Final eight singers bring on their 'A' game with hopes to win America's votes
Down to the final eight on "The Voice," it has somehow, somewhere along the way, become anyone's game. Hot damn, how'd that happen? (Maybe around the time James Massone got blown out?)
One singer from each team will be gone by Tuesday night, and while I can happily tell you who I want it to be, I can't tell you who it will be, largely due to the fact that they all did "their thing" so well. What's more, if the Teams Adam and Cee Lo performance that took place midway through Monday night's episode is any indication of what could happen should they tour this summer, then by all means, gang, book it. (Teams Blake & Christina not so much.)
But, as always, first things first:
Tony Lucca opened the show, and was totally in the zone on "How D'Ya Like Me Now?" When he took the stage I was looking (hoping) for his guitar, but Lucca was feelin' it and the unexpected fancy footwork was welcome, even by Christina. She remains (passive) aggressive when it comes to Lucca though, and Carson cutting her off made things even more awkward. Oh, and Lucca and Levine covering Britney tunes (which she suggested)? Great download, especially if Levine took on "Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman."
Erin Willett took "Without You" down tempo-wise, but her vocals, and the emotion they gave way to, was a thing of beauty. I was ready for her to go 'til this. Jermaine had a mouthful of fingernails backstage, no two ways about it.
Chris Mann selected "Ave Maria" (no, that's not a typo), saying he didn't "care if it's cool." It most definitely wasn't, nor the white scarf, but he could certainly open for Il Divo and sell a ton of merch. Xtina rushing up to hug him was "Awkward Aguilera Moment 2." I predict he'll be gone by next week (and would like for him to be), but the show is called "The Voice" and he's got a monster one.
Jamar Rogers, who obviously thinks he already has this all in the bag (which is off-putting), chose "If You Don't Know Me by Now," and I was thrilled. Mostly because I'm for Simms all the way, and he needs to be gone in order for that to happen, and this was the tepid '80's single that could punch that ticket. But, man, Jamar brings it EVERY time. Soaring vocals, bordering on something spiritual. (Sidenote: Has anyone else noticed that Simms is ALWAYS last?)
Jermaine Paul did not surprise when it came to the song he tackled: Journey's "Open Arms." Not the choice, or the fact that he did a solid job with it. Levine told him he was no longer a backup singer thanks to his stab at Steve Perry. America, do you agree? Jermaine versus Erin is a toss-up.
Katrina Parker managed to "save herself" last time around by rocking Pink's "Perfect," so I was surprised she brought it down with "Killing Me Softly." But it was the Fugees' rendition, and Parker was up for the up-tempo end of the equation. Even so, my bet is she won't make it to next week.
Lindsay Pavao sang Bon Iver's "Skinny Love," and might have been better served with something more popular and less folksy. She positively glowed, though, and like Jamar, appears to prefer the pressure. She didn't miss a beat, sang with confidence, and it was SO nice to see her smile.
Juliet Simms' nerves have been getting the best of her towards the end here, and picking a James Brown song made ME nervous. "It's a Man's Man's Man's World"? Why, Juliet, why? Why not "Dream on"? But, she kicked her nerves, the song, and America in the crotch. Adam called her the one to beat and Xtina (after making it about herself: "Aguilera Awkward Moment 3") said Juliet sings from her heart. Total showstopper. Simms sizzled.
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"The Voice" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT and Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.
Couple reportedly pulls plug on spin-off to help revive Odom's hoops career
"Khloe & Lamar's" second season, which is currently airing, will be its last, unnamed sources told the gossip site, although the two will continue making appearances on "Keeping Up With the Kardashians."
Bing: More about 'Khloe & Lamar'
Odom, a former L.A. Laker, was cut from the Dallas Mavericks' active list earlier this month. It is widely believed that his reality-TV association had something to do with that decision.
The couple is now living fulltime in L.A., where hired trainers are reportedly helping Odom refocus his real career.
"Khloe & Lamar" airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on E!
Fan favorite falls as another teams bleeds
By Diane Vadino
Special to MSN TV
Last week: Despite a freakout that involved contemplating his own death-by-Bollywood, Mark (and Bopper) finished a diabolical dancing task -- and just barely survived, thanks to a non-elimination leg.
