Kelsea Stahler
Celebrity Editor Kelsea Stahler was born in a pile of dirt. Okay, she was actually born in an old Naval hospital in San Diego, which then became a pile of dirt and remained as such for a number of years before becoming a parking lot perfectly sized for circus tents, and finally a museum. She eventually left San Diego to attend New York University, where she studied Journalism and English literature — two less-than profitable liberal arts degrees about which guidance counselors warned her. Against all odds, she now resides in Brooklyn, where she fights the constant fear that the locals will soon discover she isn’t quite cool enough to live there, and makes a living writing absurd, pop culture features about Batman, zombies, vampires, funny people, and Ron Swanson.
  • '30 Rock' Recap: Operation Righteous Cowboy Lightning
    By: Kelsea Stahler Jan 28, 2011
    S5E12: The contrast between last week’s 30 Rock and this week’s episode is ridiculous. Last episode, we enjoyed our comfortable, cute little 30 Rock. It didn’t challenge our comprehension abilities or our grasp of pop culture minutiae, but this week, they dropped a big one. “Operation Righteous Cowboy Lightning” was like taking a step back in time, giving us an episode like the ones we fell in love with back in season two. “No matter how long you live in New York, it’s still fun to look up and pretend all the buildings are giant severed robot penises.” –Liz How’s that for phallic imagery? You’re never going to look at the New York skyline again and see buildings; it will forever be a row of robot penises and for that I thank Miss Liz Lemon. For those of us who scour the internet at all times of the day when we should be eating dinner or getting some physical activity instead, we knew about the creepy accuracy of last night’s cold open before it happened (which of course allowed us to place more concentration on robot penises and snarts), but it was still pretty eerie. I don’t know how they did it, but the 30 Rock writers magically topped themselves, becoming so timely that the episode when G.E. gets taken over by Kabletown coincided with the same day Comcast officially takes over NBC. They must be wizards. It’s the only explanation. “Two days ago when people thought of a mudslide, they just thought about getting drunk at Applebee’s.” –Robert DeNiro First of all, kudos to Jack for the best secret operation name ever. Operation Righteous Cowboy Lighting could make even the worst, most dastardly plan sound awesome – which is exactly what Jack’s pre-taped disaster telethon idea is. It’s the best worst idea ever. Not only did it facilitate the overarching stab at reality TV throughout the entire episode (another reason to take NBC down…again…because so much of the network’s programming relies on “unscripted” television), but it gave us Robert DeNiro doing the worst British accent ever and Jenna singing the best song ever written by a song-writing computer. This of course, also gave us a few giggles when a natural disaster finally did strike a small island. When we found out that the island belonged to Mel Gibson and he had been partying there with his friend Jon Gosselin, I was a little disappointed that they had picked such easy targets, but then again, who doesn’t enjoy making fun of those two at this point? “There was a cyclone in Brooklyn last year. It destroyed two vintage t-shirt stores and a banjo.” –Frank Where have the writers been for the past few episodes? They pop up an here and there, but it’s not until this week where we get one of those old fashioned “look how crazy the writers are” subplots. Thanks to Jack’s telethon, the writers are left to think of as many natural disasters as they possibly can in order to capture all the options for Jack’s pre-taped program. This somehow leads to making an unnecessary emergency evacuation plan should something awful destroy Manhattan (the transition here was a little rough, there was no explanation of them shifting gears suddenly). Everyone offers up their resources, except for Lutz, who’s creepily rocking eyeliner and a man-thong for the reality TV cameras that are following Tracy around. Of course he makes up the fact that he has a car so he can enjoy the strangest few hours of pampering and sucking up that I’ve ever seen. The cut-scenes with him in the men’s bathroom talking to himself like Gollum in the mirror were golden. I can’t take a whole lot of Lutz, but they’ve saved him up for this subplot and it worked perfectly, especially because after a super Lutzy episode, the writers steal his new car and leave him stranded on the upper west side. I’m probably going to hell for laughing at that aren’t I? “If I hugged you, I would angle it so you get no boob.” –Liz And now for the best part of the episode: the plot involving Tracy and Liz (and a Dennis sighting!). It’s been building for five years as Tracy’s given Liz the slip time and again, and all it took was an Oscar nomination and Angie’s reality TV show to finally set them off. First off, can I say how happy I am that they’re actually following through with Angie’s show that they teased us with last week? It will get old really quickly, but I’m glad they didn’t drop that gem before they had a chance to get more out of it. The best part of this whole plot is how crazy it allowed the show to get; creating a plot wherein Liz literally has to out-crazy Tracy by buying an auto-tune machine to carry around with her or attack him in their delusional and mutual "alternate reality" or buying the rights to “Uptown Girl” so he can’t sing insults like “You’re a four-eyed douche” to the Billy Joel song to keep his inappropriate behavior off of Angie’s TV show and away from Academy eyes. By the way, how awesome was the part where they scream/sang the “Whoa-oh-oh” part of the song at each other? This is 30 Rock insanity at its finest. Of course the reality cameras weasel their way around the truth, finding a way to do what they call “staging or lying” in order to create the fake drama they hoped for their reality show. The best part is that despite all Liz’s whining about reality TV, it still completely gets her going, because that’s what happens to the rest of us! She watches Hannibal Burress (woo) and some actress I didn’t recognize (if you know who she is, let me know in the comments) play Tracy and herself, she runs out to meet Tracy and let fake real life imitate fake reality TV life. Just when people think that Tina Fey is spewing her righteousness from her ivory – er – grey tower at 30 Rock, she goes and proves herself wrong. And here’s my obligatory “Tina Fey rocks” moment. “It was our highest rated show since the episode of Law and Order: SVU where they watched American Idol.” – Jack And just when we thought our beloved 30 Rock was making a case for reality TV, they go and place themselves right back where they belong: making fun of everyone else. I loved Liz’s spastic looks back at Jack as One Republic’s overused sappy tune came very close to making the ridiculous scene look sentimental. The 30 Rock writers should just take a second to high-five a million angels for this episode; you’re back in the game, guys.
