Wednesday, February 28, 2007

'American Idol 6' - 10 Gals to Stage

American Idol I don't know. Perhaps the remaining 18 singers should pack their bags and let Lakisha Jones and Melinda Doolittle battle it out for the next few months.

The guys stepped up their game, the girls seemed to maintain. But I think the girls still have the edge.

I think I actually liked the songs last night better than the ones this evening. Don't holler at me, but I'm not a huge fan of Whitney Houston, Celine Dion or Beyonce. And, it seems that the girls tend towards songs by those singers. I think the artists are all talented, but when a song isn't my cup of tea when done by voices such as theirs, no American Idol contestant will blow me away with it.

AI: GinaGina Glocksen was up first, all prettied-up, huge tattoos on her arms covered with make-up, and wearing a gown. Are we sure it was really her? She sang Heart's "Alone." I thought she did well enough to probably stay this week, but she's so out of the league of the top female singers. The judges were mostly favorable. Randy thought it was a good song choice. Paula thought it was "excellent." Simon said it seemed forced at the end and wondered if she was losing her "edginess."

Alaina Alexander sang "Not Ready to Make Nice" by the Dixie Chicks. It did absolutely nothing for me. I thought it wasn't the best of song choices even if it's a dedication week. I'd go for something more memorable, more powerful. Well, I would if I could sing, that is. Randy thought she started out well, but then became pitchy and all over the place. Paula said it wasn't as bad as what Randy said and that she was adorable and beautiful. (Gag me now, please.) Simon said she ran out of steam halfway through the song.

Then it was home run hitter Lakisha Jones up to bat. And, she knocked it out of the park once again. She sang "Midnight Train to Georgia" by Gladys Knight and the Pips (can't ever forget the Pips!). I don't think her performance was as exciting last week, but this is a song I enjoy and I think she may have even had the edge on Gladys. Woo-woo! I think she's going to live in our world for a long time. The judges thought she was great although Simon didn't care for her outfit. Well, neither did I. But she could wear anything with that voice.

AI: MelindaMelinda Doolittle was the star of the night for me with Mitzi Greene's "My Funny Valentine." Wow. I think I'm awestruck. She seems like such a great person with this unbelievable voice...! Randy yo-yo'd and said she came to win it. Paula thought it was outstanding and the best ever throughout the competition. Simon called it incredible and said that she's a breath of fresh air. Perfect, flawless performance. Gosh, I like this girl!

Oh, I should stop writing now. The two top contenders are done. What? I have to go on? But, is there a point? Oh. Okay.

AI: AntonellaAntonella Barba sang next, for what it's worth. She sang Celine Dion's "Because You Loved Me." I didn't care for it, but I'm not too keen on the song in the first place. This time it was Randy commenting on how gorgeous she is instead of Paula. Paula thought she did better than last week while Simon thought she did worse. I live in New Jersey and by territorial thinking I should cheer her on. No way. If she squeaks through the cut tomorrow, it will be because of the Internet photos and her looks.

Jordin Sparks sang Christina Aguilera's "Reflection." Now, I don't think she's ready for a win and she sure does tower over Ryan Seacrest, but she did very well. I think she's head and shoulders over a few of the others (not just Ryan) at the tender age of seventeen. She's not my favorite, but I want to see her go further than Antonella. I think she's more talented. The judges were favorable, but I didn't see any wow factor in their comments.

Stephanie Edwards is another superb entry for the girls this season. She sang "Dangerously in Love" by Beyonce. I was impressed. If not for Lakisha and Melinda being in the ranks, I think Stephanie could stand a chance to win it all. Randy thought she "sang her face off" but copied Beyonce a bit too much. Paula thought it was fantastic and brilliant. Simon agreed with Paula and added in terrific.

Next was Leslie Hunt singing "Feelin' Good" - the same song A.J. Tabaldo sang last night. I liked A.J. singing it better. Simon nailed it saying her performance wouldn't be remembered. I've watched Lost since the show aired. I can't really recall it. I just know my notes say I liked A.J.'s a lot more.

Haley Scarnato tried Whitney Houston's "Queen of the Night." So not my favorite song, nor did I think she did all that well with it putting aside my feelings about the song. She jumped around and tried to create excitement around her performance, but I don't think she made the grade. Paula thought she did better this week. Randy mentioned the song was more backgrounds than lead vocals causing Simon to snark "that's why she chose it." He also called her one of two or three "droppable" girls. He's right.

Sabrina Sloan sang another Whitney Houston song (remember, I don't care for Whitney Houston songs - don't throw stuff at me), "He Fills Me Up." I thought she sang it well even in view of my own quirks. Randy thought it was very nice. Paula loves her. Simon said it was very good but "don't confuse power with shouting." A good point indeed.

So, there were the girls. I think the go home choices fall between Antonella Barba, Haley Scarnato, and Leslie Hunt. What say you?

TV Newsy Bits - Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Jackie's TV Newsy Bits Tonight I'm hoping that Lakisha Jones will make her own TV Newsy Bits on American Idol. After last week's tremendous performance, I'm eagerly anticipating how she's going to step up even more. If I were a wagering woman, I'd wager she's going to win it all.

Here are the TV Newsy Bits I found out there today as I peeked around the 'net:
  • Reality News Online (RNO) has posted an interview with Kevin and Drew, recently eliminated on The Amazing Race 11: All Stars. Now, if I were tot title such an article, I'd call it "When Good Frat Boys Go Bad." I was so disappointed in them this time around after loving them in their own season. I just don't think Drew's heart or health was in it this time. He probably shouldn't have gone on the show.
  • Despite Antonella Barba's revealing Internet photos being revealed to the world, she seems to still be on American Idol 6 according to Celebrity Spider. Heck, is Frenchie Davis too old to try again? She had more talent and a lot less scandal.
  • Celebrity Spider also has the skinny on next week's Heroes episode. Hey, don't blame me if Simone comes back. Stephen King once said sometimes they return. Me? I'm just a paper salesman.
  • Buddy TV has the goods (as opposed to the skinny) on a press conference with The Black Donnellys stars Olivia Wilde and Jonathan Tucker. I have mentioned how much I enjoyed the premiere, haven't I?
  • And, for Friday Night Lights fans, Buddy TV has posted an exclusive interview with Connie Britton, Tami Taylor on the show. I'm a Law and Order: Criminal Intent fan, so their interview with Julianne Nicholson is of interest to me.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

'American Idol 6' - Ten Men Sing to Stay

American IdolAfter last week's lackluster performances, I faced a bit of trepidation about watching tonight's show. Do any of these guys have what it takes to be in the top two? (I personally think we'll see a female winner this season, so the best a guy can do is runner-up.)

I feel overall that the men redeemed themselves a bit tonight, but my "wow" factor wasn't as strong for those I enjoyed as it was for either Melinda Doolittle or Lakisha Jones last week.

"This show is dedicated to the one I love." Yep, it was a dedication show, all a bit touching, but none more surprising than seeing Chris Sligh with his wife. They look incongruous, but it's love.

Here's the song lowdown for the guys:

Phil Stacey was up first. I know that folks think he has such a great voice, but he just doesn't do it for me. He sang "Missing You" by Brooks and Dunn. I ain't missing him. I'm just not getting him at all. Randy and Paula liked the performance, Simon said he wasn't jumping out of his chair. Neither was I. I predict he'll make it through, but I'll take no part in that!
Jared Cotter
Jared Cotter said he was channeling Marvin Gaye. He looked good. He did a fine Marvin Gaye impersonation. I want to like this guy. I think he can indeed sing, but I feel he's too cocky or something in front of cameras. Yes, he has to have confidence, but he's trying to be too sexy for his shirt. Randy loved it, Paula thinks he's good-looking. Simon thought it looked like a cabaret performance on the Love Boat. Bingo, Simon. I think Jared's chances of being in the top six men grew more slim.

