Friday, November 28, 2008

Los Angeles Film Critics Association Predictions

A look at what could show up when the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA) gives out their awards in the early part of December.

Best Picture: Milk
Runner-Up: Rachel Getting Married

Best Director: Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight
Runner-Up: Gus Van Sant, Milk

Best Lead Actor: Sean Penn, Milk
Runner-Up: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

Best Lead Actress: Kate Winslet, The Reader and Revolutionary Road
Runner-Up: Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married

Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Runner-Up: James Franco, Milk and Pineapple Express

Best Supporting Actress: Rosemarie DeWitt, Rachel Getting Married
Runner-Up: Penélope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Best Screenplay: Dustin Lance Black, Milk
Runner-Up: Tom McCarthy, The Visitor

Best Production Design: Nathan Crowley, The Dark Knight
Runner-Up: Donald Graham Burt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Best Music: Alexandre Desplat, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Runner-Up: Thomas Newman, Revolutionary Road and WALL E

Best Cinematography: Claudio Miranda, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Runner-Up: Wally Pfister, The Dark Knight

Best Documentary: Man on Wire
Runner-Up: Trouble the Water

Best Animated Feature: WALL E
Runner-Up: Waltz With Bashir

Best Foreign Language Film: The Class, France
Runner-Up: Gomorrah, Italy

New Generation Award: Jenny Lumet, Rachel Getting Married
Runner-Up: Dev Patel, Slumdog Millionaire

Sunday, November 23, 2008

National Board of Review Predictions

A look at what show up when the National Board of Review gives out their awards in the early part of December.

Best Picture: Revolutionary Road

Top 10:
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Last Chance Harvey
Rachel Getting Married
Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Best Animated Film: WALL E
Best Documentary: Young @ Heart
Best Foreign Language Film: Waltz with Bashir

Best Director: Baz Luhrmann, Australia
Best Debut Director: Charlie Kaufman, Synecdoche, New York

Best Lead Actor: Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
Best Lead Actress: Meryl Streep, Doubt
Best Supporting Actor: Josh Brolin, Milk
Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis, Doubt
Best Breakthrough Male Performance: Dev Patel, Slumdog Millionaire
Best Breakthrough Female Performance: Rosemarie DeWitt, Rachel Getting Married
Best Ensemble: Revolutionary Road

Best Original Screenplay: Milk
Best Adapted Screenplay: Slumdog Millionaire

Top Foreign Language Films:
The Class
I've Loved You So Long
Under the Same Moon

Top Documentaries:
American Teen
Encounters at the End of the World
Man on Wire
Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired
Trouble the Water

Top 10 "Indies":
Frozen River
Happy Go Lucky
Slumdog Millionaire
Synecdoche, New York
The Visitor
Wendy and Lucy
The Wrestler

Freedom of Expression Award: Religilous, Stop-Loss and W.

Career Achievement Award: Dustin Hoffman

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Oscar Predictions

Haven't had a chance to restart this, so let's hit the ground running with my newly updated Oscar predictions!

Best Picture:
The Dark Knight
The Reader
Revolutionary Road
Slumdog Millionaire

I'm sold on Milk, The Dark Knight and Revolutionary Road. Even with its late release date, it feels like The Reader is baity enough to pimp its way to the top. And it looks like Slumdog Millionaire is going to be the crowdpleaser of the bunch.

Best Director:
Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight
Clint Eastwood, Gran Torino
Gus Van Sant, Milk
Stephen Daldry, The Reader
Sam Mendes, Revolutionary Road

I do think that it is still possible for the lineup to be five for five, but for now, I'll keep Danny Boyle out. There is always a "what the fuck?" nominee in Best Director and for now, I'll say their love of The Clint will be the fifth one. Arguments could be made for Steven Soderbergh, David Fincher and Mike Leigh for that spot as well.

Best Lead Actor:
Clint Eastwood, Gran Torino
Richard Jenkins, The Visitor
Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn, Milk
Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

I'd be surprised, right now, if Penn and Langella aren't in the final lineup. I think the critics are going to save Jenkins and the ones who don't will be pimping Rourke (although he may be his own worst enemy in the campaign). Going with The Clint for the last spot because Changeling was a dud, but they'll still find a way to give him some love.

Best Lead Actress:
Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky
Kristin Scott Thomas, I've Loved You So Long
Meryl Streep, Doubt
Kate Winslet, Revolutionary Road

Even if their films bomb, I feel safe predicting Streep and Winslet. Which leaves six women fighting for three spots. Three will be happy, three will not. Let's discount them first. Angelina Jolie had a strong shot of coming back with the combination of not being nodded in a while and failing to get in last year, but her film was met with such a muted response that even those reviews that say she will get in, say it because they expect to fall for the histrionics. Michelle Williams will probably miss because Wendy and Lucy looks to be very small and indie, but there might be some sympathy going in her direction. That leaves Hathaway, Hawkins, Melissa Leo and Scott Thomas. I decided to keep Leo out (and I've flipping her every other time) because Sony Pictures Classic is pimping her, Hathaway AND Scott Thomas. One's gotta give. I feel like they'll spend most of their time with Hathaway because it's their strongest shot at much more nominations and then give Scott Thomas the second most attention since she's a previous nominee. And since Ebert is pushing all by himself for Hawkins, that will give her the edge over Leo, who may have to rely on her previous co-stars for help (I'm looking at you Benicio, Sean and Naomi).

