Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Voice 8: Top 8 Results Show

Wow. I actually nailed it. I was expecting the results to be frustrating, but I couldn't be more pleased with the outcome. I thought the two weakest vocalists went home - although I am a fan of one of them - and yes, we actually have a strong Top 6. Good job, America!

Results after the jump!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Voice 8: Top 8

Hmm. I wouldn't say that this was an incredibly impressive week for The Voice, but the show managed to come out with a couple of standout performances. At this point, other than Sawyer Fredericks who's so winning this season, everything is pretty unpredictable. Not sure how things will go down this week, but I'm scared. Like, Mia Z scared. Haha.

On with the show!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Movie Review: Avengers: Age of Ultron

Marvel had set the bar high for themselves - consistently delivering solid to fantastic films everytime - and Avengers: Age of Ultron was no exception; this was just flat out spectacular! I genuinely couldn't ask for much more. The darker tone was perfectly handled as it didn't go too far adding touches of humor here and there, which arguably made the Avengers movies work. The visual effects were, as usual, pretty outstanding, the tag team fights were well-played, and Joss Whedon's direction was incredibly masterful. Considering how many larger than life characters there were in this film, it was quite impressive how the movie balanced the characters flawlessly. True, the story was simple and at times a bit convoluted, but how it was executed worked wonderfully. Does the film have flaws? Sure, but so does every other movie and some with far more dumb plot holes. I didn't mind. With an immense casting, decent story, and visuals that put Transformers blur to shame, Avengers: Age of Ultron was a terrific blockbuster film. 9

Saturday, April 25, 2015

American Idol 14: Top 5 Studio Versions

This week, they tackled some "Arena Anthems" - I put quotation marks just because most of them weren't exactly anthems moreso for arenas, but I digress - and the results were varied. Also, Jax - or the production? - made another misstep by releasing Are You Gonna Be My Girl instead of White Flag. It happened with Rayvon and Nick last week. If she had released that instead, she could've given Clark Beckham a run for his money on the charts.

Here's how they ranked and peaked against other songs available on iTunes:

#269 Boyfriend - Clark Beckham
#340 I'm Not The Only One - Rayvon Owen
#738 Maggie May - Nick Fradiani
#1450 Are You Gonna Be My Girl - Jax

Again, Tyanna is nowhere to be found. It's quite baffling that she only charted once throughout the whole season with Stay - not surprising as that was her moment - and yet she managed to keep out of the Bottom 2 each week. I guess her fanbase are not just buying her music? That said, the numbers are abysmal compared to how The Voice studio recordings are "dominating" the charts every week. Then again, they are used as votes, so whatever.

As for my personal recommendation, I honestly enjoyed Rayvon and Jax's recordings. Clark's take on Justin Biber's Boyfriend started off quite brilliantly and I was really enjoying it until he started screaming towards the end, which threw me off. I don't know.

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Friday, April 24, 2015

American Idol 14: Top 5

It’s American Idol 14’s Top 5/6 night and the theme is "Arena Anthems" though, let’s face it, it should really have been called "Sing Anything You Want And We'll Just Call It Whatever".

The remaining contestants returned this week and somehow phoned it at least one song each and a couple of people stepped it up, but did so in a big way. Shockingly though, there were some huge missteps I wasn't expecting and some contestants still making beginner's mistakes.

Anyway, let's get on with the rankings!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Voice 8: Top 10 Results Show

Not sure how to feel about this week's elimination. I felt like the Bottom 3 had weak performances, but on earth Team Blake survived this week unscathed? I seriously don't know what to say. I guess, Blake really has people behind him no?

Anyway, let's go with results shall we?

Results after the jump!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Voice 8: Top 10

This was, yet again, another strong week for The Voice! Some perceived frontrunners remained unhinged, while one dark horse emerged this week. At this rate, it's almost impossible to predict with such a strong group of finalists - and that's even after Mia Z got eliminated last week. That's how solid this season is.

There were no legit duds this season and things will get more predictable as we whittle down the batch into a small group. Can't wait for the Hunger Games! Ha.

On with the rankings!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Movie Review: The DUFF

Never mind that the plot was thin. Never mind that it has all been done before. Never mind that it was shallow. The DUFF was a subtle, but well-crafted fluff that may warm even the hardest cynics. Indeed, the film was fairly predictable and a decidedly stereotypical movie about high school and teenagers, but then again, what else is new among this genre of teen comedies? What kept the film going was it's energetic and spirited cast of young actors lead by Mae Whitman, who brought a lot of spunky personality to her role, and Robbie Amell. Together, they had a strangely believable romantic chemistry. The strong narrative threads were surprisingly not that convoluted and there's a good deal of flashy visuals and successful attempts at humor.  The DUFF was light, fluffy and fun, and can only be enjoyed if you take it for what it is. 7.5

American Idol 14: Top 6 Studio Versions

For this week, here are the studio versions as the remaining finalists tackle American Classics. Sadly, they just recorded one song - despite performing two - and some of them were, arguably, their weaker performances. Case in point, Rayvon Owen's Long Train Runnin' instead of Always On My Mind. But I digress. Enjoy!