A.J. Tabaldo sang "Feelin' Good" as sung by Sophie B. Hawkins. I think he did great, but he's not my choice for the win. I like the song and I enjoyed his performance, but I'm just not seeing "star" for A.J. Paula and Randy thought he did well. Simon said, "That was nearly very good. You did something right. You did something different. And, you were strangely comfortable with it."
Sanjaya Malakar
If Jared was channeling Marvin, perhaps Sanjaya Malakar was channeling a hybrid between Sinatra and Michael Jackson. I like the look of his fedora and slacks, but not necessarily on him. He sang an Irving Berlin song, "Stepping Out With My Baby." I thought it was a pleasant performance. Not earth-shattering, merely pleasant. Randy thought it was weird. Paula said on pitch and that he was an "old soul." Simon reamed him... again. He said it was like when parents dressed their small children up, was very weak, and a little weird. This is the second week that Simon kept at him. He must either want sympathy votes for him or to get him booted. I say he should leave in view of the other performances tonight, but I bet he'll stay.

Chris Sligh sang "Trouble" by Ray LaMontagne. Oh, and he sang it well. I so enjoy his voice! The judges liked him, I hope the voters do, too.

Nick Pedro sang "Fever" - a song I'm so much more used to women singing. He sang it well enough, but I have no real fever for him. The judges on the whole liked him. I liked the drummer who kept getting the good photo opportunities. I don't think he's all that long for the competition, but I could be wrong. I liked Nick's nod to Napolean Dynamite with a quick "Vote for Pedro."

Then came Blake Lewis. Although my heart is for Chris Sligh, this guy is very entertaining. He performed (didn't just sing) Jamiroquai's "Virtual Insanity." He threw in a tad of scratch and scat, he performed. Excellent job! Paula and Randy had their virtual insanity moment giving him praise while Simon wasn't as excited. He'll go a long way, I know he will.

Brandon Rogers sang another song best known for a female vocalist. He sang "Time After Time" by Cyndi Lauper. He did it well enough, I guess. It just didn't excite me, not at all. The judges, for the most part, thought along the same lines. I think he might be buying his ticket home although I also think he's very talented.
Chris Richardson
Not to be outdone by a human beatbox, Chris Richardson, turned up the heat performance-wise with "Geek in the Pink" by Jason Mraz. Wow. He can perform. I still think he's a Justin Timberlake doppelganger, but what can I say? Randy said he's in it to win. Simon declared it the best of the night.

Then, the surprise of the night, Sundance Head returned with a rocking-bluesy version of "Mustang Sally." No, he didn't quite do the Wilson Pickett version, nor the Rascals version. He did the Sundance Head version and made me remember why I liked him in the audition. The judges were thrilled to have him back. Hopefully it will redeem himself from his horrible performance last week and get him back on track.

All in all, I think we'll lose Brandon this week. We should lose Sanjaya, but I don't think we will. Who will be the other one?

'The Black Donnellys'

If you missed the premiere of The Black Donnellys, you can watch it online at the official NBC website or tune in Thursday at 10 PM.

Pictured here is Jonathan Tucker who plays Tommy Donelly in the show. Since so many folks might have missed the premiere, I won't give away the kicker ending, but I guarantee it's a kicker.

This show focuses on the four Donnelly brothers. The "black" part of it has to do with the Black Irish. They grew up in a rather hardscrabble street life in Lower Manhattan. Tommy, the "good" brother, is a talented artist who tends to be more on the straight and narrow than his brothers. But, as events occur, he gets dragged into the life on the streets.

Mob-related, this isn't a pretty tale. I'm not even all that sure how relevant it is to what's going on today with the mob scene. To me, it's a bit more like the Irish gangs some decades ago were brought into today's world. The locale is a bit awry. The brothers own a bar which I know is on the Lower East Side of Manhattan (see other photos below), but there's an elevated subway track, too. That doesn't mesh, but it also doesn't ruin the story.

I feel this story works despite those quirks. The acting is top-rate, the writing is believable, the streets are mean. I want to get to know these characters. I also take a personal delight in looking at the scenery of some of my own stomping grounds up close and personal.

This is a photo I took from within the same bar featured as the one a Donnelly won in a bet. If you click to get the larger shot, you'll see the piano keys on the walls, the deer head (in Manhattan, for gosh sake), and various Shamrock designs on lamps and such. Ignore the people. They aren't dangerous. They're just the NYC Fotologgers group as the Parkside Lounge was our meeting place for a long time.

I like gritty New York and so much of it isn't these days. The Black Donnellys roam the very same streets I roam when my knee is up to it. True, it's good the city has improved, but I always find the sort of neighborhoods in which the show was filmed intriguing.Looking Across the Street from the Parkside

Because the neighborhood I'm seeing in the show is so much a part of the show, I figured I'd throw a bit more local scenery into this entry. If you click on the shot, you should be able to get the full-sized image.

The first is a photo I took standing outside the bar and looking across the street as a friend of mine locked up his bike.

The next is a photo of a man walking in front of the bar. Lower East Side
And, last but not least, a shot no one could ignore. Between the subway stop and the bar, there's Essex Street. But that's not quite what the sign reads if you look from a certain angle. And, there's a $350 fine for honking.Don't Honk

This is the 'hood of the Black Donnellys and I'll be watching the show. I've been lacking a show for the 10 PM ET time slot on Mondays as there isn't anything which has caught my interest.

That is... until now. Did you watch the show? What did you think?

Monday, February 26, 2007

'Heroes' - "Company Man" - A BulletPoint Report

Heroes - NBC

I don't think we've had a bad episode of this show yet and tonight's "Company Man" surely threw fuel on that fire. Lassie who? Now, Mr. Muggles, there's a professional doggy-actor!
HRG - Mr. Bennet

Here's what happened tonight, hopefully I caught all the action:
  • Ted Sprague and Matt Parkman searched for clues in the Bennet's house when said Bennets returned home.
  • Sprague (Radioactive Hands) is sure that Bennet actually made them (the ones with powers) the way they are and convinced Matt (Mindreading Ex-Cop) the same.
  • "I'm just a paper salesman," said Bennet. Oh, but no one believes him except his wife and son. I think even Mr. Muggles knows that's not the truth.
  • The show utilized black and white flashbacks to tell HRG's backstory. 15 years ago he was hired as the regional manager of Primatech Paper as a front. The "real" job was "morally grey." Supposedly they wanted to keep the people with powers safe until it became necessary to kill them.
  • HRG's (Bennet's) first partner was Claude, the Invisible Man.
  • Since Matt can read minds, he could read Sprague's mind as he became more irritated at HRG. He also knows that Claire regenerates. When Sprague becomes determined to shoot Mrs. Bennet, Matt shoots Claire knowing she will live.
  • Claire played dead after coming to and Bennet and Matt went off to Primatech to get the files Sprague wanted. Sprague insisted he be the one to stay with Lyle (Claire's brother) and Mrs. Bennet.
  • The Haitian certainly was mute in the flashback sequences, but can definitely talk now. How? Why? Did I miss something? When he was discovered by Them as a teen, he couldn't talk but drew a picture of his power akin to "pulling memories like grubworms." In the teen shots, he had the same symbol on his clothes that we've seen on tattoos and Hiro's sword.
  • In flashback, Bennet and his boss were at the fire scene where Baby Claire supposedly died. Later, he met up with Hiro's father (and a young child Hiro) on the DeVeaux Building roof where Hiro's father handed him young Claire to take care of until they want her back. "This is not a request. She belongs to us."
  • Bennet tried thinking in Japanese so Matt couldn't read his thoughts at the house.
  • Matt and Bennet know that Sprague is too volatile and could cause a nuclear explosion, so they sort of team up. Bennet wants to get a tranquilizer to shoot Sprague.
  • In flashback, it looked like Bennet betrayed Claude (Invisible) to his boss saying he was "hiding one" - a powers person. The boss ordered Bennet to kill him. He drove him to a bridge where he shot him twice. It looked like a clean kill at the end, but Claude went invisible, so...
  • Claire tried to rescue Lyle and her mother, but only Lyle escaped.
  • Sprague realized that Parkman probably knew that Claire regenerates.
  • Upon returning to the house, Bennet showed Sprague his file insisting although they abducted him three months ago, they didn't cause his affliction.HEROES: The Haitian
  • Mr. Bennet's boss arrives, tipped off by him, shoots Sprague. Sprague totally freaked and nuked out. Everyone gets out of the house except for Bennet who tried to shoot Sprague with the tranquilizer. Claire ended up doing it because he couldn't get close enough.
  • In flashbacks, it was three years ago Bennet needed glasses and told Claire she was adopted. She's the one who chose HRG - Hornrimmed Glasses.
  • Bennet's boss told him it was time to kill another partner as the Haitian "stole" Claire after the scene at the house calmed down.
  • Bennet followed them to the same bridge as the Claude scene and they all got out of their cars. It turns out that Bennet set it up to look like the Haitian shot him and escaped with Claire. The Haitian shot him in a non-vital abdomen area. Then HRG told him to go deep and erase any thoughts he might have.
  • So Claire is now on the road with the Haitian and Bennet's memory is wiped.
  • Both Sprague and Matt are recaptured and held at Primatech.HEROES: Baby Claire
Wow. I don't know how efficient Primatech is, though. At about 10:30 PM ET I received an email from them saying it was urgent I read it before 9 PM. I haven't gone all through it yet, but think it probably tells a bit about the woman at Primatech who might have powers. Or, maybe it's about Mr. Muggles' powers!

