Monday, May 30, 2011

Movie Review: The Hangover 2

The Bangkok weather ain't
the only thing that's hot
in The Hangover 2!
The secret to a good recipe is that it's repeatable. You should get the same result every time you put the same ingredients, in the same amount and follow the same  instructions. That's exactly what Todd Phillip's did with The Hangover 2. He took the same characters and placed them in a very similar situation and hoped to produce the same results.

This time, it was Stu (Ed Helms) getting married. The difference is that instead of returning to Vegas, the action takes place in Bangkok because Stu's bride Lauren (Jamie Cheung) is Thai. With Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Alan (Zack Galifianakis) in tow, instead of loosing the groom, they lose the bride's younger brother Teddy (Mason Lee) a boy genius. We even have Ken Jeong reprising his role as Mr. Chow and a cameo from Mike Tyson.

Once again, the guys wake up without a clue as to what happened to Teddy and, for that matter, what happened the night before. To find Teddy, they have to sort it all out. Tattoos, chain-smoking monkeys and missing fingers are just the tip of the iceberg.

I never have high expectations for sequels. I just don't. While The Hangover 2 is definitely formulaic, I did have some laugh out loud moments. I also enjoyed how they kept the integrity of The Wolf Pack. Justin Bartha's Doug wasn't stuck on a rooftop this time around but he didn't stay with the group either and that was a wise decision. Phil, Alan and Stu work will together (along with Mr. Chow). There was no reason to mess with that part of the formula.

I laughed throughout The Hangover 2. I think I had more laughs with the original but I enjoyed myself and so did the audience I saw it with. Like the original, it is raunchy and there is some male frontal nudity (but nothing that's impressive).

However, let me add. I watched part of Wedding Crashers last night on cable. Bradley Cooper was kind of cute there but he was actually hot in The Hangover 2. I mean he was sexy! Hubba hubba!

But back to the review. I would say that it wasn't as funny as the original but it was funny. I had a good time. If this (and Bridesmaids) is your cup of tea, I think you'll enjoy it.

Glee: New York! New York!

It's taken me a while to write this recap because it's taken me a while to process it. I have to finally admit that as much as I wanted to love this episode, the last one of the season, I didn't. Despite some great character development, over all it left me a little let down.

I guess the biggest letdown was the music. I wasn't familiar with the Madonna New York song or the other song featured in the mash-up. I did like the energy of it though. The only song I thoroughly enjoyed was Rachel and Kurt's duet of For Good from Wicked. It was even better because they did it on the Wicked stage (and I saw Wicked performed there!). However, the rest of the songs were just okay.

During the competition, both New Directions original numbers were good but not great. And Vocal Adrenaline was a huge disappointment. Every other time we've been treated to a VA performance, it's been filled with choreography and showmanship. You can immediately see why they are the ones to beat. But a solo by Charice and that's it? Let down!

But let's move on to the plot. Hated how Shue gave up on his dream so quickly (his song was forgettable too). Why not just stay in NYC over the summer and then go back to Lima?

I did love Finn chasing after Rachel. I do think that she caved a little too quickly though. The kiss during their performance was great but again, ... too soon. I kept wating for Rachel to get mad. I mean this guy has been stringing her along almost all season. He couldn't forgive her for making out with Puck, which she admitted to him in an attempt to be completely honest. Yet, he could forgive Quinn for sleeping with Puck (not to mention losing her virginity to him), and then trying to pin a pregnancy on him. Not to mention, he lost his virginity to Santana of all people. Rachel has so much passion about her career but acts like a complete doormat when it comes to Finn.

Anyway, as much as I hated the Vocal Adrenaline performance, I loved their coach Dustin Goolsby who actually (unlike Sue) still has a reason to hate New Directions. They're the competition! He did his best to play a mind game on the kids by telling them of Shue's Broadway adventure. However, he had the best lines of the night at the bar with Shue! I absolutely want to see more of him next season. Hopefully, we'll see more of VA and the Warblers too.

Blaine telling Kurt that he loved him was perfect as was Kurt's shocked expression. I mean, it came out of nowhere but I'm sure he was thrilled to hear it (because he obviously loves Blaine too).

And finally, maybe Ryan Murphy has been reading my blog, some love for Mercedes! And with Sam no less! As soon as they walked into the coffee shop, I knew they were together! And I've read since the finale that they will be a couple at the beginning of next season as well. Hopefully, maybe we'll get to see more of Mercedes back story ... maybe even meeting her parents, which I would love.

So we're off for the summer. I'll be combing the web for Glee news over the summer, so when I find it, I'll post it here!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Breaking News: Big Change for Law & Order SVU

I don't know if I'd be smiling afer
walking away from $385,000
per episode!
According to TVLine, Christopher Meloni who has played Detective Elliot Stabler on Law & Order: SVU will not be returning for Season 13. His 'partner' Mariska Hargitay, who plays Detective Olivia Benson, will be back though. It will be hard to see Oliva without Elliot but according to SVU producers they are already in search of a 'big name' to replace Meloni.

