American Idol: lock them doors and turn the lights down low

Season 10 of “American Idol” is in the books. But before we get to the result, let’s talk about how bad the performances on the show were overall, in rapid-fire fashion….

The Top 13 performed Lady GaGa’s “Born This Way,” and we all expected GaGa to come out and join them, but she didn’t. Oh, but the performance was awful, and why do they make them wear all white like the Good Humor Man for these group numbers?

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American Idol: going home but not wanting to go home

Last night’s “American Idol” finalists performed three songs each, and suffice to say that the judges tried to be careful with their critiques–especially after Randy and J-Lo almost sent Haley home last week with some blistering comments after her first song. But then again, there were no dud performances last night, and only two that I saw that were a cut above. Here is how it went down….

First of all, Ryan Seacrest announced that next week the show will move to Tuesday and Wednesday. That’s the absolute dumbest thing I’ve ever heard, what with next week being the final week of the season. Seriously. And now they are going up against the finale of “The Biggest Loser.” Damn you, FOX. Anyway, last night they sang three songs–one of their own choice, one chosen by Jimmy Iovine, and a third by the judges. So here we go…..

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The Biggest Loser: breaking up alliances more

On NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” last night, yet another alliance was about to be broken up. More on that in a minute…but first, it was makeover week, and that prompted each of the six remaining contestants to hoot and holler like crazy, especially big Michael. They each had $1000 to spend on clothes and had a limo pick them up, with some dude from a show on Bravo called “Shear Genius” making them over. And he did a great job, actually.

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Sweet Beyoncé

Okay, so I’m not really a guy whose on top of all the latest pop music trends. So, I was a little surprised to see that the Beyoncé video below, “Get Me Bodied” (when did “body” become a verb?),  bears a very direct resemblance to one of my favorite sequences from one of my favorite movies by one of my favorite directors.

I’m not in the mood for a long-winded commentary, so I’ll simply present the video, which I gather was co-directed by Beyoncé and Anthony Mandler, and then the original scene and you can draw your own conclusions about this acknowledged homage.

And here’s the original.

If you want to read more, a lot more, about 1969’s “Sweet Charity” and director-choreographer Bob Fosse, you might want to take a look at my lengthy essay from the “Fossethon” I had at my personal blog back in ’07.

  

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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 Beyoncé 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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