'Atlanta' cast member confirms that she's exiting series after four seasons
What was revealed Tuesday via Wetpaint, Bravo officialy confirmed Wednesday -- that Sheree Whitfield is leaving "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" cast after four seasons.
The ex-wife of former NFL player Bob Whitfield and frequent sparring partner of fellow castmate NeNe Leakes took to the web on Tuesday to explain her decision. She stated, "After four solid seasons of helping Bravo build the show into its most successful 'Housewives' franchise, I have decided to leave. The direction the show is going in is no longer a fit for my lifestyle. I’m tired of the fighting and the cattiness."
Perhaps this will give her more time to complete the many projects she so famously began on camera during her four-year run on the show, including her clothing line, She by Sheree. "I want to be part of something that empowers and inspires women to not only be healthy, but to treat themselves with respect," Whitfield continued. "I wish the rest of the women the best of luck. I’m thrilled to say I’m now a free agent and am already fielding offers." Wetpaint reports that Whitfield is also focusing on a new fitness venture.
Bravo released confimation of her departure on Wednesday: "We have enjoyed working with Sheree as part of 'The Real Housewives of Atlanta,'" it read. "We wish her all the best in the future."
To remember one of Whitfield's more memorable contributions to "Real Housewives" lore, check out this clip of a remixed version of her classic line, "Who gon check me, boo?":
"The Real Housewives of Atlanta" reunion continues Thursday, April 19, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo.
Discovery Channel puts brakes on rolling game show
It's the end of the road for "Cash Cab." According to Vulture.com, the Discovery Channel has canceled its Emmy-winning game show after nearly seven years and more than 200 episodes.
Bing: More about 'Cash Cab'
Originated in the U.K. in 2005, "Cash Cab" was a novel hybrid of "Jeopardy" and "Taxicab Confessions" in which unsuspecting passengers -- some random, some pre-screened -- entered a camera-rigged cab to find their driver offering them cash to correctly answer trivia questions.
Comedian Ben Bailey passed his New York City cabbie exam just to host the Discovery version. And that's good, since he has something to fall back on now.
Repeats will continue to air in syndication.
Phillip Phillips, Joshua Ledet rise to the challenge of a two-song performance night
By Carla Patton
Before you get excited, this week's theme, "Now and Then," does not refer to the movie starring Christina Ricci and Rosie O'Donnell, among others. I wish. No, the top 7 (revisited after the Save) are performing twice -- one song from this century/millennium and the other a "soul" hit from yesteryear. It's pretty wide open.
Will Jessica Sanchez enjoy a week of bottom-two backlash in both her judges' feedback and viewer votes? Will Elise choose a song she likes enough to do well this week? Twice? Will we be able to understand more than 90% of the lyrics of whatever Phillip Phillips chooses to sing? Will Colton Dixon get the standing ovation he practically demanded? Have we already forgotten about Deandre Brackensick? All these questions and more will be answered this week as the "American Idol" top 7 take on songs from "Now" and "Then"!
After feeding us some Yoda-level crap about beginnings and endings, this week's episode begins. We do not have time for all this emotion, you guys. We have 14 performances, undoubtedly abridged, to get through. And Kris Allen is ever so dutifully in the audience to witness it. Ryan has the time to mention the sad passing of Dick Clark, though. Sorry, Skylar. We won't have time to watch you ride an ATV in your clip package this week.
The good news is that the top 7 are all dressed absolutely crazy on this night.
We're starting with "now," and Hollie Cavanagh is going first. Now! She's singing "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele. Oof. Can she overcome her nerves? She starts a cappella, which was really working for her, given her vocal clarity. This is actually a good song for her, something with some energy behind it! Is she wearing a skirt? Is it pants? Is it long or short? What is that cutout in her top? Whatever. The performance was a great way to start off the night, and she really rose to the occasion. Steven Tyler called it "perfect," and Jennifer was so happy Hollie wasn't thinking. Randy said she has arrived.