Here's how they ranked and peaked against other songs available on iTunes:

#339 Superstition - Clark Beckham
#766 Piece Of My Heart - Jax
#799 American Girl - Nick Fradiani
#934 The Sound of Silence - Quentin Alexander
#1235 Somebody To Love - Joey Cook

These numbers are depressing, no? Also, I'm seeing a trend here. Unless both Tyanna and Rayvon provide a showstopper, their songs don't chart at all. Now, as for the recordings, I genuinely enjoyed Joey Cook's Somebody To Love and Nick Fradiani's American Girl - although I hope he recorded Only The Good Die Young instead.

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American Idol 14: Top 7 Studio Versions

Sorry for the late post, but here are the studio versions for Billboard Top Hits Week. Most of them had some stellar recordings, but the people the stood out were Clark Beckham's Make It Rain, Quentin Alexander's Latch, and Rayvon Owen's Set Fire To The Rain. Check them out!

Here's how they ranked and peaked against other songs available on iTunes:

#122 Make It Rain - Clark Beckham
#669 Stay - Tyanna Jones
#1026 Teenage Dream - Nick Fradiani
#1257 Poker Face - Jax

That's right. Joey Cook, Quentin Alexander, Rayvon Owen and Qaasim Middleton were nowhere to be found. Sad.

Password: Blog's Twitter Handle (include @)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

DAM NATION: April 2015 Playlist

It's finally here. Apology for the late post of this month's playlist - there was just too much going on - but here it is. 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.


1 See You Again Wiz Khalifa (ft. Charlie Puth)
2 Hold Back The River James Bay
3 Sparks Hilary Duff
4 The Real Thing Nashville Cast (ft. Christina Aguilera)
5 Post To Be You Omarion (ft. Chris Brown & Jhene Aiko)
6 All That Carly Rae Jepsen
7 Bright Echosmith
8 Creep Postmodern Jukebox (ft. Haley Reinhart)
9 Yoga Janelle MonĂ¡e and Jidenna
10 Ghosttown Madonna
11 Trouble Iggy Azalea (ft. Jennifer Hudson
12 Hey Mama David Guetta (ft. Nicki Minaj & Afrojack)
13 Girl Crush Little Big Town
14 Chains Nick Jonas
15 Bitch Better Have My Money Rihanna

Password: In the video included in post "The Voice UK 4 Wrap-Up: 25 Best Performances", what are the three words in white font at the start of the video? (all caps)

Friday, April 17, 2015

American Idol 14: Top 6


I have seen ALL episodes of American Idol since Season 3, and yet, this was the first time I felt so uncomfortable watching the show. EVER. Yes, I'm talking about Joey Cook's flower head piece. Haha. I kid. But seriously, that Harry Connick Jr-Quentin Alexander smack down was both strange and compelling live television. I don't want to witness anything like that again on American Idol, but it made the show a lot more unpredictable. Oh, and as for the performances? There were A LOT and I felt exhausted after sometime, but I digress.

Disclaimer: my rankings were so close. I agonized about my decision, and I'm not even sure if I'm right about them now.  Haha.

On with the show!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Voice 8: Top 12 Results Show

For the love! This was possibly one of the most shocking eliminations of the entire series. Seriously. I know that the talent this season is so deep that one awful performance could actually eliminate the real frontrunners, but I didn't think one of them deserved the boot THIS early. It was like watching Sarina-Joi Crowe's elimination again.

After the strong performances last night, I was a little disappointed with the result. I'm not usually attached with The Voice contestants as much with the people on American Idol - so I'll be done with this by tomorrow - but just the fact that one of the strongest vocalists this season was sent packing was a total head scratcher.

Results after the jump!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Voice 8: Top 12

That's right! Tonight just solidified my initial notion that we have a pretty impressive set of finalists this season. Not all of them performed at their peak, but the potential in this group is bursting at the seams - and no, I'm not exaggerating. I can pick at least seven (7) people who I don't have any problem winning the show and that's A LOT. I can see that we're in for a fantastic season.