So what happened? Well, what always happens. Money! Contract talks broke down when they couldn't agree on a pay raise. From what I can tell, he and Hargitay were some of the best paid actors in a dramatic series. Hugh Laurie pulls in around $400,000 per episode and Hargitay/Meloni were right behind him at $385,000 per episode.

So we see the end of an era! I'll be eager to see who they nab as a replacement.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Movie Review: Bridesmaids

Bridesmaids proves how funny us girls can be when we stop trying to be polite and play nice. With many laugh out loud moments, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie ... and it isn't just me, everyone I've talked to about this movie has enjoyed it just as much.

Annie (Kristen Wiig) is searching for rock bottom. Her baking business has folded and her boyfriend/business partner left at the same time. Now, she's underemployed (at a jewelery store), living with a pair of self-satisfied British siblings and having occasional okay sex with an asshole (played wonderfully by John Hamm - who definitely lives up to his name). As Annie's downward spiral picks up speed, her best friend's upswing just keeps getting better and better. Lillian (Maya Rudolph) is marrying her rich boyfriend and also picking up a new best friend in rich, gorgeous Helen (Damages' Rose Bryne). If there is a downside, it's that Lillian's fiance just isn't that cute (not even in a dorky way).

The bridesmaids in question are the unhappily married with kids, Rita (Reno 911's Wendi McLendon-Covey), naive newlywed Becca (The Office's Ellie Kemper) and Megan (Mike and Molly's Melissa McCarthy) as the groom's burly brusque sister (who had a lot of the film's best one-liners). Together, they endure the engagement party where Helen and Annie use the toast to try and show who's the better friend to a potential Vegas misadventure.

What makes Bridesmaids such a fun movie is that these women aren't afraid to be dirty, raunchy, honest and just plain funny. So often romantic comedies feature pretty funny girls like Julia Roberts or Cameron Diaz and while they are willing to take a risk for a joke, I doubt either woman would go as far as these bridesmaids do for a joke.

And yes, there is romance. Irish actor Chris O'Dowd plays a sweetie of a state patrolman who is a former fan of Annie's bakery who quickly becomes a fan of Annie.

At the beginning of Bridesmaids, there are a few lulls but as the movie picks up steam, it picks up a ton of laughs along the way!

Celebrity Apprentice Gets Rich!

Wanna be the Celebrity Apprentice? It helps
if you bring The Donald a cowboy hat.
Okay, I missed last week's recap. Suffice to say, did anyone think the final two wouldn't come down to Marlee Matlin and John Rich? Lil John acted like he didn't even want to be in the final two and Meat Loaf was just too damn emotional.

The task was to come up with an ad, commercial and concept around 7-Up Retro. Marlee was to base her ad in the 70's with a little help from The Harlem Globetrotters. John Rich had the 80's with Def Leppard. To help them out, several former contestants came back. Team Rich included Lil John, Star Jones and Mark McGrath. Team Matlin had Richard Hatch, LaToya Jackson and Meat Loaf.

Both groups came up with excellent can concepts, both of which will be available soon in a store near you. I enjoyed both commercials as well. Team Matlin had a serious coup when they scored Geoffery Holder for their commercial (the black guy with the white suit and the deep voice that was featured in many of the 7-Up ads in the Seventies). The guys roped in Dee Snider from Twisted Sister for their spot - very 80's.

However, when it comes to executing the event, Team Matlin had the edge. Their event flowed seamlessly and all the members of their team greeted and shmoozed with Trump and the 7-Up execs. Meanwhile, Team Rich didn't greet the VIPs at all. To make matters worse, they started 20 minutes early and Def Leppard hadn't even arrived when John had announced them.

On the bright side, even though this wasn't a fundraising challenge, John Rich managed to collect checks from several participants totalling $275,000. When Marlee Matlin found out about that she was not happy.

However, this was a live 2-hour finale so there was a lot of fluff and reunion mess. To sum it up quickly. Gary Busey is still a nut. Star and Nene still hate each other. The rest of the 'celebs' are still trying to play nice.

If Trump was basing his decision off of this task alone then Marlee had the edge because her event went off without a hitch. Also, if we are looking at body of work, she also raised more money than anyone in Apprentice/Celebrity Apprentice history. Yet, for reasons we may never know, he went with John Rich.

That's okay with me though, because I pegged him to win it all weeks ago and I like to be right!

If The Show is Called Glee Then Why Am I Crying?

By this point, I'd broken down in tears
at least three ... maybe four times!
Wow. I have to say I’ve stopped reading a lot of the spoilers regarding Glee. I kind of prefer watching the episode and watching the action unfold in the actual episode. So, I knew there was going to be a death but I didn’t know who.

Well, the show unfolded along two tracks and the musical track wasn’t as nearly as powerful. Jesse St. James came on board to help coach New Directions. He wanted the ‘stars’ to compete for the ‘starring’ role in their National debut. So Santana, Kurt, Mercedes and Rachel auditions. Santana sang Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black for her audition. Jesse wasn’t impressed. He also didn’t get Kurt singing Some People from the musical Gypsy. It was, after all, written for and sung by a woman. Mercedes killed on Try a Little Tenderness but Jesse didn’t think she was winning to put in the work. Of course, Rachel brought down the house on My Guy. Jesse had hoped she was singing to him and even though she said she wasn’t thinking about anyone (her thoughts turned to Finn). Jesse felt Rachel was a shoo-in but Shue overrode him and decided that they’d perform original songs as a group.

