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October 23, 2014

Performances

Simon Cowell's awful Wonderdog song defies description

by Danny Gallagher, posted Aug 11th 2009 1:02PM
Simon CowellIf you're still scratching your head over Paula Abdul's sudden departure from American Idol, here's a theory.

Maybe she had a hard time taking extreme criticism from a man responsible for unleashing (heh) one of the most godawful songs on the planet.

Back in the early 80's, a young Simon Cowell helped bring "Ruff Mix," a techno tune consisting entirely of dogs barking, to the music world's increasingly tone deaf ears. He was so committed to making the song a success that he was even willing to go on national television dressed as the song's main character, Wonderdog, to promote it.


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American Idol: We have a winner!

by Jane Boursaw, posted May 21st 2009 12:22AM

American Idol - Season 8 Finale

At long last, the season 8 finale of American Idol has arrived! It's been fun watching all of the Idols grow in their musical prowess (that's a Paula word), especially Adam Lambert and Kris Allen, the final two performers who couldn't be more different, but are both awesome in their own way.

Ryan started things off by introducing the judges, along with a funny video clip for each of them -- Randy Jackson saying "For Me" throughout the season; Kara DioGuardi saying "sweetie" and "honey" to people who didn't make it past the audition process; Paula's round-up of colorful adjectives (vocal prowess, masterful and effortless, palette, etc.); and Simon's issues with hearing what people say (as in, he could probably use a hearing aid!).

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American Idol: Finale part 1 - Adam and Kris perform

by Kona Gallagher, posted May 20th 2009 12:13AM
american idol finale kris adam
"Two are left standing, but only one can take it all." Seacrest breaks it down for us this evening, just in case there was anyone who didn't know what was going on. Each contestant is performing three songs tonight: a song that they've already performed on the show, one chosen by Idol producer Simon Fuller, and the winner's single, co-written by judge Kara DioGuardi.

And what a winner's single it is. Hoo boy. I had no idea a song could be that awful. It truly plumbs the depths and nearly ruins the entire night. Luckily, the guys have two previous performances that hopefully people will remember instead of the final one. Because, wow. Just, wow.

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American Idol: 1 of 3 goes home

by Jane Boursaw, posted May 14th 2009 12:22AM
American Idol - 1 of 3 goes home
It's getting down to the wire, and all three of the remaining contestants are certainly talented enough to be crowned the next American Idol. While I've been an Adam Lambert fan all along, I'd be fine with whomever wins this season.

Things start off tonight with the Ford commercial, kind of a fun little cartoon-oriented ad with Adam, Danny and Kris singing "Break My Stride." It must be really fun to see yourself as a cartoon/comic book character.

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American Idol: Top 3 perform

by Kona Gallagher, posted May 13th 2009 12:18AM
american idol top 3

We open up with a shot of the three finalists: Danny, Adam and Kris. Doesn't it make you kind of sad? I don't want a finale with three dudes -- I want Allison back! She should be standing up there instead of Gokey, and she probably would be if the judges didn't have some weird fascination with him.

In any case, Ryan informs us it's the 300th episode and that we should stand up for the top 3. No thank you, sir. This is also the episode in which the finalists sing two songs, one of which is chosen by the judges. I already know what Gokey is singing, because Paula Tweeted it earlier today. NOT THAT SHE'S BIASED OR ANYTHING. Hey Paula, what are the other guys singing? Huh? What was that? <crickets>.

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American Idol: 1 of 4 goes home

by Jane Boursaw, posted May 7th 2009 12:18AM

Paula Abdul performs on American Idol

Yet another results show has come around, and Ryan starts things off by asking, "Who will graduate from the Idol school of rock, and who will just get schooled?" You know, Ryan, I'm available if your writers are on strike. Call me.