Best Supporting Actor:
Josh Brolin, Milk
Robert Downey Jr., Tropic Thunder
James Franco, Milk
Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road

So we all know Ledger's in, but after that, it's anyone's game. I'm going with the two men from Milk because I feel like it will be more of a acknowledgement to the actors for their work overall this year (Franco with Pineapple Express and Brolin with W and last year's Best Picture winner, No Country for Old Men). Same thing with Downey Jr., who seems to have a lot of supporters in his corner. That leaves one spot open and it will probably go to a relatively unknown to regular moviegoers. I'm leaning towards Shannon because of the film's overall potential to lead the nods, but I could see Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire), Bill Irwin (Rachel Getting Married) or David Kross (The Reader) in that spot. And I refuse to predict PSH.

Best Supporting Actress:
Kathy Bates, Revolutionary Road
Penélope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis, Doubt
Rosemarie DeWitt, Rachel Getting Married
Kate Winslet, The Reader

Winslet for the double nod? I think this one might be safer, but I think she will get both and end up winning this one. Bates is very respected within the Academy, not just the industry, so that seems safe too. Cruz got the reviews and the starlet status to get her in, while Davis and DeWitt will likely split the precursors.

The Charts:

Best Picture:
1. Milk (Gus Van Sant, Focus Features) [1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1]
2. The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan, Warner Bros.) [8, 8, 8, 8, 7, 7, 4, 4, 3]
3. Revolutionary Road (Sam Mendes, Paramount Vantage/Dreamworks) [3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 2, 2, 2]
4. The Reader (Stephen Daldry, The Weinstein Company) [N, 6, 6, 6, 9, 7, 6, 5]
5. Slumdog Millionaire (Danny Boyle, Fox Searchlight) [N, 16, 16, 13, 9, 6]
6. Rachel Getting Married (Jonathan Demme, Sony Pictures Classic) [9, 15, 16, 13, 9, 4, 3, 3, 4]
7. Doubt (John Patrick Shanley, Miramax) [6, 6, 7, 7, 8, 6, 6, 10, 7]
8. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (David Fincher, Paramount) [15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 10, 9, 7, 8]
9. Gran Torino (Clint Eastwood, Warner Bros.) [N, 16, 11, 9]
10. The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky, Fox Searchlight) [N, 14, 14, 14, 10, 12, 10]
11. Happy Go Lucky (Mike Leigh, Miramax) [14, 9, 9, 9, 12, 12, 12, 16, 14]
12. Australia (Baz Luhrmann, 20th Century Fox) [13, 10, 11, 10, 11, 11, 8, 8, 12]
13. The Visitor (Tom McCarthy, Overture Films) [16, 16, 15, 15, 18, 18, 20, 13, 15]
14. Frost/Nixon (Ron Howard, Universal) [4, 4, 2, 2, 2, 2, 5, 5, 11]
15. Wall E (Andrew Stanton, Pixar/Disney) [11, 12, 14, 16, 17, 17, 17, 15, 13]
16. Defiance (Ed Zwick, Paramount Vantage) [2, 2, 4, 4, 4, 8, 11, 17, 17]
17. Vicky Cristina Barcelona (Woody Alen, The Weinstein Company) [17, 17, 18, 19, 19, 19, 19, 19, 19]
18. Synecdoche, New York (Charlie Kauffman, Sony Pictures Classic) [N, 15, 14, 16]
19. W. (Oliver Stone, Lionsgate) [20, 20, 20, 19, 13, 13, 18, 20, 20]
20. Changeling (Clint Eastwood, Universal) [7, 7, 10, 11, 15, 15, 14, 18, 18]

Best Director:
1. Gus Van Sant, Milk [1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1]
2. Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight [4, 4, 5, 4, 4, 4, 2, 2, 2]
3. Sam Mendes, Revolutionary Road [5, 5, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3]
4. Stephen Daldry, The Reader [N, 9, 9, 7, 10, 9, 9, 7]
5. Clint Eastwood, Gran Torino [N, 12, 5, 5]
6. Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire [N, 16, 16, 10, 10, 9]
7. Steven Soderbergh, Che/The Argentine/Guerilla [14, 12, 12, 5, 10, 7, 5, 7, 8]
8. Jonathan Demme, Rachel Getting Married [12, 16, 19, 13, 6, 5, 4, 4, 4]
9. David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button [9, 14, 13, 12, 11, 9, 8, 6, 6]
10. Darren Aronofsky, The Wrestler [N, 16, 15, 11, 11, 11, 10]
11. Mike Leigh, Happy Go Lucky [10, 9, 8, 11, 13, 15, 16, 15, 14]
12. John Patrick Shanley, Doubt [11, 11, 14, 14, 14, 14, 14, 14, 12]
13. Baz Luhrmann, Australia [13, 10, 10, 10, 12, 12, 7, 8, 11]
14. Tom McCarthy, The Visitor [20, 20, 16, 18, 19, 19, 19, 13, 15]
15. Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon [2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 6, 12, 13]
16. Woody Allen, Vicky Cristina Barcelona [16, 13, 15, 15, 18, 18, 18, 16, 16]
17. Charlie Kauffman, Synecdoche, New York [N, 15, 18, 17]
18. Oliver Stone, W. [19, 19, 17, 19, 17, 17, 20, 20, 20]
19. Clint Eastwood, Changeling [3, 3, 4, 6, 9, 8, 13, 17, 18]
20. Ed Zwick, Defiance [6, 6, 7, 8, 8, 13, 17, 19, 19]