  • 'Community' Recap: Celebrity Pharmacology
    By: Kelsea Stahler Jan 28, 2011
    S2E13: Community had a very important lesson for us this week: drugs are bad, mmk? Yep, you betcha. Annie’s heading up Greendale’s anti-drug presentation for “at-risk pre-teens” and she’s got the whole study group involved. At first I was a little put off that she somehow managed to get them all to participate, but they are good friends and they love her, so it makes sense they’d sacrifice their dignity to give her a hand. Overall, this episode was a bit predictable, pulling from the first few worn out pages of the sitcom playbook, but it worked and it kept the funny going, so I can forgive them for this one. Plus, Abed subtly makes sure to punctuate, not necessarily call out, the moments when the plot starts to dive into sitcom prescriptions and I think half the reason he was so silent this episode is because he felt like he was sitting on his couch watching an old episode of Friends or Who’s The Boss. Even when it’s being predictable, Community doesn’t forget who it is. “Does marijuana make people work faster? I thought it helped people custom paint their vans and solve mysteries.” –Abed And just like that, Abed roasts Scooby Doo in the first 15 seconds of the episode. Gotta love that kid. The cold open was nothing spectacular, but it did give us the chance to see Shirley say “tripping balls” while wearing a green crayon costume, Jeff and Britta literally dressed as the “cool cats” they are, the dean interrupting with the creepily suggestive pun “dean-dong!” and one of the best punch-lines we’ve had in a while. “What are you doing in an apartment above Dildopolis? And when did they open a second location?” –Pierce So here it is, the reason they’ve been carefully dropping hints about how crappy Annie’s little apartment is. Her parents cut her off after rehab and she’s running out of the money she saved from allowance and something called The Period Fairy. (Genius!) Once again, you’ve got to love the contrast that’s constantly within Annie. She’s always completely put together, prim and proper, but if she’s not going crazy, lying on the floor in the hall giving up on language or creating insane plots to straighten out her fellow study group members, she’s living in a dump above a sex shop, collecting cans like a hobo and driving around a rusty old bucket o’ bolts. And this is where things get going. Pierce follows Annie home after she won’t give him more lines in her anti-drug play, but when he finds out where she lives, he takes her under his wing almost like a father and helps her pay her rent. Thank goodness the writers didn’t let this good feeling last too long (I was starting to actually LIKE Pierce), switching to a scene where Pierce is watching a reel of his father’s commercial for Hawthorne Wipes, wherein his dad hired an actor to play him because little Pierce failed his audition. Because it’s Community, and not some other show, this played out like Pierce was a typical serial killer from a horror movie. Secretly lying in wait, obsessing over past wrongs and vowing to somehow make them right. You have got to admit, even if you never liked Chevy Chase before, this is the one show where he fits absolutely perfectly. “I don’t like flirting in text.” –Britta “That’s like saying you don’t work by electric light.” –Jeff In one of the secondary plots, we find the most textbook sitcom plot I can remember seeing on this show. Britta doesn’t want to text flirt with some dude, and because she’s suddenly and uncharacteristically an idiot and leaves her phone with Jeff Winger MULTIPLE times, he decides to help her out by sending flirty texts. Abed says it, but we’re all thinking it, asking how this could not be a bad idea. EXACTLY. But it’s the fact that the writers call it out through Abed that allows me to forgive them. It’s like they’re saying, “Yeah, we know. Just go with it.” Plus, it’s worth it when Jeff pretends to be Britta’s boyfriend to keep her unnecessarily excited nephew who received the suggestive texts to keep quiet by delivering Britta’s bra to him as hush money. It was dastardly and awful and totally Jeff Winger. “Are you ignoring because I’m Korean?” –Chang “You’re Chinese.” –Shirley “Oh, there’s a difference?” –Chang Involving Chang in a pregnancy scandal is the only way I would accept this kind of drama on Community. By now, everyone knows about the Chang experience Shirley had on Halloween, but true to her character, she’s too embarrassed to deal with it. Chang is the perfect blend of creepy and lovable (but always managing to ruin that with something disgusting or disconcerting), even making Shirley a mix tape, but on an actual tape so she can’t play it, but don’t worry he made a list of tape players on Craig’s List. The writers are allowing Chang to take part in this humanizing storyline without stripping him of those bits that make him the character we all love to spit on. Even when he saves the day at the