Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Voice 4: Blind Auditions Part 2 Studio Versions

Folsom Prison Blues Midas Whale
Mamas Don't Let Your Babies.. Tawnya Reynolds
No Me Doy Por Vencido Cathia
One Of Us Sarah Simmons
Sunday Morning Josiah Hawley

The Voice 4: Blind Auditions Part 1 Studio Versions


Boyfriend Vedo
Can't Help Falling In Love Jess Kelner
Fallin' The Morgan Twins
Knockin' On Heaven's Door Mark Andrew
Mean Danielle Bradbery
Saving All My Love For You Kris Thomas
Sexy And I Know It Christian Porter
What A Girl Wants Judith Hill

Movie Review: It Takes A Man And A Woman

Eh. Not going to lie, I enjoyed its first two films, but It Takes A Man And A Woman, to me, was somehow disappointing. Yes, there were a couple of redeeming factors in it and the chemistry between John Lloyd Cruz and Sarah Geronimo was still extremely palpable - the latter, though I like her, slightly annoyed me with the way she delivered her lines. Maybe it was intentional? - but the story just went on and on and on. The plot dragged, the narrative fell flat, the editing was problematic and everything felt like one giant rehash of A Very Special Love and You Changed My Life. I was baffled with some of the unnecessary references from their previous films as they were, well, unnecessary and pointless. It's a decent effort and I thought that It Takes A Man And A Woman was a perfectly watchable film, but it just didn't do anything for me. Sorry. 6

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Movie Review: G.I. Joe: Retaliation

Not as horrible as The Rise Of Cobra four years ago, but G.I. Joe: Retaliation was still pretty lame. It was thinly written and everything was awfully too convenient, the pacing was still quite uneven and there was something tedious about how the action sequences were executed. The cast delivered fine performances, but since there was little character depth, I honestly didn't care much about any of them. The film was technically well made and that alone made this a bit more tolerable to watch, but it was just plagued with so many flaws that it can only be described as a missed opportunity.. again! As a single movie for a bit of Hollywood entertainment, this was ok. Still, G.I. Joe Retaliation was a mind-numbingly raw experience that I personally felt empty after watching it. 5.5

Friday, March 29, 2013

American Idol 12: Top 8 Results Show

Devin Velez. NAILED IT! Man, this is quite the streak I have going. Then again, has anything been truly shocking yet this season other than Nicki Minaj's rampage yesterday? Devin suffered from one of the worst weaknesses an Idol finalist can have: He was forgettable. The voice was there and he's obviously A LOT better than Lazaro Arbos, but he just couldn’t leave a lasting impression on the voters. He's been in the bottom 3 every single results show and he's living on a borrowed time. And to that the fact, that he - together with Burnell - threw Lazaro under the bus. I'd probably do the same if it was me, but I guess Devin came off looking tainted.

NEXT WEEK'S THEME: Classic Rock, No Ballads.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

American Idol 12: Top 8 Studio Versions

.. and suddenly, they're down to 8. This week, the Final 8 tackled a fairly wide yet tired theme, Motor City - or as they say, Motown. Most of them delivered some good performances, but who had the best recording?

[REVIEW] American Idol 12: Top 8 Performances

RANDOM THOUGHTS: I really enjoyed Amber Holcomb and Janelle Arthur's studio recordings. Amber's effortless vocals were front and center here and her tone was just luscious and nuanced. As for Janelle, while I would've preferred the production to be just between her voice and the acoustic guitar - the production threw me off a bit - this was a very lovely, restrained yet intense version of the song. A little underwhelmed by Kree Harrison and I didn't really care for Angie Miller's faux rock arrangement of her Motown song. Lazaro Arbos was just, umm, mediocre at best.

Movie Review: The Croods

The Croods may be slightly predictable and a bit formulaic, but at no point in the film was I bored. I thought the pacing was relatively good as it avoided any significant lulls and I found the jokes to be in good taste and genuinely funny - having both slapstick humor and more subtle satirical jokes. There was undeniably a lot of ingenuity and cleverness that was wrapped around the film. Of course, the animation was richly detailed and visually stimulating and the voice acting especially from Nicholas Cage and Emma Stone were spot on. Some of the characters were portrayed a tad too stereotypical, but I digress. The Croods was a movie with bucket loads of charm, personality and neat little jabs of humor for adults. Bottom line: I loved it. 8.5

American Idol 12: Top 8

I love Motown - and we've seen a lot of stellar performances throughout the past 11 seasons of American Idol - but somehow it really comes across as dated when covered. That being said, I felt like this season has finally come into it's own tonight as the contestants actually gave relatively good performances.

