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by Steve Leftridge

27 Jan 2010


Eleven thousand hopeful Los Angelinos filled the Rose Bowl to audition in front of Randy, Kara, and Simon, plus the wizened gaze of guest judge Avril Lavigne. It may be the City of Angels, but Avril showed up in a devil-horn hoodie, which fit her giggly, sneery ridicule of the contestants. Perhaps it was her snaggletooth, but Avril’s mean streak apparently rubbed off on the rest of the judges, who turned in their rudest performance of the auditions so far. At this point, the show misses Paul Abdul, if only because she was often the only one with the decency not to humiliate people to entertain the home audience. Ellen Degeneres will likely be helpful in this regard although by the time we get to her, the worst of the singers will have already been laughed off the stage.

Indeed, Avril is too old for this type of giggling (or the hoodie), and she’s also too young to scoff at some of these hopefuls. The worst it got was the reaction to A.J. Mendoza, an Adam Lambert wannabe—they are, predictably, out in droves this year—who made the unfortunate choice of singing Living Colour’s “Cult of Personality”. Mendoza badly oversang, yes, but he seemed like a nice enough guy and claimed to have gotten some encouraging feedback from Lambert himself, which gave him confidence going into the rehearsal. The judges did their best to deflate him with a blast of snickering ridicule, even though Mendoza was trying to listen to them for genuine criticism.

by Meghan Lewit

26 Jan 2010


Episode two felt like classic Project Runway, successfully resolving last week’s boring challenge issues and revealing a promisingly high level of talent. “The Fashion Farm” opened with weepy Janeane from Portland and cute-as-a-button Anna confabbing in the apartment about how they hoped the next challenge would involve something “very New York. Like, weird, eccentric New York.” Aren’t non New-Yorkers quaint?

Instead, the designers were taken out to a farm where they found their models standing in a field like a group of extremely tall Cabbage Patch Kids, dressed in burlap sacks.

by Robert Moore

25 Jan 2010


Has Fringe gone astray?

The recent episode “Johari Window” was not merely mediocre but increasingly typical of Fringe. A lackluster story about individuals who were hideously deformed as the result of military experiments but who appear normal as long as they stay within range of a signal emitted by a local broadcast tower, the episode was not only completely unrelated to the show’s central story arc but boring and dull as well. Every show has its off moments, but what is troubling about Fringe is that it has had so many of them.

by Robert Moore

22 Jan 2010


If you were to ask someone what words first spring to mind after watching the two debut episodes, they would not be the ones that you would associate with great television. Instead of great acting, great writing, and compelling production values, with Spartacus you can’t think of much beyond nudity, the irresponsible use of CGI, cardboardish writing, and blood. Lots of blood. Titanic quantities of blood. In fact, there is so much blood that it is hard not to think of the famous Black Knight scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, in which copius amounts of blood spew from one severed arm and leg after another in absurd quanities. Was blood eve intended to be the major component of any series?

So what descriptive terms spring to mind when thinking of Spartacus?

by Steve Leftridge

21 Jan 2010


Another night, another round of morbid auditions. Welcome to Orlando and, yes, it was a Mickey Mouse operation from the get-go. The producers tonight tried to hook us with a fiasco, a flamboyant fella named Theo who wore a cape and had glued several nickels around his right eye and sang Pat Benatar, who has been mercilessly butchered in this young season. It’s only four shows into the new Idol, and the formula is already pretty nauseating with the farcical auditions toggling with semi-talented dreamers who have a heart-wrenching story at home.

Put your hands together for Broadway darling Kristin Chenoweth of Wicked fame. The story tonight was that Kara and Kristin were BFFs, throwing a sorority girl party at the judges table, hanging all over each other and laughing constantly. Not to get all Captain Kirk on you, but I liked Kristin better with green skin. She was barely present tonight, by the way, disappearing midway through the show without a trace. When she did speak to the contestants, her voice suggested that she should have played one of the munchkins in Wicked rather than the witch.

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