American Idol, Season 10, ‘Elton John’Week : Re-Cap

Screen shot 2011-03-31 at 12.02.08 AM

Alrighty, people. We are down to the Top 11. Every single contestant needed to really ‘bring it’ – or else they will be facing immediate elimination, especially since there are no more ‘saves’. Not to mention TWO people will be going home this week.

Before I go any further, I would like to say ‘My Picks’ for the ‘Final Four’ are as follows:

Casey. Pia. Lauren. James. [In that order.] Just sayin’.

Moving along.

The show opened with: ‘Country Boy’ Scotty who sang Elton’s only country song ‘Country Comfort’. Gee, what an amazing stretch for him. Way to step up your game kid, and take such a huge risk. Not. However, for what he does, Scott is extremely talented. I have to give credit where credit is due. Alas, he simply cannot diversify himself whatsoever. And this is NOT just a ‘country singing’ competition. This is a competition to find ‘The Best Singer’, and I’m pretty sure that person should be able to sing more than one genre.

Right?

[Sidebar: I immediately noticed JLo’s makeup looked fantastic, as did her hair, and her smoking hot dress. Thankfully, whatever was going on with her eyebrows last week, seems to been fixed. Honestly, she has to be one of the most beautiful women ON Earth!]

The next singer to take the stage was Naima. I was definitely NOT a fan of her turning an Elton classic, ‘I’m Still Standing’ into that Rastafarian version. It did nothing for me. It was flat. And it was boring.

* Much to my surprise the judges kind of, kind of, told her the truth.

The next two contestants went something like this.

1. My least favorite guy, otherwise known as Pedophile Paul, has now and forever ruined the Elton song ‘Rocket Man’. Seriously, that guy makes me cringe. And listening to his version of that song was absolutely painful. Please go away, like immediately!

* I think the judges are stone.cold.fuck.nuts.bat.shit.crazy for liking this creepy cat.

2. My most favorite girl, otherwise known as the very beautiful and super talented, Pia, still chose yet another ballad, when she sang Elton’s ‘Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me’. And while yes, she completely crushed it; I think she also played it way too safe. I need to see her step outside of her comfort zone to find out what she’s REALLY capable of. Nevertheless, I truly liked her performance.

* Again, the judges could have given her more ‘direct orders’ for next week. They really need to start pushing her a lot harder. If she’s going to be a super star, she needs to showcase other ‘themes’.

Stefano was up next, and he chose Elton’s ‘Tiny Dancer’. And quite frankly, that song was just way too big for him. But there is something very cute about him, and he almost has a David Archuleta quality about him, so I think he will be safe for at least another week.

* Yet again, the judges could have been tougher on him. Coddling these contestants will NOT bring out the best in them. In fact, being ‘nice’ will be detrimental to their future careers.

The lovely Lauren, boldly took on the most famous Elton John song, ‘Candle In The Wind.’ She started off a teeny bit shaky, but within a matter of seconds in, she found her zone. And then she brought it home. She executed wonderful control, she made it her own, and I was highly impressed with her rendition.

In fact, Lauren may have even been better than Pia, simply because Lauren seemed, and sounded, much more vulnerable. She delivered the notes with true emotion. While Pia, as wonderful as she is, sounds way more detached.

* Finally, the judges and I agreed on SOMETHING. They gave the right praise to Lauren. Along with the right advice on the direction she should take next week.

Rocker boy, James, hit the stage next, with Elton’s ‘Saturday Night’s Alright’, in good ole fashioned rocker style. He brought the crowd to their feet, and he had and honest to goodness great time giving his genuine performance. Was it his BEST performance? No. But it was nice to see him have so much fun out there.

* I couldn’t believe the judges and I agreed, again. Especially with what Randy had to say about James.

The next contestant to sing was, Thia. She chose Elton’s song, ‘Daniel’. It’s a song I hold very close to my heart, and I was fully expecting to hear the voice of an angel. Sadly, that’s not exactly what happened. It was all right. It was even good. But, it definitely lacked that “oomph” factor.