Oh, and the judges were actually constructive, truthful and sort of accurate. Especially Nicki Minaj who lost her mind after a trio performance. Haha. Yes, American Idol suddenly turned into Hunger Games when some of the contestants sort of threw each other under the bus. Loved it!

Without further ado, on to the rankings!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Voice 4: Blind Auditions Part 2

This was one pretty entertaining episode. I thought the talent was so much better than last night and the lack of sob stories were a big improvement. Oh, and Shakira cracked me up. She's a hoot, I tell you! Haha.

That said, I think Adam Levine is building a stronger group compared to the other mentors. This may be a good thing for him, but if he stubbornly put these solid contestants against each other in the Battle Rounds, meltdown will be inevitable. Haha.

So, how did the contestants do?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Voice 4: Blind Auditions Part 1

The Voice is back!! 3 Seasons. 3 Winners. Countless contestants. But where are the breakout stars? Haha.

As far as entertainment goes, The Voice killed American Idol just from this episode - mostly on the very charismatic panel.Yes, just from this first episode alone, I already enjoyed Usher and Shakira more than Christina and Cee Lo. The tone of their interactions and the chemistry between these mentors were fun and entertaining. A HUGE contrast from the American Idol who were detached from one another. Oh, and the thing this show has over American Idol was better songs. Why can't Idol have that? Aargh.

I cannot fully admire the show though when they put on a professional singer like Judith Hill. Yes, it's nice for them to give second chances, but why not call this show 'SECOND CHANCE' instead if most of them are already professional singers? These contestants may be awesome, but isn't it a bit unfair to the other contestants?

But I digress.

Anyway, let’s see how the contestants did in this episode,

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Movie Review: Admission

While I did feel like Admission was moderately entertaining and mildly amusing, when the movie was played out, I was actually less than fulfilled. I don't know. Tina Fey and Paul Rudd had a wonderful chemistry that never felt forced or phony, but the story in itself was relatively predictable filled with cliches and overplayed scenes. It was so paint-by-the numbers that literally, I guessed every scene in my head. The comedy was surprisingly sparse and there just wasn't a highly memorable scene in it. Admission was decent, albeit a forgettable comedy that I can laugh once or twice and then move on with my life. Haha. 5.5

Saturday, March 23, 2013

American Idol 12: Top 9 Studio Versions

.. and then they were down to 9. During the live performance night, almost everyone rose to the challenge with the Lennon-McCartney songbook, but was it the same story when it comes to the studio recordings? Not exactly.

RANDOM THOUGHTS: Amber Holcomb probably has the BEST recording this week - or even this season. I honestly could listen to this over and over. I honestly don't know what is it about Amber's voice, maybe the mixture of tone, effortlessness and clarity, but it's absolutely divine. Janelle Arthur also has a nice recording with a very appealing old country sound to her voice. Candice Glover, yet again, has a better live performance than her studio version. Oh, and sue me, but I hated Angie Miller's version of Yesterday. Just like her live performance, she overly interpreted the song. It's pageanty with no nuance whatsoever. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Music Video: Tonight - Jessica Sanchez (ft. Ne-Yo)

Right on the heels of her blazing performance of her debut single, Tonight featuring Ne-Yo, on American Idol. Jessica Sanchez releases the official music video of the song. Yes, the single is available now!

To coopt Nicki Minaj's favorite words, "I'm obsessed with this song!" Haha. Sure, Tonight is generic when compared to other mainstream pop music, but Jessica sold this song convincingly. It's fun, young, catchy and hip. I'd stab myself if she released a ballad a la Change Nothing for a single because that will never do her any favors. It's just fascinating to see the young lady, which I was blogging last year here, grew up to be a potential pop star. Enjoy!

American Idol 12: Tonight - Jessica Sanchez (ft. Ne-Yo)

Watch Jessica Sanchez as she debuts her single Tonight featuring the Ne-Yo on the American Idol stage. The song is off her debut album, Me, You & The Music, which is out April 30, 2013.

Tonight wasn't anything groundbreaking, but it's seriously refreshing to have a current sounding performance from an American Idol alum. I love the energy and sass and this girl just has star power! I have a funny feeling that she'll be one of the few that makes the successful transition from the show to current pop music. Jordin Sparks and Kelly Clarkson managed that and Jessica looks primed to potentially make it big in mainstream modern pop.