There's just one episode left before next week's finale -- and we're still in chaotic Cochin, India, at "the former residence of the Dutch governors," Bolgatty Palace. At 6:53 a.m., a confident (mostly) Dave and Rachel leave to pick up a clue at a temple: "The only team that can beat us is ourselves," says Rachel, sagely. Twenty-seven minutes later, Brendon and Rachel leave, listing their tormentors as they go: Ralph and Vanessa ("We just want them to go home," Rachel says) and Art and J.J. (the latter is shown telling Team Big Brother "You guys couldn't follow your shadow on a bright, sunny day." Speaking of, Vanessa and Ralph are next out of the gate, with the border patrol agents a couple minutes behind them. "Vanessa is not very interested in physical challenges, so hopefully a physical challenge doesn't impede us," Ralph says, forebodingly. Finally, we check in on Mark and Bopper, who last week were, of course, nearly eliminated as Mark had to perform his Bollywood routine 12 times under a broiling sun before moving forward. We think Mark's just laying on the bed, but he's actually hooked up to an IV dip. "Mark's been close to a heat stroke, ever since he got hot from the dance," Bopper says. Mark adds, resolutely: "We're gonna stick in it."
At the temple, teams are instructed to remove their shoes before greeting a holy man. Most go on to a "mats and matting" workshop -- but Rachel and Brendon, in second place, take the Fast Forward. (Rachel and Dave are ineligible since they've already completed one, as have the border patrol guys, and Vanessa and Ralph pass it up, thinking they got there too late.) When Rachel and Brendon get to the site of the Fast Forward, though, they discover that -- in a repeat of a challenge from season seven -- they'll need to shave their heads to skip all remaining tasks and go straight to the Pitstop. Predictably, this is a bigger deal for Rachel then for Brendon: "I don't want to shave my head -- I paid $500 for extensions," Rachel says. "I'd be so sad." She seems genuinely, thoroughly freaked out by the prospect of losing her hair: "I spent years and years trying to get my hair to look good. You want me to shave my head?" Brendon answers, "I don't know, whatever. If we're out, we're out." Rachel just can't do it, and they head for the Roadblock.
There, they find the other teams facing a difficult challenge, which involves spinning rope and then winding it onto a spool. Sounds simple, but it's actually incredibly labor intensive. As they wind the rope, J.J. freaks out when he realizes that none of the teams have taken the Fast Forward. ("I don't want to talk about it," Rachel tells them when asked how it went.) Rachel continues to defend her decision to not take the Fast Forward: "[Season 7 winner and past head-shaver Joyce] was really cute and skinny and pretty," she says. "I need hair to be pretty -- I already feel enough about my big nose." It's actually really sad, and if you thought you couldn't feel bad for Rachel, this exchange might change your mind. It's less aggro than usual, and just depressing. J.J. is well aware that their decision to forego the Fast Forward could give the Kentuckians an opening: "Doesn't anybody think?" All the teams seem irritated by the fact that this challenge is so tedious: Manning the spool, Dave says, "the hand-crank was a 10-inch nail -- I have no skin on my index finger right now." Rachel cheers them on. Dave replies: "Babe, I don't need positive reinforcement right no -- I appreciate silence." Back at the Pitstop, a team that actually acts like they like each other -- Mark and Bopper -- are ready to go: "The sun is shining on two old dogs, and we're gonna make it count." They're about three hours behind the rest of the pack.
Vanessa and Ralph are the first to leave for the Detour -- Vanessa trips and twists her ankle, but it's a lot of yelling for not so much injury, and she limps it off. When they collect the next clue from a barber, they discover: Pachyderm or Pack a box. The first challenge looks like a total dream and involves decorating a lovely elephant and then wheelbarrowing some dung. The second (which pays tribute to India's spice trade) looks terrible, and involves processing 10 boxes dried ginger. Everyone goes to the elephants but Art and J.J., who simply choose wrong. While the other teams merrily paint their elephants and then push the wheelbarrows around, the border patrol agents are forced to pack 10 boxes of ginger, which sounds easy but involves a complicated, multi-step process -- Art and J.J. tough it out, but it's hard to imagine Vanessa or Brendon's Rachel handling this challenge well at all. All three of the leading teams finish the elephants challenge before Art and J.J. move on, with Dave again praising Rachel's "Midwestern work ethic." (Because people in the other parts of the country don't work hard?) Art and J.J. make their funniest/only joke of the season as they role-play Dave and Rachel while shoveling ginger: You don't do anything, Rachel -- you're an idiot," one of them says. It's worryingly close to real-life.