Regarding 'The Black Donnellys'

I'll be writing a bit more about this show sometime tomorrow evening before American Idol starts, but this is odd... and worth mentioning...

As I was watching the show, I was thinking how much I enjoyed the Washington Square Park area scenes because I'm so familiar with the area.

But it got better. The bar scenes. Oh. My. God. I know the bar. I have plenty of photos of friends and me in and around it. It's the Parkside Lounge on East Houston on the Lower East Side. I really don't know all that many dive bars, but that's one I know fairly well. The piano keys on the walls, the windows, the pool table, the set-up, it's the Parkside!

Very weird.

The show is good. More on it tomorrow. My Heroes post will be up a bit later tonight, so stop on back.

'The Amazing Race 11: All Stars' - Ep. 2 --or- "I Think I Was a Man in a Previous Life"

First, I want to apologize for not getting this posted earlier. I ran into some unforeseen technical difficulties. But, I'm back and ready to race! Er, to write about the show, anyway.

Was the first season all that long ago? I realize that it's season 11, but the show is often on twice a year. If memory serves, the first season was in 2000, but I didn't look it up. So I could be wrong.

What's my point? Well, I look at Team Guido and they look a bit older, but they're really quite the same as they were in the first season. The ChaChas (Oswald and Danny)? They haven't aged a heck of a lot. The Frat Boys? Well, one hasn't changed much (Kevin) while the other aged about 25 years since the first season. I adored them in their first run of the race, but this season it wasn't enjoyable to watch death-warmed-over Drew. Sigh. On the other hand, the ChaChas are a hoot! I think Oswaldo is cute, too.
TAR: Oswald, A Single Cha
Onto the show...
After a recap, Drew talked about having altitude sickness. That didn't seem to happen to anyone else. As an ex-skier who's been up there where the air is thin, I'd say it might have struck him so hard because he wasn't in good shape. I'm no doctor; I don't even play one on television. But I have seen altitude sickness hitting the very thin, the very heavy, and the not healthy. He also seemed to be an accident in motion for the whole first leg.

Led by Romber (Rob and Amber), the winners of the first leg, at 7:42am, teams left the Pit Stop to head for Santiago, Chile. The last team, Kevin and Drew, left at 9:44am, making for a two-hour gap betwixt first and last. That's more than we generally see, especially this early in the race. Dave and Mary were the team to leave before the Frats and they had almost an hour on them. David and Mary lost some time helping tow a stuck-in-the-mud Charla and Mirna. The Frats also got stuck in the mud, but Kevin was a human tow for them. (See, he hasn't changed.)
TAR: Rob
Okay, I have to say it. I never want to see Rob and Amber on Survivor again. I didn't care for her on the show and he's just been on it too much. But during their run of Amazing Race 7, I thought they were a strong and good team. They don't bicker a lot, don't belittle each other, and Rob usually has a trick or two up his sleeve to get ahead of the pack. He has creative thinking and although I still could take or leave Amber, I enjoy watching Rob on The Amazing Race.

I'm getting a bit tired of watching the inevitable airport scenes. Romber and the ChaChas managed to find a flight which should hit the connection to Santiago about 40 minutes before the most obvious flight. Of course, we all know that the best-laid plans of mice and Robs doesn't always make it to fruition. Due to a delay, the other teams all caught up.

Before I leave the airplane, I feel I should mention that Drew started throwing around David and Mary's bags as they put them in the first-class section and they weren't traveling first class. What's up with that? I thought it unduly harsh and it certainly turned Kentucky against the Frats. The other teams aboard seemed shocked, too. What has gone wrong with Drew, I ask? Yikes!

Once in Santiago, the teams had to drive to Codelco, a huge copper-mining company. Bingo, a Roadblock! That, of course, is a task only one member of each team can complete. This one called for attention to detail. The racers had to enter a boardroom which made me have Trump-shivers, but thankfully was different. There were alphabet letter clues all over the place and the racer had to find them, then unscramble them to spell out the clue. It was Dustin (or Kandice) who first tied in the letters with the pictures on the wall.

One such picture was labeled
Chuquicamata Mine. One by one, teams got out of there, leaving Joyce and Ian getting more frustrated by the moment, not to even mention how Uchenna was twitching and Teri trembling. Surprisingly, the first thing Mary did when she entered was to memorize the pictures on the wall as she thought they held a clue. Finally Joyce got it, tipped off Ian, then ran to try to catch up with the other teams. Ian thought he must be losing his cop-touch.

The clue led the teams to the town of Calama to the location of the driest desert in the world. Rob acted out when Eric went to a newly opened counter from the end of the first line. Although Rob said he considered it a "plan to stir the pot," Amber was not too thrilled with his behavior. She thought his scene to create problems just made him look silly. Even though they had words, they weren't outright nasty to each other. For my sake, I'd prefer they stop the "babe" bit, though. It's a pet peeve of mine with couples on the show.

The teams were faced with a Detour, this one having to do with the local economy. They could go for By Hand or By Machine. In By Hand, they had to put on and tighten a zillion lug nuts on a huge piece of construction equipment. Okay, maybe not a zillion, but certainly not four! In By Machine, they had to use a front loader to scoop and dump sand. Rob, with a background in construction, eased his way through Machine It. I noticed that the By Hand task which the majority of teams chose seemed to be the most time-consuming.

Upon completing the Detour, teams then had to drive 71 miles to and through the Valley of the Moon - a very sandy terrain with a speed limit of 40 KPH. After they finished that, they had to head to the Pit Stop which was located in the Valley of Death. (Eep.) It all sounds simple enough, right? Some teams sure had problems with it.
TAR: Mirna Drama
For "all stars" who have raced this race before, you'd think they'd not freak out like Mirna did when a local let them down. She was throwing money and jumping up and down. She reminded me of one of those rubber dolls you squeeze and the eyes and ears pop out. Although Mirna and Charla had a point about Dustin and Kandice helping pay for the "tour guide," the Beauty Queens called the drama surrounding Mirna (and Charla to a lesser extent), perfectly spot on.

Drew totally screwed up, taking a wrong turn and then keeping to the 40 KPH even when the speed limit increased. He fussed and whined. Poor Kevin was all I could think. Most of the teams seemed to take that same wrong turn, but in the end the arrival order to the Pit Stop was:
  1. Amber and Rob - They each won an off-road motorcycle.
  2. Oswald and Danny
  3. Joe and Bill
  4. Eric and Danielle
  5. Uchenna and Joyce
  6. Dustin and Kandice
  7. Teri and Ian
  8. Charla and Mirna
  9. David and Mary
  10. Kevin and Drew -- Eliminated
TAR: FratsI so wanted to love the Frat Boys again, but it's as if Drew's mind and body were in some other place other than in the race. That and the fact that his health seems shot in the past seven years (or so). As much as I hate to say it, I'm glad they were eliminated. I couldn't keep cheering them on when Drew obviously couldn't run the race.

