Monthly Archives: May 2006
Taylor Hicks bests Katharine McPhee to win Fox’s ‘American Idol 5’
In a rather anticlimactic conclusion, American Idol 5 finalist and widely-perceived finale favorite Taylor Hicks defeated Katharine McPhee during Wednesday night’s live two-hour finale of the fifth season of the smash-hit Fox reality talent competition
As American Idol’s 2006 winner, Taylor, a 29-year-old from Birmingham, Alabama, joins Idol 1 winner Kelly Clarkson, Idol 2 winner Ruben Studdard, Idol 3 winner Fantasia Barrino, and Idol 4 winner Carrie Underwood as the winner of a management contract with Idol creator Simon Fuller’s 19 Management and a recording contract with a division of the BMG Music Group that’s headed by industry legend Clive Davis.
Once again using the usual dragged-out two-hour finale format the viewers have come to expect from the popular series, American Idol’s fifth season finale featured an array of live individual, duet, and group performances from not only Taylor, Katharine, and the rest of this season’s Top 12 finalists, but also numerous other well known music artists. In addition to Underwood and Idol 2 runner-up Clay Aiken, non-Idol alumni Prince, Burt Bacharach, Mary J. Blige, Toni Braxton, Al Jarreau, Live, Meat Loaf and Dionne Warwick all performed during the finale.
After performing Barry Manilow’s "I Made It Through the Rain" with Taylor and Katharine during the show’s opening, Underwood also performed "Don’t Forget to Remember Me," one of her own debut album’s singles, later in the finale broadcast. Jarreau performed "This Love Together" with Paris Bennett, who finished fifth in this season’s competition. Live performed "Lightening Crashes" with Chris Daughtry, who prior to his surprising elimination in the show’s Final 4 results show, had widely been considered to be, along with Taylor, the co-favorite to win the competition. Meat Loaf, performing with Katharine, sang "It’s All Coming Back To Me Now."
Blige performed U2’s "One" with Elliott Yamin, who was eliminated in last week’s results show that revealed Taylor and Katharine were the season’s final two finalists. Braxton, performing with Katharine, sang "In The Ghetto." Aiken — appearing nearly unrecognizable in an unflattering new haircut — performed Elton John’s "Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me" in a strange duet with Michael Sandecki, an Idol 5 open audition contestant and Aiken lookalike who appeared on stage to claim a faux "Golden Idol Award" for "Best Impersonation." Bacharach accompanied all twelve of this season’s finalists on the piano as they performed a lengthy medley of some of his best known songs. Warwick closed Bacharach’s appearance with a medley of "Walk On By" and "That’s What Friends Are For."
Appearing with only his own backup singers, Prince — who had been rumored to be one of this season’s earlier guest performers — performed "Lolita" and "Satisfied," two songs from his new "3121" album, in a special "surprise" appearance that occurred only moments before American Idol host Ryan Seacrest capped the finale broadcast by finally revealing the season’s winner.
"Soul Patrolllll," Taylor shouted when Seacrest asked him for his post-victory thoughts. "Thank you so much, this is a dream come true, I’m so, so, so thrilled to be here," added Katharine. Taylor and Katharine will both be part of this summer’s American Idol concert tour that will feature the season’s Top 10 finalists.
Taylor and Katharine had each performed three songs during the final Tuesday night performance show that proceeded Wednesday night’s crowning of Idol’s fifth season winner. In addition to "Living for the City" and "Levon," Taylor had performed "Do I Make You Proud," a new ballad that while mostly panned by critics, is expected to be released as the Idol winner’s first single. Katharine had performed "Over the Rainbow," "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree," and "My Destiny," another widely-panned new song that is expected to be released as Katharine’s first single. Although she didn’t win the competition, both Katharine and Taylor are expected to receive BMG Music Group recording contracts and release debut albums later this year.
After Tuesday night’s final performance show, Idol viewers cast 64.3 million votes for Taylor and Katharine — an all-time American Idol record. Over the course of the entire season, viewers also cast a record-setting 580 million votes in support of their favorite contestants. A worldwide audience of about 200 million viewers is estimated to have watched Idol’s fifth season finale.
STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP
Thanks to the joys of YouTube, here’s a link to the six-minute look at NBC’s Studio. By now you probably know that it stars Matthew Perry, Amanda Peet, Bradley Whitford and D.L. Hughley.
A 30-second trailer for Aaron Sorkin’s new drama, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip starring Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford, courtesy of txvoodoo at LiveJournal
Here are some Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip sites as well.
