Thursday, January 30, 2014

American Idol 13: Salt Lake City Auditions

Everytime I feel myself drifting away from this show every start of the season, they pull me right back in for whatever reason. And yes, American Idol Season 13 managed to do that to me, yet again. I don't know about you, but there's really a new vibe drifting through each episode that feels like the program is fresher than it’s been in the last few seasons. The editing could be it, but I'm counting out the fact that the new panel is pretty fantastic.

I must say though, I was a bit confused with some of their decisions tonight as they gave out golden tickets to people who were mediocre at best, but failed to acknowledge the outstanding vocal talent of Jessica Bassett, who arguably outsang half of the featured singers on this episode. But I digress, as usual.

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

Monday, January 27, 2014

Movie Review: Bride For Rent

The bare bones of the film were fairly familiar, but Bride For Rent was a surprisingly delightful film that worked every step of the way. From slapstick one liners to some really terrific physical comedy, the cast was incredibly well put together. Kim Chiu, in particular, was fantastic! She was funny, endearing, and knocked out some decent acting. Xian Lim didn't fare as well, but there's a certain charm to him that was undeniable and his gradual change was quite believable. The script was bright and breezy with some hysterical moments, it had decent motivations for the characters, and sufficient sentiment without being too schmaltzy. Bride For Rent was hardly a masterpiece and it's not going to blow your mind, but it did what it sets out to accomplish. 7

Movie Review: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Look, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit was a decent effort, but this was possibly one of the most dead even mediocre films I've seen in a long time. It was clear that the film followed a predictable formula, which was a terrible decision as this came out as a bland version of James Bond or any Bourne film. I didn't find myself caring for the story or even for the characters, the plot also fell flat and annoyingly underdeveloped, and I seriously didn't sense any real danger throughout the film. The action sequence weren't even all that. The only thing that worked here was Chris Pine's solid performance. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit had a couple of good moments here and there and the film was perfectly serviceable, but it was entirely generic and forgettable. Pedestrian at best. 5

Saturday, January 25, 2014

American Idol 13: Atlanta Auditions

I was still able to catch the show later today, and I certainly had a few thoughts about the golden ticket winners. I’m becoming very impressed with the crop of talent so far, and while we have certainly seen a huge percentage of people bringing their acoustic guitars, I’m chocking that up to the fact that American Idol has now allowed people to bring them during the auditions. But why would some of them bring one and not use it at all?

Nonetheless, I feel good about the season. The judges are really settling into a nice, comfortable groove and we’ve seen plenty of featured talent and I’m sure we will discover more in the weeks to come. So, on a whole, I think the Idol producers managed to put together a pretty well done cattle call audition round. Thanks, guys!

On with the show!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

American Idol 13: Detroit Auditions

Welcome back to the second week of American Idol. Our next stop is Detroit where we get to see more talented people and I'm actually shocked. You see, the last two episodes have been pretty spectacular so I figured that there has to be a bad episode somewhere, but I was so relieved to have enjoyed even more the Detroit auditions.

I actually saw a couple of people I think could make it far and one who might do some serious damage in the competition. Indeed, this episode was one of the strongest audition cities yet as Michigan provided some impressive talent. As for the judges, they were still pretty fantastic! I would usually groan at this stage as I find it mostly uneventful, but audition phase this year has been amazing.

On thing though, Marialle Sellers got some serious pimpage from American Idol. She opened the season and now she closed the Detroit episode. Not sure why as I find her good but not great. I've seen better in the last three episodes. But I digress.

Here we go!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

American Idol 13: Austin and San Francisco Auditions

It's the Austin/San Francisco Auditions. Once again, we witnessed a couple of rather strong singers and I have to give the producers a big thumbs up for finally editing together quick speedy audition episodes that focused primarily on the good singers and not the freak show train wrecks we had all become so accustomed with. Sure, it might hurt them a bit in the ratings, but big deal, grow up America.

Oh, and Harry Connick Jr. is absolutely fantastic as a judge. I know. I know. The audition phase is heavily edited - see, Ellen DeGeneres and Steven Tyler - but he's been very good at giving useful critiques to these hopefuls. I didn't agree with him most of the time, but at least, he has a clear point of view.

Let’s see how the contestants did in Austin and San Francisco!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Movie Review: The Wolf of Wall Street

Sure, I groaned a bit at the film's lengthy run time, but The Wolf of Wall Street was just wickedly entertaining. The film simply didn't hold back on the extravagance that surrounded its main character from the gratuitous sex to drugs, and alcohol, and yet maintained a storytelling that was decently paced. The editing could've been a bit sharper, but I digress. The direction by Martin Scorsese was masterful, the cinematography was great, and the screenplay was actually quite brilliant. The casting was also pretty fantastic, but it was Leonardo Di Caprio's effortlessly stellar performance that brought the film into a whole another level. The Wolf of Wall Street was both outrageous and clever, but if you're one of those people who are easily offended by raunchy contents and vulgar language, this is not for you. I guess, your like or dislike for this film may very well depend on how well you respond to that fact. 8.5

Sunday, January 19, 2014

DAM NATION: January 2014 Playlist

It's the start of a new year and yes, the playlists are here to stay - complete with a relatively different cover just to not bore everyone with the same old one. Ha! 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. Oh, and a couple of them are carry overs from last year, but I digress.

So, there! Enjoy!