Once again, the ChaChas provided fun lines for the night. "Who says gay men can't drive?" "I think I was a man in a previous life." You have to remember these are the two guys who went shopping in the middle of a leg because they just "had to shop." Yet, both stand up to the plate and try their hardest at the tasks.

Also, during this leg, hopefully David and Mary learned that this isn't a game of alliances. It never was. You help Charla and Mirna or the Beauty Queens, don't think they'll return the favor. Actually, I think the one most likely to return a favor to Kentucky at this point would be Rob. And, that's only because he knows he could blow away and leave them gasping in his dust.

They still haven't traveled much for two legs, but I enjoy seeing how the teams are interacting. How about you?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

'The Amazing Race 11: All Stars' - East Coast Update - Finish Order and Philimination - 2/25/07

Here's the order to the Pit Stop:
  1. Rob and Amber - Each won an off-road motorcycle
  2. Oswald and Danny
  3. Joe and Bill (Team Guido)
  4. Eric and Danielle
  5. Uchenna and Joyce
  6. Dustin and Kandice
  7. Teri and Ian
  8. Charla and Mirna
  9. David and Mary
  10. Kevin and Drew - Eliminated
A full report will be posted later...

Just a Quick 'Amazing Race' Note...

The show started on time here for a change. Expect an East Coast Update post with the finish order and any elimination by 9 PM ET. A full review/recap will be posted later tonight.

Look, It's Pants! - This Week on 'The Late Show with David Letterman' - Feb. 26 - Mar. 2, 2007

Late Show with David LettermanIt's cold outside, but the Pants are always warm and fuzzy. I'm talking about those Worldwide Pants, of course.

Here are the guests we can expect on the Late Show with David Letterman this week:
  • Monday, Feb. 26: Stupid Human Tricks (no, not me!), Jake Gyllenhaal promoting the movie Zodiac, musical guests Brand New whose new CD is The Devil and God are Raging Inside of Me. That sounds a bit interesting. I'm not familiar with the group at all, but I know they're basically punk rock.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 27: Evangeline Lilly (Kate from Lost), sportswriter Jeff MacGregor, and The Bubble Guy, Tom Noddy. Well, as long as there is no love triangle of Lost characters, I guess. Bubbles for all!
  • Wednesday, Feb. 28: Senator John McCain
  • Thursday, Mar. 1: Dennis Miller (Radio's The Dennis Miller Show), author Bob Woodruff (In an Instant: A Family's Journey of Love and Healing), John Mayer (new CD is Continuum). As you recall, Bob Woodruff was the ABC news journalist seriously injured in Iraq. This should be an interesting show.
  • Friday, Mar. 2: Charles Grodin (always a great guest!) and comedian Dan Naturman.

Interesting... usually the CBS Late Show website guest list is incomplete and I visit both the AOL TV listings and the site to gather the list. This time the TV listings don't include either Bob Woodruff or Charles Grodin. But they have Stupid Human Tricks listed for the John McCain night in addition to Monday night. Maybe it's Stupid Human Tricks Week?

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Whatever Will I Watch Tonight? - Saturday, February 24, 2007

While Saturday evenings are often a bit lacking in the television programming arena, I actually think that the showing of extremely recent repeats by some networks is a good idea. Some folks still can't go online to watch shows they missed and since the night isn't a huge ratings night, it's perfect to allow them the chance.

That said, I think they sometimes show the wrong show. For example, CBS has the repeat of the "winter premiere" of Jericho at 8 PM ET/PT. That's good. I may even watch it myself as I missed it this week. But then at 9 PM, they have the recent repeat of C.S.I. - a good show, yes. But what I would have done is put last week's season premiere of The Amazing Race 11: All Stars in that slot to build up for tomorrow night's second episode. They never ask me my thoughts before they make these programming decisions, though. So, their line-up for the primetime block is: repeat Jericho, repeat C.S.I. and repeat 48 Hours Mystery (in its own regular time slot).

Also in the 8 PM ET/PT hour, NBC has a new Dateline NBC, COPS is new for the first half-hour and a repeat at 8:30, and ABC's entire evening is spent up with Forrest Gump. USA is airing its Law and Order: SVU block all evening. TLC has a new Moving Up at 8 PM. At 9 PM on FOX, there's a new America's Most Wanted.

Now, this bugs me. Any regular reader of this blog knows I'm hooked on The Wire which is being aired by BET. I don't have HBO, so it's all new to me. The "main airing" of the new episode is Thursday nights, but it's been scheduled for 9 PM on Saturdays, too. I've scheduled it into my Saturday night as my Thursday TV watching is so full. Now, for the second time in three weeks, they have something else in its place! Argh. The first time was a repeat of the movie 48 Hours, now it's the Dreamgirls-wannabe show, One Night Only, repeats. I want my Wire! They have the second airing at 1 AM, so I'll have to tape it then unless I plan on being awake until 2:30 in the morning. BET doesn't listen to me anymore than CBS does.

What are you watching tonight?

Friday, February 23, 2007

TV Newsy Bits - Friday, February 23, 2007

Jackie's TV Newsy Bits It's Friday, it's cold. It's a good time to see what TV-related news stories are out and about on that good ol' Internet, right?

You do notice that for the most part, I'm avoiding both the Anna Nicole Smith and Britney Spears brouhahas, don't you? I actually only included mention now so that I could use the word "brouhaha." Gosh, I love that word. Fun to say and cool in context.

Now that's out of my system, here are today's TV Newsy Bits:
  • In The Apprentice news -- TV Guide has an interview with the most recently fired candidate, Aimee Trottier. First season winner Bill Rancic and E! News anchor Giuliana DePandi will wed in September according to the Reality TV World website. There will be no show this Sunday evening (Feb. 25) and when it returns on March 4, it will air at 10 PM.
  • In Heroes news -- Celebrity Spider has some mild episode spoilers for the next show. The New York Daily News has a great interview with Jack Coleman, the man who plays Mr. Bennet or, as we initially called him, HRG (horn-rimmed glasses). It's a very interesting read.
  • Celebrity Spider has mild spoilers for the next episode of Lost.
  • In American Idol news -- There's an newsy tidbit about voted off American Idol Paul Kim here. Buddy TV has transcribed a press conference held with the four contestants voted off of the show last night. Frenchie Davis got the boot a few years back for less than what Antonella Barba has done.
  • This AOL Television News article says that the much talked about Stephen Spielberg and Mark Burnett reality show is scheduled for a May 16 premiere. In the show, aspiring filmmakers will compete for a million-dollar studio contract. This one sounds like it could be intriguing. Indie films can be cool.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

'Survivor 14: Fiji' - Ep. 3 -or- "The Rich Get Richer..."

I'm not sure how much I'm liking the tribes being so divided by comforts vs. absolutely nothing. As Rocky/James/Boston (whatever) said tonight, "The rich get richer and the poor get poorer." I think it was he who said it. That's spot on.

By being dehydrated and having little food, it's setting a cycle of losing for Ravu. The more they lose, the deeper the hole they dig for themselves. I so want them to win something... anything!

17 are left. Who will be voted out tonight?

The show opened on the Ravu camp on the sixth night. They're in rough shape and know it all too well. They decided that they must pull together as a team, put egos aside, and concentrate on winning. Now, it's easier to vow that than actually win.
Yau-Man Looking Even Skinnier
In the morning shot over at the Moto camp, they have it very rough themselves. Why, they have to paint the wooden floor of their well-built shelter because it may keep the ants out. They eat, they laugh. Boo said the game should be called "thrival, not Survival."

Meanwhile, Earl returned from his trip to Exile Island, evading questions about the hidden Immunity Idol and unable to provide water for his begging tribemates. I wonder if they seriously thought he'd tell them if he found the hidden Idol. Michelle finally got a fire going using eyeglasses because the sun showed up long enough to do it. So, now they can boil water and have something to drink. James/Rocky is as beside himself as his many names might indicate. He thinks they're invincible.