Best Lead Actor:
1. Sean Penn, Milk [1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1]
2. Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon [2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2]
3. Clint Eastwood, Gran Torino [N, 17, 17, 12, 3, 3]
4. Richard Jenkins, The Visitor [4, 4, 3, 4, 5, 5, 5, 5, 4]
5. Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler [N, 18, 18, 9, 8, 7, 6, 7, 5]
6. Leonardo DiCaprio, Revolutionary Road [6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 4, 6, 6]
7. Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button [13, 14, 12, 12, 12, 11, 8, 9, 7]
8. Josh Brolin, W. [12, 13, 14, 17, 16, 16, 9, 8, 8]
9. Benicio del Toro, Che/The Argentine/Guerilla [3, 3, 4, 3, 4, 4, 3, 4, 9]
10. Dustin Hoffman, Last Chance, Harvey [N, 16, 11, 11]
11. Michael Sheen, Frost/Nixon [N, 9, 8, 7, 10, 10]
12. Hugh Jackman, Australia [8, 8, 8, 8, 10, 10, 11, 15, 12]
13. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Synecdoche, New York [N, 18, 18, 15, 13, 13]
14. Will Smith, Seven Pounds [7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 9, 13, 16, 14]
15. Daniel Craig, Defiance [10, 10, 13, 15, 19, 19, 19, 19, 15]

Best Lead Actress:
1. Meryl Streep, Doubt [1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1]
2. Kate Winslet, Revolutionary Road [4, 4, 4, 3, 3, 3, 2, 2, 2]
3. Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married [5, 7, 7, 7, 4, 4, 4, 4, 3]
4. Kristen Scott-Thomas, I've Loved You So Long [N, 15, 12, 8, 6, 6, 6, 6, 4]
5. Sally Hawkins, Happy Go Lucky [3, 3, 3, 4, 5, 7, 7, 7, 7]
6. Melissa Leo, Frozen River [6, 5, 5, 5, 7, 5, 5, 5, 5]
7. Michelle Williams, Wendy and Lucy [N, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8]
8. Angelina Jolie, Changeling [2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 6]
9. Kate Beckinsale, Nothing But the Truth [7, 8, 8, 9, 10, 9, 9, 9, 9]
10. Nicole Kidman, Australia [8, 13, 10, 10, 12, 12, 11, 11, 10]
11. Cate Blanchett, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button [N, 16, 16, 13, 15, 16, 16, 12, 11]
12. Emma Thompson, Last Chance Harvey [N, 14, 12]
13. Meryl Streep, Mamma Mia [13, 17, 18, 18, 18, 17, 17, 15, 13]
14. Penélope Cruz, Elegy [12, 11, 11, 14, 19, 13, 12, 13, 14]
15. Sophie Okonedo, Skin [10, 10, 14, 15, 17, 19, 19, 20, 15]

Best Supporting Actor:
1. Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight [2, 2, 2, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1]
2. Josh Brolin, Milk [1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2]
3. Robert Downey Jr., Tropic Thunder [N, 10, 7, 5]
4. James Franco, Milk [N, 14, 8, 6, 5, 5, 3]
5. Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road [8, 8, 10, 5, 4, 3, 3, 3, 4]
6. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt [N, 8, 6, 6]
7. Dev Patel, Slumdog Millionaire [N, 8, 8]
8. Bill Irwin, Rachel Getting Married [N, 14, 15, 6, 5, 4, 4, 7]
9. David Kross, The Reader [N, 12]
10. Ralph Fiennes, The Reader [N, 9]
11. Emile Hirsch, Milk [11, 10, 11, 10, 10, 9, 9, 11, 11]
12. Alan Alda, Nothing But the Truth [15, 19, 19, 20, 20, 14, 6, 9, 10]
13. Demian Bichir, Che/The Argentine/Guerilla [18, 14, 13, 13, 14, 10, 7, 10, 13]
14. Aaron Eckhart, The Dark Knight [N, 11, 12, 14]
15. Jared Harris, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button [N, 15]
16. Jason Flemyng, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button [N, 13, 16]
17. Liev Schreiber, Defiance [5, 5, 5, 4, 5, 8, 14, 14, 17]
18. Jamie Bell, Defiance [10, 9, 9, 9, 13, 11, 13, 16, 18]
19. Javier Bardem, Vicky Cristina Barcelona [N, 11, 15, 17, 18, 19, 19, 19, 19]
20. John Malkovich, Changeling [6, 6, 6, 11, 7, 7, 12, 17, 20]

Best Supporting Actress:
1. Viola Davis, Doubt [3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 2, 2, 2, 1]
2. Penélope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona [2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 2]
3. Kate Winslet, The Reader [N, 8, 8, 8, 11, 8, 5, 4]
4. Kathy Bates, Revolutionary Road [1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 3]
5. Rosemarie DeWitt, Rachel Getting Married [N, 16, 16, 16, 15, 5, 4, 4, 5]
6. Debra Winger, Rachel Getting Married [13, 10, 10, 12, 12, 4, 5, 7, 6]
7. Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button [16, 13, 11, 11, 11, 13, 11, 10, 7]
8. Amy Adams, Doubt [12, 12, 12, 13, 13, 14, 10, 8, 10]
9. Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler [N, 10, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9]
10. Rebecca Hall, Vicky Cristina Barcelona [N, 7, 7, 7, 5, 7, 6, 6, 8]
11. Elsa Zylberstein, I've Loved You So Long [N, 14, 11]
12. Vera Farmiga, Nothing But the Truth [4, 4, 4, 4, 7, 8, 7, 11, 12]
13. Evan Rachel Wood, The Wrestler [N, 12, 13]
14. Alison Pill, Milk [N, 17]
15. Freida Pinto, Slumdog Millionaire [N, 16]
16. Elizabeth Banks, W. [N, 13, 16, 18]
17. Michelle Williams, Synecdoche, New York [N, 18, 18, 18, 19, 19, 15, 15]
18. Samantha Morton, Synecdoche, New York [N, 9, 9, 10, 12, 12, 13, 14]
19. Rosario Dawson, Seven Pounds [10, 15, 15, R, 16, 16, 14, 17, 19]
20. Emma Thompson, Brideshead Revisited [7, 8, 13, 17, 17, 17, 18, 20, 20]

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

American Idol: Top 4

Top 500 Songs of Rock & Roll resulted in the one of the most boring nights ever. Snooze.