However, Becky and her mom approached Shue about letting Becky in the glee club. Sue let her go from her position as personal assistant for the Cheerios. Shue couldn’t believe it and immediately went to confront her. If Becky reminded her of her sister why would she fire her? Expecting a fight, he was shocked when Sue revealed that her sister Jean had died of pneumonia. Of course, when he tried to reach out to her, she rebuffed him.

The two New Directions members most familiar with death, Kurt and Finn, also reached out. Sue said if they wanted to help, they could help her clean out Jean’s room and plan the funeral (she wanted the Glee club there to make sure that there would be a few people at the service). While cleaning up, they did, they found out that Jean’s favorite movie was Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and they used that theme for the service.

As she entered the service, Sue was touched to see a packed house. Other patients, staff from the facility, all of the people Jean touched were there. When she stepped up to deliver her comments, she couldn’t do it, so Shue stepped in and finished reading them for her. I was sobbing at this point. New Directions ended the service with Pure Imagination from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I was still sobbing.

After it was all over, Sue apologized to Shue for being so anti-New Directions. She told him that he and her sister shared a sense of goodness and that she was going to turn a new leaf. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds next season.

Finally, we got some serious character development from Sue. She was becoming a one-note character. Jane Lynch is a great actress and finally got to stretch and show some range. It was great to watch.

We also had some development from Finn (who I am completely over). In the truck after the service, Finn broke up with Quinn. Something in the service resonated with Finn and he left Quinn to go after Rachel. However, when he was finally ready to make his move, flower in hand, he walked into the auditorium to find Rachel kissing Jesse.

Cannot wait for next week? What will I do afterwards???

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

American Idol: Top Three Revealed

The rocker rocks out!
The season is flying by. After tonight, there are just two more weeks of Idol! Instead of a group number, we kicked things off with two countrified duets. First up were James and Scotty doing Start a Band by Brad Paisely. While Scotty was definitely in his element, James (who continues to impress me) showed that the rocker boy has a little bit of good ol’ boy in him too! The girls did Gunpower and Lead by Miranda Lambert. Again, Lauren delivered; but it’s a country song so that is expected. Haley held her own.

Tonight, with just four left, Ryan announced who was making it into the Top 3. First to make it was Lauren. Before we could find out who was next, we had more musical guests.

I guess Gaga couldn’t make it, so we had a taped performance of her song You and I (the one Haley did the week before that didn’t impress the judges). I do have to give Gaga her props. She did a great job mentoring the contestants and I enjoyed her performance. Her outfit? Meh. It was a leather-studded bikini which proves my theory that it takes more than being thin to have a decent figure.

And it still wasn’t time for more results. We heard from the adorable Enrique Iglesias. He’s great to look at but as a singer? He was autotuned during his live performance of Dirty Dancer/I Like It. Dirty Dancer is a duet with Usher who couldn’t be there but was on a big screen looking like he was trying to bring back the high top fade (Seriously though, what was up with his hair?).

Ready for more results? I was … but not yet. We heard the new single from Season Six winner Jordin Sparks, I am Woman. She was trying to channel her inner Beyonce. She looked gorgeous but she needs to leave the dancing to Beyonce and J. Lo.

Now, I was really ready for some results! But … we had to see the world premiere of S Ty’s video Feels so Good featuring lead Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger.

Now, some results. The second of the three finalist was Haley. Leaving just James and Scotty. I knew what would happen next. Scotty took the final seat … sending James home.

If it’s any consolation, Week 4 is the same week that rocker Chris Daughtry got sent home and he’s had an amazing career!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

American Idol: Back in Time Again

I was hoping when Idol got 'revamped' this season, we'd have more current theme weeks. I mean singing songs from The Rat Pack era or even the 50s, 60s and 70s really doesn't resonate with contestants who were born in the late 80s or 90s. Yet, here were were again, stuck with songs from Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.  They had their heyday in the 50's and 60's with songs like Stand by Me, Yakety Yak, Hounddog, Love Potion No. 9 and Jailhouse Rock. Tonight, the Idols had to sing these oldies but goodies while being mentored by Lady Gaga. What a way to mix the old and the new!

But first, the kids were asked to perform an inspirational song.

When I hear inspiration, I automatically think of Mariah, Whitney and Celine. I also think of dozing off. James kicked things off and woke me up with a cover of Journey's Don't Stop Believing. He missed a couple of notes but brought it home at the end.

Haley paid hommage to Michael Jackson with What About Us. I didn't like it at all and neither did Jennifer or Randy. It isn't one of Michael's more popular songs and I didn't feel it suited her voice at all. Next!