Yeah, right.

This week's Reward and Immunity challenges were split up (as they should be). There was no puzzle in either this week. I might just faint. For Reward, the tribe members were paired with someone from the other tribe. They had to maneuver a slippery wet course which looked like a giant wet tarp, grab a numbered ball, then make a basket at the end of the course. Sounds easy, right?
Boo and Moto Tribe
The winning team had a choice of three different rewards. They could choose the luxury items they brought to the show (we haven't seen those for a few seasons, a duplicate of the fishing gear Moto won last week, or a bowl of fruit. The winner would also select a member of the losing tribe to go to Exile Island. Unlike previous weeks, the exiled isn't immune at Tribal Council and will return before the next challenge.
Gary Goes Down Hard
I don't know which part of the Reward Challenge folks had more problems doing. They were slip-sliding away on the course and the toss into the basket wasn't an easy shot at all. Gary fell down hard, extremely hard, at one point. Ravu started out good, then petered out. Sylvia, who wanted to excel to get in the good graces with her tribe, stumbled on the task. In the end, even though the Smurf (Gary) fell hard, it was yet another Moto win. They chose more fishing gear and sent Sylvia off to Exile Island. While there, Sylvia's next clue indicated the hidden Idol was buried under the threshold of the cave-shelter.

While the Moto tribe was celebrating their victory back in their luxury digs, Gary started having problems breathing. He thought it was due to his fall and said the feeling reminded him of a time when he broke his ribs. The medics were called in and saw nothing life-threatening. They advised rest. His tribemates seemed as worried that he'd hold them back in the Immunity Challenge as they were for his health. Don't get me wrong, they were concerned about his health. The thought that he should quit rather than risk health issues seemed at least partially based on their own will to win.
Icky Food Challenge
The tree mail said the next challenge would be more based on will than brawn. And, so it was time for the icky food competition! Jeff Probst claimed the foods involved were things Fijians actually eat. Each tribe member was matched up with a member of the opposing tribe and had to eat a set amount of each... um... delicacy. Raw giant clams, octopus tentacles, peanut worms, sea cucumbers, fish eyes, and pig snouts (with hair!). Blech. Ravu started well but then were running snout-to-snout with Moto towards the end. Then Anthony totally completely blew it. He was at the pig snouts against wounded Gary. He took one little piece and couldn't swallow it while Gary ate all the snouts on his plate. Moto wins again.

At the Ravu camp, Sylvia was determined to try to find the hidden Idol to save her own butt. Others were speculating on whether she had it or not as that might affect their voting strategy. Half the camp (or more) was mad at Anthony thinking he didn't even try to swallow the "food." I personally can't say much as I know I wouldn't have been able to do it, either.

At Tribal Council, Jeff seemed to rub salt in the hungry wounds of the Ravu tribe. "What does it take to turn this tribe around? What's the state of this tribe?" Of course he got answers like tired, hungry, exhausted, sick, sick of losing, and on and on. Mookie voiced his anger at Anthony's performance in the food challenge. Angry words were tossed back and forth for a bit, then it was time to vote. Sylvia didn't have the Idol when Jeff asked prior to reading the vote. The vote was evenly split between her and Anthony (with a single vote for Earl), then the last vote was read.

Sylvia was voted off.

And, that's that. Something has to change. To me, it's not fair to those on the Ravu tribe. It's liked they're doomed to keep doing worse each week as they grow weaker. At this rate, there will be none to last for a merge.

'American Idol 6' - Voted Out - East Coast Update - 2/22/07 - The End

The final results in the order they went --

Paul Kim
Amy Krebs
Nicole Tranquillo
Rudy Cardenas

'Survivor 14: Fiji' - East Coast Update - 2/22/07 - Cast Off

Sylvia was voted off. A full report will be posted later tonight!

'Survivor 14: Fiji' - East Coast Update - 2/22/07 - Immunity

Moto won Immunity... again.

Remember to check the American Idol east coast update entry for further results on that show. I'm adding the names as they get voted out. At this time, it's Paul Kim and Amy Krebs gone.

'Survivor 14: Fiji' - East Coast Update - 2/22/07 - Reward

Moto won reward - chose fishing gear (three choices). They sent Sylvia to Exile Island. She will return before Tribal Council and is not immune.

'American Idol 6' - Voted Out - East Coast Update - 2/22/07

Return to this post for more results as they happen on the east coast.

Paul Kim first voted off.
Amy Krebs second voted out.
Nicole Tranquillo is out.

Final update at this entry.

'Lost' - "Stranger in a Strange Land"

Jackie's TV Blog, Lost
Well, I think I enjoyed the novel of the same name a bit better. ABC hyped and hyped this episode claiming we would have the answers to three of the mysteries. Hmmm... yes, they answered the meaning of Jack's tattoo, but then brought up the possibility of another meaning.

As for the other two mysteries, I think things are a bit murky. I believe the questions where exactly do the Others really live and why do they abduct the children. Or, maybe one mystery was why Jack saved Ben. If you think anything else was remotely addressed, let me know. I may be missing something.

This episode was Jack-centric and I'm beginning to think I prefer when they focus on Locke, Sayid, Charlie, and the others who weren't captured by the Others. I like smoke monsters and giant polar bears. I'm kind of tired on the ongoing love-triangle drama between Kate, Sawyer, and Jack.

In Flashbacks
The flashback segments brought us back to when Jack was living the easy life in Phuket, Thailand. He met a young woman named Achara while helping a young boy with a kite (which Jack himself had no clue how to fly). They struck it off well together, shared a bed, shared dinners at her brother's restaurant and were having a great ol' time of life.

When he mentioned his father, she told him she didn't want to hear about him. "You are here to find yourself." And, then she told him that she had "a gift." No, not the kind of gift you give someone, more like a special power sort of thing.

Jack was intrigued by Achara's mystery and followed her to find her going into what I thought was a brothel. Hey, she was dressed hooker-ish, high-class hooker, but hooker indeed. I was wrong, though. It was a tattoo parlor of sorts. She told him that she "can see who people are" and make special tattoos for them. She refused to tell Jack "who he is," but said he was a leader and a great man who gets very angry. She reluctantly put his tattoo on him, but warned him there would be consequences.

Jack returned to the beach where he frightened the child he had helped earlier. Achara's brother and a group of men came along, looked at the tattoo and stomped Jack senseless telling him to leave the beach, leave the country.

On The Island - Kate, Sawyer, and Karl
Sawyer, Kate, and Karl were still where we last left them -- rowing to their island. Kate wanted to go back for Jack, but Sawyer nixed the Freckles... and blah, blah. Karl came to for a moment to tell them that "God loves you as he loved Jacob."
LOST: Karl
Sawyer and company land on the island to make camp overnight. Sawyer and Kate kept arguing, Karl spoke again. "You shouldn't fight. You're lucky to be alive."

They asked Karl about the Others. He told them that the Others didn't live on "that" island, they lived on this one (where 815 crashed). That island was only used for projects. When asked why they abducted the children, he told them it was to give them a better life. When pressed "a better life than whose," he told them, "A better life than yours." We found out he has no clue who the Brady Bunch were, but he did have a backyard when growing up.

Karl is bereft without his beloved Alex. Sawyer, kind soul that he is, told him to "Cowboy up!" When Sawyer told him if he loved her that much, he should go back to get her, Karl told him that if he did, he'd be killed this time.

That got Sawyer thinking about his own situation with Kate (and Sawyer). He told her she only was with him the one time because she thought he was a dead man. The main island scenes ended with Karl star-gazing and a shot of Alex doing the same -- something they used to do together.

The Other Island - Jack, Ben, and More
Jack was being moved from the dry dolphin tank area to the cages so that the Others could put Juliet in the tank. No, they're not happy that she shot the one who tried to kill Sawyer and Kate. She's a prisoner and they (Jack and Juliet) cross paths in handcuffs to their destinations.
LOST: Isabel
There's a new sheriff in town and her name is Isabel. Jack later found out that Ben, if he could be, is still the leader and Isabel is just his top gun... or something to that effect.

