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Kelis – Acapella

April 20, 2010

“Kelis is back with a video that melds the styling of aboriginal natives, Lady Gaga, Missy Elliot and Shakira wi musical influences of latin, electronic and rnb!  What more can you ask for… its artistic and her make-up and wardrobe are amazing and i am loving that white hair on her.  Kelis is back with a new sound that’s sure to hit the dance floors near you”

Watch It

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American Idol Top 7 – Idol Gives Back

April 20, 2010

“Idol Gives Back is…back!  Alicia Keys is this week’s mentor which is actually a legitimate choice for a mentor for a change.  The contestants get to choose inspirational songs as this week’s theme and I hope that I feel inspired at the end of this show to give back tomorrow when the real performances happen.  I am definitely looking forward to this week’s 2-hour episode considering the contestants this year as a whole are quite blah considering there is such a clear favorite. Since past Idol Give’s Back  episodes didn’t eliminate anyone, could this be the case this week as well?”

The scores are based on vocal ability, appearance, song choice, personality, stage presence and impact out of a possible 30 points! EPIC (29-30) GREAT (27-28) GOOD (25-26) OK (23-25) FAIL (22 and below)

Here are the guy’s grades in order of performance:

Casey James 27

“Don’t want people to say, I like that song, I like him!”  That’s the type of mentor we want, someone who speaks wisdom.  Casey has always been consistent and I don’t think going first is a negative thing.  He’s in his comfort zone, guitar and microphone in the middle of the stage, nothing new.  Casey’s voice is on point as usual.  Its good, but all of the same thing really, nothing uber-spectacular but on par with the best of what you can expect from this season’s crop of singers!  Was I inspired?  Not really, but he’s been doing well so far.

Elimination: So-so (It was good but wasn’t great)

Lee Dewyze 29

Just on face value Lee could make an album tonight, but let’s see if the confidence and personality can come out tonight.  I really think that’s what can make the difference in his career and this song can prove it.  Outcome?  I think he did really good!  And for some reason the vulnerability in his voice and his eyes worked perfectly for this song.  In a way his shyness and lack of confidence actually translated well for the song.  Was I inspired?  Yes!  I believe he was that poor boxer..

Elimination: Very Safe (He’s in this for the long run)

Tim Urban 26

Mr Smiles and confidence! At this point does it really matter what he sings at this point.  It boils down to when his fans stop voting for him.  He started the song as if he was rushing but he eventually got into a bit more and I get how Alicia did think this song could be something he could record for himself, but I can’t deal with his pretty boy image.  Was I inspired?  Yes, he’s made it this far, he’s doing something right.

Elimination: So-So (Not the best feedback from the judges, but does that matter?)

Aaron Kelly 28

Interesting song choice and Alicia is basically saying that he can go either way with this.  Once again an interesting song choice that apparently he’s been singing forever.  Wow!  The arrangement wasn’t the best but I think this was his best performance in my opinion.  His vocals were on tonight.  Was I Inspired?  I think the song made me inspired to like him, if that makes sense.

Elimination: So-So (If Tim is sharing the teen vote with Aaron who’s going to win this week?)

Siobhan Magnus 28

This song has inspiration all over it and I hope she hits that money spot Alicia’s talking about.  I have always like what Siobhan can do with her voice but sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.  Okay I was put off when she seemed like she was spitting into the microphone in the beginning but then it stopped and she did what made her standout among the competition.  I got semi goose-bumps and she made it work for me.  Was I Inspired?  Of course I was.

Elimination: So-So (Judges apparently didn’t hear what I did!)

Michael Lynche 28

Bring people on that ride Michael!  I thought it was crazy he was on his way out a few weeks ago but the judges save really put one of the better voices back in the mix.  Since this song is on his bucket list, I hope he nails it.  He made it his own and he made it work.  Was I Inspired? Yes.

Elimination: So-so (Another one I thought was go but the judges didn’t.  Hmmm?)

Crystal Bowersox 30

Alicia, Crystal is not just your favorite, she’s America’s favorite too!  This will be a first with no instrument but it really doesn’t matter at this point.  Pimp spot, best singer in competition and the one to beat!  And being last just proves she’s in her own league.  She has such a presence on the stage and I got choked up when she did.  Wow, powerful performance.  Was I Inspired? Yes to keep watching the show even though it’s obvious she is going to win.

Elimination: Very Safe (No question at all!)