* The judges are way too soft on her – even if she is only 15 years old.

And then, something magical happened.

Casey, my love, sang Elton’s ‘Your Song’ – and for very personal reasons, I broke down and started crying like a baby. So, I am probably way too impartial to even comment on his performance. Nevertheless, I will! Casey was fucking BRILLIANT. He is totally-super-amazing, with a side of holy-spectacular. He is the walking, living, breathing, singing, DEFINITION of an ARTIST. In Every Sense Of The Word. And I love his new cleaned-up look.

* The judges didn’t give him NEARLY enough credit for what he did.

Next we listened to, Jacob. He chose Elton’s ‘Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word’.

[Sidebar: I am very sorry Elton John. But, I happen to like Mary J. Blige’s version a little better.]

Anytune…

Last week Jacob gave what I thought was the best performance of the night. I was almost prepared to “become a fan”. However, my dear friend, Monique, warned me not to take the male version of ‘Nene Leakes’ so seriously.  And then she made me promise not to jump on his bandwagon so quickly. And she was right.

Although, the last note Jacob sang sent chills up and down my spine, and, I was very happy he chose to use restraint rather than get all sorts of overly dramatic. I gotta say, I was NOT thrilled with Jacob’s overall performance.

* The judges came close to giving him a halfway decent critique.

Lastly, the show closed with, Halley. She chose Elton’s ‘Bennie and the Jets’. Let me just start by saying, I have NEVER liked a SINGLE performance by her. Nadda. One. She’s completely forgettable. And last night was no different. My father argued citing her ‘incredible rage’ – but I really felt the piano did all the work, not her voice. As far as I’m concerned I will NOT miss her when she leaves the show.

So, tell me boys and girls…

  1. Who are YOUR favorites, and why?
  2. Who are your hopefuls for the ‘Final Four’?

The comments are now open!

THE BEST OF THE AMERICAN COMEDY AWARDS

ole0

TV Land revisits the funniest and most memorable moments from “The American Comedy Awards” in a new 60-minute special airing Saturday, April 2 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. “The Best of The American Comedy Awards: A Retrospective of Past Award Shows from 1987-2001” highlights hilarious acceptance speeches, side-splitting sketches and unforgettable musical numbers from “The American Comedy Awards,” which honored the entertainment industry’s comedic talents in television and film.

Founded and executive produced by Emmy® Award-winning executive producer George Schlatter (“Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In,” “Real People”), “The American Comedy Awards” aired on ABC and honored the contributions and achievements of comedic actors and performers. “The Best of The American Comedy Awards” features iconic and revered performers like Roseanne Barr, George Carlin, Jim Carrey, Tim Conway, Billy Crystal, Will Ferrell, Shirley MacLaine, Don Rickles, Ray Romano, Jerry Seinfeld, Red Skelton, Jonathan Winters and more – as well as TV Land’s own Emmy® and SAG® Award-winning Betty White, who currently stars on the network’s hit original sitcom, “Hot in Cleveland.”

“‘The American Comedy Awards’ truly recognized the work and talent of comedians,” said Larry W. Jones, president, TV Land. “We’re so excited to be able to share our favorite moments of yesteryear that still make us laugh out loud today.”

TV Land will also air Comedy Central’s “The Comedy Awards ” – the first-ever multi-network, multi-platform event dedicated to honoring and celebrating the world of comedy. The event will air simultaneously on Sunday, April 10 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on TV Land, Comedy Central, Spike TV, VH1, CMT, Logo and Nick at Nite.

About TV Land

TV Land is the programming destination featuring the best in entertainment on all platforms for consumers in their 40s and 50s. Consisting of original programming, classic and contemporary television series acquisitions, hit movies and a full-service Web site, TV Land is now seen in over 98 million U.S. homes.