And next up was Scotty. He sang Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning by Alan Jackson. The song addresses the events of 9/11. He sang it well and it's definitely an inspirational song. Yet, he and Haley really reminded me of why I dread inspirational songs. I think the timing might have been perfect in light of the recent death of Osama Bin Laden.

Last up was Lauren who chose Anyway by Martina McBride. She dedicated it to the people who were surviving the devastation of the tornadoes and storms in the South. Again, she sang it well and had a timely message (like Scotty) that would probably get people to the phones to vote.

Haley was up with the first song of the second round. Working with Lady Gaga she chose I Who Have Nothing which Jordin Sparks nailed the season she won. Gaga asked Haley to 'get a little psycho' and indulge in a little drama. It made all the difference. Haley nailed it.

Scotty sang Youngblood and like with Gone  last week, got to have some fun with it. He and Gaga's interactions were funny. She definitely had the little Christian boy blushing! He came out and gave a solid Scotty performance. It wasn't a standout but one thing about Scotty is that he's consistent.

Gaga had her work cut out for her coaxing the bad girl out of Lauren who was having difficult with the word 'evil' in her song Trouble. At the end of the package, we weren't sure if Lauren was going to pull it off; but as soon as she stepped out onto that stage, we saw that she had it. I don't know if a 16-year old girl should be working the sexy but she definitely worked it.

James and Gaga worked on Love Potion No. 9. Gaga and her pantsless outfit helped James move his hips; but when it comes to performance, James is the best out of the four. When he stepped out on the stage, he proved it, killing on Love Potion No. 9. The decision to open and close with James was a good one.
Since there are just four people left, instead of predicting a Bottom 3, I'm going to pick a Top 3. If I have my way, the Top 3 in order would be:

1. James
2. Lauren
3. Scotty

with Haley going home.

Glee: Jr. Prom Isn't that Serious!

Yeah, it was "Prom" but it was Junior prom. Who gets excited
about Junior Prom? It's like getting excited about the rehearsal
dinner before the wedding!
Glee went to prom tonight … well, not exactly. Glee went to junior prom tonight, which isn’t quite the same. Junior prom is just a dry run for the real deal. In fact, technically, I don’t know if it really even counts (I don’t even think we had a junior prom at my school). Anyway, Glee brought the drama and that’s always a good time.

After Figgins’s first choice, Air Supply, canceled, New Directions got stuck with prom band duties. Mercedes and Rachel were dateless until Rachel had the great idea to make it a three-way date, and they asked Sam to accompany them both.

However, that threesome became a foursome when Jesse St. James reappeared (after flunking out of college). He definitely made an entrance singing Adele’s Rolling in the Deep (I loved how the AV club backed he and Rachel up). He apologized for his bad behavior at the end of last season saying that he sacrificed love for a fourth national championship.

Finn continued to want to have his cake and eat it too, telling Rachel she shouldn’t be with Jesse and in the next breath agonizing over what corsage to get Quinn … and asking Rachel for advice! I was a huge Finchel fan but now I really don’t know if I want Rachel and Finn back together at all. He’s such an obtuse asshole and I’m tired of her pining away over him. Next!

Artie tried to win Brittany back by serenading her with Isn’t She Lovely during Home Ec class. As Mercedes correctly assessed, Stevie Wonder wrote that song about the birth of his baby daughter ... not exactly a romantic love song. Anyway, Brit enjoyed the song but still blew him off. It broke my heart to see a teary-eyed Artie roll away!

Devastated, Artie agreed to help Puck spike Sue’s punch at the prom. As much as I enjoy Sue, I could have done without her tonight. The whole spiked punch storyline fell flat for me. I am beginning to think they don't know what to do with Sue, she needs something to live for other than destroying the glee club.

Kurt asked Blaine to accompany him to the prom and he hesitantly agreed. It turns out that he got beat up when he tried to attend a dance at his old school. Kurt and Karofsky has a moment and Karofsky actually teared up and gave a genuine apologized to Kurt!

So onto the prom … New Directions members took turns singing so they’d all have a chance to enjoy the prom. Puck and Sam kicked things off with Rebecca Black’s Friday, the song has never sounded better (not like that was difficult). Rachel slowed things down with Jar of Hearts by Christina Perri. Finn couldn’t take his eyes off of her.

While Blaine sang, I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance with You, by Black Kids (yes, that's the name of the group and no there are no black kids in it), Finn couldn’t take watching Jesse and Rachel have a good time. He picked a fight with Jesse and got them both kicked out.

Then the drama got ratcheted up even more when the king and queen were announced. The king was Karofsky (don't really see how that happened) and the queen ... by a massive write-in campaign ... Kurt. He was mortified and ran out of the prom in tears! Quinn was mortified to ... like how could she not win? And lose to Kurt? And, her boyfriend wasn't even there because he got kicked out of the prom while fighting over another girl?

It was all too much for Quinn who ran into the bathroom followed by Rachel. Overcome with emotion (rage, humiliation, jealousy), she reached back into the 80's and gave Rachel a Dynasty-esque slap that would make Alexis Carrington proud (don't know what I'm talking about? Check this out, right at 46 seconds). Quinn immediately apologized for the slap but Rachel took it in stride saying she appreciated the 'drama of it.'