My top 7:

  1. Crystal Bowersox
  2. Lee Dewyze
  3. Siobhan Magnus
  4. Aaron Kelly
  5. Michael Lynche
  6. Casey James
  7. Tim Urban

Final Thoughts: I’m back! So I said I was inspired earlier in the show but if I had watched Crystal first, nobody would have really compared.  She sings with so much passion that I believe her emotionally and that’s something that the other contestants lack.  Now anyone other than Crystal and Lee can be in the bottom 3 but most likely going home is Tim, for bias and obvious reasons that the judges didn’t like it.  But Casey’s place in the competition will be tested for his safe and somewhat forgettable performance that also got negative reviews.  Michael has been eliminated before so this may be his time and of course Siobhan and Aaron whom I thought did well, the judges didn’t like so there are a few things to consider, of which doesn’t matter if nobody gets eliminated tonight.

Result:  Casey, Aaron and Tim were in the bottom 3 and Tim was sent home.  America got it right!

Idol Gives Back Show:  I thought this years show was an overall dud.  Most of the celebrities were on the show for their own causes and the comedic numbers mainly Wanda Sykes, George Lopez, Jonah Hill and Russell Brand were not funny at all and unnecessary considering this is a singing show.  The performances were okay but would have been better had they all benefited Idol Gives Back (Minus Carrie who said 36 cents would go to charity) and i don’t know how i feel about the producers use of footage from Africa to force me to give money for the cause.  Granted I probably will support the cause but it was so desperate how they did it.  It is nice to know where the money from previous Idol Give’s Back episodes is going to but i wish there was an actual site or document that states where all the money went because as much as they made an effort to show where our money went, it still doesn’t add up to the $70million + from the last Idol Gives Back.

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Weekend Update April 9-11

April 7, 2010

“After posting the second biggest April debut ever behind Fast and Furious, Clash of The Titans is the sure bet for this weekends number 1 for a second straight week despite an expected huge drop.  Tyler Perry and How To Train Your Dragon should also hold well while the only major newcomer this week is the comedy Date Night, which should bring in the SNL crowd to theaters.  The film stars Tina Fey and Steve Carell.  It will definitely open in the top 3 and should bring people back to the 2d theaters.”

Date Night

Watch It

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American Idol Top 9

April 6, 2010

“Tonight’s theme is the Lennon/McCartney song book.  Hopefully the contestants can tackle these big hits and not mess it up.  This is one of those nights where you want them to make it their own yet stay close to the essence of the songs because they are already legendary songs. And instead of a mentor, the contestants talk about each other.  Lame! Tonight was actually pretty good as a whole and there were some interesting instrumental additions”

The scores are based on vocal ability, appearance, song choice, personality, stage presence and impact out of a possible 30 points! EPIC (29-30) GREAT (27-28) GOOD (25-26) OK (23-25) FAIL (22 and below)

Here are the guy’s grades in order of performance:

Aaron Kelly 26

After singing last, last week, this week he is singing first.  On the video, they talk about how they consider Aaron “Yoda” from Star Wars?  Really?  Hopefully his singing is far from.  Interesting his fun personality off-stage is absent on stage tonight.  He was kind of blah and predictable.  His song choice was so Country and it fits his voice very well.  A little pitch problems here and there but it’s the same old song we have seen every week and nothing new.  He knows what artist he wants to be and for the most part he does an ok job, but nothing spectacular and being first doesn’t help.  This will test is Tween and Grandma vote?

Elimination: So-so (After a lackluster performance, will his fans still vote.)

Katie Stevens 28

Now Katie on the other hand is a girl who doesn’t really know who she wants to be.  Wait, she does the Beyonce dance, from this era, yet she sings like she’s in another era? Let it Be is her song choice. This doesn’t sound promising.  Pleasantly surprised! She didn’t do too much with the song but what she did do was sing the song well.  I think this was her best performance!  Sometimes you just need to pick the right song and sing it well.  Not a difficult song to sing but a good performance.  Also, I think Kara needs to stop singing, her little vocal examples..no thanks!

Elimination: So-so (She’s been in the bottom 3 two weeks in a row, why would that change?)

Andrew Garcia 26

After coming back to the game last week, will he continue on a climb or will he settle back into his settled ways.  First, contestant comments! Yeah, we got that he has a great personality but it sometimes disappears on stage.  It’s a pity, I used to be a fan, because watching him tonight makes me wonder why I was such a big fan of his earlier in the season.  The performance was okay but there was something missing.  His eyes always look like he’s tired or high, I don’t know. It was okay I suppose and the arrangement wasn’t very good.