On with the show!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Movie Review: Furious 7

If you had told me in 2001 that this series could ever be steered this far and towards a different direction, I would have punched you in the face and called you a liar. Yet here we are, at the 7th installment of a franchise that was originally just about automotive fetish, fast cars, and, yes, the lovely girls. Fast Five changed the formula pretty much and things just got better and better and delivered the best of the franchise in the last three films - including this one. Furious 7 continued the rhythm they have developed that was fun to watch, and while the script was still a little stilted at times and the stunts a little absurd, the whole experience was very compelling. The entertainment level was incredibly high, the action sequences were deliciously over-the-top, and the direction on this one was skillfully done. The last five minutes were emotionally engaging and that made for a heartfelt ending for Paul Walker's character. Furious 7 wasn't a perfect film, but then again, it wasn't supposed to be. What it should be was special, and in that, it succeeded. Besides, how often can you get a quality film seven movies deep? Very rare. RIP Paul Walker. 9

Sunday, April 12, 2015

DAM NATION: April 2015 Throwback Playlist

Apologies for the super delayed throwback playlist. I've been caught up with so many posts this month - from American Idol to The Voice US and UK - that I almost forgot about this. But fret not, here's another set of throwback music. So yes, make sure to dim the lights and crank up this playlist.


1 Fill Me In Craig David
2 Too Close NEXT
3 Bette Davis Eyes Kim Carnes
4 Lovefool The Cardigans
5 I Want To Be Your Lady Baby INOJ
6 Tubthumping Chumbawamba
7 Shy Guy Diana King
8 Out Of Reach Gabrielle
9 The Remedy Jason Mraz
10 Lick It 20 Fingers (ft. Roula)
11 Foolish Ashanti
12 Kiss Me Sixpence None The Richer
13 Never Let You Go Third Eye Blind
14 Ain't It Funny Jennifer Lopez (ft. Ja Rule)
15 Like I Love You Justin Timberlake

Password: Who ranked fifth in The Voice UK 4 Wrap-Up?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Voice UK 4 Wrap-Up: 25 Best Performances

14 Episode. 48 Artists. 85 Blind Auditions. 24 Battles. 32 Knockouts. 24 Live Performances. 1 Winner. Yes, that's the usual DAM NATION Warp-Up obligatory count. The Voice UK 4 finally crowned a new winner with Stevie McCrorie and I couldn't be anymore happier with the results. And now that a new winner has emerged, it’s about time to recognize the best live performances this season.

Oh, and at the bottom of the article is a video edit of the 25 best performances of The Voice UK 4.

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

Friday, April 10, 2015

American Idol 14: Top 7

What got into them? Daniel Seavey just got eliminated and everyone's almost at the top of their game! Haha. This episode was terrible! How am I supposed to to snark at potentially one of the strongest group of seven (7) I've seen on American Idol?

Quite frankly, after watching the episode, I just again stared blankly at the screen and asked myself, "What the heck do I do now?" I mean, I did somehow manage to come up with a ranking, but even the person at the bottom of my list turned in a better than average performance. It's going to be a battle for the runner-up! Haha. We already know who will win this season.

Oh, just to add, I was really hoping that Jordin Sparks would bring out the result next to Jason Derulo. Haha. Awkward.

On with the show!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Voice 8: Playoffs #TeamChristina

While #TeamPharrell clearly has the best team, I think #TeamChristina has the strong Top 3. The one-two-three punch of Rob, India, and Kimberly is possibly the best one this season. If Christina loses one of them prior to the Live Shows, I'll punch someone in the face. Haha. I mean, there's no way these three will not survive this week. Seriously.

On with the show!

The Voice 8: Playoffs #TeamAdam

After having a pretty solid team last season, #TeamAdam is, arguably, the weakest this season. Not sure if it was the song choices, but this is not working for Mr. Levine this time around. While there are a couple of good performances, if taken as a whole, these contestants doesn't stand a chance next to Pharell, Blake, and Christina's team. But we'll see.

On with the show!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Voice 8: Playoffs #TeamPharrell

I've said this before and I'll say it again, #TeamPharrell has, arguably, the best team this season. If he handles them well moving forward and not sabotage his team just like what he did last season, I can see a couple of people who can go deep in the competition. No, I don't get the hype of the other one, but what do I know. Haha.

On with the show!

The Voice 8: Playoffs #TeamBlake

Quite frankly, this was possibly one of my favorite #TeamBlake in the entire the Voice series. He managed to build a group that's not entirely made of country singers, but a surprisingly diverse set. Coming into the Playoffs, I had a couple of idea on how things should end up, but the performances somehow made things a lot more unpredictable.