The two of them headed back into the prom along with Kurt and Blaine. Kurt, determined not to let these homophobic high schoolers get the best of him, accepted his prom queen crown ("Kate Middleton, eat your heart out"). As he and Karofsky descended the stairs for their 'dance' Kurt urged Karofsky to come out of the closet but he just wasn't ready to do it, leaving Kurt on the dance floor alone. Of course, Blaine wasn't having that and the two of them danced together to Abba's Dancing Queen.

Just two episodes left!

The Voice: Let the Battles Begin

Sexy stubble beats full-on beard
every time!
Since the blind auditions are over. I was curious to see if The Voice would be able to keep my attention with the next phase – the battle rounds. Each judge had to pick two of his (or her) teammates to go head-to-head against each other singing the same song. After getting some coaching, the judge would decide after the performance, who would make it into the final four and who wouldn’t.

Team Christina
It was ladies' first last night and Christina pitted two of her most formidable talents against each other gospel singer Tarralyn Ramsey and Broadway diva (and former disqualified American Idol contestant) Frenchie Davis. Christina challenged them to perform Beyonce’s Single Ladies. She knew both could belt out a ballad easily and might have more challenge and more fun with an up-tempo number. She was assisted in her coaching by by Australian singer Sia (never heard of her). It was a battle of the divas with both hitting (and missing) the big notes. I thought Tarralyn was a little more screechy and maybe Christina did too because she went with Frenchie.

Team Blake
With Reba McIntyre to back him up, Blake pitted cute ol’ country crooner Patrick Thomas against bespectacled pop singer Tyler Robinson. The song? Elvis’s Hunk of Burning Love. Blake wanted them to feel like a slab of incendiary passion-filled flesh and I’m not sure I brought it from either of them. Ultimately, Blake followed his country sensibilities and went with Patrick.

Team Adam
Adam was the only one to go with a male-female duet. He chose teenager Casey Weston to battle against Tim Mahoney (the one he thought was a woman during the blind auditions). He selected the Don Henley/Stevie Nicks ballad, Leather and Lace for their song. They did the original justice. Although there is a vibrato in Casey’s voice that I didn’t really enjoy, Adam chose her over Tim.

Team Cee-Lo
In the final battle, it was Nicki Dawson vs Vicci Martinez. Their duet of Pink’s Perfect has been in all of the promos for this week’s episode. Both sang well and with passion but Vicci did this sumo wrestler stomp that just took me out of the whole song making me ask, “What in the hell?” Apparently Cee-lo liked it well enough because Vicci beat out Nicki.

Next week: More battles to come!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Celebrity Apprentice: Now That's Some Soggy Meat Loaf!

Man up damn it! My neutered dog
has more cajones!
Three hours of Celebrity Apprentice. Three frickin' hours! Three emotional hours filled with meltdowns and verbal melees. Three ridiculous hours and two tasks: busy, busy, busy!

It all started with some switching of teams. Since Star and Nene simply were not going to get along (when Nene started piping up, I thought we were going to have a repeat of last week’s drama). Meat Loaf moved over to ASAP with Star and Marlee Matlin. Nene went over to Backbone with John Rich, La Toya Jackson and Lil Jon.

The first task was the third fundraising task with both groups asked to put together a comedy show featuring three comedians . They’d have 50 tickets each to raise money. La Toya and Marlee stepped up as project managers.

Nene was beside herself. She felt like Trump was kowtowing to Star by putting them on different teams and, she said, she needed a moment … a really long moment. So she left. She just up and left. She didn’t call her new teammates. She didn’t let them know anything; she just left. So they got busy, calling their tapped out contacts. For a Jackson, La Toya was unimpressive. She couldn’t even get more than a $1,000 from the Hiltons! John Rich pulled in his good friend Jimmy Fallon to perform and he gave a $10,000 donation.

Team ASAP was excited about getting Tracy Morgan to provide a video clip. It turned out to be the lamest, unfunniest video I’ve seen in a long time (and I routinely watch Saturday Night Live so that’s saying something). But the task was about making money which is where Meat Loaf melted down.

If it wasn’t bad enough that he had to pick up a phone and grovel for money, it suddenly occurred to him that if his team lost, he’d end up having to give the money he had raised for his Painted Turtle charity to Marlee’s charity. I swear they must have lost half a day as he boo-hoo’ed about how he didn’t want to gamble away that money. Well, the best way to ensure that didn’t happen was to win which is exactly what Trump told him when he called and asked if he could keep the money regardless of the outcome.

Both shows went well but Jimmy Fallon and his original song Yer Fired, I think, put the guys (and La Toya) over the top. But wait! This is a fundraising challenge and the only really important thing is which team made the most money.

In the boardroom, there were more water works from Meat Loaf. He thought he was going to lose the task and therefore the money for the Turtle kids. In an effort that was just as much about making the tears stop as it was being generous, John Rich offered to match the money Meat Load had raised if ASAP lost. … but they didn’t.