Colton Dixon has chosen "Bad Romance" by Lady Gaga. I think he could make it great, or it could be absolutely insane, like his coat this night. I am all about that coat, y'all. And don't worry. We'll get to how Elise is dressed like a giant yam. All in good time. OK, so this arrangement is absolutely terrible. I'm all for making it your own, but there's a reason no one has done an arrangement of the song like this yet. It took him out of "now" and moved him into Spinal Tap. It almost seemed like a joke at times. He didn't get the standing ovation because, frankly, the performance wasn't quite worthy of it. He changed octaves, like I do when I'm singing along to stuff in the car. I like a kinder, gentler Colton. The judges like Colton, so they complimented his willingness to take chances. Would you take a chance at so much leg sweat so early in the night?
Elise Testone, the bottom three's local sweet potato, has no idea why she keeps falling in the bottom three. She's singing "No One" by Alicia Keys to her fan base (no one! hardy har har). She's the only contestant left who is still being judged week to week. So this week, we're adding wind, which is helping the dress's tendency to look yam-like. This is a mediocre song choice, but her voice is doing her a lot of favors. Good performance. Jennifer tells Elise to smile more. Steven wanted a better chorus, and Randy was glad she didn't take too many liberties with the melody. I am, too, Randy! Where's your bedazzled cartoon-face pin on this night, though?
Phillip Phillips is singing "U Got It Bad" by Usher. I am fuh-reaking out with anticipation. What if it's amazing like I want it to be? What if it is growly and terrible, though? Jimmy loved it, and saxophone lady is back: These are good signs. This is just Phillip's "jam sesh." His new nickname is Fifty Shades of Grey, by the way, because he loves wearing grey, and the middle-aged ladies love him!
I was worried, but I kind of loved it! I think they should lose the saxophone, though, because, as much as I love my saxophone lady, it just reeks of Dave Matthews. This arrangement was really cool and sexy. It's hard to take the sex out of Usher, though. Am I right? Jennifer also thought it was sexy. Randy called Phillip a "true artist." He is unassuming, and he knows who he is! So sexy I could just keel over, regaining consciousness only long enough to ask how old he is again.
Jessica Sanchez is still here. Jimmy just basically crapped his pants when he heard his Jessica was in the bottom. So to regain her footing she's singing "Fallin'" by Alicia Keys. I guess it's recognizable. But bleh. Choose something better, Jessica. I want to root for you! And what's up with these Cirque du Soleil floating, red umbrellas? Why does Jessica always get the weird, red props. Is she in a French film?
I love her hair but don't care for the grunting and growling on this petite 16-year-old girl. The song is so oversung in general, and I'm not sure this was memorable enough. But the audience freaked out like, "Vote for her! She is a good singer!" Yeah, we know! We knew before, and this song didn't show us anything we didn't already know. The judges adore Jessica and continue to do so in her feedback. She was adorable thinking the judges took her mic in mid-song last week because they didn't like her, though. Do you think her necklace weighs more than she does?
A "country twist on Gaga"? If anyone can do it, it's Skylar Laine, I suppose. She's singing the country version of "Born This Way" by Lady Gaga. I think Jimmy Iovine is coming around on Skylar, although he's still focused on nurturing Jessica and Phillip. Who put all those layers on Skylar? Leather, chiffon, glitter ... and it's all belted. This is an interesting version of "Born This Way," and I'm not sure I love it. But it's a valiant effort. I wouldn't put it on the set list for her concert. She didn't have any big moments, but it was fun! Jennifer loved it and said, "A more perfect song for you does not exist." Steven really enjoyed it, and Randy said Skylar has "crossover appeal" and is "so beyond ready." I agree. Hire this girl!
Joshua "Mantasia" Ledet got a special message from Fantasia, so he's possibly contractually obligated to sing Fantasia Barrino's "I Believe" this week. We all know he's going to tear the roof off this place when "Then" rolls around, though. He is also dressed the least crazy of the first seven performances. I'm not familiar with this song, but it seems to really fit him well. It's big and church-y, and he gets the choir in the background. Good job. But I think it's what we have come to expect from him at this point. We know he will always deliver a big moment. Randy called him one of the most gifted singers they've ever had on this show. He appreciated the restraint Joshua showed, too. Joshua could not have been more adorable than when he was shyly unresponsive to Ryan's questions about why he chose to sing Fantasia's winner song.
