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American Idol in Vegas

Another episode of “American Idol” in the books, and this time they took the show to Vegas for the initial auditions. Seriously now, are these preliminary auditions ever going to end? The producers are getting good at showing us a few really good contestants and more of the crappy ones, which is really what we all want to see at this point, right?

Only 11 contestants made it to Hollywood this time…the ones they showed were 18 year old Mecca, a cute little belly dancer chick who had a great voice; Heather, a young black woman who sang “Redneck Woman”….a bit out of character it seemed, but she had a good enough voice; and Taylor, the dude from Birmingham who has been prematurely gray since he was 15, but had a killer gospel/blues type voice ala Ray Charles.

It’s always amusing to see the gimmicks people will come up with to get on the show….the first dude, Alexis a.k.a. “Dylon” was a rasta wannabe and as it turns out, a vocal wannabe.

Ryan, the kid who started his audition by saying “F–k Yeah,” was obviously just trying to get on TV…he sang/screamed Silverstein’s “Smash Into Pieces.” The best part was Randy Jackson impersonating him after the audition.

There was also Anthony, this very large man who said that he and his girlfriend take in stray animals, and currently have 75 of them. It wouldnt’ surprise me if he had 75 animals in his belly during the audition either. Oh, and he sang terribly.

The Pearson twins looked cute enough but their rendition of a Cranberries song was bizarre, turning their audition into what amounted to a bad Doublemint commercial.

Another of the strangest auditions ever was this Russian kid who was wearing an American flag shirt and sang “God Bless the USA”…..maybe he was happy to be here, but he sure was indignant after failing his audition, saying the judges did not make eye contact with him and that’s why he did not make it to Hollywood. He also claimed to have perfect pitch, which the judges set him straight on. Uh dude, you just plain sucked. Welcome to America.

Finally, the one I thought was good that the judges did not, was Jason, who has a day job as “Pepe,” taking tourists on fake Italian boat tours at a Vegas hotel. Randy, Paula and Simon…I’m sorry, that dude had a good voice…you just couldn’t see past his Pepe persona.

All in all, a bit uneventful compared to some of the other stops on the American Idol freak tour…..but just as I say that, I’m afraid of what tomorrow in Austin holds. See you then….

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You want Jessica, but I wanted her first

Well kids, it looks like Jessisca Alba is the chick the guys want the most, according to an AskMen.com list of the 99 most wanted babes. Failing to make the list for the first time this year is Britney Spears. That’s not so surprising to me, considering I never found Spears to be the least bit attractive. That trailer trash quality always hit me smack in the face way before it did anyone else, I ‘spose. Alba, on the other hand, is certainly one fine mama I’d gladly take home to mom, if dear old mom wasn’t dead and I wasn’t married and…oh yeah, Jessica would actually even want me to take her home let alone give me the time of day. Ah well, a man can always dream.

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Can two unemployed former substance abusers save NBC?

“Friends” alumnus Matthew Perry will star in a new NBC show for “West Wing” creators Aaron Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme. The still-untitled program deals with the “behind-the-scenes antics of a late night television comedy skit-show,” and is billed as a sitcom, although each episode will run a full hour in length.

Despite Perry’s and Sorkin’s respective dalliances with various controlled substances (which, if anything, should help them both better relate to the frenetic SNL environment), this development may be just the shot in the arm the struggling peacock needs to help pull itself out of the ratings basement next year (‘cause it’s too late to save ‘em this year, Olympics or not).

Let’s see: A new series that will showcase Perry’s comedic skills, Sorkin’s crackling dialogue, and Saturday Night Live’s absurdist environment. A series from the man who brought us “Sports Night,” one of the best behind-the-scenes media sitcoms ever…airing on the network that brought us “Newsradio,” one of the other best behind-the-scenes media sitcoms ever.

Yep, I’m in.