Despite winning and saving the Turtle kids' donations, there were even more water works from Meat Loaf who explained bleary-eyed that Trump and Celebrity Apprentice made him want to be a better man. Nobler words have never been spoken on this show (or probably to Donald Trump). Speaking of ignoble words, Trump had a few for Nene. He called her a quitter and a loser and said Star “kicked your ass.”

After this first task, it came down to La Toya, Jon Rich and Lil Jon. Someone was going home. And just as soon as she came back, La Toya Jackson was out ... again. As she walked to the limo, the sidewalk lit up beneath her, a la Billie Jean. It was a nice touch.

Remember, though, this is the super-sized Celebrity Apprentice so it wasn’t over yet! There was a second task, this one for OnStar to let people know that you can buy an OnStar for your car (even if it isn’t brand spanking new), at Best Buy no less! The teams were tasked with developing a commercial.

This is getting long so I’ll be brief. Meat didn’t cry. Instead he took the lead on the creative. He played a cop obsessed with donuts who helped a hapless Marlee Matlin find her car, while Star provided the voice for OnStar. At the end, all three (Meat, Marlee and Star) sat in a donut shop while a random guy on a skateboard flew by with an OnStar box.

The guys had a simple idea with a few special effects. Lil Jon and two actresses (a housewife and a college student) stood in front of a white backdrop and talked about how having OnStar for their older cars was a life saver.

The executives cringed when ASAP’s commercial made fun of cops. They also cringed when Backbone’s housewife was shown ‘driving’ with no seatbelt!

Anyway, the guys won – meaning the Johns (Rich and Lil) are in the Final Four. In the boardroom, we had one more big blow-out: Meat vs. Star. Meat was all about improv and going without a script. Star wanted a script but wouldn’t push it. Trump sent the three of them out of the boardroom momentarily and that’s when things got ugly.

Star explained that since Meat wasn’t a lawyer, he was not qualified to argue with her. Then she got really upset when he referred to her as ‘Sweetie’. Star started seeing red. Things did not get better in the boardroom where they continued to go after one another. In fact they went all the way to the end until Trump fired Star! I was shocked. I had her pegged for the top two.

her. I’m sure however many people at home lit up at the prospect of a Star-less final four.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

American Idol Results: Down to Four

This cat finally ran out of lives!
We started off predictably enough. Ryan plugged Steven's book and J. Lo's upcoming performance. We had a average group number (Happy Together) followed by the weekly Ford commercial (is it me or do they get worse by the week?). There was a cutesy two-part segment with the Idols cooking for Gordon Ramsey.

Ironically, there was a solid performance from Lady Antebellum, Just a Kiss. Why the irony? Because the female lead for Lady Antebellum, Hilary Scott was rejected by American Idol when she auditioned for the show. She didn't even make it in front of the judges, striking out in the preliminary round. Now, she's with a Grammy-winning group performing on Idol!

For the elimination, Ryan started forming two groups. James on the far side of the stage and Lauren on the near side. Jimmy Iovine said, James was usually a nine or a 10. He called last night's performances an eight. He criticized Lauren for wimping out of the big note in Unchained Melody.

But before we continued with results, there was Jennifer Lopez performing On the Floor. She was singing with a track but she showed the Idols what it is like to put on a show ... costume, dancers, set. She was on it. We also got a preview of her new singe, Into You.

Next up more results. Jacob came up for his critique. Jimmy said it seems as if he lost some of his confidence as both of his performances last night were off. Jacob joined Lauren on the close side.

As for Haley, Jimmy said he had her pegged in fourth or fifth place until last night's peformance of House of the Rising Sun which she nailed. He gave her a perfect 10 for that perfomance. She joined James on the far side.

It all came down to Scotty. Jimmy thought his version of Gone was stellar; but that he came up a little short on Always on my Mind. Ryan mentioned that Scotty had never been in the bottom and tonight would be no different. He was safe. Then Ryan asked him to pick the duo he thought was safe.

Scotty didn't want to do it so Ryan walked him over to James and Haley. They were safe and Jacob and Lauren were the Bottom Two. Lauren started the water works right then and there but it would be Jacob that was going home.

In his final remarks, he mentioned how America had fallen in love with him (Huh?) and he looked forward to making some good R&B music. Anyway, he sang A House Is Not a Home and kept it going all the way through the credits.

Alas, there will be no more Lusky Stank!

American Idol: Now and Then

Seems like only yesterday we had 13. Now it's down
to five, soon to be four!
It seems like this season has flown by. Five contestants remain and each sang two songs for Now & Then week. They had to pick a current song and another from the 60s or 70s. For me, Scotty and Lauren pulled out front with James in the middle and Haley and Jacob definitely in the bottom (and one of them probably going home).

So here’s how everything shook out.