Hollie Cavanagh got a special message from the hot and sexy Liverpool Football Club right before her second performance. Thank God she has this intro-to-"Soul Train" clip package to get through so she can refocus. And thank God this is not a tribute to Soul Patrol. Hollie is singing "Son of a Preacher Man" by Dusty Springfield. I thought this might be a better fit for Skylar Laine, and it's hard not to think about how much better she might have sung it. The performance is a bit lackluster, especially in comparison to her "now" performance. It wasn't bad, though. Randy said he liked it better than Round 1, and I'm like, "Huh?" Steven thinks she could push it even more. Regarding Hollie's outfit: Barbie does Pepto-Bismol.
Colton Dixon is Colton-ing up Earth, Wind & Fire's "September." And at first I was like, "No, you can't do that," because I just want to dance to that song for 24 hours straight and Colton made it all slow and modern. But it is working. He demonstrated a really great understanding of the song and also what type of artist he would like to be. The set department is dropping too many leaves on him, though. He should get one of those suspended, red umbrellas. He did not get his standing ovation this time, either. The judges said it wasn't the right song for his voice. Why don't we agree anymore, Randy? He said it was "good but not as exciting as we would have liked." Whatever. I thought it worked.
Elise Testone is singing "Let's Get It On" by Marvin Gaye. And she's starting on what can only be described as a porn couch. I suppose that's fitting since the song is about having sex -- so much so that it's over-played and borderline jokey. Bad song choices this time, Elise. Her performance of the song is jokey, as well, with too much growling. It was nice of her to move off the couch so the saxophone player could have a seat, though.
Jennifer called Elise out on not being very vulnerable. This performance was a good example of her putting walls up. It was too much like, "Haha, this song is a joke, and it's cheesy and about having sex!" and not enough like, "Let's enter into a meaningful sexual relationship as consenting adults." After the critique, Elise got defensive and it wasn't very charming or vulnerable.
Phillip Phillips is singing "In the Midnight Hour" by Wilson Pickett. What a rapid change of pace, almost awkward after Elise's reaction to her comments. Good for him for singing something so fun and un-Dave Matthews Band. I do like him, but this was 100% growling. I never realized how much I rely on those clip packages to prepare me to hear a contestant. Randy took advantage of this quick pace to compare Phillip and Elise directly. Phillip feels everything from head to toe and just allows himself to be entirely in the moment. The judges were very appreciative of Phillip's character and soul, and forgot to critique the vocal performance at all.
Jessica Sanchez, dressed to confuse, is singing "Try a Little Tenderness" by Otis Redding. It's hard to go wrong with this song, but this arrangement is well on its way. It needs to be slower! Just by a couple BPM, you know? Even Jessica seems like she's struggling to keep up. That being said, and her effort to growl too much aside, what a fun song! Too much growling on this night overall, really. But she was having a good time with the song, and she nailed it. Jennifer recommends that Jessica push herself a bit more. She has the voice, but we need some more heart. That is really the essence of this night's performances, isn't it? We know they can sing. We get it. Now it's about whether they can make us love them and feel human emotions.
Skylar Laine looks a lot more comfortable singing a countrified "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" by Marvin Gaye. This is a really adorable country arrangement, frankly. And Skylar is just giving this song a good old-fashioned spanking. I liked it so much more than "Born This Way." This was more fun and had more personality. This is the Skylar Laine concert! Randy acknowledged that Skylar has a brand and no problems showing us who she is. She is a rock 'n' roll party, and we're all invited. Yay!
Joshua Ledet is singing an "emotional Civil Rights anthem." Just what we need from him.
The anthem in question is Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come." Oh, my god. This song, though. He had to do it! It is perfection, and he's the only one who can do this song or this theme justice, really. I know this is what we expect from Joshua, but he might as well deliver! The judges rose to their feet, and Steven said he appreciated the restraint in the beginning. Jennifer begged America not to send Joshua home. She is a desperate woman! Randy said this song was perfect for Joshua, and he took his time with it. Then Joshua said he couldn't help but notice J.Lo's abs coming out the side of her dress, and he was even more likeable to me.
