Saturday, January 31, 2015

DAM NATION: February 2015 Throwback Playlist

Last month, it was all about the classic bubblegum pop of the 90s. Now, let me give you a diverse set of throwback music this time around varying from rock, country, rnb, pop, and everything in between from way back 1988 to 2003. So yes, make sure to dim the lights and crank up this playlist.


1 The Boy Is Mine Brandy & Monica
2 Save Tonight Eagle-Eye Cherry
3 Don't Let Go (Love) En Vogue
4 I Think I'm In Love Jessica Simpson
5 Thong Song Sisqo
6 All I Wanna Do Sheryl Crow
7 Last Flight Out Plus One
8 Man! I Feel Like A Woman! Shania Twain
9 Real Plumb
10 The Sweetest Thing U2
11 Together Again Janet Jackson
12 I Want It That Way Backstreet Boys 
13 Fast Car Tracy Chapman
14 Cupid 112
15 No Scrubs TLC

Password: Based on the Anticipated Films of 2015 post, what movie will premiere on November 6, 2015.
(All Caps)

Friday, January 30, 2015

American Idol 14: San Francisco Auditions Part 2

Finally! The last night of this season's audition phase is over - yay! - and I liked that they ended it with a couple of strong singers - especially the girls. I did question though the judges' affinity with raw and inexperienced contestants. Why do they keep giving them a slot when they're obviously not ready yet?

Let's finish these auditions!

Movie Review: Into The Woods

I wasn't too familiar with Into The Woods - so no real high expectations were set - but I seriously felt empty after watching the film. The concept of combining famous fairy tales in one story was plain brilliant, the performances were mostly terrific, and they actually created a beautifully crafted world as a backdrop, but then again, some of the flaws here were too glaring to ignore. The pacing was problematic, some of the visual effects were spotty, and the songs were shockingly underwhelming. Don't get me wrong, the lyrics were wonderful, but they were shapeless with no memorable melody. Many of them even sounded too identical that halfway through, I somehow reached full song saturation. Oh, and that final act was a mess. Not sure if that's how it really was on stage, but the final act seemed lazy, rushed, and possibly one of the most disorganized plot twists in recent memory. Into The Woods had some great moments and I could tell that the film started off with much energy and promise, but as time went by everything just faded.. 6.5

Thursday, January 29, 2015

American Idol 14: San Francisco Auditions Part 1

.. and I thought we're done with the auditions! Haha. I'm exhausted after 6 episodes of this and we have one more tomorrow. Can we just cut to the chase and go to the more exciting part - where people start fighting and honing their strategies? The talent, again, were mixed as there were a couple of fantastic vocalists and some crazy people, but it is what it is.

On with the show!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Voice Philippines 2: Top 24 Live Show Part 1

Welcome to The Voice Philippines Season 2's first live performance show and just like last season, this is the point where I start writing about the show. I find the Blind Auditions too long that I honestly couldn't care less, and the format of this show is pretty screwed up. So yeah.

How was the talent? I was a bit underwhelmed as there were a good numbers of contestants who really flopped, but I guess, that's to be expected. The ones that were clearly ready for the spotlight gave some great performances.
So, without further ado, let’s rank the performances!

Movie Review: Mortdecai

Yikes! What a disaster! Given the trend of Johnny Depp's recent films, I wasn't expecting Mortdecai to be excellent, but this was pure garbage. Nothing in this movie seemed realistic, there was very little characterization, in parts due to the overwhelming attempts at some annoyingly dated humor, and it was just full of pointless scenes. Even the acting ensemble, which includes Gwyneth Paltrow, Ewan McGregor, Paul Bethany, were terrible and the shallow content of the film exposed the uncharismatic, borderline irritating nature of this train wreck. Maybe it was meant to be campy, but I just didn't get it. Save yourself some misery and watch something else because Mortdecai, dare I say, is the worst film of 2015 - and it's just January! 2

Friday, January 23, 2015

American Idol 14: New Orleans Auditions

Not sure if this episode was better than yesterday - I can't recall, to be honest. Haha - but there were a couple of decent singers in New Orleans. It's not as brilliant as I expected, considering it's the freaking New Orleans, but I digress. Somehow, I was hoping this audition phase is done. I'm almost exhausted. Ha.

On with the show!

Movie Review: American Sniper

American Sniper was an intense and gripping war film that had me in a constant state of worry and stress, but ultimately a great movie that only gets better the more I think about it. The striking cinematography and crisp editing kept things at a heart palpitating pace, the direction was masterful, it was extremely well-written, and the action sequences seemed systematic, which made it infinitely more striking because of the emotional weight it carried. There was also the explosive performance of Bradley Cooper, who I did not expect to blow me away.  His performance was nuanced, but impeccably layered. One slight criticism though was the establishing flashbacks that were quite distracting, but that's almost nitpicking. American Sniper felt like it combined heart-stopping action, strong performances, and deep emotional conflicts, then wrapped them in a tight, perfectly edited and directed package, and punch you with them in the face. It's not perfect, but it was great nonetheless. 9

Thursday, January 22, 2015

American Idol 14: Minneapolis Auditions

Not sure what's the deal with American Idol recently but it's another uneven episode after an impressive one. It's as if Wednesdays are just an afterthought as they keep the good ones on the second airing of the week instead. Why? How can they be so inconsistent in times like this? They need to keep their audience, so it's smart to spread the talent than put most of them in one episode.