Elimination: So-so (Huge fan club, not the best vocal = uncertainty)

Michael Lynche 28

Okay, I am over these comments.  They almost seem like they are fishing for something fun to say.  Will they really say that someone sucks on national TV and forgo some votes for the truth?  Of course not!  Michael, however, seems like a great guy, so Mr Hulk, Teddy Bear, etc, will you continue your amazing run for the title?  Uh oh, singing a David Cook classic?  Interestingly changes it up and he sounds great.  A completely different contrast to David’s version and it worked for his RnB style. Dramatic and amazing!!  I think Simon was wrong on this one tonight.

Elimination: Very Safe (Still better than everyone else who has gone before him tonight!)

Crystal Bowersox 29

And she is sick today?  Uh oh.  Mamasox?  Okay comments are just sounding the same at this point.  This week she has a different method of choosing songs, will it work for her? Of course it does.  She is Crystal Bowersox, the super front-runner of this show.  I don’t think she can make any mistakes.  She isn’t even competing anymore; she is just performing and doing what she does best.

Elimination: Very Safe (Until the top 3, I don’t think she can do no wrong!)

Tim Urban 27

I feel like tuning out everything being said because besides that smile, is there really anything else they can say about him?  Of course not!  Brighten my day by going home please.  Okay, let’s see what he does tonight with the song he can Smile to apparently.  His hair matches this era so well.  Weirdly sounds pretty good tonight.  His second best performance behind Hallelujah which is saying a lot but not saying a lot as well!   (OMG Ellen said the exact thing I said)

Elimination: Bottom 3 (Why not, he has been second to last for the last few weeks. One good performance, I hope doesn’t mean he will stick around!)

Casey James 30

So Casey is the Playboy of the group and has a crazy laugh.  Okay? Thank God this is a singing competition because he has a much better voice worth talking about.  He went for a slow song and showcased his amazing vocals in a stripped down approach and it worked well.  In the end, he gave another great performance and showed another side to himself especially in the second part of the song which really portrayed his vocal abilities.

Elimination: Super-safe (He has nothing to worry about for another few weeks)

Siobhan Magnus 27

Last week she proved she had a big fan-club as her poor performance still saved her from bottom 3 status! Question is, will she jump right back from it or will she continue on a free fall?  Okay weird and interesting.  Another obvious profile of something we already knew.  Another stripped down performance, but this time her vocals seem off, especially in the first part of the song.  She did come back though in parts, but overall I don’t know if I loved it or not.  But that last bit that almost brought her too tears, almost brought me too tears.

Elimination: So-so (That last bit might have just won her some votes, but like I said, she has a fan club and they will probably vote anyway.  This one’s tough?)

Lee Dewyze 27

Lee nailed it last week and he’s closing.  How could this not have worked out any better for him.  Resident worry-wart?  Sounds about right!  Even though he doesn’t say it on stage, we can see it.  OMG, Danny Gokey babies hit it right on the head! It’s funny.  I love his voice and he actually showed a lot more confidence tonight but that bag piped was just un-necessary and the fact that Lee wanted it on was quite funny.  The song itself is the perfect show-ender and he performed it pretty well, but vocally it wasn’t his best, but that really doesn’t matter at all.

Elimination: Very Safe (More Lee for another few weeks)

My top 9:

  1. Casey James
  2. Crystal Bowersox
  3. Katie Stevens
  4. Michael Lynche
  5. Lee Dewyze
  6. Siobhan Magnus
  7. Tim Urban
  8. Andrew Garcia
  9. Aaron Kelly

Final Thoughts: It gets tougher to score each week the more you get to hear and know the contestants.  The singing was good tonight and I definitely think there will be more surprises in the bottom 3 like Andrew and Aaron, although Andrew has been lucky for the last few weeks so it’s not so much a surprise but catching up.  Aaron unfortunately, wasn’t bad but was the weakest of the night and Katie may have saved herself.  I do think Tim, Katie or Siobhan are still in danger, but Aaron being the first of the night and the weakest may be eliminated

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How To Train Your Dragon (3D)

March 31, 2010

“Animated 3d has arrived”

Final Thoughts:

The film is loosely based on the 2003 book of the same name with some changes.  It centers around a young boy, Hiccup who wants to be like all of his fellow Vikings, but always ends up causing trouble instead.  His goal in life is to kill the legendary Night Fury Dragon to prove himself to his tribe.  What ends up happening instead is that he becomes friends with the Dragon, Toothless, and teaches his tribe how to train the Dragons to work with them and for them rather than to fight them.  Or at leas thats the jist of the story without giving to away too much.