STUDIO 60 FAN BLOG
STUDIO 60 ON THE VERMONT BORDER
UNOFFICIAL STUDIO 60 WEBSITE
FAVORITE QUOTE FROM THE TRAILER
Danny: What are you smiling about?
Matt: It’s a nice studio. It’s a great facility with an incredible history. I feel privileged to be here.
Danny: You like it?
Danny: Good, ’cause we live here now.
Man I can’t wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Get ready to hug it out….
HBO has announced that the third season of "Entourage" will premiere on June 11.
You can see the trailer on the official website here:
The premiere coincides with the second season’s DVD release, which will hit on June 6.
The third season picks up post-"Aquaman" .
SUNDAY JUNE 11
OTHER ENTOUTAGE NEWS
This MySpace page
set to launch Wednesday, created by Deep Focus and promoting the news season of HBO’s Entourage is about the most tweaked out MySpace page we’ve ever seen. In fact, except for the MySpace URL, you wouldn’t know you were on a MySpace page. While other companies have co-opted MySpace for commercial gain, this is, by far, the most elaborate we’ve seen. The page is still in the test stage with many non-working links but there’s a contest that calls for entrants to create a MySpace page featuring the member’s own "entourage" and then publicize it through the member’s network of friends. Not a bad way to get HBO’s Entourage message in front of a ton of MySpace members. The motivation to create a page comes in the form of a chance to win a car four each of the four people in the member’s entourage. Other prizes include trips to LA with $1,000, Xbox 360’s, Samsung cell phones and Entourage DVDs.
Let’s recap on Entourage folks.
Entourage is an original and popular comedy series on HBO (and in the UK on ITV4). The series first aired on July 18, 2004 and is currently on hiatus. HBO has ordered a 20 episode third season which began production in February and will begin airing on June 11, 2006.
The show chronicles the rise of a hot young movie star named Vincent "Vince" Chase and his childhood friends from Queens, New York as they navigate the unfamiliar terrain of Hollywood, California. Vince’s entourage consists of Eric Murphy, his closest friend and manager; Johnny "Drama" Chase, his older half-brother, a has-been actor best known for his role in the sci-fi series Viking Quest; and Turtle, who is simply living the high life riding Vince’s coattails and serves as a driver and gofer. The other major roles are filled by Ari Gold, Vince’s agent, and Shauna, Vince’s publicist.
The show was created by Doug Ellin, formerly of Life with Bonnie, and one of the executive producers is Mark Wahlberg. Many of the plot points and storylines are based on Wahlberg’s experiences as a rising A-list star in Hollywood. For example, season two’s major storyline (a big-budget "Aquaman" movie featuring Vince) is based on Wahlberg’s starring role in the remake of Planet of the Apes.
These are the major characters:
• Vincent "Vince" Chase (Adrian Grenier)
A young Hollywood movie star described in season one as potentially the best young actor of his generation. His breakout role was as the lead in the film Head On, co-starring Jessica Alba. As a follow on to "Head On", in season one, he turned down a big budget studio film, Matterhorn, to work instead on an independent film set in his hometown of Queens called Queens Boulevard. While the mediocre studio film would have paid him four million dollars, he turns it down on the advice of his best friend and soon-to-be manager, Eric Murphy, for the independent film with a great script but only a $60,000 payday. At the beginning of season two, filming for Queens Boulevard is complete, and the film is well received – it gets into the prestigious Sundance Film Festival. Building on his career momentum and the quality of this film, he is offered the lead in a potential blockbuster film, Aquaman, which is to be directed by none other than the master of big budget films, James Cameron. Vincent talks often throughout the series about how he and his friends that comprise his entourage, Eric, Turtle, and his half-brother Johnny "Drama" Chase, are "living the life" after growing up with little money. Thus, he is eager to share the financial spoils of his current stardom with his closest friends – in fact he calls them his family. While it would seem at first glance that his friends are just leeches, on another level, one can see that the bonds of friendship rise above individual greed, and they really try to protect and insulate him from the real sharks in Hollywood. In particular Eric tends to display this trait. The other important players in Vincent’s life are his agent, Ari Gold, his publicist, Shauna, and the love of his life, Mandy Moore. •
• Eric "E" Murphy (Kevin Connolly)