The Best Infomercial, EVER

My 14-year-old son, JCH, had a pretty interesting Homework assignment. Justin, and two of his classmates, had to make an “infomercial” of sorts – for any product made during the 18th or 19th century.

But rather than explain it to you?

I’d rather just show you.

Here’s the finished creation.

In case you don’t know, my son is the one with the long, moppy, blond hair.

And, he was the one who shot the video.

And, he did all of the editing.

I’m seriously impressed, and such a proud momma!

[PS: I think my favorite part is the *disclaimer* portion.]

Did YOU ever have this much “fun” with Home Work – when YOU were in High School?

Elizabeth Taylor – Passed Away, She Was 79 Years Old

Elizabeth Taylor – Passed Away, She Was 79 Years Old.


Elizabeth Taylor, the legendary actress famed for her beauty, her jet-set lifestyle, her charitable endeavors and her many marriages, has died, her publicist told CNN Wednesday.

Taylor died “peacefully today in Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles,” said a statement from her publicist. She was hospitalized six weeks ago with congestive heart failure, “a condition with which she had struggled for many years. Though she had recently suffered a number of complications, her condition had stabilized and it was hoped that she would be able to return home. Sadly, this was not to be.”

Though a two-time Oscar winner, for “Butterfield 8” (1960) and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” (1966), Taylor was more celebrated for simply being Elizabeth Taylor: sexy, glamorous, tempestuous, fragile, always trailing courtiers, media and fans. She wasn’t above playing to that image.

She was hailed, in her prime, as the world’s most beautiful and desirable woman. Her affair with actor Richard Burton, which began on the set of the film “Cleopatra,” fueled a paparazzi rush unrivaled in its time. The two later married, twice, providing gossip columns and movie magazines with a wealth of material.

“I am a very committed wife,” she once said. “And I should be committed too….for being married so many times.”

But Taylor could also be an effective and arresting actress. Her harrowing performance in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” (1966), opposite Burton, showed her as shrewish, plain, embittered the complete opposite of her real-life image.

She also gave sharp performances in “Giant” (1956), “Raintree County” (1957), “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” (1958) three films that helped build her reputation as a worldwide sex symbol “The Sandpiper” (1965) and “Reflections in a Golden Eye” (1967).

Taylor was a champion for a number of charitable causes, notably the fight against AIDS. She founded the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation after the death of her friend Rock Hudson, and plowed both her time and money into its work, especially as her acting career waned in the 1980s. The BBC once noted that her charity work had grossed as much as her film career.

Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor was born February 27, 1932, in London, the daughter of two wealthy American art dealers, Francis and Sara Taylor. Her mother was a former actress who had given up the career when she married, but encouraged her daughter in the pursuit. Indeed, Elizabeth Taylor and her mother were to remain extremely close until the latter’s death in 1994, at age 99.

Just after World War II began, her parents moved back to the United States and settled in Los Angeles, where Francis Taylor catered to a high-level clientele. Young Elizabeth was noted early on for her looks: According to one perhaps apocryphal story, she was spotted by a talent scout who suggested her for Bonnie Blue Butler in “Gone With the Wind,” but the idea was reportedly shot down by her father.

Nevertheless, she eventually made her debut for Universal, which placed her in 1942’s “There’s One Born Every Minute.” Taylor was then signed by MGM, which was to be her home for almost two decades, and made “Lassie Come Home,” opposite Roddy McDowall. The actor became a devoted friend.

But it was Taylor’s next film, 1944’s “National Velvet,” that made her a star. The story of a girl in love with her horse earned her public adulation, and her equine co-star, The Pie. (Her other co-star, Mickey Rooney, was taken.) For the rest of the 1940s, she was an MGM regular, some of her films winners, the 1949 version of “Little Women”  and others, quickly forgotten, such as “Julia Misbehaves.”

In 1950, Taylor turned 18 and had her first hit as an adult, the classic “Father of the Bride,” in which she played Spencer Tracy’s soon-to-be-married daughter. Real life mirrored art when Taylor decided to marry hotel heir Conrad “Nicky” Hilton Jr., but the marriage wasn’t nearly as successful as the film: it lasted just eight months.