Juliet, accompanied by guards, asked Jack if he would help Ben. Despite her own predicament, she had been asked to check his failing condition. His sutures show signs of infection and it could be life-threatening. Jack pressured her to tell him why she's in trouble and she told him she just killed someone. She asked that he attend to Ben as a personal favor. Jack doesn't want to help either Ben or Juliet, no way, no how.
Isabel stopped by his cage and started to speak Chinese. She mentioned his tattoo. Jack said that he had been lying when he told Tom that Juliet asked him to kill Ben. When asked why he was lying for Juliet, he said he wasn't. He was lying so his friend could escape.

Jack was put back in the polar bear cage and we endured a flashback incident in Thailand. Upon returning our view to the cage, it was almost like the cage was in an actual zoo with folks milling about looking at the animals (Jack).

Jack recognized some of the Taillies -- folks from the tail section of the plane who were abducted as they were being led by Ana Lucia. One of them, Cindy, spoke with him. She told Jack they were watchers, just there to watch. Um, okay. They didn't know that Ana Lucia had died. He tried pressing for more information, but she was frightened and left. One of the abducted children, Zach, turned to look at Jack while clutching his teddy bear. He looked very eerie, for the lack of a better word.
LOST: Like a ZooAfter the watchers scattered, Alex came along and broke the surveillance camera to the cage. She demanded to know why Jack saved Ben. He told her that he would answer her questions when she answered his about Juliet -- where was she, what was happening. Alex told him she had killed "one of us." The penalty would be death, an eye for an eye and all that. Jack then told her that he saved Ben because he said he would. He demanded she get him out of the cage.

He went to Ben and attended his infection on the basis of Ben saving Juliet. Ben gave a note to the trial folks and Isabel despite telling Jack that Juliet doesn't care anything about him because "she's one of us."

Jack was told by Alex that Juliet's life would be spared, but she would be a "marked woman." They branded her back with a mark sort of like this -- >|<. Juliet brought him a sandwich and told them that everyone (including him) had to head back to the other island. Isabel later came along and told him that his tattoo means "He walks amongst us, but he's not one of us." Jack denied that meaning and I have to say that something stronger had to set off Achara's brother for the beating and exile. The Others and Jack rowed out to a large ship and [Lost clunk]...

All in all, I preferred last week's episode. How about you?

Tonight's Blogging Schedule - Thursday, Feb. 22, 2007

A review/recap of last night's Lost is currently in progress and should be posted within an hour or so after the time this entry. So, if you're a Lost fan, please check back! I'd love to read your thoughts about the episode.

At 8 PM ET/PT American Idol is scheduled and tonight two guys and two girls will be voted off. I will post an East Coast Update with the names of those voted off by 9 PM ET for those from other time zones who have to know and also for any discussion. I don't plan on recap/reviewing the Thursday show in its entirety but you can check here to see who goes home.

Also at 8 PM ET/PT, Survivor 14: Fiji starts. I'll post important happenings (Reward, Immunity, cast off) as they happen in East Coast time. A full review/recap will be posted late this evening.

If you're a Grey's Anatomy fan, remember there's a group of blog readers regularly discussing the show at the Grey's Anatomy Discussion entry. They'd love to have new folks join in on the conversation!

Surviving Idols ready?

[And, hi to Mark.]

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

'American Idol 6' - Top 12 Girls - Part 2

I covered the first six girls performing in Part 1. So, if you haven't read that one, please do! And, of course, if you hit the American Idol 6 label at the bottom of any American Idol 6 entry on this blog, it will bring up all the show's entries. You can also use the show title in the Categories section on the sidebar of the main blog page for the same result.

Onto the last (but far from least) girls performing tonight...

Nicole Tranquillo was next up on the stage singing "Stay" by Chaka Khan. (Chaka Khan, Chaka Khan... oh, I'm sorry. I can't say Chaka Khan without doing that.) Oh, my. I'm not sure what to say about the performance. I didn't care for it. Maybe I'll just keep saying, "Chaka Khan, Chaka Khan."

Randy was a firm no. Paula said it was good. My eyes went rolling with that! Simon called it indulgent, fake, and over-rehearsed. Bingo, Simon.

Then it was Haley Scarnato singing Celine Dion's "It's All Coming Back to Me Now." Um. Okay. I found it boring, but that song is a bit draggy anyway. It wasn't as bad as Sundance's song last night, but close.

The second Randy sighed, I knew I was right. He said it was "just okay." Simon said she sounded like she was a 40-year-old. Hey! Is there something wrong with being 40? Oh, wait... she's about half that age. I think she might be gone soon, maybe tomorrow.

Doolittle is a misnomer. This girl can do a lot. Melinda Doolittle has been one of my favorites since her first audition and she's getting better each time I see her. She's growing her confidence, yet retaining a humble presence. She belted out Aretha's "Since You've Been Gone" in a style which had to make Aretha proud.

WOW! Now, this is the best performance of the night... so far. The judges were as ecstatic as I was. Randy yo-yo'd and said she "blew it out of the box." Paula didn't say she was pretty, but called her a "firecracker" and a "front-runner." Simon said she's an "incredible singer and a fantastic person." Yay, I say.
Alaina Alexander followed a tough act. And, she didn't make the grade as far as I'm concerned. She sang The Pretenders' "Brass in Pocket." While I like the song, her version did nothing for me. It wasn't horrible, no. But it didn't excite me.

Randy sighed and said it wasn't great. Paula said she didn't make it her own. Simon quoted some lyrics from the song -- "I'm special" -- and then claimed she wasn't.

Then we had to endure another Simon/Ryan spat. I don't know what's with them this year, but I find it annoying. Just give the boys boxing gloves and let them duke it out or something. Simon thinks Ryan is biased in favor of Alaina and Ryan thought he's overly harsh to her. Give me a break, guys.

Gina Glocksen, who's never been one of my favorites, sang next. She performed Celine Dion's "All By Myself." It's a hard song and historically hasn't gone over too well with contestants on the show. I didn't care for it.

Paula and Randy both thought it was good. Simon didn't think she hit the "big note" and Gina took issue with that. She kind of sort of hit it, but the whole song seemed a bit off to me. I thought she was too "throaty" at times during the song.

And then all heck broke loose with Lakisha Jones' performance. I have to claim bias -- she and Melinda Doolittle have been my favorites all along. But, wow, Lakisha rocked the house with a song perfect for the occasion in oh-so-many ways. The song was "And I Tell You I'm Not Going" (how perfect is that?) and it's from Dreamgirls with Jennifer Hudson. Her performance was the epitome of the term "owning the song." Tremendous! Yay, Lakisha!

The judges were as awed as I was to the point of Simon predicting a win which garnered him glares from the other judges. I know that's been a controversy during past seasons -- Simon declaring a winner. He said she and a few others were in a different league.

They sure are.

'American Idol 6' - Top 12 Girls - Part 1

In a way, tonight's Girls Night Up was shorter than last night. That's because they spent more than a few minutes recapping last night's show. Argh. For the sake of expedience as I'm also tied up with Lost tonight, I'm using graphics from the American Idol website instead of digital photos I've taken myself. I formatted them and loaded them to my FTP space earlier today to make it faster to get them up tonight.

First up tonight was Stephanie Edwards singing Alicia Key's "How Come You Don't Call Me." I thought her performance was better than any of the guys last night although at times it seemed a bit strained to me.

The judges were thrilled. Randy said she sang it with conviction. Paula gushed as only Paula can gush. Simon said it was a million times better than any of the performances last night.

Off to a good start, I say.

Amy Krebs hit the stage next with Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me." Now, some folks won't get the reference as it's one of those age things, but some will -- I can't hear of anyone with the name of "Krebs" without thinking of Maynard G. Krebs. There. I said it. Oh, I'm surely remembering reruns.

I wasn't thrilled by her performance at all. I think the judges liked it more than I did, but they weren't enthused either. Randy called it a safe song, too safe, and Paula agreed with him.