end of the episode, he does it with overwhelming Chang-ness and finishes up by responding to Shirley’s apology with something that ensures we continue to think of him as the total nut-job that he is. “Hey crayon, do you know where I can get some drugs?” –Troy When it comes time for Annie’s little play, Pierce has put his helping hands to more diabolical use. Of course he does; he’s Pierce! It was predictable, but how could you not laugh (and feel the appropriate amount of remorse later) when we got to see Pierce dressed as a pot leaf with a rainbow fro, calling the bees and cool cats “nerds” and getting “50 at-risk pre-teens armed with baseballs” to chant “WE WANT DRUGS” just so that Chang could swoop in and make the perfect rescue, presenting his craziness as a metaphor for the aftermath of drug use. You have to admit, that was pretty perfect. Plus, this whole plot forces Annie to finally get a job, which brings up a point I’ve been wondering about for a while. Why does no one have a job on this show? Britta’s endless supply of leather jackets can’t come out of thin air. I’m just glad they’re finally addressing it. “Well. That answers my question. Jeff Winger is sexy even in a coffin.” –Dean Okay, I don’t actually have a lot to say on this point other than how many creepy fetishes does the dean have? Necrophelia? Wow. At least they’re not letting his character grow stale, instead just letting him continue to fester like a petri dish in moist, warm room. Yuck…yet still hilarious. “At Dildopolis, your privacy is our top concern. All store purchases will show up on your credit card as A.V.C. Dildos Incorporated.” – Announcement from Dildopolis There was no Troy and Abed tag this week, but instead this incredibly uncomfortable, but funny scene with Annie as she attempts to sleep through the sex shop’s 2 a.m. announcement. I love that she stops pounding on the floor with a broom when they start talking about serving espresso and biscotti. Does anyone else think that Annie may be looking a little too close to home for that new job of hers? Wouldn’t that be the best possible job for her? Yes, yes it would. The only problem is that I have no idea how they could do that on network television, because I’m pretty sure you can’t show walls of sex toys on a Thursday night at 8 p.m., but if anyone can figure out a way, it’s this show.
  • 'American Idol' Recap: Auditions #4
    By: Kelsea Stahler Jan 28, 2011
    S10E4: Onward we march, getting closer and closer to Hollywood week (and oh how exhausted we’ll be when we finally get there). Last night, Idol made its stop in Nashville, Tennessee, the home of country music and what should have been a veritable treasure trove of talent. There were a few choice singers plucked from the crowd, but it seemed like the bad rang out a bit louder than the good in this round. “Do you do voiceovers for cartoons?” –Randy “I don’t know.” –Contestant To be brutally honest, there wasn’t much that the first contestant, Christine McAfee did know. Not only did she have the most annoying voice EVER, but she was completely delusional. After an attempt at singing that would have actually been improved with accompaniment from a two-year-old with a pot, a ladle, and a sugar high, she had the balls to tell Ryan that Steven had voted “Yes” for her. Nope, not even close. She was either faking it or she was one of those kids whose parents threw parties every time they brought home that crappy little “Participant” ribbon from the school-wide mini-Olympics to the point that she thinks rainbows shoot out of her fanny. Jennifer may have thought Randy was too harsh, but someone needed to say it. There were others in a montage of bad singers, but to be honest, they were so plain and uninteresting they’re not even worth mentioning. Seriously. “Sometimes the deepest passion comes from friction.” – Steven Yes, Idol can be cruel, but sometimes it can be downright diabolical, like in this episode where they forced two exes to audition together. Chelsea Oaks and Rob Bolin used to date and sing together and live together, but they’re not friends anymore. Clearly, this means they should do something as stressful as auditioning for American Idol together. CLEARLY. In truth they do sing very well together, and they both have great voices on their own, but what the hell, Idol? Of course, despite the fact that Chelsea’s boyfriend was just outside of the audition room, the judges continued to awkwardly push the idea that putting these two songbirds in the competition will make them fall back in love. What about the poor boyfriend, JLo? WHAT ABOUT HIM? “We’re warriors, man.” –Contestant Now, here are two people who weren’t terrible but don’t belong in this competition. One of them was sent home, and the one with boobs got a ticket to Hollywood. First was Allen Lewis, who sounded like Scott Stapp or Rob Thomas and looked like a biker who was ready to fuck shit up. Somehow, when they rejected him, Lewis did not go after Steven