End of rant.

On with the show!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Movie Review: Love, Rosie

Love, Rosie was a gentle surprise of a film. No, it was never a film that reached for something profound and remained within the defined boundaries of the genre's usual plot devices, but it still somehow managed to exude that warm fuzzy feeling - thanks mostly to the two lead actors. Lily Collins was radiant the entire movie and her chemistry with Sam Claflin was fantastic that, at times, it made me forget how the story progressed along predictably and how some characterization felt a bit choppy. The film also took a very realistic take on romance that it was able to give the sweet, the bitter, the mysterious, the delightful, and the ups and downs of one's journey without going melodramatic. Love, Rosie wasn't exactly ground breaking, but it was more than enjoyable experience to recommend sitting through the film and in terms of the genre, this was a delightful movie that captures your attention. 7

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Movie Review: Taken 3

The original Taken was a no nonsense, kick the crap out of everyone who gets in your way type of action film, which had a refreshing premise, a great cast and some pretty solid writing behind it. The second installment was an irritating and unnecessary rehash of the original that's lazily directed and filmed, and while Taken 3 was slightly better than that, it was still a lackluster end to a once good start. Yes, some of the action set pieces were still brutal and stylish, but the polish of the production was lacking, Liam Neeson wasn't as great as he used to be, and there was just not enough tension to make the film even remotely compelling. Everything felt strangely stilted, quiet, and unsure. Plus, the camera work was too frenetic that it was almost dizzying. Taken was probably one of the most unnecessary film trilogies in recent memory and how I wish they stopped with the first one. There was no justification that existed in the original story to merit a sequel, and that made for an unsatisfying end of the whole thing. 5.5

Saturday, January 17, 2015

American Idol 14: New York Auditions

After the underwhelming Kansas episode, American Idol decided to continue with the rollercoaster ride as they slap us with an episode that will probably go down as one of the strongest audition episodes in recent memory. Seriously. There are probably eight people here that I can see winning the show! That's crazy! Oh, and Adam Lamber was actually a pretty good judge. Good job!

On with the show!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Oscars 2015: Nominees!

Nominations for the Academy Awards 2015 were announced today and Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel led the pack with 9 nods each.

As per usual, the 2015 lineup has its fair share of happy surprises - Laura Dern! Everything Is Awesome! Lost Stars! - but there are still enough glaring insults to leave us scalding with rage. Seriously. No love for The Lego Movie. The absence of Jake Gyllenhaal. And Nightcrawler. The disappearance of Gone Girl in every single category - save for Rosamund Pike - and Gillian Flynn getting shut out of Adapted Screenplay also for Gone Girl. Oh Lorde and Lana Del Rey for Original Song.

Bennett Miller's Best Director nod for Foxcatcher, but completely left out of the Best Picture race. Bradley Cooper? Birdman getting snubbed for Film Editing.

End of rant. Haha.

Anyway, here's a quick list of some of the nominees this year, and be back in a couple of weeks for DAM NATION's prediction. 

DAM NATION: Fifth Anniversary!

It's DAM NATION's fifth anniversary! Yay!

1,810 blog posts. 1 million hits. 3 hacking incidents. A handful of hate mails from fans. A quoted review at BBC Radio UK. Moments where the blog was considered "PRESS". A best entertainment blog nomination at the Philippine Blog Awards. A number of loyal and dedicated readers. THAT'S FIVE CRAZY YEARS!

True, this may not seem like a lot, but it's an achievement that's nothing to sneeze at. DAM NATION has been the most consistent thing I've done in a long time, and it's just rewarding to see the support the blog gets from readers throughout those five years - no matter what topics I post. No words to describe how good it feels that my little pet project could be enjoyed by a shockingly good number of people.

So let me make a big deal out of this, and make this post an excuse to thank everyone! Thank you to those who visited the blog 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 interesting and dynamic than usual here. Thank you to the people who contributed an article or two for DAM NATION. Thank you to those who kept on challenging my ideas, to those who were continuously pulling the blog down, and of course, to the people who defended me from trolls.

I came into this blogging world not knowing what I was doing, 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.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

American Idol 14: Kansas Auditions

I have watched every season of American Idol, and this has to be their worst audition show in years. Yes, there were a couple of good singers, but I felt like the bar was set too low that the marginal-at-best singers were put through. No, this wasn't totally a waste of time, but the show needs to make important changes on this phase. I'm hoping tomorrow will be a better episode.