James kicked off the night with 30 Seconds To Mars’s, Closer to the Edge. Once again, James was big on showmanship; but sometimes I think I’d like him to focus more on the vocals. Randy and company were psyched, with Randy telling him that the competition was his to lose. For his second song he chose Harry Nilsson’s Without You. He teared up during rehearsal and almost during his performance because the song reminds him of his wife and son. His version was good but I’m not too crazy about the song. Speaking of not too crazy…

Jacob was up next and tackled the duet No Air by Idol winner Jordin Sparks and anger management poster child Chris Brown. I didn’t like the song when those two did it and I didn’t like Jacob’s screechy version of it either. The judges agreed with me. They said they’d hoped his second song would be better. For his back-in-the-day song he went with Nazareth’s Loves Hurts. Vocally he was all over the place but he did manage to make an emotional connection to the song which should count for something (take note Stefano Langone).

Lauren Alaina channeled her inner Carrie Underwood for Flat on the Floor. She did a great job with the Idol winner’s song and it was easy to see that this kind of song is exactly the kind of song she’d sing if she won Idol. She came out with a song her parents love for her old school classic, The Righteous Brothers Unchained Melody (also known as the ceramics song from the movie Ghost). She looked gorgeous in her flowing white dress. I would be surprised if she was sent home. I could see this kid in the top two.

Scotty kept it country (again) for both songs but he did manage to step up his performance game. He delivered an energetic, crowd-pleasing rendition of Gone by Montgomery Gentry. He worked the audience, jumped around the stage and even tried to get the judges involved. For his second number, he chose Elvis’s (and Willie Nelson’s) Always on My Mind. I’ll be honest, I don’t even remember much about this performance and that should tell you something.

Rounding out the top five was Haley Reinhart. For her first song, she took a big chance on an unreleased Lady Gaga song You and I. I guess she did it well, having never heard the song, I have nothing to compare it to. The judges, especially J. Lo, weren’t sure it was a good idea to go with an unknown song at this point. For her second number, she picked a very well known song, House of the Rising Sun by The Animals. I couldn’t help but compare her, not to The Animals but to Siobhan Magnus, who killed this song last year. Haley didn’t slay it.

Bottom Three? How about which two will be safe. For me that’s our country duo: Scotty and Lauren. Jacob, James and Haley, have a seat on one of those uncomfortable-looking stools because one of you will be going home … probably Jacob. Then again what do I know, I've been predicting that Jacob's going home for week's now. The kid has more lives than a new-born kitten!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Voice: Blind Auditions are Officially Ova!

From the looks of things, next week
Adam will have lots of facial hair! Ugh!
I like him clean shaven or stubbly. Mmm! 
The blind auditions concluded last night on The Voice. The four judges had to have eight members on their team by the time the night was over. After hearing all of the contestants, only one judge, Cee-Lo had a complete team.

So Carson Daly tapped eight former contestants and had them come back to sing. Christina and Blake each had one open slot and Adam had two to fill.

I’m curious now that the auditions are over on what will happen next. With their teams in place, the judges will now have to mentor their contestants, with a little help from some celebrity friends (next week it’s country legend Reba McEntire).

Members of the same team will have to compete against each other and face elimination (from the judge that selected them no less). I have no idea what that will look like, but I am willing to give it a shot. So far, I've really enjoyed the judges interaction and I'm guessing from the sound of things that we won't have that next week.

Here's hoping The Voice can keep up the momentum.

Glee: Rumors Run Amok

Brittany could be the next Oprah!
Hopefully with last week’s episode and last night, Glee is hitting its stride and it will continue through the conclusion of the season.

Having an episode devoted to a single album (am I dating myself by saying album, should I say CD, what do you call them when they’re downloadable???). Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors is a legendary collection (I’ll use that word) but I wonder how many kids born in the 90’s would be familiar with it.

Anyway, last night showed the return of April Rhodes. Apparently her all white version of The Wiz failed miserably and she returned to Lima to work on her one woman show and help Shue with the Fleetwood Mac concept. She did a great version of Dreams to kick things off. Shue challenged her to dig deeper and have the show chronicle her emotional journey. Surprisingly, the show came together well and Shue got a bit of an itch to return with April to the Big Apple to give the play a try.

That was one of the rumors flying around McKinely and Sue was there to fan the flames. As the editor of the school newspaper, she encouraged a young band of potential journalists to ditch the little things like facts, accuracy and truth and focus more on the sexy and the salacious.

Speaking of salacious, Rachel and Finn thought something was up when they got suspicious about Sam. By the looks of things (things gleaned while staking out a motel) Sam was involved with both Kurt and Quinn! However, the truth was more mundane. Sam and his family (including his adorable and equally blond little brother and sister) were living in the motel after Sam’s dad had lost his job and then their home. Both managed to find out Sam’s secret and were coming around to help out.

Feeling bad, Finn and Rachel vowed to help. They brought back the guitar he’d had to sell. He cried. They cried. I cried … don’t laugh. I did. It was touching.

The Brittany/Santana/Artie triangle is no more. Artie is out of the picture. He was nervous about Brittany’s relationship with Santana and slipped and called Brittany the ‘S’ word … stupid. Personally, I can’t see Artie saying that, which is why it seemed weird to me for him to say it. Of course, it drove her back in the arms of Santana, who sang a her a heart-felt version of Songbird. Both girls got misty and it was nice but to be honest I want Brittany and Artie back. I want him to fight for her damn it!