Tyler with a sharpened pool cue as most of us who were judging him based on his wardrobe like the superficial idiots we are had assumed; he simply said even the best musicians blow auditions and that he would try harder next time. What? No funny business…at all? Did he get a hold of whatever medication was keeping Steven from acting like a crazy person all episode? Next, we heard Miss Teen USA 2009, Stormi Henly, attempt to wow the judges with her talents. She could carry a tune, but as Steven pointed out (yes, he’s my favorite; accept it and move on) her voice was tight, little and squeaky. Jennifer rightly voted “no,” but the other two idiots sent her through to Hollywood because she’s hot. This is worse than putting a girl through for her skilled water works display; at least that required work instead of just magically receiving a disproportionate amount of God’s gifts. “You made me cry and I don’t even know why.” –Steven Despite a bunch of mediocre and downright awful singers, there were a few fruits from the judges’ labors. Adrienne Beasley told her story about growing up as a black girl with white parents, and while these little videos are usually overdrawn and melodramatic, she struck me as truly genuine; plus, when she sang her voice was truly moving. I agree with Steven again. Imagine that. (This is starting to worry me.) Jackie Wilson was also one of the good ones, belting out a tune with skill and talent and hearkening back to Kelly Clarkson. She was by no means mind-blowing, but after the first half of the show, it was nice to see that they could find someone worthy of a ticket to Hollywood. Obviously, I’m happy for Jackie, but did anyone else’s jaw drop when she kissed her boyfriend (who I thought was her DAD until that moment). Thanks for the jarring addition of the record-skipping sound too, Idol; I wasn’t shocked enough as it was. “You know, the acoustics work no matter what.” – JLo Alright, before we round out the evening with the last few good singers, let’s round up the awful ones. First we had Kameela Merricks trying desperately to sing “Satisfy You” but it was so bad that I don’t know if I can ever listen to that song again. My ears are scarred…and scared. It was just plain awful, but the girl was sweet so Steven tried to play the Paula and be nice. He told her to work harder, but Randy came storming through and told her she should quit. It looks like someone is trying way too hard to be the new Simon. It’s not going to happen; just be yourself, dawg. We also saw flashes of a girl sacrificing “I Will Survive” to the tone-deaf gods and a dude in a head-to-toe (and face too) blue body suit. Yep. No idea what that was about; we could even see his face, so how would he prove to his friends that he was even on the show? Moving on. Latoya Moore insisted that she’s a “recording artist,” donned a floor length sapphire evening gown and brought a single copy of her “album” for THREE judges to share. Clearly, this girl is an idiot or as Steven put it so politely, “Definitely unique.” Of course, when she opened her mouth, she was loud, annoying, and completely awful. Randy imitated her which is like sticking your tongue out at that toddler sitting next to you at Starbucks on a Saturday morning – it just encourages them. Latoya continued singing as she left the audition, hovering in the wings of the stage like a phantom of screechy music before walking out and telling Ryan that she just needed to sing slower in order to get that ticket to Hollywood. And we’ve got delusional looney number two. “See, I think you should cry because you’re going to make 40 million people cry…tears of joy.” –Steven After sending through three good guys who merited only 30 seconds of airtime altogether, the judges found the most surprising contestant of the day. Matt Dillard dresses like a guy on a cartoon farm, but sings like an angel. After lending his voice to a Josh Groban song, he only merited two yeses from the judges, but got the chance to prove he can do better in Hollywood. And last, but not least, they saved the sob story for the final contestant…again. This felt like a condensed version of yesterday’s audition show, does it not? Even so, 15 year old Lauren Alaina’s story was touching. She looks up to her cousin, Holly, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor and she’s doing Idol as a tribute. To boot, Alaina’s got lots of personality and a serious set of pipes. I’m getting a little tired of Idol always finding a way to end the show with someone with family problems, but I’ll admit it was cute watching her family smile and file into the room as she got to sing an Aerosmith song with Steven. Say what you will about the man, but he’s really good at making people feel special. See? He IS the new Paula. Now go, enjoy your freedom before the next round of sharp, obnoxious, screeching, terrifying auditions is before us. Six days should be enough time for your ears to recover from this week’s onslaught.