David Cook "Hungry Like the Wolf" by Duran Duran and "Baba O'Reilly" by The Who
Both songs are good. However, no one should ever try to touch them. Cook was meh on the first and was decent on the second (nowhere close to being his best).

Syesha Mercado "Proud Mary" by Tina Turner and "A Change Is Gonna Come" by Sam Cooke
Syesha, you did not just compare your struggles on Idol with the struggles of a nation during the civil rights movement. You did, didn't you? Oh lord. There was too much hubris and histrionics in these two performances. Any other past diva would have made the most of "Proud Mary" (Danny Noriega included) but Syesha just sorta left it there (her dancing was the tops though). Her second performance was much better and if not for the over-the-top and manufactured "moment" for her (created by Paula's tears) then it would have been the overall best of the night.

Jason Castro "I Shot the Sheriff" by Bob Marley and "Mr. Tambourine Man" by Bob Dylan
This was a giant "fuck you" to AI, the producers, 19E and everyone else who has tried to sandbag Jason. Yeah, the first one was not a good idea, but the latter was much more impressive. Just like Sy's second one, this had potential to be the best of the night, but Jason forgot the lyrics and of course Randy was there to butcher him.

David Archuleta "Stand By Me" by Ben E. King and "Love Me Tender" by Elvis Presley
Oh, how I hated these two. The former, because Jason should have sung it and more importantly because the bongos were too loud and goddamn, he did the "Beautiful Girls" sample from Sean Kingston even. Gag me with a spoon. OH and you don't sing "Stand By Me" to yourself or your dog Archie. The second was a touch better, but really. He's 17 and he's singing a song that is not in his comfort zone or should not even be in his set list until he's met the right person.

1. No one
2. *tie Jason Castro "Mr. Tambourine Man" and Syesha Mercado "A Change Is a Gonna Come"
4. David Cook "Baba O'Reilly"
5. Syesha Mercado "Proud Mary"
6. David Cook "Hungry Like the Wolf"
7. Jason Castro "I Shot the Sheriff"
8. David Archuleta "Love Me Tender"
9. David Archuleta "Stand By Me"

Bottom Two:
Jason Castro vs Syesha Mercado. There could be a case made for either David leaving in top 4, since Tamyra, LaToya and Daughtry all left at #4 on odd numbered seasons, but I think the pattern will change this year. There is also potential for Cook to join Castro in the bottom two, to make sure that his fans will vote for Cook on finals night over Archie. But I think the combination of a terrible past two weeks (according to the judges) and the fact that the producers would probably want the black girl to stay one more week (there's never been a top 3 with a girl), I have to suspect that Syesha will barely make it over Castro. *sigh. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think Jason's weeks are numbered, which sucks because Syesha does not deserve top 3, especially over Jason, Brooke, Michael, hell even David Hernandez (yes, I'm still bitter).

Goodbye to...
Jason Castro.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

American Idol: Top 5

Basically, OMFG! What a trainwreck of a night. From the performances, the staging of the show to PAULA's FUCK UP, this was one helluva night. And on effing Neil Diamond week. Who knew?

Jason Castro "Forever in Blue Jeans" and "September Morn"
Jason would have been leaving tonight (one okay performance and then a snoozer), but Paula had to go and reveal the fucking script. Wow. I really hope the media picks up on it and that Idol will get hit big time. I love/hate the show, but everyone and their mother knows that they do things to get the results they want. They know exactly how much to bad mouth and when to play it safe with the comments.

David Cook "I'm Alive" and "All I Really Need is You"
I liked the second one more than the first, but his placement is interesting. Outside of Jordin last year (and that was due to having 2 top 6 weeks because of the double-elimination of Phil and Chris), every single contestant who sings second on top 5 night goes home. Now the producers probably don't realize this, so that's why they put him here. He's very safe and this trend will be stopped again.

Brooke White "I'm a Believer" and "I Am...I Said"
I thought Brooke was actually quite good tonight. Her first showed the nice hippie quality that she (and Castro) possess (in the vein of "Happy Together") while the second was a very classy showcase of her range. Very good work Brooke. Still one of my faves, a vast improvement from the last few weeks, but you're still kinda batshitcrazy.

David Archuleta "Sweet Caroline" and "America"
Oh lo, what a predictable mess. "America" was clearly pandering for votes (hey David, your name isn't KKKristy Lee Cook) and "Sweet Caroline" was not good. Like his worst ever I think. Phew.

Syesha Mercado "Hello Again" and "Thank the Lord for the Night Time"
So, Syesha really wants to win this shit (solid performances, not as great as last week though), but it might be too little too late. I think Simon's comments were either dumb, because the very few support that she does have will start calling/texting in, or genius, because Simon knew that and he wanted to clober either Jason, Brooke or Archie.

1. David Cook #2
2. Brooke White #2
3. Syesha Mercado #2
4. Jason Castro #1
5. Syesha Mercado #1
6. Brooke White #1
7. David Cook #1
8. Jason Castro #2
9. David Archuleta #2
10. David Archuleta #1

Bottom Three Predictions:
Since we are now down to five, I'm guessing they will no longer be doing bottom 3 and just bottom 2 (see last week).