We also learned that Brit-Brit has her own talk show, Fondue for Two. After Santana backed out of her interview on the show, Brittany interviewed her cat, the regal (and very fat) Lord Tubbington. It appears that the two of them are now together (not Brit and Lord Tubbington but Brit and Santana). Brittany wanted to go to prom with Santana who isn’t ready to come out yet. In fact, one of the blind item rumors swirled around her Sapphic tendencies.

It looks as if Finn and Quinn are really, emotionally, back together. Rachel continues to try to get back in Finn’s good graces but it doesn’t seem like it’s going to work. She even sang Go Your Own Way to him. I think she needs to go her own way … in a direction that is opposite from Finn!

It looks like the prom is next week. Kurt and Blaine will go together but will Santana and Brittany? Is Artie completely out of the picture? What’s going to happen next year if all these kids are graduating what will happen next year? What was that I saw in the preview for next week? Was it Jesse St. James? Will he take Rach to the prom? Questions. Questions. Questions!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Celebrity Apprentice: Pipping Hot Mess Edition

"Yeah Star, I said your brain was fat.
I know it didn't make a lick of sense
but I'm in the middle of a rant and you
can't expect me to stop and make sense!"
The way Team ASAP treated LaToya was a mess. Dionne Warwick was a nasty old hot mess. But Nene Leakes? When Nene Leakes took on Star Jones, before the task even began, she was a pipping hot, boiling over, steaming cauldron of ghetto messiness.
The task for this week was for each groups to put on a hair show. Farouk Shami, the executive of the week, was a cute little animated guy with enough fashion chutzpah to wear red boots. He was adorable. But a hair show? Really? The guys were clueless. In fact, Meat Loaf and Lil Jon did Rock, Paper Scissors to figure out who'd be project manager. Lil Jon lost.

For the girls, Nene stepped up ... at Star's suggestion (or insistence). Nene felt that Star was being 'strategic' and trying to get Nene kicked off. And that's where it all started. Right in front of Donald, Ivana, Erik and Farouk, she went the hell off.

She called Star a fat evil lady and even accused her brain of being fat! Huh? She told Star she needed to be ready with her ‘street game.’ The only retort Star could come up with was a weak, "This isn't the Atlanta housewives." Then, Star tried to walk away, Nene followed right on her heels. Even though most of her wrath was reserved for Star, Marlee and Hope didn’t escape unscathed. Nene went after them for not standing up to Star.

I guess what was most shocking about all this ranting and raving was that it seemed to just go on and on forever, and in front of friendly little Farouk. It seemed that Nene was NEVER going to just shut up. In the aftermath, the women had to figure out how to work together with emotions running high and lots of feelings hurt.

But the show ... the hair show ... must go on.

After talking with Farouk, who emphasized that his products are safe and made in America, Lil Jon went with a Living in America theme that would feature hairstyles from regions around the country. Then John Rich had the brilliant idea to call up former Team ASAP member Nikki Taylor and ask her to participate in the show. They called and she agreed!

Meat Loaf must have eaten some bad meat loaf because it seems as if he spent half of the task holed up in the bathroom.

Meanwhile, a blast from the recent past appeared in Donald Trump’s office. It was La Toya Jackson! She blamed her firing on the fact that she had lost her voice and wanted a chance to work with the guys and ‘prove herself’. Donald said he would give her an answer in 24 hours.

Over at Team ASAP, Nene got the girls to channel their inner Willow Smith by whipping their hair back and forth. Why, you ask? Well, the theme Nene came up with was Shake Your Beauty. And Hope would model, although as Hope said, she really wasn’t a model. I can see where she was coming from. She’s a centerfold and a Playmate, not a lot of runway walking in that job description (not much of anything in that job description).

When Nikki Taylor showed up, the girls were not too happy at all … especially Star who was on ‘graphics’ again, or more accurately, on PowerPoint again. She acts like PowerPoint is the most difficult application ever. Having taught Microsoft products, it’s, hands-down, the easiest application to use and master. Once again, Star needs to get over herself.

Both hair shows were okay. Lil Jon got it started for Backbone and kept the energy up. Nene wasn’t so polished but she had some nice dancers to kick things off. The only thing worse than Nene’s MC-ing was Hope’s attempt to walk the runway. It was bizarre. It reminded me of one of those stop-animation cartoons where I stiff puppet comes to life. The body of a goddess. The moves of Pinnocchio. Not a good combination.

It wasn’t hard to figure out that the guys won it again. And then using Jose Conesco’s departure as a reason, he brought La Toya back in as the newest member of Team Backbone. They seemed to welcome her with open arms but we’ll see how things go next week.

And, … just before things started getting good in the boardroom, President Obama gave Donald Trump his comeuppance. He preempted the end of Celebrity Apprentice to give us the very good news that we’d finally taken out Osama Bin Laden. Yes, Obama trumped Trump.

I did find out however, that Nene lived to rant and rail another week, while Hope and her little bunny ears took the long drive to nowhere in the cab.