Tuesday, December 31, 2013

DAM NATION Year End List: 10 Worst Movies of 2013

Now, it's time for the other side of the spectrum right? These films are some of the most unwanted, and most importantly unnecessary films of the year and it’s time to put them on notice.

And just like my "best" list, it’s not physically and financially possible for me to go and watch ALL films that were released this year, and somehow decided not to watch films with terrible reviews, so you'll probably not see The Mortal Instruments: The City of Bones, Grown Ups 2 or anything of that caliber - maybe one. But, you know what I mean. Haha.

On my sixth year now, I give to you the 10 Worst Movies of 2013.

DAM NATION Year End List: 20 Best Movies of 2013

For my obligatory year end count. 70 movies in 12 months. Yes, it's not as many as 2011, but it's a lot better than my record last year. Now, while there were a couple of good films this year, I found it hard to have a clear standout and incredibly memorable movies. But I digress.

Oh, and since I'm not particularly fond of independent films - just my personal preference. Sue me! - so better not bash me for not including most of them in this list. Also, it’s not physically and financially possible for me to go and watch ALL films that were released this year, so you may not find some of them here. Haha. This is just for fun.

So, without further ado, DAM NATION presents the 20 Best Movies of 2013..

DAM NATION Year End List: 25 Songs of 2013

In 2013, we didn't see that blurred line or even that nude wrecking ball coming, we lived for the applause, we roared and we demanded them to wake us up when it's all over. We all decided to be friends with a monster, which caused us a lot of trouble.. trouble.. trouble.. until everything's gone.. gone.. gone.. Ha! But yes, that's probably the best way to sum up another spectacular year for mainstream pop music, so let's have the songs do it for us instead.

Just like every year, these are my picks for the 25 Songs of 2013: odes to frugality, songs about living our fantasy, and even a tune that has something to do about chemicals. These are the songs that I've shared on this blog at some point over the past 12 months.

Of course, this is admittedly a subjective list based on my personal judgments and preferences, but this list should also be a great conversation starter and feel free to agree or disagree. Either way there is a lot of great mainstream music - again, take note, MAINSTREAM MUSIC - to be found here.


Saturday, December 21, 2013

X Factor 3 Wrap-Up: 20 Best Performances

And it finally happened! I didn't think it was possible, but Alex & Sierra completely owned the competition! Their performances proved why most of them will NEVER be the winner of X Factor USA: they were all week by week schooled by Alex & Sierra! Really. Nobody can touch them. They were so far ahead of the others, they weren't even visible in their rearview mirror. I've never seen something this lopsided to be honest.

But enough of that. So, other than Alex & Sierra, who else made the list?

The Voice 5 Wrap-Up: 20 Best Performances

3 months. 27 episodes. Countless live performances. Yes, The Voice Season 5 finally crowned Danielle Bradbery's successor, Tessanne Chin. And now that a new winner has emerged, it’s about time to recognize the best live performances this season.

It’s a pretty interesting batch with a lot of strong vocalists, which made this a rather unpredictable season of who will eventually win the competition. I wasn’t really expecting much from this season after a great Season 4, but I really thought they were able to deliver strong peformances. It was tough finalizing the list, but here we go..

Now, we pay tribute to the performances that made this season worth watching - and reviewing!

DAM NATION: December 2013 Playlist

Here's the last set of songs for 2013. It's a bit tough coming up with a playlist at this time of the year as most artists opt to wait until the the Christmas season is over to release new singles, but then again, there a couple of good songs out there. Anyway, here's a list 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. Cannonball Lea Michele
2. Cried Candice Glover
3. Hold On Colbie Caillat
4. I See Fire Ed Sheeran
5. Pompeii Bastille
6. Natural Disaster Pentatonix
7. Hourglass Zedd (ft. Jessica Sanchez)
8. White Walls Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
9. Tumbling Down Tessanne Chin
10. Adore You Miley Cyrus
11. Marry Me Jason Derulo
12. Let It Go Demi Lovato
13. No Better Lorde
14. Gravity Alex & Sierra
15. Pretty Hurts Beyoncé

Password:DAM NATION's prediction of who will win X Factor 5.

Friday, December 20, 2013

DAM NATION: 1 Million Hits!

Sometime today, DAM NATION crossed 1 million hits! Sure, compared to the other bigger blogs out there, this may not seem like a lot, but it's a personal achievement for me and it's really rewarding as a blogger to see the support DAM NATION gets from the readers - especially the regular visitors no matter what topic I post.

So despite me making a big deal out of it, let me make this post an excuse anyway to thank everyone! Thank you to those who visited the blog so religiously - and even to those who just dropped by the site once and never again. Haha. Thank you to those who took their time to post comments because that somehow made everything a little more dynamic than usual here. Thank you to the people who suggests things for the blog and even to people who contributed an article or two for DAM NATION. Thank you to those who kept on challenging my ideas and of course, to the people who defended me from trolls.