Bottom Two:
Jason Castro vs David Archuleta. Oh yes. They need to save The Chosen One and they need to drum up support since his star is losing it's luster. Yes, they may want Cook to win, but they still want to pimp "The Battle of the Davids" in the finale. This will be a wake-up call to many of the lazy fans. Technically speaking, I think the comments the judges made will save Brooke and Syesha, rather than hurt them. The only thing that gives me hope that Jason is not going home is that the media will REALLY want blood for the brouhaha over Paula's comments and how the show is rigged, if that happens. Text votes seem to have saved Syesha just barely in the past (and I'm sure Jason too), so maybe it is Brooke's time to go (although she has the support of VoteForTheWorst). Argh. I'm so not confident with who to predict here. Maybe Archie will go? The only 100% safe one is Cook...but then again, he did go second on top 5 night. Well, I've been wrong the past few weeks, so I'll say the next to leave is...

Goodbye to...
Jason Castro.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

American Idol: Top 6

I do not like Andrew Lloyd Webber or his brand of theatre. So this was already not going to be a great night for me. Let's see what happens.

Syesha Mercado "One Rock & Roll Too Many" from Starlight Express
Never heard of this song and I had to look up where it was from, but oh lo, did Syesha bring it tonight. Like Simon said, I definitely felt the Michelle Pfeiffer in The Fabulous Baker Boys vibe. This was an extremely satisfying, sexy and memorable performance. Great way to start the show and a great performance.

Jason Castro "Memory" from Cats
In the Webber canon, this is what we classify as "THE Song" (™). It's that ONE song that almost anyone can identify as a song that can make you sound jaw-droppingly amazing or like hot buttered ass. If you've seen Dreamgirls, it's "And I'm Telling You," while "I Will Always Love You" is one in the music industry that everyone knows. Most of these songs are performed by female singers, so to watch Jason tackle it was...odd. He was really committed to the song and it showed. It was his weakest performance in a while and it might sink him.

Brooke White "You Must Love" from Evita
By far, Brooke's worst performance. Ugh, this makes me sad because she has been one of my favorites on the show, but she just showed that she was really out of her element and that the show is taking an emotional toll on her. Stopping and starting again is not going to do her any favors.

David Archuleta "Think of Me" from The Phantom of the Opera
It was fine, but I hear the chosen one missed a few lyrics. Seriously, the puppy needs help memorizing because he is not going to win if he keeps forgetting the lyrics. Not like the little girls will notice, but still. Make it appear like it matters. You would think StageDaddy would make sure he wouldn't mess up like that.

Carly Simthson Hennessy "Jesus Christ Superstar" from Jesus Christ Superstar
She was yelling the whole time. Plus, I just don't care for this song. She was in her zone, I'll give her that, but she didn't connect the song with the audience, in the way Syesha did. The best thing about her performance was the t-shirt (I want one!). P.S. She covered the tattoo again.

David Cook "Music of the Night" from The Phantom of the Opera
By far the best vocal performance of the night. He sold the whole thing, and it was amazing. Syesha may have been in her element in the Broadway world, but David was able to take Broadway into the pop world. Well done sir.

1. David Cook
2. Syesha Mercado (everyone else was not great)
3. Carly Smithson Hennessy
4. David Archuleta
5. Jason Castro
6. Brooke White

Bottom Three Predictions:
The Davids are safe this week (duh). I want to believe that Syesha saved her ass this week, although going first never helps. I'll say that Carly, Jason and Brooke all make the bottom. This time, Carly will be saved because one of the indie/singer-songwriters is going home. *sadface

Bottom Two:
Jason vs Brooke. My two favorites this year. Whoever leaves will make me sad. I know I said last week that you don't leave on your worst night, but I think Brooke's performance wasn't as harshly judged as Jason's, plus I think Castro is getting more text votes than White. Brooke hasn't had an amazing performance since, well, "Let It Be" and that was top 12 night. Jason's last great performance was two weeks ago with "Over the Rainbow." Plus, I'm powervoting for him tonight.

Goodbye to...
Brooke White.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

American Idol: Top 7

The fix is in ladies and gentlemen. After Michael Johns was "Daughtry'ed" last week, his fanbase will be backing David Cook. Plus there's more. Tonight's theme was MARIAH CAREY week. Which means that Randy is going to be effing insufferable with his whole "you know dawg, I laid that track down with Mariah." And good luck to the ladies, they're going to need it.

David Archuleta "When You Believe"
Well, this is the safest week to start The Chosen One at #1. He won't get voted off because of the Hannah Montana/High School Musical voting-block. It was a predictable choice and it was okay. It felt like he kept on hitting the glory notes and didn't do much else. Plus, the backup singers were just a tad bit overshadowing him.

Carly Smithson Hennessy "Without You"
Carly, Carly, Carly. First of all, the early spoilers leaked that she would be doing this because Simon told her to. That's some grade-A bullshit right there. I'm glad he didn't like it after telling her to do it. It was too shrill. I laughed when she kinda messed up the "I can't give anymore" line. We know Carly. Of course this was also the week she started to pander for votes, with both covering up her tattoo and being all sad that Michael Johns was gone. And the producers totally fed Mariah the line about "watching her and wanting to meet her." Like Mariah actually watches the show. She's got better things to do.

Syesha Mercado "Vanishing"
This performance made me want to find the original, because I bet Mariah sounds like buttah on this. Syesha was pretty good. It was not overtly baity in both performance and song, but she was placed in a very dangerous spot. This was probably her most controlled performance (give or take a few notes) but I have to wonder if Simon's right that it was maybe a bad thing to do a song that no one knew. But then again, she would have gotten flack for doing, say, "We Belong Together" or (heaven help us) "Visions of Love." You're screwed either way.