Meanwhile: Mark and Bopper face, and quickly complete, their Speedbump, which involves painting a tiger on a man's stomach. (Bopper: "I had no problem with it, other than it being on a man's belly.") Then they decide to take a chance and go for the Fast Forward -- which, of course, no one's done. Bopper gets his head shaved, and Mark just sort of looks on and laughs as the Indian challenge-minders pass him the trimmers. "He can cut my leg off while he's at it -- I don't care," Bopper says. It's coming clear, though, that without the benefit of a big bunch-up on a flight or similar, they're not going to catch up. It's depressing just to write this -- they were one of the best, most engaging, and most likable teams the show's ever had.
Rachel and Dave finish up the Pachyderm challenge and head for the Pitstop, which is located on an island accessible only by ferry. With a narrow lead over Vanessa and Ralph and Brendon and Rachel, they nervously wait for the ferry to leave, which will secure the win: "Honestly, babe, I'll pay this guy if we can go," Dave tells Rachel, gesturing to the ferryman. Just before those two teams arrive, the boat leaves, giving Rachel and Dave first place, with the next two teams close behind. When they reach the Pitstop, Phil oversees a ridiculous continuation of the spat between Rachel and Vanessa that's somehow lasted all season: "She doesn't like my sequins," Rachel says, then complains about how Vanessa also made fun of her nose job. "I said you get your boobs done [first]," Vanessa says. "It just makes sense."
Art and J.J. are yelling at each other ("Dude quit yelling -- you're being a little bitch," Art says to J.J.), but it slowly becomes clear that the Kentuckians probably lost this leg before they started. Though the border patrol agents have taxi/rickshaw trouble on the way to the Pitstop, they're the ones coming back for next week's two-leg finale: Mark and Bopper, despite running a basically flawless leg, are out. "[The race] was one of the most humbling experiences of my life," Mark says. Bopper recalls all of their adventures: "I had no idea what i was missing out on," he says. They leave in fifth place -- the same as last season's big fan favorite, 60+ farmers (and ultimate gut-it-out-ers) Bill and Cathi. “Unfinished Business,” anyone?
"The Amazing Race" airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.
Fan favorite Troyzan spills on his nemeses, that all-girl alliance and who could still win this
South Carolina native Elise Testone is the latest to get the hook
By Carla Patton
I sure hope Ryan Seacrest is feeling better! The show just isn't the same when he half-asses it (or would his illness reduce it to quarter-assing?). He certainly looks recovered.
Before things move forward, "The Queen Extravaganza," hand-picked by Brian May and Roger Taylor themselves, performs "Somebody to Love." I remember hearing about this, and everyone talking about how much this guy looks and sounds like Freddie Mercury. I'm all about that sassy guitar player, though.
I enjoyed this performance very much. I will never get tired of seeing Roger Taylor and Brian May bust out on stage. They are just the coolest! Everybody else, go home.
Ryan tells us it's hard for the contestants because "their bond is working like magic," and they sing that darned "I've Got the Magic in Me" song that I swear has been covered on a Ford Music Video every single year and maybe twice this year. Don't applaud for that, audience. It does not merit applause. Hollie looks amazing tonight!
And now, the "American Idol" contestants go to TMZ, which tends to be a segment I enjoy. Skylar is just so adorable. It turns out there's a male strip club called "Mantasia." No one had any solutions for Elise, who looks mad by default. Why was Nigel Lythgoe there, though? He must have invited himself.
What did Jimmy think of Elise? He thinks she picked the wrong Queen song (What?! I thought it was great!) and thought it came off as "clubby." Jimmy thought "Bold as Love" was a bad choice because it's more of a performance piece for someone playing the guitar and singing. What did America think? One is safe. One is in the bottom. Jessica is safe. Elise goes back to her stool, which is still warm from her regular spot in the bottom three.
Hollie and Joshua are next. The friends! Hollie is more nervous than Joshua, probably. Who does Jimmy think should be more nervous, though? Jimmy thought Hollie did a good enough job with "Save Me" and thought "The Climb" was a great choice. There was an odd break before we looked at Joshua's highlights. Jimmy thought Joshua did a great job interpreting both songs and choosing them. Smart! "If Joshua gets voted off tonight, there is something wrong with the competition, the voting, the entire ball of wax," Jimmy says. What a dated expression.