Critical acclaim arrived with Taylor’s next film, “A Place in the Sun,” based on the Theodore Dreiser novel “An American Tragedy.” Taylor played the beautiful woman pursued by Montgomery Clift, who kills his pregnant girlfriend (Shelley Winters) while boating. The film received nine Academy Award nominations, but Taylor was shut out.

It wasn’t until 1958 that Taylor received her first Oscar nomination, for 1957’s “Raintree County.” By then, she was an even bigger star than before, and known as much for her off-screen romances as her on-screen talent.

She married actor Michael Wilding, 20 years her senior, in 1952, a marriage that lasted five years and produced two children, and then Hollywood producer Mike Todd a week after her divorce from Wilding. And after some sluggish work in the early ’50s, she was appearing in some renowned films, notably 1956’s “Giant” opposite James Dean and Rock Hudson. Todd suggested her for the role of Maggie the Cat in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” (1958), and Taylor steamed up the screen, spending a good part of the movie slinking around in a slip.

Todd died in a plane crash in March 1958. Upon his death, Taylor was comforted by Todd’s best friend, actor and singer Eddie Fisher. The comforting turned into an affair, complete with bold headlines, which broke apart Fisher’s marriage to “America’s sweetheart,” actress Debbie Reynolds. Taylor was now “the other woman,” scorned as a homewrecker — and, based on box office returns, more popular than ever.

Fisher and Taylor married in 1959 and appeared opposite each other in the next year’s “Butterfield 8,” with Taylor cast as a sexually carnivorous party girl. Though she disliked the film, her performance — and a sudden case of pneumonia that threatened her life — invited the sympathy of the Motion Picture Academy, and she finally won an Oscar. “I lost to a tracheotomy,” fellow nominee Shirley MacLaine quipped.

In 1960, now perhaps the most famous actress in the world, Taylor was offered the lead in 20th Century Fox’s production of “Cleopatra.” Taylor demanded $1 million, the highest fee demanded by an actress up to that time. Producer Walter Wanger agreed, and the adventure of “Cleopatra” — which would consume the showbiz world in ways unknown in the early ’60s — began. (Fisher’s ex-wife, Reynolds, would become the second woman to make $1 million for a picture.)

The movie seemed gripped by a curse. Taylor’s illnesses, there were more than one,  caused delays, forced casting changes and prompting the production to move from London to Rome. The original director, old Hollywood hand Rouben Mamoulian, was forced out and replaced by Joseph Mankiewicz (“All About Eve”). Weather wiped out days of filming and labor unrest undid more, pushing the budget, which was originally about $5 million, to $44 million — almost $300 million in 2010 dollars, more than “Avatar.”

And then there was one of the new actors, Richard Burton, who was cast as Marc Antony when Stephen Boyd had to leave the production.

Burton, who was already known as much for his philandering ways as his Shakespearean expertise, had initially thought little of Taylor beyond her beauty. But he was quickly smitten: “He tried to end it, but he kept turning around and coming back to her,” Mankiewicz’s son Tom told Taylor biographer William J. Mann. “He just couldn’t help himself. He couldn’t get enough of her.”

The two were inseparable, and very publicly so. Pictures of the couple finally prompted Burton’s long-suffering wife, Sybil, who had attempted suicide, to file for divorce. Gossip columnist Hedda Hopper, both friend and foe to Taylor over the years, called her “sick.” The Vatican released a message directed at her, saying she was guilty of “erotic vagrancy.” A U.S. congresswoman even introduced a bill banning Taylor and Burton — or “Liz ‘n’ Dick,” as they were becoming known from the United States. In response, Taylor asserted, “I will never go back to America.”

But America couldn’t get enough of “Le Scandale.” “Cleopatra” actually did well at the box office, though not well enough to immediately escape its red ink: it took three years for 20th Century Fox to make its money back, and Taylor and Burton were now the “It” couple of the moment.