  • ABC Courts Minka Kelly, Rachael Taylor For 'Charlie's Angels' Reboot
    By: Kelsea Stahler Jan 27, 2011
    Okay, Charlies Angels reboot, groan, blah blah blah. I get it, and I sympathize. We need another version of an old TV show like Paris Hilton needs another chapstick full of cocaine in the security line at the airport, but like it or not, Charlie's Angels is on its way and it may have the three ladies it needs to continue. The good news is, at least for the menfolk in the audience, that two mega-babes are inches away from locking the roles in the upcoming hour-long action drama for ABC. Friday Night Lights star Minka Kelly and Transformers bombshell Rachael Taylor are at the top of the list for the roles of Marisa and Abby and would join Annie Ilonzeh who's already been cast as Kate. The Marisa role doesn't exactly fit for Kelly, but producers are changing the role to suit her, because as long as Derek Jeter doesn't mind sharing her, the people behind Charlie's Angels are sure she'll seal the deal to make the show a hit. Prior to any Kelly-centric changes, the role is described as a former U.S. Marine...say what now? Let me tell you something about the Marines, none of them look like Minka Kelly. NONE. Then again, Angels was never really known for its realism. She's also supposed to be a weapons and hand-to-hand combat expert and a complete neat freak. Yeah, try putting that on a profile. But once again, if you're Minka Kelly, you don't have to. Taylor's role as Abby would have her as the youngest Angel and privileged daughter of a Wall Street swindler (look, we're so timely and relevant!). She'll have learned the con game from dear old daddy and as the cherry on top, she'll be an expert in the ways of Krav Maga. I'm not saying it's going to be the best show out there, but they're combining nostalgia and hot girls which is probably the greatest television super weapon out there right now. But wait, does this mean the Farah Fawcett feathered hairstyle is coming back? I'm going to need a new hairdryer. Source: Deadline
  • NBC Grabs Four New Comedies
    By: Kelsea Stahler Jan 27, 2011
    Tis the season for new TV shows, so without further ado, here are a few more to add to the ever-growing list. NBC is hoping to continue the sitcom success of their Thursday night line-up (minus Outsourced; replace it already!) by green-lighting four, count 'em, F-O-U-R new sitcoms including one based off Chelsea Handler's book, Are You There Vodka? It's Me Chelsea. The Handler comedy probably won't star the comedianne, but it will attempt to take her style of humor and translate it to network television. So does that mean all the dirty, awful things she says aren't going to fly? Pass. That's the only reason she's interesting. In other Chelsea Handler-related and inspired-by-real-life-ladies sitcom news, NBC also gave the go-ahead to a sitcom based around Whitney Cummings who often appears on Handler's late night show and manages to drive me crazy every time. Like Are You There Vodka?, the sitcom is supposed to be unconventional, but we'll be careful not to count those chickens until they hatch. Jack Black and Ben Silverman are putting their weight behind a book-to-small screen adaptation of My Life as an Experiment. Guess what? This one is supposed to be an "unconventional" look at life too! My hopes are bit higher for this one because Black is pulling the strings and while his antics may have grown a little stale on the screen, if they should retire anywhere it's on TV. Lastly, we have the most promising of the bunch. Brave New World comes to us from Peter Tolan (The Larry Sanders Show) and is another workplace comedy, this time set in the old timey world of a theme park called Pilgrim Village. NBC is killing it with workplace comedies - hello, The Office, Parks and Recreation, and 30 Rock - and with Tolan behind it all, this looks to be a great addition to the line-up. Source: NY Mag
  • 'American Idol' Recap: Audition #3
    By: Kelsea Stahler Jan 27, 2011
    S10E3: Here we go again, another audition episode and things are really hitting their crazy, ridiculous stride in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Steven Tyler is really getting comfortable and loosening up with his fellow judges. Oh, you thought he was loose before, did you? Well, he’s really let himself go now. His facial reactions and emphatic gestures are loud enough on their own but he still opens his mouth and says something crazy almost every time. While I want to hate him I can’t help but enjoy the insanity – even if it does mean shamelessly plugging his own music and forcing Randy to attempt to sing “Sweet Emotion.” “Well hellfire, save matches, fuck a duck and see what hatches.” –Steven The first batch of Idol hopefuls was a bit of a mixed bag delivering us a down-home, old-fashioned country