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Oscar Breakdown: Meet the new kids

The Academy Award nominations were announced at the ungodly hour of 5:30 am PST, and the most remarkable thing about the selections is that, at last, it looks as thought the tide is turning from the old guard to the new one. Scores of actors and actresses, directors and composers received their first nods this year, and thank heaven for that. You can only shut out Paul Giamatti for so long before it becomes clear that the fix is in.

Here are the nominees:

Best Actor
Philip Seymour Hoffman: Capote
Terrence Howard: Hustle & Flow
Heath Ledger: Brokeback Mountain
Joaquin Phoenix: Walk the Line
David Strathairn: Good Night, and Good Luck

Comment: This is a great list, each one of them a worthy nominee. Tyler Durden is no doubt pumped that his boy Terrence Howard got the nod, and while I was blown away by Joaquin Phoenix’s performance in “Walk the Line,” I’m secretly hoping that either Hoffman or Strathairn get the Oscar. After seeing “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” Buffybot and I joked that for the ones that hadn’t already won an Oscar (Damon, Paltrow), the rest of the cast soon would (Blanchett, Law, Hoffman). Cate’s now in the club. Maybe the jolly fat guy from “Twister” isn’t far behind.

Best Actress
Judi Dench: Mrs. Henderson Presents
Felicity Huffman: Transamerica
Keira Knightley: Pride & Prejudice
Charlize Theron: North Country
Reese Witherspoon: Walk the Line

Comment: This is clearly a two-horse race between Huffman (who won the Golden Globe for Drama) and Witherspoon (who won the Golden Globe for Musical/Comedy). Theron’s nom, if nothing else, allows her to say that “Monster” was no one-shot fluke. Knightley and Dench are just filling holes. Truthfully, I would have given Naomi Watts a long look for her performance in “King Kong.” Seriously. She was amazing.

Best Supporting Actor
George Clooney: Syriana
Matt Dillon: Crash
Paul Giamatti: Cinderella Man
Jake Gyllenhaal: Brokeback Mountain
William Hurt: A History of Violence

Comment: Holy schnikes. Clooney, Dillon, Giamatti and Gyllenhaal all get their first nods, while Hurt continues to torture me with his presence in the movie industry. While everyone was livid over Giamatti’s omission last year for his work in “Sideways,” look for Clooney to be the sentimental favorite here. Plus, (SPOILER ALERT) the dude lost two fingernails via torture for the part.

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams: Junebug
Catherine Keener: Capote
Frances McDormand: North Country
Rachel Weisz: The Constant Gardener
Michele Williams: Brokeback Mountain

Comment: Had to admit, I needed to look up Amy Adams on IMDb to find out who she was. This looks like another two-horse race between Keener, a longtime indie darling, and Williams, whose performance in “Brokeback” was the textbook definition of smoldering rage. As for Weisz, we expect her to be late for the show, as she will be too busy telling the screaming fans how dumb they are.

Best Director
Ang Lee: Brokeback Mountain
Bennett Miller: Capote
Paul Haggis: Crash
George Clooney: Good Night, and Good Luck
Steven Spielberg: Munich

Comment: The one time where we can safely say that Spielberg doesn’t have a prayer. Haggis has been riding a wave of good will (except from Defamer’s Mark Lisanti, who has been a one-man “Crash” wrecking crew since the movie’s release), but the clear favorites here are Lee and Clooney. It would be a mighty impressive feat if Clooney won Oscars for performing in one movie and directing another. That has to be a first.

Best Picture
Brokeback Mountain
Capote
Crash
Good Night, and Good Luck
Munich

Comment: Again, Spielberg doesn’t have a prayer. Was “Match Point” not eligible? Everyone’s raving about that, and I could swear that it was released in time to be considered. At this point, this is “Brokeback Mountain”’s Oscar to lose.