Next was Leslie Hunt who made a rather fatal error of trying to sing Aretha. At least, I thought it to be fatal. She sang "Natural Woman" better than I do when I'm in the shower, but that's not saying much.

The judges were much more gracious with her than I would have been. Randy did his sighing bit and then said it was "just okay." Paula went off on a tangent about song picks without saying what she thought about the performance. Simon just said, "that was not great." Um, all right. It sure wasn't. I think Leslie's days on the show may be numbered if she makes it through tomorrow night's cut.

Yikes! FOX has a bad photo of Sabrina Sloan up on their website. She's much more attractive than this photo. She also went for an Aretha Franklin song - "I Never Love A Man The Way I Love You." I feel she blew Leslie's Aretha out of the water. This girl's a contender!

The judges were also excited about Sabrina's performance. Randy exclaimed, "We finally have a competition!" Paula gushed and gave her a standing ovation. Simon declared it the best performance of the night so far. Would that declaration last through the night?
Jersey Girl Antonella Barba sang "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing." That's a song I remember coming from Aerosmith, but it's possible there have been other versions. Oh, so not good. I think she may have bought her ticket home.

Randy blatantly said, "That wasn't good. It was bland." Paula once again avoided the subject -- "You're a pretty girl." (Say what?) Simon said she did serious damage to the chances of remaining in the competition. I agree with him.

She is a pretty girl with a nice smile, though.

I haven't been too impressed with Jordin Sparks so far during the competition. Tonight she raised my opinion a notch with Tracy Chapman's "Give Me One Reason." While I don't think she's going to be the winner and might not make the top twelve finalists, I think she showed great personal strides in how she sang and handled herself on stage.

I think the judges basically agreed with me. They spoke of her natural talent, song choices, and pushing herself. They didn't think she was great, but she didn't fail either.

Part Two with the remaining six girls is here. What did you think of the girls vs. the guys?

TV Newsy Bits - Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Jackie's TV Newsy Bits Oh, my... I've been busy watching television lately, haven't I? Of course, I still have to work and do things like eat and sleep, too. Gack. I'll be happy when American Idol isn't five hours a week! That's a bit too much and I forgot to tape Law and Order: Criminal Intent last night.

Before I go on with the actual TV Newsy Bits, I'd like to thank all the readers for their comments on so many entries! I read each one and, although I may not always agree with everyone, I like to read your takes on the shows. If you're interested in a particular show I write about, there is a label at the bottom of each one and a list of Categories in the main sidebar of the blog. By clicking on the show title, you'll bring up all entries in that category, newest first.

Also, please keep in mind that this is your home for East Coast Updates for boots (voted off, castaway, fired, etc.) on The Apprentice, Survivor 14: Fiji, The Amazing Race 11: All Stars, and soon (tomorrow night) the voted off from American Idol 6. I started doing those as so many folks in other time zones really want to know. So, I post quick updates as the shows air here in the NYC area and post longer review/recaps afterwards.

What about those TV Newsy Bits? Here you go:
  • You like to have fun with the voting for American Idol, but the polls are closed? AOL Television has an Idol Ranking poll with some results which might surprise you.
  • My friends over at Buddy TV have posted their exclusive interview with John Vito and Jill, eliminated in the first leg of this season's Amazing Race. RNO also has an interview with them posted.
  • Want some spoilers about Survivor 14: Fiji? You can try here. Or here. But don't say I didn't warn you that they're spoilers. And, of course, they could be foilers, too. The only spoiler I could tell you about tomorrow's show is that one of the Ravu members will start a fire with water on an eyeglass lens. Heh.
  • In other Survivor 14: Fiji news, Reality News Online (RNO) has posted their exit interview with Erica, voted off last week on the show.
  • News reports are rampant all over the web - Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip - has met its demise or "indefinite hiatus." Although I didn't enjoy the show, I know several blog readers here did and I'm sorry to hear it's been canceled.
  • Celebrity Spider (amongst many others) is reporting that Fantasia will be singing and make some sort of "special announcement" on Thursday's American Idol results show.

'American Idol 6' - The Top 12 Guys - Part 2

Are you ready for the next six of the most talented male singers in America? Yes, feel free to insert a bit of sarcasm in there. I have the first six performers of the way-too-long show in this article, so here's the rest...

Blake LewisBeatboxer Blake Lewis with his fauxhawk gone awry was next in the competition. I personally think what he does with his human beatbox is amazing. And, yes, he can sing, too. He sang "Somewhere Only We Know" by Keane and did a decent job. He didn't quite rock my world, but if I were in the youth market, he'd certainly have my vote to stay.

Simon declared it the best of the night so far while Randy and Paula missed the beatbox but liked the song. Me? I can't really see him going on to win Grammy Awards, but I think with his talents he should be able to draw a fan base in the entertainment industry.

Sanjaya MalakarSanjaya Malakar was up next trying another Stevie Wonder song, "Knock Me Off My Feet." I felt he did okay, but it wasn't a great song choice. It made him sound a bit like a kid and, since he's perhaps the only teenager in the competition at this point, he has to step up a bit.

Simon was very rough on him, but Sanjaya took the criticism well. His parents should be proud of him. Paula and Randy were more kind, but Sanjaya has his work cut out for him. Oh... Simon is right - the girls will love his hair. I think the teen vote will keep him in the competition at least through this week.

Chris SlighMy personal favorite, partly due to his sense of humor and partly due to his bluesy voice, Chris Sligh was next. He sang "Typical" by Mute Math -- showing how untypical he really is. A solid performance according to Randy and Paula, but a confrontation between Simon and Ryan Seacrest overshadowed the whole thing.

Simon called Ryan "sweetheart" and Ryan made a scene. The next thing you know, it was all about snapping at each other and I feel it put Chris in a bad light. If this is a clue what may happen down the road, no one has to worry about Paula's state of mind anymore. They should just anticipate fisticuffs between Ryan and Simon.

Jared CotterJared Cotter, the sole New York area contestant, was next up on the stage. This guy is smooth, but I'm very iffy about him. He sang "You're Like a Dream Come True" by Brian McKnight. He did it well enough. He'll get the teen vote along with others getting the teen vote. But I'm not seeing a winner of it all here.

Paula and Randy seemed to think along my own lines... okay, nothing really exceptional. Simon called the performance "unadventurous and nasally."

A.J. TabaldoA.J. Tabaldo performed next, giving us a spirited and enthusiastic rendition of "Never Too Much" by Luther Vandross. A.J. is the one who's been trying five years to get on the show. I do like his spirit, but I feel he's not long for the competition. I really think he should be something other than a shipping clerk, but I don't see pop star. Perhaps cruise ship entertainment? I don't know.

Simon thinks theme park. Okay, that would do it, too. Paula danced and Randy claimed "you can blow" (which is good, of course).

Phil StacyPhil Stacy, the one whose wife gave birth to his new daughter early when he was on his first audition, was next. He sang "Could Not Ask For More" by Edwin McCain as his wife beamed from her seat in the audience.

Randy loved it, declaring it the best performance of the night. Simon was decidedly less enthusiastic about it.

Me? I don't know. All I can think of while watching Phil is that some men shouldn't have bald heads because they have lumpy or odd-shaped heads. Some can get away with it, some can't. Phil can't. I know that's shallow of me, but there you go. His voice is okay, but he doesn't rock my socks. That said, I loved watching his proud wife in the audience.

Tonight the top twelve girls will perform. As I also watch and review/recap Lost, my take on them may be a bit more abbreviated than this one. Time (and talent) will tell. I'm feeling a bit let down by the men so far, maybe my favorite women will snag my attention.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

'American Idol 6' - The Top 12 Guys - Part 1

If they didn't run all the commercials, tonight's two-hour show could have finished in an hour or so. American Idol is always saturated with commercials, but tonight seemed worse than usual. Feh.

Tonight was the Guys Night Up. Tomorrow is the top twelve girls and then on Thursday two from each group will be eliminated. The pressure is on! Now, although I credit the male group chosen for being better on the whole than last season's group, I'm not feeling the passion in the performances. True, I think there's only one very young guy (Sanjaya) and no Kevin Covais types. But other than Chris Sligh, I'm just not seeing a stand-out talent.