singer, an aspiring radio D.J. who should probably stick to talking, and a 15 year old who cried her way to Hollywood. First up is Scott McCreery, the 16 year old baseball-loving kid who somehow has the country-singing voice of a much older man. He sang two country songs for the judges with a rich, deep, twangy voice and earned himself a golden ticket – even though this is generally a pop music competition, not a country music jamboree. Still, the kid’s got talent, and his singing made Steven utter that bit about fucking a duck, so you know he’s good. From the good, to the bad and the downright ugly we go. Joe Repka trekked from his college in Toledo, Oh. to bond with Ryan Seacrest over their mutual love of talking on the radio and then there’s that pesky audition process too. Before Joe jumped into his painful rendition of “For The Longest Time,” Joe’s granny admitted to Ryan that she’s tone-deaf. I guess it runs in the family because the kid could not carry a tune and he’s apparently hard of hearing too, because while the judges were telling him what’s up, he kept singing. Really? Go home, dude. Before this batch had run its course, we found ourselves listening to the stylings of 15 year old Emma Henry who sang a sweet, raspy version of “True Colors.” She was alright, but as Randy pointed out, she’d get swallowed up in Hollywood. I don’t know how accurate his claim is that Idol is the greatest “talent competition in the world” though, especially after the girl cried so hard they gave her a ticket anyway. Simon would not approve. “What was terrible?” –Rejected Contestant “Pitch, tone, sound…everything about singing.” – Randy It wouldn’t be an audition episode without a montage of crazies and there were plenty to go around this time. First we had the terrifying woman in a floor length black coat which was open enough to reveal hot pants, a bandeau top, and knee-high black boots; no, she couldn’t sing. Then we had the confrontational guy, the guy who massacred “Bad Romance” and then thought it would be cute to ask Randy for a sip of coke (not cool, dawg), the guy who did a back flip into a cameraman, and of course the crazy dude in a silver, shiny outfit and a giant toothbrush. Come on. That’s not even funny. NEXT. “All of the isms jumpin’ off.” – Randy “None of the wasms.” -Steven Alright, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say this next girl will probably come close to winning this entire competition because, to put it bluntly, she rocks. I was a little put off when her little pre-audition vignette got a tad melodramatic – Naima Adedapo is a great singer but cleans toilets at a concert venue instead of performing – but once she started singing “For All We Know” my apprehension was gone. She’s got a strong voice and sounds like an actual singer that should get paid to sing. Next, in the wave of goodies is Jerome Bell, the babely bar mitzvah singer who sang “Let’s Get It On” and went straight to Hollywood with no ifs, ands, or buts. Then, the auditions got into a wave of 15 year olds, which of course led Ryan to explain that Idol changed the age to 15 so that they could potentially find the next Justin Bieber – really? That kid can barely sing a song with more than 6 different words in it (and I accept that I may now receive Twitter death threats from his fans). Thia Megia started off the streak with a bluesy, strong, mature performance of “Chasing Pavements” as a montage of other 15 year old golden ticket winners gained musical accompaniment from Taylor Swift’s “Fifteen.” How original. “I actually think he’s going to point the gun at me. I think he’s going to shoot me.” – Ryan Okay, things didn’t get suddenly serious on this episode of Idol, but they did take a nose dive for a bit. Is anyone else bothered by the fact that these contestants are coming in waves of bad and good? Remember when we could play the guessing game about who’d be great and who would suck, and sometimes we’d be completely wrong? Where is that game? I want it back, American Idol. First up is a man who has to be doing this to get on television, Nathaniel Jones the Civil War reenactor. Nevermind the part about how his dad can’t be a hippee because “hippees believe in sex,” the dude went on TV and pretended he couldn’t tell present day from the 1860s and then sang “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” in a ridiculous falcetto voice (though, he was actually in tune). This guy knew he’d get on TV, so he went crazy. Case closed, moving on. Quickly, because it was just sad, another dude, Mason Wilkinson, was so bad he had to be faking. He had to turn around for 15 seconds to compose himself before he could sing the worst thing I’ve heard in a while. Steven said he “didn’t know people were like that,” and it’s because they’re not. Dude was faking. Next. “I’m in love with this