Anyway, sounds like it was a dramatic week on American Idol - a large column collapsed and in a separate incident, a staffer was injured on a stair mishap. Whew. But the show must go on, and we'll find out tonight whether Allison, Danny, Adam or Kris will be going home. The other three get to go home, too, but for a big hometown parade with cheerleaders and town leaders gushing praise on them.

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Why American Idol may say goodbye to Kris tonight

by Allison Waldman, posted May 6th 2009 5:15PM
Kris Allen IdolI don't pretend to understand the motivation of the American Idol voters, but after watching last night's performances by the Final Four, I'm convinced that Kris Allen is going to be the odd man/singer out tonight. It's not that Kris was the poorest performance; I agree with Kona that Danny's "Dream On" was a bit of a nightmare. No, Kris will be done in because he chose the wrong Beatle song.

Rock night on American Idol, with Guns 'n Roses' Slash of all artists as a mentor, was bound to fall on the hard end of the rock spectrum. That did not suit Kris's mellow music man vibe at all. If he wanted to impress the judges -- and win over the fans -- he would have been better off going against the grain and not trying to compete with the heavy duty rock star wannabes on the show.

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American Idol: Top 4 Perform

by Kona Gallagher, posted May 6th 2009 12:08AM
american idol slash

With this particular final 4, you know that Rock Night is going to be interesting -- and they don't disappoint. Adam and Allison are definitely suited for this, while Kris and especially Danny have a bit of an uphill battle. Slash is the mentor, which sounds exciting, but we don't really see a whole lot of him. I have no idea if this is what actually happened or not, but we definitely get the impression that he didn't work with the contestants as much as some of the other mentors did.

Also this week we have something new: duets. Frankly, I thought the idea was going to be kind of a train wreck, but they turned out to be really interesting. Pairing Allison and Adam together makes sense, but it left the odd couple of Danny and Kris. It was really kind of hilarious, and I'm sad that they won't be able to do it again this season (unless they do it tomorrow during the results show), because it was a lot of fun.

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Spike Lee's Strange heading to PBS

by Mike Moody, posted May 1st 2009 1:07PM
spike lee passing strangeTrailblazing filmmaker Spike Lee has done some great work for TV. One of my favorite Lee TV projects is Sucker Free City, his underappreciated pilot/telemovie for Showtime about San Francisco's criminal underground. And who could forget the Emmy Award-winning Hurricane Katrina doc When the Levees Broke for HBO?

Lee is returning to TV with his latest project, Passing Strange, which has just been picked up by PBS' Great Performances series at the Tribeca Film Festival. Strange is expected to air on PBS next year.

The film is a theatrical stage production of the Tony nominated Broadway musical of the same name. It's about a black man who travels to Europe in the 1970s to find himself. The music is by Mark Stewart, or Stew, an acclaimed L.A. based singer/songwriter.

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Adam gets an American Idol wake-up call

by Allison Waldman, posted Apr 30th 2009 3:36PM
adam hairdoWhen Ryan Seacrest did the results from the voting last night on American Idol and put Adam Lambert in the bottom three, my reaction was like Kara's. It was a jaw-dropper. How was it possible that Adam, who's been flying through week after week and has been wowing the judges, was suddenly on the short end of the votes? Being just a tad suspicious, my first thought was that the producers had manipulated the votes or something to make it more dramatic.

And it was! Not only was Adam in the bottom group, so was Kris and Matt. I expected Matt to be there because he's been hanging by a thread for weeks, ever since the judges used their new rule -- the Judges' Save -- to keep him in the competition. So, Matt made sense. Kris was quickly moved to the top group, so sweating over him wasn't in the cards.

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American Idol: Top 5 Perform

by Jane Boursaw, posted Apr 29th 2009 12:22AM
American Idol - Top 5 PerformThe theme on this week's American Idol is songs from the Rat Pack era, and the five remaining contestants are mentored by Jamie Foxx. I get that he's a classically-trained musician who also starred in Ray and Dreamgirls, but is he the best person to mentor on this genre? I get the feeling that whomever is getting bad press calls up the Idol producers and begs to be on the show. Well, that and I'm sure he's plugging The Soloist, in theaters right now. Anyhoo ...