Best friends. Who stays? Who goes? Hollie is in the bottom three. Joshua is safe. Jimmy will be relieved to know there's nothing wrong with this ball of wax.
Oh, goodness. Steven Tyler is in a Burger King commercial, immediately followed by Jennifer's Kohl's commercial. But where is Randy's commercial?
Now Katy Perry sings "Part of Me," and Steven Tyler enjoys another chicken tender becoming a part of him. She seems tired. Maybe she caught the Ryan Seacrest too-much-money flu.
Now it's down to Skylar and Phillip. I thought Skylar had a great night, but Phillip is a favorite! Let's see what Jimmy has to say. Jimmy thought her second song was a "little self-indulgent." Jimmy thought she got knocked out in Round 2. Phillip "Lady-killer" Phillips was divisive. Jimmy lets us in on a secret: Phillip was sick this week, too! His energy suffered as a result.
Skylar is in the bottom three. Phillip is safe, and Phillip will probably win this whole thing. Skylar is safe, though, so she heads back to the couches. Whew!
Ryan sends the four contestants who are safe back to their couch. They object, but Ryan is in charge. Elise is eliminated. It had to happen. She was great, but this just wasn't the right place for her. It's too bad that all these contestants have to see their moments play over a twangy Scotty McCreery tune. Goodbye, Elise. Get back with your band!
What do you think of Thursday night's results? Did America get it right?
"American Idol" airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.
The mudslinging has already commenced between Bravo's Atlanta 'Housewives'
Hollie Cavanagh stages a comeback while Ryan Seacrest battles sickness
By Carla Patton
The name of the game on "American Idol" this week is Queen, followed by Contestant's Choice. Please pretend I said that in a roller-rink deejay voice then played the "Ghostbusters" song.
Ryan Seacrest tells us that this stage has housed "no less than two shocking results." He doesn't think we can take much more -- not if we continue to consume red meat in this way. For me, it has been more than two shocks. I am shocked just by Jennifer's crazy C-3PO's sexy girlfriend look tonight. Can I handle 10 performances on this night? I am too weak!
I am also shocked that Randy, not Ryan, is narrating this introduction to Queen. Did Randy insist that he be the voice of definitive music knowledge and connections? Two dudes from Queen stopped by to counsel (very effectively, I might add!) the top 6 contestants before taking on their music. Man, they are cool.
Roger Taylor and Brian May are playing with the top 6 as they sing a medley of Queen songs. They started with a soulless version of "Fat Bottomed Girls," and then we got a preview of who might do well with this song catalog as they took turns on "Another One Bites the Dust." As I'd hoped, Skylar is doing really well, and Phillip and Elise are doing as well as we had expected. Joshua is a bit out of place, and Jessica is just flat out annoying me on this night, growling out her part of "We Will Rock You." She's just being all 16-years-old about it, you know? I have no thoughts on Hollie during this medley, except "nice pantsuit."
Did Elise mess up when she went to "of the woooorrrrrrld" early on "We Are the Champions"? No matter. I was happy to see Roger Taylor and Brian May just slaying away up there, not caring that these teenagers don't have the life experience to make these songs personal, as they'd suggested.
Allegedly, Ryan Seacrest is ailing in this episode. So, that's why he's sitting on a stool to introduce Jessica Sanchez, singing "Bohemian Rhapsody." All right, Jessica. Where is my color and why did you turn into the great and powerful Oz? It was all right, not as exciting as this song can be, and she didn't get to the fun stuff ("Galileo, Galileo!").
Steven said rock isn't Jessica's forte, but she was still good. Jennifer thought the vocal was beautiful but not so much on the "rock" performance. Randy actually loved it and appreciated the restraint. Randy's pin says, "Yo"! You been reading my diary, Randy? Ryan, please don't touch the contestants. We can't have another Hollywood Week-level epidemic on our hands.
Ryan does not look well, and this is my new obsession for the night. Can he make it?
Skylar Laine sings next, performing "The Show Must Go On." Skylar could really sing any Queen song, and I would enjoy it. She has the edge necessary to take these songs on. She is doing a good job with this song, but I would prefer just a hint more drama. She seems a little tired. But the show must go on, Skylar! It picked up toward the end for a satisfying conclusion. Steven loved it. The droid hooker of Tatooine got goosies, and Randy declared that Skylar's gotta have it. Whatever that means. I think Skylar won the medley, though, for what it's worth.