president. Not in a Monica Lewinski, Bill Clinton, intern sort of way.” –Contestant Mary DeWolf Swenson, whose name sounds made up and is good at everything so she can withstand me making fun of her name for two seconds, is a Harvard grad, White House Intern and now one of the contestants going to Hollywood. She sang beautifully, she’s tall, blonde, pretty, smart. Boom, White House Barbie goes to Hollywood. Next is Tiwan Strong, who despite his ridiculous all-white linen getup, sang beautifully and like the contestant from last week, had a John Legend-esque quality to his voice and according to Steven “a sparkle in his eyes.” Now you’re hitting on dudes, Steven? Then came the friend-less singing certified public accountant who sings for fun at weddings and FUNERALS. Talk about depressing; this guy wasn’t crying but his story was not pretty. I’m on the fence about his actual vocals because his voice is a little creepy even if he is technically a good singer. Once again, I agree with Steven who said he was “disturbingly great.” I cannot hate Steven no matter how much I try. Damnit. “I wanna fucking punch those people in the fucking face.” –Rejected contestant Before we get to the last three happy faces of the night, I’m going to round up the rest of the baddies, starting with the most explosive of them all, Vernika Patterson. First of all, I want to take credit for calling this one. A contestant sang Minnie Ripperton’s “Loving You” and like I said before, was delusional enough to think she could sing it. The sad thing is that her vocals weren’t even the ridiculous part. When the judges told her no, she indignantly insisted that she’s better than half the singers out there (yes, because half of them were selected because they are so bad; where have you been for the last 10 years?) and then accused the judges of eliminating her for not being “skinny like half of these females” before storming out of the audition. No, sweetie. They said no because you suck, not because you have the wrong body type. This of course leads into a montage of rejected people crying and yelling and screaming and cursing as camera men try to follow them after they’ve had their dreams crushed. I thought this bit was a little fucked up; sort of like the producers just sitting around laughing at the misery their audition process has created. But then again, did I turn it off? Nope. I watched every last second. Mission accomplished, Fox. Two more bad auditions to go. Second to last was Albert Rogers the 3rd…yeah okay. He claimed to be a cross between Usher and Luther Vandross but sounded more like a tone-deaf toddler in the bath. Sorry dawg, you’re not going to Hollywood. Last but not least, Fox found their golden promotional ticket in Green Bay Packers super-fan, Megan Frasier. She gave them an opportunity to mention the Super Bowl on Fox and fulfilled the necessary element of any stop in Wisconsin: a visit with a cheesehead. (That’s what they’re called, I’m not that mean.) She also sang “Baby” in an operatic voice. This is where I throw my hands up. It’s auditions like this that make me feel played. “You look like one of my…nope. Not gonna say it.” –Steven Finally, we’ve got the last three good ones, and they’re good. First up is Scott Dangerfield a student teacher with an awesome name. He’s wiry and geeky, but packs a punch, belting out tunes with a strong, bluesy voice. I’m looking forward to hearing more from him in Hollywood. Then we have the Steven Tyler superfan, Allyson Jados. She’s the one who looks like one of Steven’s – well, he’s not going to say it – but I will. GROUPIES. She’s a pretty good singer, even if the only words she knows from “Dream On” are “dream” and “on.” Steven sang with her, gave her a hug and thanks to Randy’s “no” gave the deciding vote to send her to Hollywood. How many other people can say they got that kind of treatment from their Idol? Not many. “What kind of a guy would I be if I left her when she needed me the most?” –Contestant In true Idol fashion, they saved the most emotional contestant for last. Chris Medina is a Starbucks barista and a SAINT. His fiancé, who was also a barista when they got engaged, suffered a horrible accident that left her permanently disabled and with brain damage, yet he stays by her side day in and day out. After his audition, the judges wanted to meet his fiancé and while it was touching, it was a bit odd because they weren’t quite sure how to act around her. Even so, the story is truly sad and I’m sure there will be lots more about the saintly Mr. Medina in the weeks to come. Whew. Didn’t think you’d make it to the end did you? These episodes are long for sure, but just think; the more audition episodes we work through, the closer we get to Hollywood week and the closer we’ll be to the actual competition which is kind of exciting, right?