On with the show!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Golden Globe Awards 2015: Winners

So who took home the gold and who's hoping for better luck next year? I must say though, there were A LOT of surprising winners - in a good way - and that made for a very interesting night. But enough preamble - here’s a recap of the big winners at the 72nd annual Golden Globe Awards.

DAM NATION: January 2015 Playlist

New year. New cover. New playlist. It's the start of the year and the monthly playlist is here to stay. So, 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 Heartbeat Song Kelly Clarkson
2 I Bet My Life Imagine Dragons
3 Earned It The Weeknd
4 I Don't Mind Usher (ft. Juicy J)
5 Night Changes One Direction
6 GDRF Flo Rida (ft. Sage The Gemini & Lookas)
7 Only One Kanye West (ft. Paul McCartney)
8 Elastic Heart Sia
9 Living For Love Madonna
10 Good Enough Empire Cast
11 Uma Thurman Fall Out Boy
12 Up Olly Murs (ft. Demi Lovato)
13 Doing It Charli XCX (ft. Rita Ora)
14 Feeling Myself Nicki Minaj (ft. Beyonce)
15 Love Me Like You Do Ellie Goulding

Password: In the 2015 Anticipated Films post, the movie that has a release date of June 12, 2015
(Case Sensitive)

Monday, January 12, 2015

American Idol 14: Top 24 Spoiler!

It's that time of the year again! Just like every year, here's the spoilers for American Idol Season 14 Top 24. I usually post them every February, but since the list have been leaked, I decided to share it with everyone. As usual, The Idol Pad, which I have been following for the last few years, have provided the list on their site. So there's that.

Oh, and they changed the format, yet again, this season following the Top 24 semifinals format from Season 4, 5, 6, 7, and 9. Let's see if this will be helpful for the show.

Again, read at your own risk!! I warned you. If you want to be spoiled.. read on! If not.. go away!

Friday, January 9, 2015

American Idol 14: Nashville/Kansas Auditions

I seriously don't understand why American Idol decided to open the season with a one hour episode that was fairly mediocre, when they have this episode to brag about. I. MEAN. I really thought that tonight had a great group of singers. There was a shockingly diverse set of interesting styles and, frankly, I saw several people that I'm very interested in following - so the episode was a win for me.

Oh, and I still can't get enough of the judges too! They were hysterical and I just realized now how much I missed them.

On with the show!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

DAM NATION: January 2015 Throwback Playlist

That's right! DAM NATION is doing a throwback playlist this year. The world needs to listen to more of these bubblegum pop classics and some awesome flashback tunes, that we've decided to create this monthly compilation. From familiar hits of several boybands, popstars, and artists, make sure to dim the lights and crank up this playlist.

Oh, and just to make things clear. DAM NATION will be posting this every first week of the month, while the DAM NATION playlists will remain every 15th of the month. So there, more music for everyone!


1 Try Again Aaliyah (ft. Timbaland)
2 Bring It All Back S Club 7
3 Torn Natalie Imbruglia
4 Never Ever All Saints
5 Stronger Britney Spears
6 Crush Jennifer Paige
7 Ray of Light Madonna
8 You Gotta Be Des'ree
9 Wonderwall Oasis
10 It's Gonna Be Me *NSYNC
11 What Can I Do The Corrs
12 Say You'll Be There Spice Girls
13 Doo Wop (That Thing) Lauryn Hill
14 Come On Over Christina Aguilera
15 MMMbop Hanson

Password: DAM NATION Anticipated Films of 2015, how many films are included for the month of May?

American Idol 14: Nashville Auditions

.. AND IT HAS BEGUN.. AGAIN! Wow. This is my seventh year of covering the show, and while it's admittedly tiring with some underwhelming seasons along the way, I just couldn't get enough of American Idol. So yeah, 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.

The episode wasn't as strong as I would've wanted, but it's the audition round, so what else to expect. The sneak peak of the Final 24 at the top of the episode was a brilliant idea though.

On with the show!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Reality Singing Shows: 25 Best Performances of 2014

The Olympics of Reality Singing Competition is back! But unlike last year, this edition is much more interactive. The usual suspects are still included - American Idol, The Voice US, The X Factor Australia, The X Factor UK, and The Sing-Off - but we now have the addition of The Voice UK, The Voice Australia, and Rising Star US in the mix.

This made the process a lot harder as we sift through all the performances, hence the extended help from the best set of people - seven [7] people - that are also into these reality singing competitions. You will be surprised with how much background they all have regarding the landscape of these shows.

So, DAM NATION gave them a shortlist of 60 performances and asked the panel to rank them according to their personal preferences. Tallied the scores up, and came up with a definitive list of 25 Best Performances of 2014. Sounds fun right?

Reality Singing Shows: 25 Best Performances of 2013

See what you make of this little lot below, and let us know of your thoughts.
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