Kris Allen starts things off with "The Way You Look Tonight," one of my favorite songs from that era. It's really nice having Ricky Miner and the band onstage, because it helps to put you in that era. The tune starts off slow, then picks up with a jazzy beat in the middle. Really, really nice.

The Judges: Randy says it's his best performance to date; Kris took his time, told a story, and added some R&B stylings. Kara agrees, saying Kris set the technical standard high for the evening. "You are truly a dark horse in this competition," says Kara. Paula says he's made an amazing transition from boy-next-door to sophisticated gentleman. Simon isn't quite as enthusiastic, saying it's "wet" and like "taking a well-trained spaniel for a walk." He doesn't feel like Kris can win the competition.

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American Idol: 2 of 7 go home

by Jane Boursaw, posted Apr 23rd 2009 12:24AM

American Idol - Lil Rounds and Anoop Desai go homeTwo of the seven remaining contestants on American Idol went home this week. And this time, they actually did go home. It seems like the producers have been trying to psych us out all season, throwing as many surprises as they can to keep the show fresh. Not so tonight. Two went home, and it was no surprise to me who those two were.

But first, we got to see some behind-the-scenes stuff as the Idols prepared for their group number. When Ryan said they called on a huge name in the choreography world for this week's group number, I was pleasantly shocked to see that it was Paula.

It was nice to see her dance again. Makes me want to go back and watch some of her vintage music videos. Thinking about it also took my mind off the goofy disco outfits the Idols were wearing. Anoop had quite the George Michael look going.

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Danny Gokey needs to shake it up...or else

by Allison Waldman, posted Apr 22nd 2009 3:06PM
danny gokey IdolVery early on, it seemed to me that Danny Gokey was a lock to be in the finals for American Idol. He has a great voice, a compelling story, a nice personality that comes across the TV screen, and unless he completely screws it up, Danny is going to be there for the really big finale shows. However, after last night's tepid performance of "September" -- or as Kona put it, he's the "best wedding singer ever" -- I have real concerns about Danny.

Handicapping the finals now, which is a risky endeavor since I'm not a Vegas oddsmaker, I see Adam Lambert and Kris Allen singing it out for American Idol supremacy. Danny Gokey has sung himself out of the top two. He simply hasn't been interesting or creative or dynamic in the past few weeks. Kris and Adam are leaving him in the dust.

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American Idol: Top 7 perform (again)

by Kona Gallagher, posted Apr 22nd 2009 12:20AM
American Idol Top 7

Well, the judges finally used their save last week somewhat confusingly on Matt Giraud. The good news is now that the save has been used, we don't have to endure any more of the awkward begging from the contestants at the end of the show. The bad news is that two people are getting eliminated this week. The worse news is that it's disco night.

In all fairness, though, this group is unlike most Idol groups in that they seem to do better with the more well-defined themes. When it's a free-for-all, like with the Billboard night, they lose their way and everything dissolves into chaos. Disco night just further proves this theory. With a few exceptions, the group manages to turn in vocally solid, interesting and original performances.

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American Idol: Who goes home?

by Jane Boursaw, posted Apr 16th 2009 12:11AM

American Idol - Season 8

I love the movie Flashdance, so I got all excited when the Idols started singing "Maniac" for their group number. But then I quickly deflated when I realized their version is nothing like the movie version with Jennifer Beals doing her butt dance. I'm not a lesbian, but watching that scene always makes me wish I was. Bring on the leg warmers and ripped sweatshirt.

After that, we had some footage of the Idols attending the red carpet premiere of 17 Again and getting to meet Zac Efron, Leslie Mann and the other stars of the film. Zac was in the Idol audience, too, wearing some goofy ski hat and looking like nine miles of bad road, but whatever.

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