  • Snooki and J-Woww May Battle Real Life In 'Jersey Shore' Spinoff
    By: Kelsea Stahler Jan 26, 2011
    So it's not yet a "Shore Thing" (insert unamused golf claps) but Nicole "Don't Call Me Snooki" Polizzi and Jenni "You Can Keep Calling Me J-Woww Because It Makes Me Lots of Money" Farley have a potential Jersey Shore spinoff in the works and they clearly have no idea how to be grown-ups despite the millions of dollars in their bank accounts. Details about the guidettes' adventure in normalcy have surfaced and it looks like we can expect more fannies in minifridges and some toilet paper snafus. Here's the set-up: the charming duo move in to a $1.5 million home only to realize that they don't know anything about....anything. A mortgage? What's that? Checks? Aren't those like those things you get when you win Publisher's Clearing House? Are they always that big? Ooh I want one! Does it come with a gorilla juicehead? The ladies also learn some tough lessons about what a nightmare roommate is - namely Snooki. As of now, the biggest issues are that Polizzi's scarfing down J-Woww's food and failing to replace....the toilet paper? THIS is what we can look forward to? Everyday roomie gripes? Uh, no. Where is the part where they start getting so drunk they knock over tables and couches? What about hiring gardeners just so they can oggle them and offer them tall glasses of Ron-ron juice like a couple of desperate housewives with rufied lemonade? GIMME SOMETHING ladies. Then again, we've settled for less on the original Jersey Shore, so why should we expect anything different when it's just these two on their own; we'll still be watching. Wahhh. Source: TMZ
  • NBC Scoops Up Discarded Stephen Gaghan Pilot
    By: Kelsea Stahler Jan 26, 2011
    A while back, ABC was all abuzz because they had penned a deal with the man who brought us Traffic and Syriana. Stephen Gaghan had a deal to bring some of his signature grit and intrigue to the small screen for a pilot that was said to be akin to The Wire, but with enough simplicity to hook a wider audience. When the power structure shifted at ABC, Gaghan's return to TV (he used to write for NYPD Blue and The Practice) must have gotten lost in the shuffle because NBC just announced that they've green-lit S.I.L.A. Someone may have just found their golden ticket. So what's the big deal about this stroke of luck for the Peacock? Gaghan is not only an Oscar-winning screenwriter (because clearly that's not enough), but his pilot is an hour long drama that draws from Traffic in that it delves into the world of crime and politics (duh) and interlaces many story lines together, making for an engrossing premise. At least that's what the word is around town. The only questionable aspect of all of this is that ABC big wig, Paul Lee, has had plenty of time to push the pilot through and for an unknown reason he simply let it slip away. This could be an indication that the show doesn't live up to it's big name scribe's resume, but that's somewhat hard to believe. Gaghan knows his way around a television script, and it's pretty much impossible to argue with an Oscar. Source: NY Mag
  • Fox Picks Up Two Single-Camera Comedies
    By: Kelsea Stahler Jan 26, 2011
    No one beat out ABC's pilot pick up yesterday, but Fox got a piece of the action by scooping up two single-camera comedies late last night. The network is hoping to continue the success they've had with Raising Hope, their single-camera family comedy hit, with two more family centric comedies called The Council of Dads and Family Album. This seems like a bit of a broad stroke - our single-camera family comedy is working, so let's order a bunch more - it may work. First up, we have The Council of Dads, which is the downer of the two. Yes, it's a comedy with a downer element. Based off of the non-fiction book of the same name, is about a dying man who enlists the help of his friends for his wife and children once he's gone. Peter Tolan's (Rescue Me) project brings the six friends into the lives of the dying man's twin daughters and wife, but it eschews the book's happy ending wherein the father makes a full recovery and instead, the dad in the show is expected to eventually die. Wamp, wamp. I don't see how that helps with the comedy element, but I guess, at least at the moment, I'll leave that debacle to the professionals. Next, Fox has another family-sized comedy cued up. This one claims to take a page out 24's book, with each season of the show capturing a single summer vacation with a father and his extended family. This of course means each episode will reflect only a few hours of the vacation (couldn't more ambitious, and try to do an hour an episode like Jack Bauer, eh?) and sounds completely boring. It boggles my mind that Fox would try to accomplish a show with a plot this plain - newsflash, we've already got a show about an extended family doing extended family things. It's called Modern Family, and it's kind of cornered the market, so good luck trying to best that. Source: Deadline
  • Alec Baldwin Could Replace Olbermann at MSNBC
    By: Kelsea Stahler Jan 25, 2011
    This just in from the land of "Yes, please," Alec Baldwin may be the guy to replace ousted MSNBC commentator, Keith Olbermann. Because the network has just let go of the man who brought in their greatest number of viewers, they need someone else with some serious pull to make up for it; enter Baldwin. Popeater has just learned that Baldwin, as an existing member of the "NBC family," is high up on the list of Olbermann replacements and may even occupy the top spot. We already know that the most eligible Baldwin has a special place in his heart for politics (remember earlier this month when he said he would consider running for office?) but who knew this would all come this close to actually happening? Okay, so hosting Countdown isn't exactly the same as running for office, but Olbermann is known for his extremely well-informed, biting, articulate political commentary and that's why he was able to draw the most viewers for MSNBC. He didn't get all those viewers with a charming smile and talent for snarky delivery. Then again, a more middle-class friendly Jack Donaghy as the new host of Countdown would be about 17 different kinds of awesome. He has said that he will leave 30 Rock when his contract is up in 2012, but that's a long way away and Countdown needs a new host now. My hope is that Baldwin feels like working his ass off for the next year, because getting to see him host the political show AND tell Liz Lemon her shoes make her look "lesbian Frankenstein" on a weekly basis is as close to TV heaven as any of us will ever be. Source: Popeater