On with the show!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Movie Review: Insurgent

Shallow. Predictable. Boring. I genuinely enjoyed Divergent despite some noticeable flaws, but there's something about Insurgent that's incredibly mediocre. The plot coherence was almost non-existent, some of the story elements were weak, and there's an awkwardness and sheer lack of emotion from some of the characters. Shailene Woodley carried the film well, but her performance was still nowhere near to what she's really capable of. Even Kate Winslet came off very repetitive and bland. While this one had a steadier pace compared to it's predecessor, Insurgent was quite disappointing. It was simply okay. Not bad, not great. 5

The Voice UK 4: Finale

Well, that was fast. I should've known better and started covering the show during the Knockouts or not at all. Haha. Not sure how this show survived with less live shows, but I digress. The Finale was mostly strange with good performances littered throughout the episode and then there's Lucy O'Byrne.

So, who won? Find out below! On with the show!

The Voice 8: The Knockouts Part 3

So MUCH talent this season! Looking at the Final 20 that will be up for the Live Playoffs, there's NO WAY The Voice Season 8 will end up with an awful Top 12 given the talent pool they have. Whoa. So far, I think Christina, Blake and Pharrell have strong teams and their success will depend on their song choices next week.

For now, on with the show!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Voice 8: The Knockouts Part 2

Can The Voice Season 8 be it's best season yet? I know. I know. We haven't entered the Live Rounds where most of these contestants usually falter, but at this stage of the game, I'm beginning to be a fan of probably eight people. That's VERY unusual. Haha.

On this episode, I liked a couple, but given that we just had three (3) knockout battles say a lot about this season. Anyway, on with the show!

American Idol 14: Top 8 Studio Versions

Here's the one with Kelly Clarkson Songbook. Again, there are nine (9) songs in here - including Daniel Seavey - and of course, the rest of the remaining contestants. To be perfectly honest, I found the recordings this week pretty good. Check it out!

Here's how they ranked and peaked against other songs available on iTunes:

#50 The Trouble With Love Is - Clark Beckham
#458 Beautiful Disaster - Jax
#593 Breakaway - Daniel Seavey
#620 Miss Independent - Joey Cook
#687 Since U Been Gone - Rayvon Owen
#1143 Dark Side - Quentin Alexander

Again, Tyanna Jones was nowhere to be found, as well as Nick Fradiani and Qaasim Middleton. Personally, save for Qaasim Middleton and maybe Daniel Seavey, the recordings were good, especially Joey Cook, Clark Beckham, Jax and Rayvon Owen.

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Friday, April 3, 2015

American Idol 14: Top 9 Studio Versions

I'm not even sure how to call this post as these studio versions were for the Top 9 week, but since everyone recorded  a song that was eventually released on iTunes, I'm posting 11 songs. With all the format changes, I'm seriously confused. Haha.

Oh, and just like last season, American Idol has allowed these tracks to rank on iTunes. The results aren't great maybe because they weren't as advertised as previous seasons, but it's an interesting insight.

Here's how they ranked and peaked against other songs available on iTunes:

#153 Every Breath You Take - Clark Beckham
#454 You Give Love A Bad Name - Jax
#632 Man In The Mirror - Nick Fradiani
#723 You Make My Dreams Come True - Daniel Seavey
#724 Every Rose Has It's Thorn - Maddie Walker
#892 In The Air Tonight - Quentin Alexander
#1068 Addicted To Love - Qaasim Middleton

That's right. Tyanna Jones and Rayvon Owen didn't chart in the Top 1500. Joey Cook, who was terrible, and Adanna Duru, who got eliminated, were understandably left out of the chart as well.

Personally though, Clark Beckham, Quentin Alexander and Adanna Duru have the best recordings during this episode.

Password: Blog's Twitter Handle (include @)

Thursday, April 2, 2015

American Idol 14: Top 8

Wow. Tonight was quite amazing! I need a moment to catch my breath. This was easily the best episode of the live rounds this season, and it's not just because the contestants seem to have finally found their groove or that THE original American Idol came back to mentor or even the launch of Twitter save, but because America finally came to their senses and sent the kid back to school.

Now, we're left with eight interesting contestants and this might be the start of the actual competition. True, we still have Qaasim - he's vocally inferior than the rest - but again, he's terrific performer.

On with the show!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Voice UK 4: Top 8

Not sure if I like this format of The Voice UK. I mean, we've spent so much time with the Blinds, Battle, and Knockouts, and we get just three (3) live shows in total and with this week, we lost half of the contestants. I don't know. Maybe it's working for them at that side of the world, but it's a bit too fast for my taste. Then again, what do I know right?

Next week is the Finale, but before that.. on with the show!
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