New Idol Crowned During Star Studded Finale

May 21, 2009

With just under 100 million votes cast towards deciding this year’s winner, American Idol pulled out all the stops for its two hour finale.  And what a finale it was!

Two very talented men -- Adam and Kris.  Photo courtesy of American Idol

Two very talented men -- Adam and Kris. Photo courtesy of American Idol

The dark horse prevailed.  Kris Allen has been declared the Season 8 Winner of American Idol.  He’s come a long way from the guy we didn’t meet until Hollywood Week and didn’t get to know until the Top 13.

Ryan never released how close the vote came, but I can’t imagine that it wasn’t close.  We couldn’t have been treated to two more deserving candidates for the finale.  Both men are very, very talented and seem like all around good guys.

And I loved all of Adam and Kris’ performances tonight.  I had a hard time picking my favorite.

In fact, the whole finale was stunning.  Usually, I’m annoyed by all the fluff Idol parade out to fill out their two hour shows.  But this show was completely different.  It was one stunning performance after another.

The opening number of the night saw the return of the Top 13 singing Pink’s “So What.”  It was really nice to see the whole gang back together again.  I’ve already forgotten some of the faces; it’s been so long since we’ve seen them.  But it was nice to see Alexis back in the fold.

Speaking of old faces, last year’s winner David Cook returned to perform his single “Permanent,” a song he wrote with Chantal Kreviazuk and Raine Maida.  The proceeds from the sale of this iTunes song will go to Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2), a DC-based organization dedicated to finding a cure for brain cancer.

Next we got to get a look back at the auditions with the Golden Idol Awards. 

The first trophy went to Nick Mitchell aka Norman Gentle for Outstanding Male.  I’m so glad that we got to see Nick one more time this season.  He really added some humor to the beginning of the season.

The next award went to Katrina Darrell aka Bikini Girl for Best Attitude.  Is it me or did the bikini get smaller?  But the best part had to be when Kara came out and showed her up – vocally!  I’ll let you guys be the judge of who had the better body. 

The last award, Outstanding Female, went to Tatiana Nicole Del Toro.  Either she really wants her 15 minutes of fame or she’s a good sport to play along as Idol poked fun at her. 

But then we got down to some serious singing. 

The first duet brought back Lil Rounds and paired her with Queen Latifah for “Cue the Rain.”  I was hoping without the pressure of the judging we’d see the Lil we loved during the early phases.  Unfortunately, singing with Queen Latifah proved that Lil’s voice just isn’t that great.

On the other hand, Anoop Desai and Alexis Grace sounded wonderful as they sang “I’m Yours” with Jason Mraz.  I think it says a lot about Alexis’ popularity that she got a shot at the spotlight tonight.  Last year, only the Top 6 got to perform, other than group numbers, during the finale.

Now, I don’t think of Kris Allen as a country singer, but I loved his duet of “Kiss a Girl” with Keith Urban.  They both looked like they were having a ball.  This duet was one of my favorite performances of the night.

The stars keep coming, the girls from got to do a medley with Fergie before introducing the Black Eyed Peas.

Another good pairing was Allison Iraheta and Cyndi Lauper on “Time After Time.”  I always thought of Allison as a through back to the 80s and this duet proved it.  I thought they sounded perfect togher.  And was Cyndi playing a steel guitar?  I didn’t know she could play.

And while the producers got the pairing right with Allison, I have to wonder what they were thinking with Danny Gokey.  They had him sing a solo of “Hello” before continuing the medley with Lionel Richie.  However, no one will ever compare to the David Cook version of “Hello” from last season.  I think the producers just set up Danny for a comparison he could never live up to.  The rest of the medley wasn’t bad though.

Now the next guest performer shocked me.  I’d have never guessed that they would make an appearance on American Idol.  But with Adam in the finale it seems only right he should get partnered with KISS for a medley.  Now that was a performance that rocked!

But the stars didn’t stop there.  Carlos Santana took the stage with a guitar solo of “Black Magic Woman” before performing “Smooth” with the Top 13.

Then we got one last Ford Video that was really just a clip of videos from throughout the season as Adam and Kris sang “I Will Remember You.”  And then David Cook handed the keys over to Adam and Kris for their brand new 2010 Ford Fusions.

Idol is full of surprises tonight because I had no idea that Steve Martin had musical aspirations, let alone could play the banjo.  But I liked “Pretty Flowers,” the song he wrote and performed with Megan Joy and Michael Sarver.  The song itself actually suited the pair really well.

Next up, the guys got to sing “Do You Think I’m Sexy” before Rod Stewart came out to sing “Maggie May.”

The final duet went to the two stars of the night. Adam and Kris teamed up with Queen to sing “We are the Champions.”  The rest of the Top 13 joined them on backgrounds.  What a great way to close the night.  And can I say that I think Adam and Kris actually would do well singing together!

Unfortunately, they couldn’t just give us the results and end it there.  Poor Kris had to sing “No Boundaries” again. 