Brooke White "Hero"
This was one of Brooke's weaker performances. I kinda see what Simon meant when he said it was missing "the meat." It was certainly missing something. Perhaps the rushed feeling of the performance, or the fact that the camera wouldn't sit still on her face, I don't know. It was off. And I think she should have stuck with the guitar instead of the piano. P.S. She also looked REALLY PISSED at Simon when he gave his critique. Like "Imma cut you bitch" pissed.

KKKristy Lee Cook "Forever"
Ugh, this crafty, sneaky bitch. She took a song that no one knows and made it into a country song. This is the best she's been since "Faithfully" (and that was all the way back to the 80s theme in the semis). Paula's right. She is VERY smart about her song choices. One can only hope that next week's Andrew Lloyd Webber theme will sink her. Unless they broaden it to all Broadway showtunes and then lord help us when she picks something from Oklahoma.

David Cook "Always Be My Baby"
Remember how I said the fix is in? Second part: He gets probably the most recognizable song of the night and did a FANTASTIC job with it. On top of that, his whole family (including his older brother with cancer) was there, sitting behind the judges AND freakin' Teri Hatcher was sitting next to them. This just reaks of the producers wanting to push Cook into the finals and possibly overtaking The Chosen One. We'll see in the coming weeks if it works.

Jason Castro "I Don't Wanna Cry"
This was definitely a Jason Castro vibe, but I was not as impressed as Simon and Paula, but I wasn't trying to sink him like Randy (who clearly has turned on him, because the producers are over him). It was fine. Had he gone in the first half of the night instead of The Pimp Slot, I think he would have been kicked off. Thank God it was his turn for The Pimp Slot.

1. David Cook
2. Kristy Lee Cook (this is embarrassing that she's this high)
3. Syesha Mercado (ditto)
4. Jason Castro
5. Brooke White
6. David Archuleta
7. Carly Smithson Hennessy

Bottom Three Predictions:
The guys are all safe because, like they said at the top of the hour, they were not going to get compared to Mariah, but instead were going to be praised for taking a risk with whatever Mariah song they did. That leaves four ladies and only one of them was ballsy enough to completely change it up (because she's a crafty genius remember?) which means we're stuck with one more week of KKKristy. Carly and Brooke both felt VERY desperate in their performances. Like, they know the end is coming. And Syesha just got stuck in the middle with lazy comments. I think Brooke will be safe, because the producers will want to continue to put Carly in harm's way. Because this will be her third time and they really want to scare her fans. All both of them.

Bottom Two:
Carly vs Syesha. Carly leaving after that performance would be perfect, but as we all know in Idol-land, you never leave on your worst night. You always leave on the night you were either a) safe, b) lazy, c) boring or d) all of the above plus slapped into the middle of the show. Sorry Syesha. This time you actually didn't deserve it, but in the end, you were never here to win the game. You're here for the exposure, so you can become a real actress. Because that's what J.Hud wanted. *snarf

Goodbye to...
Syesha Mercado.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

American Idol: Top 8

Oh lawd. It's Idol Gives Back week on American Idol. Get the tissues, grab your credit card and start texting. Inspirational songs, which if last year was any indication, I probably won't remember most of it. Plus Kelly Clarkson isn't showing up tomorrow to upstage everyone.

Michael Johns "Dream On" by Aerosmith
Oh, this was a bit rough. I like the song, but I have to agree with the judges. Michael is no Aerosmith (and I'm not a huge fan of them) and I also agree that he's best when he is doing the soul thing rather than the rock thing. It was fine, but not impressive.

Syesha Mercado "I Believe" by Fantasia Burrito
Oy. My prediction was that Syesha was going to go all Whitney again and do "The Greatest Love of All" but instead she went for this Idol winning clunker. Look, I never was a big fan of Fantasia. I couldn't stand her theatrics when she was on the show, her showboating and the damn "yeah, yeah, yeahs" she always threw in there. That said, I put up with Fantasia for over 13 weeks and you Syesha Mercado are no Fantasia. Why even bother with this song? I think LaKisha did this last year too but LaKisha got lucky because Phil Stacey was still stinking up the joint.

Jason Castro "Over the Rainbow" by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
Full disclosure time. When I was debating what Jason could possibly do tonight, it hit me. He needed to do the hawaiian version of "Over the Rainbow/What A Wonderful World" that Israel Kamakawiwo'ole covered in the early 90s. Holy hell, I knew it would be so damn good, that when I accidentally stumbled onto his sister's Myspace account, I HAD to message her to let her pass the information along. That was over a week ago and I got no response. I nearly flipped my shit when I heard that he would do this. Basically, I cried. That's never happened before on Idol. Daaaaaaaaaamn.

KKKristy Lee Cook "Anyway" by Martina McBride
I never heard this song before, but I actually thought it was pretty nice. But lordy, KKKristy's vocals are like hot buttered ass. I can't stand this bitch anymore. Unfortunately, no matter what she came out with, I think she would be safe, because American seems to like her when she does inspirational shit ("God Bless the U.S.A." anyone?). Bah.

David Cook "Innocent" by Our Lady Peace
Wow. This is the first time in a long time I was completely underwhelmed by David Cook. I think the week's theme was just not a good fit with his style, so it came out looking and sounding fake. He's going to take a hit on this one. I liked the "give back" on the hand though. Nice touch.

Carly Smithson Hennessy "The Show Must Go On" by Queen
Oh boy, you know it's not God when I think Nicole Kidman was better than you. But yeah, Kidman's version of this from Moulin Rouge! was better because it was slower and not all over the place. I agree with Simon, Lucky Charms was sounding very angry during this performance, which was not in keeping with the theme. Carly! IDOL GIVES BACK! We're giving the moneys to help the starving kiddies. We're not trying to make it worse. Plus she still looks like trash. Dammit girl, get a stylist!