I came into this blogging world not knowing what I was doing, and that was actually quite refreshing. But whatever I did to deserve such a dedicated and supportive readers, I'm thankful! Hopefully, this blog will stay on for the next couple more years! Cheers.

Once again, thank you!

X Factor US 3: Finale Results Show

For an overly underwhelming season of X Factor USA with incredibly tragic ratings, somehow, the show managed to have probably the most promising and marketable winner out of any reality singing competition this year! Simon Cowell better give them the best material possible album as they will probably be the only saving grace of this show. Oh, and the performances were verging from good to huh? Haha. I don't know.

So that's it! It's been a blast - who am I kidding? - reviewing this show, but with all honesty, I think this show got the right winner! Yay!

Let's cut to the chase! And the winner of The X Factor Season 3 is..

RESULTS after the jump!! 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

X Factor US 3: Finale

Yesterday, a new The Voice winner was crowned, and it's time for X Factor US to have it's third winner under it's belt. The Finale show was a little underwhelming in terms of song choices - Alex & Sierra reprised two songs! What was up with that? - but for the most part, all of them delivered solid performances.

Also, I was pretty confident that Alex & Sierra had this in the bag since last week, but somehow, Jeff Gutt managed to pull off a strong set of performances that it could somehow slightly affect the results by tomorrow, but we'll see.

Oh, and Paulina Rubio performed and that was the most amusing thing I've seen this year. Seriously. Haha. 

Let's get on with the rankings, shall we?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Voice 5: Finale Results Show

I've been saying a lot lately that The Voice Season 5 has to be the most unpredictable season EVER as the race to the title has never been this close. There were a good five or six contenders and some frontrunners even faltered early on making this pretty exciting. But, alas, I somehow managed to predict the winner after yesterday's performances. My basis? iTunes sales.

The question now is if the winner will get to have a mildly successful career just like Cassadee Pope and Danielle Bradbery, or be pushed into the corner and be completely forgotten by the public a la Jermaine Paul and Javier Colon? Not quite sure, but I'm hoping for the best. Arguably, the winner has technically the BEST voice.

Results after the jump!!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Voice 5: Finale

It's the Finale week of The Voice Season 5 and that means three songs a piece! Let’s find out which contestants built appropriate sets and which contestants crashed and burned - if there's any.

Of course, we can’t start ranking the contestants until we talk about the night as a whole. It had a little bit of everything, didn’t it? Countless of overdone songs, boring reprises, and duet with their mentors who are not here to promote themselves. Haha.

Anyway, on to my last review and rankings for the season!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Movie Review: The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug

While The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug had a darker edge compared to its predecessor, which was lighter and too comic, this film still managed to capture the grandeur of the franchise. On a technical standpoint, everything was nothing short of brilliant. The cinematography was outstanding, the production values were top notch, and the action sequences were quite impressive. Plus, all the actors did a credible job. The screenplay was a bit weak though as it took a lot of time to really develop some major characters in a compelling way and there were a couple of unnecessary subplots. The pacing was also problematic as the story dragged a bit especially towards the end. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug could've been a lot better with a tighter editing, but other than that, this was great romp and a good set up for an interesting conclusion on both excitement and scale. 8

The Voice 5: Top 5 Studio Versions

Here's the Top 5 Studio Versions with oddly just one songs each. Again, the song choice left me a little cold, but we're almost at the homestretch and maybe they are having trouble finding "interesting" song choices no? Or maybe not, since Alex & Sierra were able to deliver current yet intriguing songs. But I digress.

DAM'S PICK: Angel by Jacquie Lee and Carry On by Will Champlin

X Factor US 3: Top 6 Studio Versions

Here are the Top 6 Studio Versions where Alex & Sierra dominated the iTunes as it ranked #1 for 2 days beating the original. This somehow started the whole trend as Alex & Sierra and some X Factor contestants rose to the charts unexpectedly.

DAM'S PICK: Say Something by Alex & Sierra, Say My Name by Alex & Sierra, and Wake Me Up by Restless Road.

Friday, December 13, 2013

X Factor US 3: Top 4 Results Show

Just like The Voice, X Factor concludes next week, but before that, they have to reveal first the three acts that will be fighting for that $1M recording contract with Simon Cowell's label.

So yes, despite all the mess that happened throughout this season, X Factor found gems with Alex & Sierra as they continue to rank incredibly high on iTunes. Gravity sits pretty at #1 and their performance from last week, Say Something is still at #9, while Little Talks is currently at #12. They have not won yet, but they already have 6 songs in the Top 100 of iTunes. Oh, and Jeff also placed really high at #5 with Hallelujah - just putting it out there.

Results after the jump!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

X Factor US 3: Top 4

I may not agree with this set of Semifinalists - somehow, I was still hoping Khaya Cohen, Josh Levi and Ellona Santiago are still in the competition - but I can't really fault the remaining finalists as they somehow delivered great performances this week. I still prefer one from the others, but that's beside the point.