Why did Elise change back into her orange dress? Did something happen to her second outfit? I need answers, Ryan Seacrest!
So, who owned the night? Was "now" or "then" more satisfying for you? Or was Wednesday night just a big, hurried, snooze?
What do you think of Wednesday night's performances? Who's next to go?
"American Idol" airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.
Singer Gavin DeGraw and Karina Smirnoff eliminated
This week marked the first-ever elimination "dance duel." Jaleel and Gavin faced off with the cha-cha. Gavin admitted that he and Karina learned the cha-cha in one night and that Jaleel is a better dancer than him. Well, you have to give the guy points for honesty.
Jaleel's cha-cha won over the judges unanimously, so Gavin graciously accepted his defeat. He talked about how fun it was for his family to see him on the show and praised Karina's coaching.
It wasn't a huge surprise to see Gavin go, but I'll certainly miss his dry wit and various hats.
Here's a quick look at how the remaining stars did this week:
Maria's sexy salsa was the judges' choice for this week's encore. Derek was so overcome with gratitude that he took his shirt off mid-routine. Shenanigans aside, this was a lively, difficult routine that Maria executed beautifully. Maria has really become an amazing dancer.
Melissa's salsa highlighted her great rhythm, but brought her control issues to the fore. It's hard to be too tough on her since she rehearsed for a week in spite of a neck injury. Melissa had been staging a comeback the last few weeks, but unfortunately this dance put a stop to her streak.
Gladys can't pull off the same fireworks we're seeing from the leaders of the pack, but her samba had its own special magic. Len called the dance "simple but effective," and Bruno praised her for playing to the audience.
William's Argentine tango made for a nice comeback after his disastrous jive last week. His rhythm was very nearly perfect and he and Cheryl got in a couple of jaw-dropping lifts. William was dancing on a stressed ligament this week, so this tango seems downright heroic in retrospect.
Katherine's Argentine tango showed off her incredible strength and precision. Len compared it to a rose: beautiful on the outside, but with thorns underneath. Katherine was inches from a perfect score this week.
Donald's sexy Argentine tango showed off his exceptional rhythm and control. Carrie Ann called the routine divine but Bruno took issue with Donald's "supermodel walk." Bet that's not something NFL champions are used to seeing. Donald has really upped his game the past few weeks, and I can't wait to see what he does in the next round.
This hip-hoppy salsa never let up in terms of difficulty, but Roshon held his own. Bruno praised his timing, but Len counseled Roshon that sometimes "less is more." This was another excellent performance from Roshon.
Jaleel's samba was a great dance: It had rhythm, style and even a little wiggle if you ask Bruno. Jaleel has been a contender all along, but he has yet to take the top spot on the judges' leaderboard. It was heartbreaking to see him drop into the bottom two again, so he'd better put a little extra oomph into next week's routine.
Who won the week: William and Katherine
Who needs to step it up: Melissa
"Dancing With the Stars" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT and Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
Ashley De La Rosa and RaeLynn are sent packing from the quarterfinals
The results show began with Christina Aguilera basically having to answer for dumping Jesse Campbell the night before. "I'm no stranger to controversy," the fighter declared, acknowledging message boards, Twitter, and the like. "I do have a strategy."
And after a pointless "Team Blake" performance (if you can call it that) with UK band The Wanted, we got to the results. Christina's crew was up first and, curiously (at least for me), Chris Mann gets to get all Groban for another week. Jermaine Paul was the victor -- according to America -- in the Shelton fold.
Thus, the "pick me" performances began, first with Ashley De La Rosa nervously rocking Gaga's "You and I." Then Lindsay Pavao delivered an emotional "Please Don't Go," getting teary-eyed in the end, and taking Xtina with her. Someday a producer will write the words "basket case" on a Post-It when Pavao is cutting a record in his studio. But, hey, it worked. Christina saved her.