David Archuleta "Angels" by Robbie Williams
Bullshit Archie. You've been practicing this shit since you were 12. I saw the clip on youtube bitch! Argh. This was one of his better performances though, I have to give him that. But yeah, when you have been practicing it for the past few years (like he did with "Imagine") it's no surprise it would be good. Better than Robbie Williams' original? Hell no. Better than Jessica Simpson's god-awful cover? Hells to the yes.

Brooke White "You've Got A Friend" by Carole King
This was a very safe choice for Brooke, but it was a very classy performance. No tricks, no sitting on the stage barefoot, nothing. Very nice Brooke. Very nice. Not her best, but she is still one of the better female singers left. Hell, she's one of the best, period.

1. Jason Castro (by an effing country mile)
2. David Archuleta (this is the highest I've ever ranked him)
3. Brooke White (and after her, a huge drop)
4. Michael Johns
5. David Cook
6. Carly Smithson Hennessy
7. Syesha Mercado
8. KKKristy Lee Cook

Bottom Three Predictions:
This seems fairly easy. Syesha for being lazy and not having a GREAT song choice. Carly, because I have to think she has less fans that the country nit-wit. And for the surprise slot, I'll say one of the boys makes his first trip to the bottom 3. Is it too early for David Cook to come down here? Michael Johns is overdue a kick in the pants to make him wake up and stop being so obvious. I'll say, Syesha, Carly and Michael. But Michael will be safe.

Bottom Two:
Syesha vs Carly. Carly will be shaking in her boots. She will cry tears that will seem everlasting. And then, she'll be safe, because 19E is not done with her yet. They need to save her until she gets Tamyra'ed (™) and it's still too early. So long Syesha. I'm sure you're going to be pissed because next week Mariah is mentoring and you know for damn sure, Syesha was already having visions of, well, "Visions of Love" in her head.

Goodbye to...
Syesha Mercado.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

American Idol: Top 9

Tonight's American Idol was much better than last week. This is what happens when the theme is Dolly Parton songs. All songs originally performed by Dolly Parton...and one INFAMOUS cover.

Brooke White "Jolene"
In recent seasons, there are many "money" performances I wish and hope for. Sometimes they come true, like last year during British Invasion week. I said Blake Lewis would be amazing if he covered The Zombies' "Time of the Season." And boy did he. Sometimes they don't come true like in season four, when I desperately wanted Jessica Sierra to do The Pretender's "Brass in Pocket" (a performance I would gladly hand over money for, to this day). One of my wishes this year was for Brooke to get "Jolene" on Dolly Parton night. And she delivered. *woot

David Cook "Little Sparrow"
I have vaguely remember hearing this one before. Another solid outing from the better of the two Davids. And nice haircut. Even Paula wants to do him now. It felt very short though.

Ramiele Malubay "Do I Ever Cross Your Mind"
This was a boring performance. Ramiele is just out of her league here. To quote dear Rachel, "any other season, she wouldn't stick out because everyone else would be worse." But in a season so heavily ladened with former folks who had record deals and whatnot, Ramiele is the ONLY contestant left who has none of that baggage/experience. And it's starting to show.

Jason Castro "Travelin' Thru"
Yay! I love "Travelin' Thru" and Jason did the song justice. He felt very comfortable singing it and I thought it was adorable that Dolly started to play with his dreads in the video. Every time I hear this song, I always think of Felicity Huffman getting her groove on at the Oscars, jamming along with Dolly's stripped down performance (and her sweet song getting robbed by some pimps, but that's another story). Go Jason!!

Carly Smithson Hennessy "Here You Come Again"
Another atypical performance from Carly. Yawn. I'm over it. I can't wait until "The SHOCK Boot" in the next few weeks and everyone and their mother will squeal that she got "Tamyra'ed"(™). And yes, you better believe I laughed when Simon called her out on her fug clothes. About friggin' time. And she looked pissed when he said that.

David Archuleta "Smokey Mountain Memories"
Ah, The Chosen One (™). Like Carly, same ole, same ole. It is definitely one of his better performance but I think some of the others were better. Plus I don't know the song all that well. Next!

KKKristy Lee Cook "Coat of Many Colors"
Congratulations Shania Twain. You are no longer the worst artist to cover this song. KKKristy did her best but she once again proves she's not made out for this contest. Love the songs, love the dress and the jewelry, but everything else, meh. And of course her ass was sitting down barefoot. Damn you Fantasia for making us suffer the same shtick every season now.

Syesha Mercado "I Will Always Love You"
Here's the problem. Dolly's version is great. Whitney's version is great. But creating a hybrid of the two? Not great. It sounded very disjointed and it made Syesha come out looking pretty weak. Her voice was completely made for singing it like Dolly, but she just HAD to sing it like Whitney. Look, when it comes right down to it, every black diva on this show has been BEGGING for this song. Tamyra wanted it, Fantasia and J.Hud must have had catfights over it, Vonzell sure as hell wanted it and you better believe lazy LaKisha would have cut a bitch for it too. But Dolly kept resisting giving in. And it felt very anti-climactic. Syesha is the one that's going to go down in history as the first Idol contestant to get to sing IWALY? Really? Also, I love that Dolly called her songs her children, so it's hard to let them go. Except this one. She let someone else adopt that sucker and she is still getting child support checks.

Michael Johns "It's All Wrong, But It's All Right"
Hawt. That was his best performance and the best one of the night. *fans self

1. Michael Johns
2. Jason Castro
3. Brooke White
4. David Cook
5. Syesha Mercado
6. David Archuleta
7. Carly Smithson Hennessy
8. KKKristy Lee Cook
9. Ramiele Malubay

Bottom Three Predictions:
Ramiele is finally going to see the bottom three. Seriously, if she avoids it this week, that bitch is going to the final five. Let's say KKKristy joins her, since she sucks too. Another shocker this week? Yes, and I'm going to say it's Brooke who is brought down a few pegs by 19E. Of course, Brooke will be safe, because that will leave us with...