The two married in 1964, their every move a headline. Burton bought Taylor jewels, furs, baubles. The two caused near-riots when they appeared in public. Burton’s tour of “Hamlet” sold out and their movies together  “The V.I.P.s,” “The Sandpiper,” even the grim, groundbreaking “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” were hits, the latter also nominated for 10 Oscars. Taylor received a best actress trophy for her performance as the tempestuous Martha; Burton was nominated for his performance as the emasculated George.

Eventually, however, the movie going public tired of the double act. Taylor and Burton made four more films together “The Taming of the Shrew,” “Doctor Faustus,” “The Comedians” and the appropriately titled bomb “Boom!” — but none had the success of their earlier work. At the same time, a new generation was latching on to a younger group of stars; Taylor, though still in her 30s, seemed part of another time.

Woman of charity

The actress’ career continued to languish as she entered her 40s. Such films as “The Only Game in Town,” “X, Y and Zee” and “Ash Wednesday” did nothing for her reputation. Her marriage to Burton also faltered; the two divorced in 1974, and though they remarried the next year, the second attempt ended nine months later.

Indeed, Taylor was starting to become a figure of mockery. During a fund-raising dinner for her sixth husband, U.S. Senator John Warner, R-Virginia, Taylor choked on a chicken bone. The incident, including a bulked-up Taylor, was viciously parodied on “Saturday Night Live,” with John Belushi playing Taylor.

But the glamour of being Elizabeth Taylor never faded. She was a “guest” at the much-watched Luke-Laura “General Hospital” wedding in 1983 and launched several perfume lines, starting with Passion later in the decade.

Most notably, however, she devoted herself to charity. In 1985, she organized a benefit dinner to raise money for her friend Rock Hudson, who was dying of AIDS. The project eventually led to the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amFAR); in 1991, she began the Elizabeth Taylor HIV/AIDS Foundation.

Taylor did a handful of parts in the ’90s and ’00s – most notably a 1992 spot on “The Simpsons” in which her voice spoke Maggie Simpson’s first word, but generally devoted herself to social and charitable causes. She married one more time in 1991, to a construction worker named Larry Fortensky, and defended her friend, pop king Michael Jackson. She had more health woes: a trip to the Betty Ford Clinic in the late ’80s, where she met Fortensky, as well as a brain tumor and severe back problems. The latter put her in a wheelchair.

But through all of it, the gossip, the ailments, the loves and losses? She remained indomitable. She even joined Twitter to send regular updates on her life.

Why not? She was born to the spotlight, and no amount of tittle-tattle was going to take it away.

“Some audience out there, and don’t ask me who they are, but there are millions, like scandal. They like filth,” she told CNN’s Larry King in 2006. “And if they want to hear that I’m dead, sorry, folks, I’m not. And I don’t plan on it.”

TV LAND: POP CULTURE AWARDS!

More of television’s most beloved and iconic stars will be honored at the “TV Land Awards 2011,” it was announced today by TV Land. The wildly popular ‘80s comedy series “The Facts of Life” will receive the Pop Culture Award at the annual awards show which tapes for the very first time in New York City at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on Sunday, April 10 and airs on TV Land on Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Additionally, Mr. Kotter himself, Gabe Kaplan, and Robert Hegyes, “Sweathog” Juan Epstein, will join the rest of the cast of “Welcome Back, Kotter” as the show receives the 35th Anniversary Award.

Mindy Cohn, Kim Fields, Nancy McKeon, Lisa Whelchel and the beloved Mrs. Garrett, Charlotte Rae, will reunite for the first time in over 20 years to accept the Pop Culture Award for “The Facts of Life,” a coming-of-age sitcom that ran on NBC from 1979-1988. Set in Peekskill, NY, “The Facts of Life” ran for nine seasons and was a spin-off of the sitcom “Diff’rent Strokes” featuring the Drummonds’ housekeeper Edna Garrett (Charlotte Rae) as she becomes a housemother at Eastland School, a prestigious all-female boarding school.