This film can be enjoyed by the entire family and the 3d is definitely used to enhance the film unlike the 2007 film Beowulf with a similar theme.  I will say that the relationship of Hiccup and Toothless is like Lilo & Stitch and even E.T. and some of the flying sequences reminded me of Avatar.   But what this film was able to do is make Dragons cute and cuddly.  I wanted to own my own Toothless after this film and take him home.  So Dragon’s can be man’s best friend after all.  The cast of voices included Gerard Butler, America Ferrera and Jonah Hill and worked perfectly for their characters, although the lead voice for Hiccup, Jay Baruchel sounded older than his character looked, but that was just a minor problem.

In the last few years, Pixar usually came out with an emotional and award-winning animated film,  but i believe Dreamworks may have just made that film.  I do expect Dragon to be nominated for best animated feature in next years Academy Awards and I also sense a sequel.

My grade: 94 (Watch It more than once)

Rotten Tomatoes: 97 (Fresh)

MetaCritic: 74  (Generally Favorable Reviews)

US Gross: 48.5m (Updated: March 31)

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American Idol Top 10

March 30, 2010

“So now we get some behind-the-scenes after the performances and a 2-hour show.  What does that mean?  More un-necessary footage and commentary from the judges to confuse the contestants and a lot more critique from this week’s mentor!  Although this weeks mentor is actually quite credible and made a lot of great performances happen. This was by far my favorite night for the entire season.  3 perfect scores and everyone was good despite a few missteps. ”

The scores are based on vocal ability, appearance, song choice, personality, stage presence and impact out of a possible 30 points! EPIC (29-30) GREAT (27-28) GOOD (25-26) OK (23-25) FAIL (22 and below)

Here are the guy’s grades in order of performance:

Siobhan Magnus 26

Her awkwardness is actually quite appealing.  Usher didn’t expect that voice like most of us when we first heard her.  Her fashion sense and her quirky personality make her unique and that vocal ability sets her apart.  Tonight, somehow her vocals and appearance were off.  Even that high-note didn’t work out and there was a lot of pitch problems.  Her weakest performance of the season so far and that last note seems like a signature high for her, but tonight it was too much.

Elimination: So-so (This is the first test of her popularity.  Not a good performance.  Has she been coasting or does she have a true following.  We will see!)

Casey James 29

He’s right.  What better theme than rnb/soul which is so close to his blues genre.  This should be his comfort zone.  Verdict?  He nails it vocally.  Everything works except his look.  Someone I almost wish he had a beard or a goatee because he looks like a pop-star with that big bluesy voice.  That aside I guess he is a commercial blues singer.  His best performance to date though and Simon was on point.  Don’t understand what Kara or Ellen were hearing because he showed a lot of range and performance ability.  What the hell is this show going to do without Simon?

Elimination: Very Safe (Start planning your next performance!!)

Michael Lynche 30

Connecting with the audience, I am pretty sure he has no problem doing that.  I was worried because the first time he had a guitar on him in the very first episode, he was kind of corny and didn’t connect emotionally, so I was legitimately worried.  However, this was night and day and an amazing acoustic rendition of the song and if the judges were looking for a moment, he had one!  Outstanding vocals and even if it was a gloomy song he sold it.

Elimination: Very Safe (He’ll be around till the end if he continues on this route)

Didi Benami 25

She had an emotional connection to the song and a moment that caused her to cry in front of Usher.  Will she translate that on stage?  No.  The arrangement and the key changes unfortunately didn’t work!  I thought it was theatrical, dramatic and overdone for no reason.  Was she trying to create the emotion through dramatization?  She tried to show some range, but it was a little too forced and a little too much.  I wish she translated her emotions into a much more simple arrangement that let her vocals speak for her emotions.

Elimination: Bottom 3 (Not good.  This could be her downfall)

Tim Urban 26

Why is he still here?  The abs?  The hair?  And the way he sung that song to Usher was right on point on Usher’s part.  I didn’t believe it either.  Will he connect to the audience?  No. His eyes just looked so vacant on stage.  He looked like he was trying to make sure he got the vocals out and although they sounded good, it was just boring and plain.  The whole performance was so old-fashioned and cruisy!! Last week he was singing to his target market and this week he was trying to reach a new crowd and it didn’t work.  Unfortunately for me, he has a huge fan club and that may keep him around, although I am hoping for a different result.