Erin Willett kicked the Adele to the curb for a rousing "Proud Mary" by the time the dust settled and the Bieber fever subsided (he popped out to debut a clip of new video for his latest single "Boyfriend"). Then it was RaeLynn with the Band Perry's "If I Die Young," a bit too safe, if you ask me -- and I'm a RaeLynn fan. So is Blake. But, as the credits rolled and RaeLynn banged into Willett and looked as if she'd seen a ghost, it became abundantly clear ... neither of us just so happened to be tonight.
What did you think of this episode? Tell us on Facebook"The Voice" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT and Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.
What we saw and heard during the commercial breaks at the show
By Minh Nguyen
Special to MSN TV
Last night the “Dancing With the Stars” ballroom heated up as the dancers and stars became muy caliente for Latin Week. Legendary global music icon, Santana, performed throughout the show which also spiced up the atmosphere. The "stars” in the audience included Jack Wagner, Rick Fox, Romeo, JR Martinez, Dr. Drew, Melissa Rycroft, Martina Navratilova, Florence Henderson, Jon Huertas (from “Castle”) and Mekhi Phifer. While there were a whole lot of them, we wish ABC would bring some real stars (with the exception of Mekhi Phifer and Dr. Drew) to the ballroom for once.
Next week is Motown Week with performances by Smokey Robinson and the Temptations. We’re hoping Gladys Knight will be saved from elimination and around for that. Motown week wouldn’t be as fun without her. We predict Gavin’s time is up but then again, this season has been full of surprises.
Top 10 Things Seen and Heard at “Dancing With the Stars”:
1. When they showed the clip of Sherri Shepherd, there was a collective and sad “awww” from the audience plus sporadic clapping for the potential latest victim. The dancers and stars didn’t have the same fun-factor without her presence.
2. Cheryl Burke and William Levy looked a lot cozier than the other couples, holding hands and rubbing each other’s backs after the show. We heard a rumor that there might be some hanky-panky going on, and honestly we wouldn’t be too surprised.
3. When Jaleel White said he would shake his booty (before his performance) for Carrie Ann, Len and Bruno, Bruno turned around and looked at the audience behind his left and right shoulder, then proceeded to put his hands together like Dr. Evil.
4. We noticed during this season that the fans have been cheering for Maks and Derek and not as much for the “stars.” The only exception being William Levy, in which the women begin to shriek as if they were giving away free Spanx.
5. Maria Menounos, in full costume including her yellow Big Bird headgear, grabbed a guy (a tall, bald white guy who was a tad overweight) and danced with him during Maks and Melissa’s dance. Derek was more reserved and stayed back to get ready for their dance.
6. During the break, six people came out with mops and a garbage can to clean up the graffiti from Maria and Derek’s dance.
7. When the canoe, hammock and palm trees came out, someone in the crowd said, “Gavin’s next because he needs all the props he can get.” She was right, Gavin was next.
8. The Warm-Up Guy told the audience, “Please clap for our house band. They are available for a little price.” We wonder what and how much he meant by "a little price"?
9. Mark Ballas walked through the row in front of us after his dance to say hello to some people. He stepped on a woman's foot and didn't apologize. She screamed “Ooww!”
10. Bruno was making cougar actions to Carrie Ann after her "Disney sexy" comment to Roshon Fegan.
Check out our Bonus Moment of the Night on Facebook.
"Dancing With the Stars" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT and Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
The man otherwise known as Dwayne Johnson to launch new reality series
The remaining hopefuls on how it feels to be an 'Idol,' Skylar-Colton rumors and more inside stuff
By Minh Nguyen
Special to MSN TV
MSN TV was invited to the "American Idol" press tent to interview the top 7 on a sunny Tuesday, a day when they were rehearsing for their big Wednesday performance.
All seven are all so unique, nice, talented individuals that we don't want to see anyone go home. And no, we don't ever want to talk about this again, but Skylar Laine and Colton Dixon are not dating.
MSN TV: We got this from a tweet: How does it feel to be on "American Idol" and have a chance to win?