1 Can't Remember To Forget You Shakira (ft. Rihanna)
2 Drunk In Love Beyoncé (ft. Jay Z)
3 Happy Pharrell Williams
4 Love Me Again John Newman
5 Replay Zendaya
6 All Of Me John Legend
7 Stand Down Little Mix
8 You Sound Good To Me Lucy Hale
9 The Man Aloe Blacc
10 Dirty Love Ke$ha
11 Battlefield Lea Michele
12 Hey Brother Avicii
13 Eye of the Pyramid Will Champlin
14 Goodness Gracious Ellie Goulding
15 Do What You Want Lady Gaga (ft. Christina Aguilera)

Password: Who ranked first in the 25 Best Reality Singing Competition Performances of 2013?

American Idol 13: Boston and Austin Auditions

I'm sorry for the lateness of this post. I almost didn't come back this year after the mess that was Season 12 - thanks to Mariah and Nicki, and of course, the useless Randy Jackson - and as much as I tried to contain the primal urges that demanded me to watch American Idol, my love for this cheesy television show prevailed.

And so, we’re back for American Idol Season 13! I hope everyone enjoyed the long break, but it’s time to once again dive down the proverbial rabbit hole in our quest to find a new recording superstar capable of taking the music industry by storm, or more likely, a young white male who plays the guitar since we've already crowned a girl last season. But, either way, the show is back!

But, like every season, we begin with the audition phase. Jennifer Lopez is still a mixed bag for me, but I'm cautiously optimistic with her. I hope she ups her game more now that the other guys have A LOT to say and not just goosies and baby.

It's nice to see Keith Urban back though. Sure, I wasn't completely impressed with him last season as his comments and feedback became more dodgy and lazy as the season went on, but he made me tolerate the panel a bit more last season. I enjoyed how he sang along with nearly every song and he seemed like he was enjoying his job. I also thought that he did an amazing job of navigating the minefield American Idol was last season with Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey. Now, he seemed much more easy going, fun, and witty.

Oh, but there's a new lead judge on the panel though, and his name is Harry Connick, Jr. Guess what? I fully support his ascension and I came out loving him. He gave articulate, precise, intelligent and detailed criticisms without being harsh. Plus, he's incredibly hysterical - I especially loved how he tried to teach Jennifer Lopez about pentatonics! Together, this year's panel has an outstanding chemistry that's pretty riveting and I can't wait to watch more from them.

So yeah, we’re off to a great start! So let's take a look back as I recap the people that stood out in the premiere episode of American Idol Season 13.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

DAM NATION: The Great American Idol Compilation Part 2

And here's the second part of The Great American Idol Compilation with song from a couple of the show's alums from Carrie Underwood to Jessica Sanchez to David Archuleta. We also got an American Idol duet! Enjoy!

1 Blown Away Carrie Underwood
 2 Waiting for Superman Daughtry
3 Silver Lining Lee DeWyze
4 Oh My! Haley Reinhart (ft. B.o.B)
5 Without Me Fantasia (ft. Kelly Rowland & Missy Elliott)
6 Wait For You Elliott Yamin
7 Better With You Kris Allen
8 Gentlemen Jessica Sanchez
9 Just To Feel That Way Taylor Hicks
10 Falling Stars David Archuleta
11 Battlefield Jordin Sparks
12 Life Is Okay Brooke White & Michael Johns

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

DAM NATION: The Great American Idol Compilation Part 1

But aside from the Coronation Singles Compilation, here's the first of a two part compilation of songs from some American Idol alums for the past 12 seasons. Just imagine how much talent American Idol produced over the years. Check out Part 2 tomorrow. For the meantime, enjoy!

1 People Like Us Kelly Clarkson
2 Don't Waste The Pretty Allison Iraheta
3 See You Tonight Scotty McCreery
4 Think Like A Man Jennifer Hudson (ft. Ne-Yo)
5 Laying Me Low David Cook
6 Terrified Katharine McPhee
7 Cried Candice Glover
8 Let's Just Fall In Love Again Jason Castro
9 Don't Make 'Em Like U No More Ruben Studdard
10 Whataya Want From Me Adam Lambert
11 Best Days Of Your Life Kellie Pickler 
12 Gone, Gone, Gone Phillip Phillips

Monday, January 13, 2014

American Idol: Coronation Single Compilation

It's that time of the year again!! American Idol Season 13 will premiere this week and yes, that's already more than a decade of American Idol goodness. I myself cannot believe it! So, here's a little treat for everyone. A compilation of all coronation singles from the past twelve seasons. Who will join them? I can't wait!

1. A Moment Like This Kelly Clarkson
2. Flying Without Wings Ruben Studdard
3. I Believe Fantasia Barrino
4. Inside Your Heaven Carrie Underwood
5. Do I Make You Proud Taylor Hicks
6. This Is My Now Jordin Sparks
7. The Time Of My Life David Cook
8. No Boundaries Kris Allen
9. Beautiful Day Lee DeWyze
10. I Love You This Big Scott McCreery
11. Home Phillip Phillips
12. I Am Beautiful Candice Glover

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Reality Singing Shows: 25 Best Performances of 2013

American Idol. The Voice USA. The X Factor Australia. The Voice Philippines. The X Factor UK. The Sing-Off. The X Factor USA. Yes, I've been reviewing most of these shows for a couple of years now, and this is the only moment where I figured why not make a definitive list of top performances for the year as if it's the Olympics of Reality Singing Shows!

True, I had a hard time doing that on their specific shows, so the task of coming up with a year-end list of 25 Best Performances would be almost next to impossible, but I was up for the challenge. That being said, just like many other lists or countdowns, this one is extremely biased. It's based on personal preferences. There will probably be some performances that are nowhere to be found on your list that may be as high as 10 or something on here - actually I guarantee it. But please respond maturely, flames don't make me particularly happy.

Now, we pay tribute to the LIVE reality singing competition performances that made these shows worth watching - and reviewing!:
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