[HD] Jessica Sanchez & Ne-Yo - Tonight... by IdolxMuzic

American Idol 12: Top 9 Results Show

Paul Jolley. Nailed it yet again! Not much to say, really. I’m pretty sure we had all come to the conclusion, barring an outrageous shock elimination, that Paul Jolley would be shown the door this week. His performance was decent, but it wasn't memorable enough to make an impression to the voting public. He was part of the Bottom 3 last week and with Devin having a slight rebound last night, there's no way Paul will be able to survive this week.

Oh, and it finally happened. There are officially NO white guy on the show. The streak has ended and in fact, this is the first time in the history of American Idol that there isn’t one white male in the Top 8. Wow


Thursday, March 21, 2013

American Idol 12: Top 9

We’re back for another week of American Idol with Lennon/McCartney theme week. Yes, this little reality singing show is yet again repeating the same theme this week that we’ve done in past seasons. Of course, these songs are legendary and great classics, but can we have a more exciting and creative themes next time? Seriously!

That's not to say the performances were awful because most of them rose to the challenge, and now that it has become obvious that this season’s talent is pretty solid - at least, on the girl's side - it’s time I start ranking them on a much tougher scale. It’s not enough to sing and perform well week after week. I’m going to start focusing on who is really connecting to the spirit of a song. It’s time to look beneath the surface of these contestants and decide if they really have what it takes to become a popular recording artist. Let’s take it to a whole new level..

On to the rankings!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

DAM NATION: March 2013 Playlist

Yes, it's that time of the month again. Here's another set of 15 songs that I (personally) fancy, that are already doing good on it's own and maybe some new singles from different artists that will probably - or maybe not - be hits in the next coming weeks in whatever format.

So, there! Enjoy!

1. People Like Us Kelly Clarkson
2. Heart Attack Demi Lovato
3. Lonely Boy Black Keys
4. Just A Fool Christina Aguilera (ft. Blake Shelton)
5. My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark Fall Out Boy
6. Tonight I'm Getting Over You Carly Rae Jepsen
7. Army Of Two Olly Murs
8. I Could Be The One Avicii (ft. Nicky Romero)
9. Poetic Justice Kendrick Lamar (ft. Drake)
10. One Way Or Another (Teenage Kicks) One Direction
11. Almost Home Mariah Carey
12. Next To Me Emeli Sande
13. Is This Love Alex Gaudino (ft. Jordin Sparks)
14. Radioactive Imagine Dragons
15. Can't Hold Us Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (ft. Ray Dalton)

Password Hint:American Idol 12 Finalist who ranked 5th in my Top 10 Review

American Idol 12: Top 10 Studio Versions

.. and here's the post most of you have been waiting for! Last year, I sort of stopped uploading the studio versions for reasons I will no longer talk about, but yes, studio versions are back!! This week, we start the Finals and with only 10 contestants left, things will be pretty interesting - or maybe not?

RANDOM THOUGHTS: The real standouts here are Angela Miller, Kree Harrison and Paul Jolley. I like Angela's stylistic choices on the recorded version and her voice sounds really pretty. Kree's phrasing is just stunning here and I think Paul has a great recording voice.  Not as crazy with Candice Glover's recording though as it fails to capture the fire she had during the live performance.

Friday, March 15, 2013

American Idol 12: Top 10 Results Show

It’s that time of the week again! American Idol eliminated its first finalist and we will move forward in the competition. Top 10 week wasn’t too impressive, but that's usually the deal at the beginning of the finals round. Now, while it was pretty refreshing on American Idol that some true results were revealed tonight - copying X Factor US eh? - I’m pretty uncomfortable knowing who ranked where. It flopped in that other reality singing show - it killed the unpredictability of it all - and I don't see it changing with American Idol.

Let’s talk about the young man who left us in tenth place!

Curtis Finch, Jr. Yes, I saw this one coming. Aside from the fact that he's remotely likable, he performed first, which was obviously a death spot, and yes, his performance wasn't that good. Plus, I think he overreached. He probably saw guys like Joshua Ledet and Jacob Lusk take on huge predictable songs during their seasons and get far in the competition and assumed, "I’m just as good as them." Sadly, he wasn’t. Not even close. In the end, the reason behind his departure was rather simple. Curtis was eliminated because he was not consistent enough to progress to the next round and no one really liked him. End of story.

NEXT WEEKS THEME: Lennon/McCartney Songbook (AGAIN?)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

American Idol 12: Top 10

We’re back for another week of American Idol as the contestants begin the final rounds of the competition with "Sing a Song From an American Idol Winner's Catalog" theme week (so, you know, lie and technically sing whatever you want).