Vincent’s manager and best friend since they were six years old. Vincent credits Eric for pushing him to become an actor when they were in the third grade. At Vincent’s request, Eric moved to Los Angeles from Queens, where he was working as a night manager at a Sbarro pizzeria. Feeling the increasing pressures outside of just acting, Vincent wanted his best friend to help him with business and logistical decisions. It is quite evident that Vincent trusts Eric implicitly and that Eric actually places Vincent’s interests at the forefront. In season one, Eric serves in the manager capacity informally until the finale at which time it is made official with a ten percent commission on everything Vincent makes. While this new financial bias could potentially skew Eric’s actions, his devotion to his best friend transcends the money. This often puts him at odds with Vincent’s more avaricious agent, Ari. Although not a Hollywood insider, Eric’s combination of common sense, instincts, and luck helps him navigate the treacherous show business waters with remarkable skill. For example, Queens Boulevard gets rave reviews and increases Vincent’s showbiz stock. Unlike his friend, Eric tends to pursue lasting relationships with women, although he is not above the occasional one night stand. Eric’s controversial girlfriends are often the source of criticism. He dated Ari’s assistant, Emily, briefly. He spent much of season one and part of season two working through a relationship with his girlfriend, Kristen, that ended finally after she admitted she cheated while he was in New York filming Queens Boulevard. He is currently in a potential relationship with Sloan, the daughter of Ari’s boss at the agency. •
• Johnny "Drama" Chase (Kevin Dillon)
Vince’s half-brother. He is a has-been C-list actor, best known for his starring role in a cult television series, Viking Quest. In season one, we find out that he has not had a serious acting gig for seven years. Instead, he is Vincent’s cook and fitness consultant. He is a pompous, self-important character who constantly brings up bit roles he has played over the years such as guest appearances on Melrose Place and Nash Bridges and tries to give acting advice to Vincent who doesn’t actually need any. He is always looking to capitalize on Vincent’s success which pays off with a supporting role in Queens Boulevard and a bit part in a flashy Chinese commercial that Vincent does. He lives with Vincent, who finances most of his life. Athough he occasionally finds his little brother’s charity emasculating, he almost never turns it down. •
• Turtle (Jerry Ferrara)
Like Eric, is a childhood friend of Vincent’s from Queens. Turtle is Vincent’s driver and scrounger, usually for marijuana. He brings street smarts and an urban flavor to the group. He is the scheming id persona in the group, always ready to make the inappropriate comment and in the constant quest for free money and sex. Despite his parasitic relationship with Vince, his loyalty and friendship temper his baser qualities. In season two, Eric’s car is stolen by two friends as a means of getting their rap demo tape into the hands of a music producer who has the exact same car. Loving the music, Turtle gets a track into Queens Boulevard and agrees to manage the promising musician played by real life rapper Saigon. •
• Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven)
Vince’s agent and "one of the most powerful men in Hollywood". A workaholic with a quick temper, constant sarcasm, frenetic physical presence, an undergraduate degree from Harvard, and a J.D./MBA from Michigan, Ari is one of the program’s most popular characters. In particular, viewers like the fact that he has never met a racist or sexist comment he didn’t like. But despite being a powerful presence at the agency (Ari singlehandedly set out to destroy a former assistant turned rival agent from trying to steal Vincent), Ari is dominated by his wife at the home, who orders her husband around. Ari and Eric are the primary influencers in Vincent’s life. But it is clear that Vincent trusts and follows Eric’s advice much more than he does Ari’s. This makes for a tense relationship between Eric and Ari. While neither one particularly likes the other, they realize that they are in a marriage of necessity. Towards the end of season two, we discover that the agency that Ari runs is actually owned by a man named Terrance who has emerged from retirement seemingly due to his desire to replace Ari as Vincent’s agent. The conflict that arises between Ari and Terrance reaches a boiling point in season two and leads to Ari being fired from the agency. Ari’s character is reportedly based on the real-life Hollywood superagent Ari Emanuel, who once represented Jeremy Piven.
SEASON 3 OF ENTOURAGE..
IT’S ABOUT TIME HBO!
AND THEN THERE WERE TWO…..
American Idol’s Final Two Battle It Out Live May 23
The biggest night on television is nearly here.
Taylor Hicks and Katharine McPhee will battle it out for the IDOL crown live on the AMERICAN IDOL performance show Tuesday, May 23 (8:00-9:00 PM live ET/tape-delayed PT). Each contestant will perform a version of the winner’s single, and there will be a special performance of “Bad Day” by Daniel Powter. Idol fans who want to relive some of the best performances of the season can pick up the AMERICAN IDOL: SEASON 5 ENCORES CD being released on Tuesday.
Tune in Wednesday, May 24 (8:00-10:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed) to see the Top 12 reunite on the IDOL stage, and find out who America has chosen as the next American Idol. Carrie Underwood, the reigning American Idol, will perform her hit single “Don’t Forget to Remember Me” before the new Idol is named.
My pick for the American Idol:
From the beginning folks…TAYLOR HICKS!!!!!!