Rudy CardenasRudy Cardenas took the stage first with a version of "Free Ride" which I know as done by the Edgar Winter Group. Um. Okay. He performed the song with a lot of energy.

Was I thrilled? Nope. He wasn't bad, but it just didn't seem the right sort of song for him, I don't think. Randy said it was corny. Paula enjoyed it. Simon said it wasn't anything unique. I agree with both Randy and Simon. I'd say he might have a shot at being one of the two leaving on Thursday.
Brandon Rogers
Brandon Rogers was up next singing Michael Jackson's "Rock With You." I thought, for what it was, he did fine. I think that Brandon has commercial appeal and he can sing. Again, nothing which really struck me as super-fantastic, but decent.

Paula thought he should do less runs in the song, as did Randy. Simon said it was safe and predictable. They're all right.

Sundance HeadFor an excellent initial audition, it's been nothing but downhill for the Sundance Kid. The song he chose was popular circa 1967 or so - "Nights in White Satin" by the Moody Blues. Except for memories of the times, it drags way too much for a show like American Idol. I don't think he was as off key as the judges claimed, but I think he sealed his fate. Simon said it reminded him of a Dad singing at a wedding. It just reminded me of the slow-dancing theme of my school days and smoke-filled rooms.

Paul KimI like Paul Kim, barefooted and all. I don't think he'll make it to the end without shoes, but I enjoy his singing. He sang George Michael's "Careless Whisper." I thought he did okay.

The judges thought along the same lines as me. Okay. Of course, that may not be good enough at this stage of the game. But I think he's probably safe on Thursday.

Next to take the stage was Justin Timberlake's doppelgang
Chris Richardsoner, Chris Richardson. The voice, the haircut, the dance moves... I swear he's Timberlake's stand-in. That could be good for him in view of much of the audience, but doesn't do much for me. He sang "I Don't Want To Be" by Gavin DeGraw and did it well in a Timberlake kind of way.

I do enjoy watching his parents in the audience, though. Randy and Paula were positive, Simon was glad the show returned to the current century. But he also said that the song made his voice "sound small." I'm sure he's a shoe-in to make the cut on Thursday.

Nick PedroNick Pedro, the one who choked on the lyrics and quit last year in the Hollywood Rounds, sang "Now and Forever" by Richard Marx. This is another sort of draggy-slow song. I think he can sing well and he can exhibit personality. Where was it?

Simon, Paula, and Randy were bored.

So was I.

Due to the length and graphics in this entry, I'm splitting the show's coverage into two entries. Please check back for the next one!

Sneaking a Peek at 'The Black Donnellys'

Starting next Monday night (Feb. 26) after Heroes, it's The Black Donnellys. No, I'm not sure of the status of Studio 60 as I never got into that show. I'll try to find out if it's canceled or just on a hiatus. But I'm intrigued by the premise and writers behind Donnellys.

The show is written and produced by Bobby Moresco and Paul Haggis, the award-winning team who brought us Million Dollar Baby and Crash in the movie studios. I thought Crash was an exceptionally well-done movie. The story follows four brothers from an Irish family and has drawn comparisons to a younger Sopranos with the fun of Entourage.

I received a link from NBC with video sneak peek of the show and invite you all to check it out! The official website for the show is here. Despite my reality television addiction, I love good crime-related dramas. I'll be there.

Are you planning on watching this one?

Monday, February 19, 2007

'Heroes' - "Unexpected" - A BulletPoint Report

Heroes - NBC

Now, this is edge-of-your-seat excitement in a television show. Tonight's episode flew by as if Peter was flying over the Empire State Building carrying Claude (Invisible Man). Oh, wait. That happened.

Here's the lowdown and dirty on the latest:

  • Lionel Sprague (Radioactive Dude) met up with the newest hero, Hannah. She's called "Wireless." She can send transmissions such as emails, phone calls and such through her mind. She told him that "they" got to her, too. They decide she could wire them, he can nuke 'em and they team up together to save themselves and save the world.
  • Mrs. Bennet recognizes Claire again.
  • Isaac Mendez (Future Painter) called Mr. Bennet. Bennet arrives in NYC and sees Isaac's paintings of Peter Petrelli's footprints. "He's invisible!" Isaac, whether driven by jealousy or under Bennet's influence, believes that Peter will indeed blow up the city (by blowing up himself).
  • Matt Parkman (Mind Reading Suspended Cop) gave his wife one of the rings from last week's Malsky incident. As she called him on the fact that it's worth 40 grand, he got a call to meet Sprague and Wireless. He teams up with them to save themselves and, of course, save the world.
  • Sylar is still pretending to be Zane Taylor with Mohinder Suresh. They travelI Come In Peace to meet a new hero, a woman named Dale who has super-hearing. She became uneasy around Sylar/Zane because of something she heard in his heartbeat. He did the metal-melting bit to show others have powers. Mohinder himself seemed a bit uneasy with Sylar as he talked about his father being killed by um... Sylar. Yes, of course, Sylar sneaked back to Dale in the evening and stole her brain and, thus stole her power. "What's that I hear in your heart?" "Murder." The power didn't set well with him. She had mentioned headaches and he had severe ones after stealing the brain.
  • Meanwhile, back in Las Vegas, Hiro's Vulcan hand greeting was re-shown and I snagged a shot. Yay.
  • Hiro teamed up with a reluctant Gaming Commission man to go find Ando and what's-her-name who roughly kidnapped Ando. The man lectured Hiro about how partners will always bring you down - if something happens, their blood is on your hands. They find them and a shootout ensues between the woman (Hope, was she?) and the Gaming Commission man. The pink bagHope and Ando was full of casino chips. Ando got grazed by a bullet and Hiro managed to stop a bullet. So his power is back.
  • Alas, Hiro decides he has to be a hero on his own. Ando wasn't happy. He had gotten into thinking it was his destiny as well as Hiro's. (And I'd like it to be - I love the team of Hiro and Ando!)
  • Ando takes the Versa and Hiro boards a bus all alone.
  • The kicker to that scene was that the bus driver was none other than Stan Lee, the creator of Spider-Man and many Marvel Comics. I love it! I saw his name in the beginning credits and was watching for him. Perfect!
  • Back at the Bennet's home, Claire's "mother" (Mrs. Bennet, not her real one) collapsed in the kitchen.
  • Back in NYC, Peter and Claude (Invisible Dude) were wrassling on Bus Driver Stan Leethe roof of the DeVeaux Building (where the pigeons are). Okay, Claude claimed he wanted Peter to call on his powers. He's trying to make him use them to save himself and... the world. All of a sudden, Bennet and his henchmen are there with some special vision guns which can see invisible people. Who woulda thunk it? When they started to shoot, Peter grabbed Claude and flew away to safety. Oh, wait... Peter also showed that he has telekinesis and remembered that may have came from Sylar (he said the man who killed the cheerleader). Claude got ticked that Peter brought attention to him and vanished again.
  • Claire called Bennet before he could go after Peter and Claude. She told him that her mother was in the hospital. The nurse told her that her mother had a subdural hemorrhage or bruise on the brain. Claire was sure the Haitian did it to her. She told the nurse, who probably thought she was whacked. When Mr. Bennet arrived, Claire went off on him. She doesn't trust him and thinks that he's going to be the ruin of the family. She must protect the family. She thinks he's evil.
  • When the Bennet family arrives home, who's there? It's a confrontation by Sprague, Wireless, and Matt Parkman! With weapons and powers.
  • Back in NYC, Peter confronted Isaac and they got into a bit of a battle. Bennet had given Isaac a gun to protect himself from Peter. But Peter turned invisible, used other powers and dodged the bullets. Remember, though, the promos for the show kept saying, "Someone dies." They didn't mean Dale.
  • Simone dies
  • As Isaac tried to shoot the Invisible Peter, Simone came through the door. Twice to the chest, someone dies. Rest in peace, Simone. You can join your father.
Oh, I'm so loving this show!