True, watching current Idol contestants sing previous Idol winners song felt like watching a time paradox unfolding in front of our eyes - I couldn’t tell if a hole was going to tear in the time space continuum - it was all sorts of exciting, until I realized that these song choices were as predictable as Randy's critiques. Everyone ended up singing ballads and the show somehow became duller than Ryan Seacrest's hair.

Oh, and we were introduced once again to the influence of Jimmy Iovine who still looked like a teenager who had a spell cast on him. I kept thinking a witch stole all of his youth and turned him into a middle-aged man. Haha.

Let’s get to the rankings! We had a bit of a rollercoaster night, and while a few contestants stood out, others faltered and stumbled. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Voice Season 4: Promo!

Already? Haha. Anyway, here's the extended preview of The Voice Season 4, which will premiere this March 25, 2012 with Shakira and Usher taking Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green's seats.

I'm obviously an American Idol fantard, but I admit that The Voice is an outstandingly fresh entertaining show - mostly because of the coaches/judges. In terms of pure lighthearted entertainment, this one takes the cake. But the show is already on it's 4th edition and we have yet to see, at the very least, one mildly successful alum.

What good is a show about finding the next singing sensation if they flop right out of the gate. I don't expect The Voice to have produced a superstar in two short seasons and that's fine if they see their show as pure entertainment and that intent of the show is not to launch the contestants careers. But they need to stop pontificating about about how they are doing this for the "right reasons" unless that reason is self promotion for these judges.

Blake Shelton mentioned that "Everyone wants to be on The Voice", but if I seriously want to have a career in music, I'd rather join American Idol or The X Factor

Sunday, March 10, 2013

American Idol 12: Ranking the Top 10

I think we were spoiled by the past two seasons that this group of 10 seems a bit underwhelming. Logistically, not every year is going to be better than the last year and historically - no matter how coincidental - seasons divisible by three are the weakest seasons on American Idol EVER.

Season 3 had the weakest group of guys EVER with George Huff, Matt Rogers, Jon Peter Lewis and the incomparable John Stevens. This season also saw the shocking eliminations of Jennifer Hudson and LaToya London.

Season 6 also had a weak group mostly because the show decided to stack the group with big-voiced belters - Jordin Sparks, Melinda Doolittle, LaKisha Jones and Stephanie Edwards and a couple of lackluster guys with Phil Stacey, Brandon Rogers, Chris Sligh, and the infamous Sanjaya Malakar. Blake Lewis added a hint of diversity, but he's not great of a vocalist.

Season 9, to me, was the weakest Top 12 ever on American Idol though. Sure, it had Crystal Bowersox, but she's an antithesis for a cheesy show like American Idol. It had mostly mediocre singers from Lacey Brown to Aaron Kelly to Andrew Garcia and Tim Urban. Heck, even the eventual winner Lee DeWyze was not ready to carry on the tradition of vocal spotlessness forged by Kelly Clarkson all the way through to Kris Allen.

So yes, there's so much cynicism this season, but I'm not willing to throw this show to the wolves and give up on it. But yes, this year will be very tough for predictions across the board. Not because Season 12 has a strong group - it's a bit lopsided, to be honest - but because outside Amber Holcomb, each contestant has had a lot of pimping at one point or another and there are no wildcards to actually predict who will get cut first based on America's votes.

Oh, and I must say that with a STRONG field of women, this might be one of the weakest field of guys in the history of the show. So, if a girl can't win among this strong line up, WE WILL NEVER SEE A GIRL WIN AGAIN. Unless, the show decides to do a girls only edition. Haha.

American Idol 10: Ranking the Top 13
American Idol 11: Ranking the Top 13

So, on a mildly more serious note, let’s take a look at these finalists and decide where they really stand. After all, we are about to embark on a ten-week sprint to the finish line. Let’s take a deep breath before hand..

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Movie Review: Oz the Great and the Powerful

I have to say, Oz the Great and the Powerful was glorious to watch just for it's visual effects alone. I really liked Sam Raimi's style where the world seemed so vibrant, lush and happy. He managed to create an exquisite place, often colorful, but in parts ravaged and desolate. I thought the cast did relatively well especially James Franco who exuded an infectious and cheeky comic energy. The story lacked a bit of a punch though and a hint of irony and complexity could've added a lot more to the film, but this was a largely entertaining piece of eye candy that's worth seeing, despite its fair share of flaws. 8

Friday, March 8, 2013

American Idol 12: Top 20 Results Show

Ok. So, today is the day when American Idol whittles down it's semifinalists from 20 to Top 10 - and possible wildcards. I'll sort of update this post from time to time, but again, read at your own risk. I'm not spoiling anyone!