The house of live-in girls included the wealthy and beautiful Blair Warner (Lisa Whelchel), the gossipy roller-skating Dorothy “Tootie” Ramsey (Kim Fields), innocent Natalie Green (Mindy Cohn) and streetwise Joanne “Jo” Polniaczek (Nancy McKeon). The friends share the ups and downs of growing up – from teenagers to young women – all while leaning on each other.

Later in the series, the girls go on to help Mrs. Garrett open her own dessert shop and are introduced to Garrett’s contractor George Burnett (George Clooney). After a devastating fire, the business is remodeled into a gift shop and ultimately Mrs. Garrett’s divorced sister Beverly Ann Stickle (Cloris Leachmen) moves in to look after the girls and eventually adopts a young man who works at the gift shop, Andy Moffet (Mackenzie Astin).

Welcome Back, Kotter” co-creator Gabe Kaplan (who also starred in the comedy as Mr. Kotter) and Robert Hegyes (Juan Epstein) will join Golden Globe®-winner and two-time Academy Award®-nominee John Travolta when the cast is given the 35th Anniversary Award. Castmates Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Ron Palillo and Marcia Strassman will also be on hand.

Now in its ninth year, the “TV Land Awards 2011” pays tribute to classic and contemporary luminaries of television, music and movies. The ninety-minute telecast will feature exhilarating musical performances and will reunite some of the most iconic celebrity TV casts. Previously announced honorees include Regis Philbin (Legend Award), “Family Ties” (Fan Favorite Award) and “The Cosby Show” (Impact Award) and “Welcome Back, Kotter” (35th Anniversary Award).

Michael Levitt (“Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List,” “Ask Oprah’s All Stars,” “Scream Awards”) is executive producer; Glen Weiss is director (“The 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards,” “BET Awards,” “The 64th Annual Tony Awards”); Greg Sills is supervising producer (“VH1 Rock Honors,” “The Teen Choice Awards,” “Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards”) and TV Land’s Larry W. Jones and Casey Patterson are executive producers.

About TV Land

TV Land is the programming destination featuring the best in entertainment on all platforms for consumers in their 40s and 50s. Consisting of original programming, classic and contemporary television series acquisitions, hit movies and a full-service Web site, TV Land is now seen in over 98 million U.S. homes.

An Open Letter to A.I.

Dear American Idol Judges,

I love you, I really do. But seriously? You need to toughen up the hell up already, and start TELLING THE TRUTH to some of these contestants. I’m not saying you have to be mean about it. However, you are not doing them any favors by lying to them either. And while I am no ‘singer’ – by any stretch of the imagination – I’m certainly not tone deaf.

PS: Honestly, I miss Simon.

Love,
Meleah Rebeccah Hawthorne

*Shocking Turn Of Events* Charlie Sheen ADMITS he needs HELP!

Screen shot 2011-03-10 at 10.43.39 AM

According to Life & Style Magazine, and the E! Channel, Charlie Sheen finally admits that he’s falling apart.

I’m really starting to lose my mind,” he confesses, ” I’m ready to call anyone to help. I’m really trying to contain myself right now,” Charlie continues, “My lawyer wants to come over to my house and take the bullets out of my gun.”

Loved ones fear that having his kids taken away along with the news of being fired from Two and a Half Men could push him over the edge. “It’s crazy over here at the house,” says a source who was with him on March 7, the day the news broke. “Charlie’s losing it. He’s really mad about the show, and dealing with the kids and Brooke is getting to be too much. Charlie is a ticking time bomb, and we all fear he could do something drastic like committing suicide or falling back on hard drugs.”

* I sincerely hope that he DOES get help he so clearly, desperately needs. Because then all of his erratic quotes plastered on t-shirts, and coffee mugs will just be funny. Not funny AND tragic.