, but sometimes a TV show creates a character that just becomes so irritating that you just want to stop watching the show altogether. This is also known as The Poochie Effect, from that episode of The Simpsons where Homer's new rad-surfer-dog character ruins The Itchy and Scratchy Show. Here's a handful of current and recent examples.
Sue Sylvester, Glee
We have nothing but love for Jane Lynch, and certainly Sue is not the only problem this maddeningly uneven show has had over the years. But Sue Sylvester is such a smug, preening irritant that she's best enjoyed in small doses. Instead, she became the show's breakout star in the first season and the writers responded by giving her tracksuited self more and more screen time.
Sophie Kerchinsky, 2 Broke Girls
Again, it's a stretch to say that 2 Broke Girls would actually be a good show without the presence of Jennifer Coolidge's broad, one-note portrayal of a blowsy Polish housekeeper. But like Lynch -- who Coolidge was so good playing against in Christopher Guest's fantastic Best in Show way back when -- Coolidge has had what should have been a small guest role expanded far too much. It's taking away from the show's primary charms. Which, admittedly, mostly involve staring at Kat Dennings' chest and Beth Behrs' legs. But still.
Christopher Pelant, Bones
Bones has never done well with the season-long villain arcs, because they detract from the show's essentially light and frothy tone. (For a series that regularly features corpses in varying states of decay, Bones has a surprisingly His Girl Friday kinda feel.) But Christopher Pelant is just annoying. For one thing, his supposed ability as a super-hacker to use basically any item more complicated than a toaster as a surveillance device strains credulity and turns him into a cartoon super-villain who doesn't seem to have any motives for his actions other than being a pest. The whiny, juvenile feel of Andrew Leeds' portrayal of the character just makes him come off as an obnoxious little brat, and the sooner he's gone, the better.
Scarlett O'Connor, Nashville
Clare Bowen is a perfectly capable singer and actress, and I sort of get why showrunner Callie Khouri wanted to have the character of Scarlett in her show, to be able to show a third singer at a different level of her career. The thing is, the glammy soap that is the entire Rayna and Juliette show is more than enough show in and of itself, and shoehorning in Scarlett's comparatively drab storylines just stops the show dead. The frustrating thing is, Bowen's clearly a better singer than either Connie Britton or Hayden Panettiere, so it's a shame she can't be better integrated into the series.
Mark Brendanawicz, Parks and Recreation
Finally, here's an example of how much a show can improve when it cuts out the dead weight. Mark Brandanawicz, whose sole character trait was that he was fed up with both his job and his life, literally did not fit in the Parks and Recreation world. As a love interest for Amy Poehler's Leslie Knope, Paul Schneider came off as a cold fish, and his dead-eyed ennui wasn't anywhere near as funny as Aubrey Plaza as April Ludgate, who was both funnier and more cynical. Although the producers later claimed that they had planned to write Mark off the show all along and that they also planned to bring him back, the brilliant double-team of Rob Lowe and Adam Scott made Schneider surplus to requirements. The show became 100% better as soon as their characters appeared.
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For its annual "Look Better Naked" issue, Allure dared some of Hollywood's hottest ladies to bare it all. Jennifer Morrison, Naya Rivera, Clare Bowen, and Christa Miller were brave enough to strip down for the magazine (see a video of the shoot at Allure.com).
Ironically, cover girl Amanda Seyfried kept her clothes on — Page Six reports Seyfried as saying at a dinner in honor of the issue, "I would have [posed nude], but my publicist wouldn’t let me!" — but that doesn't mean she kept things PG (or even PG-13).
Seyfried tells Allure that her vocal coach for Les Miserables asked her to channel another role, that of Linda Lovelace in the upcoming biopic Lovelace, while singing. "Imagine deep-throating a penis, get that feeling in the back of your throat, and then sing. That's where your larynx is," Seyfried quotes her coach as saying. Believe you me, I'll never watch a musical the same way again.