Elimination: Bottom 3 (He was there last week and this performance didn’t really gain him any points)

Andrew Garcia 28

Is he back?  A great acoustic rendition of the song and more in line with Andrew’s type of music, but am I digging it because I like the song or is it because he’s done so poorly the last few weeks that its refreshing to see him back on track.  Maybe a mix of both which I think is very smart on his part.  His fans may have rekindled the love for him too. The judges comments of course, were overwhelmingly positive but is it fair to glorify him for it?  I suppose being a former favorite for the title, its acceptable and worth the praise, but will it continue or is it a fluke?

Elimination: Safe (Should be safe considering the positive feedback but has the previous few weeks caught up to him?)

Katie Stevens 27

Kara’s pitch queen! Is she going to be pitchy or will she pull through.  Unfortunately, she was a tad pitchy.  I don’t get it because she actually has a good voice under there but something’s always off.  I think performance-wise and vocal ability she did pretty good but she went back to her old-fashioned ways when she could have continued the youth route and sang another contemporary song.  The judges are correct, Katie is going in the right direction vocally, but wrong era.  Enough said.

Elimination: So-so (She was in the bottom last week, did she do enough to get out of the bottom 3 or will she find herself there again?)

Lee Dewyze 30

Unlike Tim, I actually love Lee’s voice and his overall appeal and this genre suits him perfectly.  I don’t see how he will mess this up even if there is a lot of bias on my part.  Will he live up to Usher’s praises?  Yes Yes Yes!! He was on fire tonight.  It was just him on stage with his guitar doing what Lee does… wow!!!  Lee’s performance was upbeat and I agree with Simon completely, if he knew how good he was and his confidence showed it, he would sail to another level, but that’s something I hope he hones soon to perfect his performance ability.  But from an emotional standpoint he edged Michael’s performance by a smidgen.

Elimination: Very Safe (He should plan his coronation song at this point!)

Crystal Bowersox 30

She says there is a surprise this week?  Heels and the piano!! What instrument doesn’t she play.  And then she steps away from the piano and sings front and center.  I got goosebump’s when she hit those high notes.  This was a different direction for her but still her.  But I do agree with Simon that she is the only person who truly knows who she is.  Props for doing something different and not look awkward, but enhancing her performance abilities.

Elimination: Very Safe (Plan something else.  I’ll buy anything you do. Wait, figure out your finale song as well)

Aaron Kelly 27

Nasal country king Aaron made a fan out of Usher.  I actually didn’t like that nasal quality when i first heard him in the beginning of the season but grew to accept this as his signature vocal ability.  Now that line that Usher was looking for him to nail, the “I Know, I know..” didn’t have the impact that I thought Usher was looking for, or even i was expecting.  Overall the song was good and the judges “liked” it which isn’t the best critique but I don’t think he has anything to worry about tonight.

Elimination: Safe (He hasn’t had any trouble thus far and shouldn’t face any this week)

My top 10:

  1. Lee Dewyze
  2. Michael Lynche
  3. Crystal Bowersox
  4. Casey James
  5. Andrew Garcia
  6. Aaron Kelly
  7. Katie Stevens
  8. Siobhan Magnus
  9. Tim Urban
  10. Didi Benami

Final Thoughts: Lee, Michael and Crystal were on a different level tonight.  However both Casey and Andrew were not too far from that bar.  Siobhan had an off-night which will definitely test her appeal to the audience whether it puts her in the bottom 3 or whether she will sail through on that appeal.  Katie, Tim and Didi are the strongest possibilities for the bottom 3 with Didi going home!

Result: Didi is eliminated! No surprise there.  She was weak last night and she struggle in the last few weeks to find herself.  Tim was a close second once again.  He is the Sanjaya this season, although for his defense he does have the teen vote.

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Erykah Badu – Window Seat

March 29, 2010

“If Lady Gaga has been known for controversial music videos, this one is a step up in a more political direction.  It’s a simple video as she walks the street stripping down to nothing.  But there is a lot of symbolism like its reference to the John F. Kennedy assassination, window seat as well as the “Group Think” speculations about the assassination.  Definitely something to think about and check out.”

Watch It

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