Joshua Ledet is singing "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," which is an interesting choice for him. I think "Somebody to Love" would have been much better for him, but I guess he has to have fun this week to show some personality. Joshua is great. There is no denying that, but I don't know that this was the right fit for him. It's almost like his voice was too big for the song? The judges rose to their feet, though, so I guess it was good! Randy says Joshua is "so ready" and he loved it. Someone get me that "Yo" pin before I rip it off that powder-blue suit jacket. Jennifer says the Joshua part of the show is her favorite part, which could be the kiss of death for him. Steven thought it was fantastic. I think it was fun, but no one asked me.
Ryan is back on his feet! Could this be a moment of recovery before a Spanish flu-like fall? Stay tuned.
Elise Testone chose "I Want It All" and a red tambourine to play. It doesn't make her seem less nervous or self-conscious, though. I think this competition's got her in her head. This is the right Elise, though -- rocking out, in front of a band. This could keep her around another week, I'd reckon! Steven said this was the right song choice for her. Jennifer said Elise was in her element, and Randy said, "What a night so far!" Are the judges over Elise? I'm not sure. This was the right song, though. Randy called it one of Elise's best performances to date, and I agree.
Phillip Phillips is singing "Fat Bottomed Girls." Yes! This is what I wanted. I love this song, and I think Phillip can have some fun with it. And look at him, wearing oatmeal instead of gray! It is predictably delightful and didn't sound like the same performance he usually delivers -- a nice change of pace from Phillip Phillips. It was a bit too short, but I was also worried about his head exploding, so it worked out.
He was a little below the note, so I'm not sure it ever got there, but it was fun. Steven liked it, Jessica loves the "different flavors" of Phillip (Fifty Shades of Grey). Randy liked it but didn't love it. It's time for Phillip to get some tough love around here, I reckon.
Closing out the Queen songs, Hollie Cavanagh is singing "Save Me." Does that mean this entire show is closing with "The Climb"? But I'm getting ahead of myself. I had no idea they made pantsuits that small. I think "Save Me" is an appropriate choice for Hollie, who could be on the cusp again this week. It was going well, but her voice cracked at a key moment toward the end. She recovered nicely, and I think she was really feeling the emotions of the song this time. Good work, Hollie. Steven liked it. Jennifer is having trouble telling Hollie to marry robot, good singer Hollie with emotional, sometimes cracking Hollie.
Jennifer declares Skylar the winner of Round 1, and Randy offered that Hollie needs to step it up and that Elise and Joshua were also great. Then Steven reflected on the "new voice today," what with the Internets and the fancy microphones.
Round 2: Personal Choice
The top 6 is confused about Hollie Cavanagh's accent. She's part Texas, part English. They seem to like her, though. I do not like that she's singing "The Climb" by Miley Cyrus. People need to stop acting like this song is good. Maybe Hollie can make it good. She definitely sang it better than Miley, but the song is still just OK. God, her vocal clarity is so insane. For whatever reason, the judges and audience rose to their feet at the end of the song. I mean, it was good. But this song is not a good song! A triumph for Hollie, though, I suppose. Randy declared that Hollie is back.
What do you think of Wednesday night's performances?
"American Idol" airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.
Wilkinson attempts to compare new reality show to a book she's never opened
Kendra Wilkinson is fighting her brainless image ... and losing. According to this FOX News report, the former "Girls Next Door" and "Kendra" star recently described her upcoming WE tv reality series, "Kendra on Top," as "like the book 'Fifty Shades of Grey.'"
"I think my show has a similar theme to that," Wilkinson said of the bestselling 2011 erotic novel by author E.L. James.
In English Lit class, however, it's Kendra on bottom. When asked to describe how her new show is like the book, it became apparent that the WE tv publicist who coached Wilkinson to say that should have given her some CliffsNotes.
"To be honest, I have not read it," Wilkinson reportedly admitted after an awkward pause. "But I get the idea of it."
When it comes to comparing and contrasting her own reality television vehicles, Hugh Hefner's onetime harem girl was better prepared. She said her new show will feature "more characters" and "a lot more friends" than her former E! show, "Kendra."
"We are sharing who Kendra truly is now," she said.
Insert your own punchline ending here.
"Kendra on Top" is slated to debut this summer on WE tv.