American Idol: gives back one contestant

They’ve done this before, right? On “Idol Gives Back” night, they say they are going to eliminate a contestant and then they say they can’t on a charity night, and eliminate two contestants the following week. But not last night. Last night after a heartwarming (and I’m sorry, most of the time, DRAGGING) 2.5 hour show, Ryan Seacrest announced that one of the contestants was going home…..in effect, they were “giving one contestant back,” right? At least that’s how I was looking at it.

Anyway, before we get to the results, here is a blazing fast summary of guest appearances and funny moments…

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American Idol: Do you see what I see?

Last night began the rounds of “American Idol” in which we as Americans have our turn to vote on the talent, and specifically which twelve contestants go home over the next three weeks, and which twelve make up the finalists. And what I saw last night was a case of the judges having done a bad job of delivering us talent. Because there weren’t many women who stood out from the twelve that performed on Tuesday, and yet the judges kept going on and on about how loaded this year’s crop is. Um, not really. At least not where the female contingent is concerned. Let’s recap what we saw, and let’s say that I agreed with almost everything Simon Cowell had to say….

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American Idol: was that necessary?

Last night’s episode of “American Idol” was kind of a waste of our time. They do the early auditions in seven cities and then throw in an eighth episode for fluff before Hollywood week begins. Anyway, what they did last night was show some more of the really good and really bad auditions that they did not show over the course of this past month. And while it really was not necessary, they aired it, so we’re gonna write about it.

They began by recapping Larry Platt’s “Pants on the Ground” phenomenon, with Ryan Seacrest tooting the show’s horn as usual and how they made the whole thing into a phenonmenon. Then it was on to the rest of the auditions, and here were some of the highligts and lowlights…..

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The logic of casting

Yesterday, Mike Fleming reported that Nick Cassavettes was in talks to direct the fourth, or possibly fifth — depending on how you reckon it — version of “A Star is Born,” a perpetually successful property that dates back to the 1930s.

You can complain about remakes all you want, but this is one story that really begs to be remade with every generation, as it’s always pretty much always relevant and only more topical with each new decade. In case you’ve never seen any version, it’s the story of a young actress and/or singer on the way up who becomes involved with a star very much on the way down, mostly because of substance abuse. Apparently the thinking is to once again make the on-the-go female a singer, as in the now iconic 1954 version starring Judy Garland and James Mason directed by George Cukor, and the commercially huge but critically dissed 1976 Barbara Streisand/Kris Kritofferson version directed by Frank Perry and, perhaps, an uncredited Streisand. Names like BeyoncĂ© and Alicia Keys are being mentioned for the female lead.

The two male stars Fleming mentions are interesting. I don’t need to say why Robert Downey, Jr. is either too on the nose or absolutely and utterly perfect for the role. Real-life parallels and method acting possibilities aside, he’s a intriguing choice also because of his own forays into singing. Could make for a dramatic duet or two.

The other name being floated according to Fleming is Jon Hamm of “Mad Men.” This would presumably take the film more in the direction of the 1954 version, which featured James Mason as the alcoholic movie star in love with Judy Garland’s singer. Hamm’s a terrific and versatile actor and I’m sure he’d be very good. I just hope, however, they’re not just mentioning his name because just he does a great impression of Mason.

This Mason, by the way, is mainly inspired by his “A Star is Born” character. In real life, it was Judy Garland who had the drinking and drug issues. As for Hamm, let’s hope we see his impressionistic skills again — and the writers can again figure out something funny for him to do with them — when he returns to SNL later this month.

  

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American Idol: more of the same

Fox’s “American Idol” returned last night for the start of its ninth season, and while they can rotate judges and air this show right after Simon Cowell announced he is leaving the show, they can’t change the fact that the talent or lack thereof ultimately drives this thing. Last night was no exception, as we had to endure the first of seven or eight episodes of those initial auditions, showing us the very polarizing best and worst of the lot.

The first auditions were in Boston, and along with Cowell, the other judges were the returning Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi, with Victoria Beckham, a.k.a. Posh Spice, as a guest judge. As we do each season at this time, we’ll try to briefly summarize by separating the best and the worst.

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