Oh, and finally, X Factor is creating buzz with Alex & Sierra. They ranked #1 on iTunes last week with Say Something - outperforming the original for two days - and #9 with Say My Name, and somehow this duo are the show's only hope of being renewed for another season. Plus, I'm loving the craziness of Paulina Rubio for some odd reason. Yes, she's not the most articulate, but she's the most entertaining part of the show! Haha.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Sing-Off 4: Top 10

The Sing Off, possibly my other favorite reality singing competition - next to American Idol - is officially back! This underrated show tops everything else! The groups this year are just as talented as the previous seasons, the production is still top notch, and the judging panel with Ben Folds, Shawn Stockman and Jewel is probably the best EVER.

ALL of them know their stuff and they give articulate, precise and detailed criticisms without being harsh. And to be perfectly honest, I didn't think I'd enjoy Jewel as much as the very charismatic Sara Bareilles, but she impressed me so much, I honestly didn't mind her presence. Can I say the second ever useful female judge next to Sara?

The Voice 5: Top 5 Results Show

NAILED IT! I wanted this Top 3 since Matthew Schuler's elimination, but I didn't really think it's possible until it happened today. Based on their performances the entire season, I genuinely thought that the right people got through - I mean, among the remaining five finalists.

Oh, and Cassadee Pope, Michelle Chamuel, The Swon Brothers, and Danielle Bradbery performed their latest singles tonight and it's fun to finally see some of the alums having success after the show.

Results after the jump!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Voice 5: Top 5

To be honest, I wasn't particularly ecstatic with the song choices this week - especially since we're now down to just five - but then again, a couple of people pulled of their otherwise tired song choices. At this point, with a race as tight as Christina's face, anyone could go home tomorrow and yes, I'm not sure who to root for after tonight. It could seriously be anybody's game at this point.

Here we go!

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Voice 5: Top 6 Studio Versions

Here are the studio recordings of the Top 6 tackling two songs each. I wasn't particularly ecstatic about most of their song choices, but I digress. A couple still delivered good studio versions.

DAM'S PICK: Redemption Song by Tessanne Chin, Fell In Love With A Girl by James Wolpert, and Hey Brother by Will Champlin

Sunday, December 8, 2013

X Factor US 3: Top 8 Studio Versions

You know what's interesting, I'm seeing more people downloading X Factor US Studio Versions compared to The Voice. I seriously didn't see that one coming. Who knew?

DAM'S PICK: I Knew You Were Trouble. by Alex & Sierra, Treasure by Josh Levi, and Mama Knows Best by Ellona Santiago

Friday, December 6, 2013

X Factor US 3: Top 6 Results Show

IT HAPPENED AGAIN! Another talented contestant got eliminated and things are getting ridiculous. Seriously. How come the less vocally talented people are still in this whole thing? I have nothing more to say. It's annoying.

Results after the jump!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

X Factor US 3: Top 6

This week they went all DIVA and UNPLUGGED and after Rachel Potter, Khaya Cohen, Lillie McCloud and Josh Levi got eliminated the past couple of weeks, I figured that this show will just rot in hell. But with two fantastic performances from Alex & Sierra and a couple of good ones from the other acts, this has to be one of the best episodes of X Factor this season. Oh, and somehow Paulina Rubio was unintentionally entertaining that I didn't mind her talking nonsense during the whole program.

I just hope America voted for Alex & Sierra as they seem to vote out the actual good singers no?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Voice 5: Top 6 Results Show

Only one person got eliminated tonight, and while it was sad to see the person go, it was hardly surprising. That said, this has to be one of the fastest frontrunner backlash in the history of reality singing shows. Somehow, I blame the coach though as the song choices recently of this fallen contestant was just bland and predictable compared to when it was the contestant's song choice.

Results after the jump!

The Voice 5: Top 6

TWO SONGS! That's right. We're down to the Final 6, and since they have 2 hours to fill, the remaining finalists delivered two performances. Some delivered - in fact, one is just peaking at the right time - and on a night where everyone needed to step up their game, one faltered even harder than last week. Indeed, The Voice has NEVER been this predictable.

Here we go!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Movie Review: Frozen

When Tangled came out a couple of years ago, I knew it was a sign of Disney's fairytale comeback. If that confirmed the point, Frozen solidified it. This was incredibly entertaining, a feel good romp that while it may not have the qualities of the Disney classics such as Beauty and the Beast or Aladdin, it was still a really big step forward for Disney. The visuals were strikingly gorgeous, the lead characters were extremely well written, the voice actors delivered solid performances, and the story was fun, inventive and very much a wild spin on a classic fairytale. Plus, all the musical segments were lively and just pleasing to the ear, as with any Disney film. The villain was a bit disappointing though as he wasn't really well fleshed out and just lame compared to Jafar or Maleficent, but I digress. Frozen got everything you'd expect from a fairytale movie and then some. 8.5
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