Bottom Two:
Ramiele vs KKKristy. It would be hilarious to see KKKristy to leave on what should have been her best night, but she'll get hers soon. Shame about Ramiele. The money performance I was waiting for her was Leona Lewis' "Bleeding Love" for that rumored iTunes Top 100 Songs Week.

Goodbye to...
Ramiele Malubay.

P.S. If the group number on the results show is fucking "Islands in the Stream" somebody owes Rachel a cookie. And if it's "9 to 5" somebody owes me a cookie.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

American Idol: Top 10

Tonight's American Idol was a weird one. I think I disagreed with the majority of what the judges said (no shock there) but the performances were also off.

Ramiele Malubay "Alone" by Heart
I think it's time 19E retired this one, because every time I hear it, I ALWAYS think of Carrie Underwood's version and this is coming from someone who did not care for her all that much. Ramiele's performance was fine, and yeah, I'll take into consideration that she was sick, but at the same time, she should have known better than to do a song that most Idol viewers know has been covered awesomely by already AND on top of that as Randy mentioned, Carly did it earlier this season also (although I think Ramiele's version was better).

Jason Castro "Fragile" by Sting
I love Jason and he's my favorite of the guys. So imagine my loathing when I heard he would be doing Sting. I detest the majority of Sting's "songs," but I was pleasantly surprised by what Jason did. I absolutely LOVED that he did the Spanish in there (and a quick listen on youtube tells me it wasn't it in the original). <3!

Syesha Mercado "If I Was Your Woman" by Stephanie Mills
I dig Syesha, although I do have some problems with her at times. Tonight's was one of them. She really went ALL OUT to prove that homegirl can sahng. Yes it was good, but I think she went a little overboard with it. I much preferred her last week when she went lower on "Yesterday."

Chikezie Ezie "If Only for One Night" by Luther Vandross
Ugh. I'm so over Chikezie. I did not like this performance, I hated the song and I don't think he's that good of a singer or a performer. I'm still a little bitter that David Hernandez isn't here. Boo. Nikki McKibbin was a stripper too and she got her ass all the way to #3.

Brooke White "Every Breath You Take" by The Police
Ahhh! More Sting! Actually, this is one that I like, so I was fine with Brooke tackling this. These judges are so damn picky though. A few weeks ago I believe they told either Brooke or someone else who did a song with an instrument that they should have brought in the band. Today, Brooke wisely incorporated that advice into her performance and then the judges bitched about it. Argh. Whatever. She was great.

Michael Johns "We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions" by Queen
The judges may have lost their shit over this one and yeah I thought it was good, but if they want to criticize anyone about being safe this week, it's Michael. The best he's been this entire season was on "Bohemian Rhapsody" so, OF COURSE he's going to do Queen the next time he was able to. Predictable? Yes. Good? Also yes, but again, very safe.

Carly Smithson Hennessy "Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Tyler
I do not like Carly. I don't care that she's from San Diego or that this is her second time around or that blah, blah, blah. She's meh. Boy, was I surprised tonight. I was a little pissed that she took the song that I thought Brooke should have sang, but she did the song justice (with the exception of that AWFUL money note at the end that she ruined). This was, by far, my favorite performance from her and as much as I hate to say it, this version put Jessica Sierra's version to shame.

David Archuleta "You're the Voice" by David Foster and Jeff Pescetto
This was some high-class bullshit. First of all, I agree with Simon. You know Archie had NEVER heard this song before in his life. Someone had to have been coaching him. The original version was from the 1980s by Aussie John Farnham (oh, did I think I would never hear from this guy again. Damn you Priyant!) so I'm not surprised that the other 2 judges haven't heard it either. It was such a ridiculous performance and song. Thumbs down Archie, but fear not. You are "The Chosen One" so nothing's going to stop you...yet.

KKKristy Lee Cook "God Bless the U.S.A." by Lee Greenwood
I. Totally. Called. This. Shit. When I found out that KKKristy was born in 1984, I thought of 2 songs. "Time After Time" and this clunker. It was such an obvious choice for her, since the only thing the judges have liked from her so far is "Amazing Grace" which was her audition song. Yeah, I liked the song when I was younger, but now I don't really care for it, especially when it's coming out of someone's mouth when they can't sing. This was decent for KKKristy, but decent for her is terrible for the others. Her best, so far, has been "Faithfully" so the Simon's wrong here.

David Cook "Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson (Chris Cornell version)
Wow. That was pretty friggin' awesome. He still sounds very Daughtry-esque, but that's not a big deal. David has been VERY consistent and I do think that he might have what it takes to steal the win from Archie (although, no one wants to kick the puppy). We shall see.

1. David Cook
2. Brooke White
3. Carly Smithson Hennessy (would have been #1 if not for the butchering of the money note)
4. Jason Castro
5. Syesha Mercado
6. Michael Johns
7. Ramiele Malubay
8. David Archuelta
9. KKKristy Lee Cook
10. Chikezie Ezie

Bottom Three Predictions:
I think Chikezie and Ramiele will visit the bottom three for the first time this season. And I think one of my favorites will join them, so I'll say Jason joins them.

Bottom Two:
I think Jason will be safe but this will be the kick in the pants his fans need to call in for him. That leaves Chikezie and Ramiele. Both are young, which means they should be getting a lot of text message support. Both also went pretty early. Which one is more expendable to 19E right now?

Goodbye to...
Ramiele Malubay.