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Wanted: Natasha Lyonne

Oh, Natasha, why hast thou fallen? Did you even notice she’s been gone? Well now Lyonne has an arrest warrant out for failing to appear in court. Apparently she threatened to sexually molest her neighbor’s dog amongst other charges. Wow. That’s really setting the bar high. If you’re gonna go, go big, I say! Lyonne was also treated for heroin addiction, psychiatric problems, and had also been living on the street. Now no one knows where she is once again. I always considered Natahsa to be a funky actress, and now she has proven that her personal life is way funkier. I can smell the funk from here.

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Our It girl gets 10 stitches

Whew. For a minute there I thought we were going to be deprived of Lindsay Lohan news for far too long, but as luck would have it she’s back with us again. This time Lindsay has returned to the hospital thanks to a shin-slicing incident. Seems she was stepping out of the shower with her teacup when she slipped and dropped the cup, a chunk of which found its way to tearing up her leg. My only question is who the hell drinks tea while showering? Or was she bathing? Or was she cleaning the soap scum from the tiles? Tea and showers don’t mix, kids, so let this be a serious lesson to you all.

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DVD shuffle: 01/31/06

Out on DVD this week:

1) Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride – RENT: When it comes to stop-motion animation, I’d much rather watch a Wallace & Gromit flick. Burton, however, is the next best and this film is a great reflection of that. Still, it’s no “Nightmare Before Christmas.”

2) In Her Shoes – RENT: A chick flick that guys will like? You bet. Director Curtis Hanson offers the perfect date movie with this female tale about sisterhood. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that Cameron Diaz flocks around in little more than a postage stamp the entire film.

3) Supercross: The Movie – PASS: This pointless extreme sports film about two brothers trying to break in to professional Supermoto is actually quite enjoyable, but you’d still find me hardpressed to recommend this to anyone.

Also out this week are Special Editions of “The Legend of Zorro,” “Gone With the Wind,” “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” and “Dune,” as well as season three releases of “Magnum P.I.,” “The A-Team,” and “Knight Rider.”

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Maybe this is just the comic geek in me…

…but I’m a little annoyed that the current word on the street is that “Justice League Unlimited” is apparently being cancelled after this season. The reported reason why…? Because there’s some sort of “turf war” of sorts over using characters when they’ve been licensed for other mediums…like, say, live-action feature films. (“Superman Returns,” “Wonder Woman,” another “Batman” movie…you see what I’m talking about.) And it goes for villains as well as heroes, because they were apparently barred from using the Joker in any further “JLU” episodes.

When exactly did this crap get so complicated? The “Superman” movies were coming out while “Superfriends” was on their air, and I didn’t hear anyone saying, “Well, you know, we’re gonna need to cut back on Supes appearing in every episode; how about you do another fill-in episode focusing on the Wonder Twins this week?” And what can it possibly hurt to have these characters appearing in feature films and on cartoons? Surely it’s just cross-promotion…!

Idiots.

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Tom Cruise continues the trend

Here’s hoping Tommy will finally be sucked into the talentless black hole that he’s managed to escape for so long now. Cruise has been nominated in the Worst Actor category in this year’s Razzies. He’s up against other notables such as Will Ferrell and Rob Schneider. It’s nice to know that the world has had enough Tom and that it’s ready to Just Say No to him. Hopefully his mutant offspring will have no interest whatsoever in making movies and will disown its parents, fleeing to Finland and live a quiet life. There’s no need for the Cruise “legacy” to go any farther than it has.

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People actually paid to see this?

Every time I think that hell has frozen over, in comes another fine mind-boggling addition to the freeze. Case in point, Big Momma 2 was the #1 hit at the box office this weekend. OK, now can anyone tell me why? And can anyone tell me why it even needed a sequel? Will there be a third one so we can get a glorious trilogy boxed set DVD later on? And will people sit around and talk of the trilogy like they do the Indiana Jones movies, or the first three Star Wars flicks? There’s no need for this kind of money wastage to be going on (a full $28 million even). Let’s make Martin Lawrence go broke for making this shit, whaddaya say?

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