For the her shoot (get a behind-the-scenes look here), Seyfried opted for a playful Zac Posen floral dress — and plenty of cleavage —instead of her birthday suit.
I know, I hear ya, you want the naked photos (you sickos). Here you go.
Once Upon a Time's Jennifer Morrison states the obvious by saying, "I've always been an active person, and working out is part of my life." In other "no duh" news, she says she waxed before the shoot.
Naya Rivera says she wasn't nervous for her nude photo shoot at all. In fact, she's "excited to see it." But even more exciting than stripping down for the mag is knowing that she has become a bit of a sex symbol in the lesbian community thanks to her character on Glee. "It's kind of cool — and it makes me feel like a badass. I get more girls than my boyfriend," she tells Allure.
Nashville's breakout star Clare Bowen takes the practical approach to baring it all. "My body isn't going to look like this forever. I think it's lovely to have that preservation," she says. Oh, and she sleeps naked.
Christa Miller, of Couger Town fame, says she grew up around nudity — her mom was a model and would bring her European model friends to their country house to sunbathe topless. But these days, she doesn't walk around the house naked. "If I did, my husband would make me have sex 40 times a day. That's a true story," she says.
The May issue of Allure hits newsstands April 22, 2013.
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Actresses Naya Rivera and Jennifer Morrison have stripped off for U.S. beauty magazine Allure. The Glee stunner, former House star Morrison, Nashville's Clare Bowen and TV veteran Christa Miller have bared all for the publication's special Look Better Naked issue, and in the spread Rivera is photographed casually crossing her arms and legs to cover her modesty.
Morrison is pictured wearing only red lipstick, and she insists she didn't go crazy preparing for her close-up, saying, "(I just had) one glass of wine instead of two, fish instead of steak. And I got waxed and shaved my legs."
Bowen had no qualms about posing for the cameras either, explaining, "My body isn't going to look like this forever. I think it's lovely to have that preservation."
However, 48-year-old Cougar Town star Miller admits she amped up her gym routine two weeks before the project - though she planned on indulging in a tasty meal once it wrapped: "I'm going to Courteney (Cox)'s for dinner. I told her, 'You better have carbs.'"
Unlike her gal pals, cover girl Amanda Seyfried is featured on the front cover in a lavender flowing top and when asked why she didn't strip down too, she told the New York Post, "I would have, but my publicist wouldn't let me!"
Poor Clare Bowen has been given the sad fate of playing Scarlett O'Connor on Nashville — the pout-ridden, googly-eyed mess of whine, with soggy ramen hair and the ability to ruin any conversation with her awkward slur. Still, even with all that, all I can focus is why the lost soul with a constant furrowed brow only wears essentially one, annoying outfit.
It's lacey, it's flowy, it's dainty, and it's pretty much always white. It doesn't make her the prudish, virgin-like child we are expected to buy into (right? Is that the reason?) — it does the opposite. We hate her. I hate her. If only for the costume choice forced upon the actress. It may not be nice, but the amount of white, off-white, eggshell, and ivory we are forced to look at during any given episode is also not nice. It is not nice at all.The time she looked sad in a white holey top, slight pout The time she played house in a white showcurtain dress, no pout The time she thought we wouldn't notice she wasn't wearing white lace because it was a skirt, half pout The time she made us nervous in a white leafy lace top, TEETHThe time she held books in a white grandma sweater over a white grandma dress, scared poutThe time she scrunched her face like this in a white doily top, major poutThe time she skipped down the stairs in a white stupid pajama dress, half poutThe time she added a touch of green to her white lace dinner top, 3/4 poutThe time she wore a white cowboy hat with a white dress and pondered silently, half poutThe time she tilted her head to the right in a white tank dress, half-poutThe time she wore white Victorian-era nonsensical lingerie, full pout And the one time she got drunk and wore black lace [Image Credit: ABC]
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