Top 10 Girls Review
Top 10 Boys Review

NEXT WEEK'S THEME: American Idol Winners Catalog


Thursday, March 7, 2013

American Idol 12: Top 10 Boys

This episode further proves my point that this group is underwhelming compared to previous seasons - save for Season 6 and 9. Somehow, I honestly prefer Stefano Langone or Paul McDonald any day!! Sure, there were a couple of awesome performances, but as a group, tonight sucked. Wake me up in May. Or better yet, January 2014?

And the judges? Well, Mariah Carey talks way too much, but eventually says NOTHING, the boys bring out the worst of Nicki Minaj, and someone needs to glue Keith Urban to his chair. Haha.

Let’s rank the contestants!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

American Idol 12: Top 10 Girls

Keith Urban mentioned at the start of the show that there's some real diversity with the contestants this season. Well, I honestly don't see it. Where's the Elise Testone of this season? Or the Jessica Sanchez? Or the Megan Joy? Or the Haley Reinhart?

As I've said in my previous blog, everyone is sounding so familiar and then, in retrospect, ordinary. There are so many of the same type of artists that they keep running over each other and that's not a good thing. Season 12 contestants are composed mostly of RnB and Country singers - much like how they've decided to pack Season 9 with singer-songwriter/indie finalists and we all know how that season ended, right? Right!

But how did the girls do tonight? I give MOST of them kudos for singing relatively new songs - not the overdone American Idol song choices - but these girls were SO wooden. I was hoping that one of them will grab that mic off the stand and work the stage, but that didn't happen! Well, Zoanette did, but she wasn't exactly singing so whatever.

If these girls could combine their voices with Zoanette's energy, maybe then we'd have a whole different ballgame, but these girls performed like someone drained all the energy out of them. This season is looking so far like boring girls and weird lame guys. Oh joy!

Let's get on with the rankings!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Movie Review: Mama

There were seriously some terrifying moments in the film especially when those two little girls appeared during the first ten minutes, but I rolled my eyes every time Mama came popping on screen - and yes, that's NEVER a good sign. I thought they showed the villain far too often that everything suddenly became silly. I don't know. It had fine performances, a startling and fresh premise, and some disturbing and quite unsettling scenes, but the whole film was also scattered and not focused on which direction to take. While Mama wasn't particularly a terrible film, it also didn't stand out with the best either. 4.5

American Idol 12: Ranking the Top 10 Boys

I got it! I now know why I'm so underwhelmed with season's group of guys - aside from the fact that most of them aren't that great singers - and why the girls will probably dominate this season. I figured that there are so many of the same type of artists in this group that they keep running over each other like little kids in a bumper car arena.

Everyone is starting to sound so familiar and then, in retrospect, ordinary. Until a few of them get knocked off there will be so much vote splitting that any girl will stand a decent shot of winning this show. But, let's see.

Anyway, just like the Top 10 Girls, let’s take a look at these finalists and decide where they really stand.

SEASON 10 Ranking
SEASON 11 Ranking (Boys)
SEASON 11 Ranking (Girls)

Let's go to the rankings, shall we?

American Idol 12: Ranking the Top 10 Girls

Every year I like to take a moment a couple of days before the semifinals begin and really dig deep into some of these contestants. Talent, vocal ability, personality, and other artistic qualities that make a contestant a contender shed light onto where exactly I - as an addicted fantard - stand at this point in the competition.

So, just like every year, based on their auditions down to their Sudden Death performances, I'm stubbornly doing it again this season hoping that I'll get things right this time. Haha.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at these finalists and decide where they really stand. After all, we are about to embark on a twelve-week sprint to the finish line after this. Let’s take a deep breath before hand.

SEASON 10 Ranking
SEASON 11 Ranking (Boys)
SEASON 11 Ranking (Girls)

Let's go to the rankings, shall we?

Friday, March 1, 2013

American Idol 12: Sudden Death Top 40 - Boys Group 2

I’m well aware that American Idol is desperate for a female winner (as am I!), but watching these male “contestants” fail miserably was just laughable. I’m praying that next week, they will put my fears to rest and that this was just an aberration, otherwise we'll be in some serious trouble.

I have nothing more to say. Haha.

Let's get on with the rankings!
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