Elise Testone: It feels like everything I've worked for is coming to the surface. I want it more than anything, mainly because I've seen how I've affected people in my life. And that's what it's all about --being an inspiration for someone, being an "American Idol", not just being a perfect-pitched singer but being someone that can change lives and bring out positive energy through song.
Joshua Ledet: It's definitely a great feeling. It feels so surreal. I can't believe this is actually happening. I've been watching this show on television since I was a little boy. Now that I'm actually living it, and people are watching me, it's ridiculous. It's a privilege and an honor to be here.
Phillip Phillips: It's crazy to be on "American Idol." I can't even explain this. Everyone in this competition, we want to have a career in music. If I don't win this thing, it's not going to break my heart. It's going to suck for a little bit, but it's not the end of the world because all of our careers are just starting. You can't look at it as a bad thing. Winning this thing would be awesome. But just being on "American Idol" and having people say we've inspired them, it's really cool to say that because a lot of people inspire me.
Colton Dixon: It's such a blessing to be here. Plus, I didn't want to audition this year. My sister dragged me in, and here I am. Every day, I look around, and I see Phil jamming on his guitar upstairs and Skylar wailing. It's like, "Wow, I'm good enough to be here? That's crazy!" Just to think that I have a one out of seven chance is so crazy. Oh, my word!
Jessica Sanchez: It's pretty insane knowing the probability. It's so much fun being here with the other contestants and getting the comments from the judges. They're just trying to help us. Even if I did go home now, which I don't want to, I'd be so happy with how far I've made it already.
Hollie Cavanaugh: We all feel really blessed to be here. It takes huge artists to sell out to 23-million people, and we did it in a week. We're working with the best producers, musicians and the best of everything.
Skylar Laine: Yeah, people work so many years to get this kind of exposure. We've worked hard for this, but we have to be thankful every day. The things we do, people that have worked 20 years in Nashville or L.A. don't even get to do.
What kind of messages have you been getting?
Elise Testone: I've gotten really sweet messages from people saying I'm their hero or I've inspired them to try out for the school play or my style or clothes, some people saying, "I had the worst day, but I kept playing your song and I felt better." Those are all the reasons I'm doing this, and it just makes me feel so good inside.
Phillip Phillips: I've seen a lot of weird tweets -- some nasty ones. It's pretty graphic [laughing], but there's been some good ones too that just say we love you and support you. I love all the people that support me. I've seen a bunch of kind of tweets. I've seen everything.
What is something you didn't know as a viewer that you're now experiencing as a contestant on "American Idol"?
Elise Testone: The only thing with that is I never watched the show. I didn't have TV. I always have been working my butt off since college. I've never been in-depth in the process, so I don't know what to compare it to.
Joshua Ledet: It's so much more work. It's working seven days a week from eight in the morning to 10 at night. We have our rehearsal time. Then there are shoots and video shoots and wardrobe and meetings -- all kinds of different things we have other than the show. So, it's a lot. This is our life right now. Then we have time to spend with our family and go out and have fun and relax. Most of the time, we're here working.
Do you feel like an "Idol" when you're up there?
Elise Testone: Yes, I do. I feel that when I'm on stage. I feel great because I know people are looking up to me, and I'm doing what I'm supposed to do. I feel like there's nothing else I'm supposed to be doing.
Colton, you and Skylar Laine … Is the pseudo-romance still lingering out there?
Colton Dixon: Yes, it's still lingering. We still get tweets every day about Skylar, not my sister. I'm going to clear that up first. That would be weird. Skylar Laine and I would be weird, too. Neither my sister nor Skylar Laine and I are dating. Skylar Laine and I are great friends. It seems really strange to have people thinking we're dating. We're all equally close. If I have to pick anyone, I'd have to say Phil because we relate on similar levels. We all get together so well. There honestly isn't one person that sticks out too much.
Jessica, is it a bit overwhelming because you're younger than the other contestants?
Jessica Sanchez: I'm a minor, so I have to go to school. I have to do other stuff. Before this happened, I was a normal teenager and hanging out with my friends. It is a bit of a challenge, but I'm always up for a challenge. I love it so much, and I wouldn't change it for the world for anything else.
"American Idol" airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.