What I can’t understand is if the producers can do such great pairings for the finale, why can’t they (and the judges) do a better job picking songs for the contestants to sing.

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Preview of 2007 Family-Friendly Holiday Season Movies

November 10, 2007

With the Writer’s Guild of America on strike and all our favorite television shows going dark, the place to be this holiday season for a little entertainment is the theater.   The holiday season on the big screen is fairing up pretty nicely as an option for family outings to include not only some holiday-themed movies, but some other fun family films.

Again, like this summer, I am surprised to only find one G-rated movie.  Even the chipmunks got a PG rating this year.  The list of family films this season includes only 1 1/2 animated films.  I counted Disney’s unique offering, Enchanted, as half since it’s half animation and half live action.

Without further delay, here’s a rundown by release date:

Bee Movie
Bee MovieIn this animated feature, Barry Benson (Jerry Seinfeld) decides he can’t be like his best friend Adam Flyman (Matthew Broderick) and settle for a typical life in the hive making honey.  But when he set out to discover the rest of the world, he had no idea what an adventure it would be.  Along the way, Barry makes a few new friends, including Mooseblood (Chris Rock), a mosquito headed to Alaska, and a human named Vanessa Bloome (Renee Zellweger).  But with adventure comes mishap and Barry and Vanessa find themselves racing against time to saved the flowers.  For a full review, click here.

Rated PG for mild suggestion humor and a brief depiction of humor.  View Trailer at www.beemovie.com.  Release Date:  Currently in theaters. 

Fred Claus
Fred ClausEvery family has its black sheep.  In the Claus family, it’s Fred (Vince Vaughn), Nicholas’s (Paul Giamatti) older brother.  When Fred’s shady dealings finally land him in jail, Santa steps in to bail his brother out, offering him a job in his toy workshop.  Can this sheep change the color of is wool?  Or will Fred’s antics jeopardize not only his relationship with Nicholas, but the whole Christmas holiday? Kathy Bates stars as Mother Clause and Rachel Weisz is Wanda.

Rated PG for mild language and some rude humor.  View Trailer at fredclaus.warnerbros.com.  Release Date:  Currently in theaters.

Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium
Mr. Magorium’s Wonderful EmporiumWhat throws a worse tantrum than a toddler who has lost his favorite toy?  A toy store that has lost its favorite owner.  Mr. Magoriums’ Wonderl Emporium is a delightfully magic place or at least it was until its 245-year-old owner Mr. Magorium (Dustin Hoffman) leaves the store to his timid manager Molly Mahoney (Natalie Portman).  Together with the help of the doubtful accountant Henry (Jason Bateman) and a nine-year-old (Zach Mills), Molly must find the magic to keep the store alive.  For a full review, click here.

Rated G.  View the trailer at www.magorium.com.  Release Date:  November 16

August Rush
August RushThis drama follows the young and musically talented August Rush (Freddie Highmore) on his search to find his parents — Louis Connelly (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), a Irish singer and guitarist, and Loyla Novacek (Keri Russell), a privileged cellist with an overprotective father (William Sadler).  Drawn together by their love of music, Louis and Loyla had shared one magical night together in New York 12 years ago, but due to an unfortunate turn of event the two were separated from each other and August.  Living on the street and under the protection of the Wizard (Robin Williams), August is determined to find his parents through his music.  Terrence Howard stars as social worker Richard Jeffries. 

Rated PG for thematic elements, mild violence and language.  View the trailer at augustrushmovie.warnerbros.com.  Release Date:  November 21.

Christmas in WonderlandChristmas in Wonderland
Patrick Swayze stars in the comedy as Wayne Saunders, a father who moves his three kids from to LA to Edmonton, where the kids think they’ll die of boredom.  But they are in for the adventure of a lifetime when they head to West Edmonton Mall for some Christmas shopping, but find a bag of counterfeit money instead.

Rated PG for rude humor.  View the trailer at christmasinwonderland.com.  Release date:  November 21

Enchanted
EnchantedWhat happens when a fairytale comes true — or in Enchanted‘s case, comes alive?  We find out when the evil Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon) pushes an animated Princess Giselle (Amy Adams) down a well and she winds up in modern day New York in living color.  Will the gritty streets of New York change Giselle’s romantic look on life?  Will Giselle trade her storybook prince, Edward (James Marsden), for a real life romance with Robert (Patrick Dempsey), a handsome lawyer?

Rated PG for scary images and mild innuendo.  View the trailer at enchantedmovie.com.  Release date:  November 21

The Golden Compass
The Golden CompassBased on Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” trilogy, this fantasy follows Lyra Belacqua (Dakota Blue Richards), a rebellious orphan, on her quest through a parallel word full of shape-shifting creatures and witches to find her best friend, Roger (Ben Walker), who has been kidnapped by the government for experiments.  But with the coming war, Lyra might be destined to save more than her friend — her world and all the parallel worlds connected to it.  Daniel Craig stars as her explorer uncle, Lord Asriel, and Nicole Kidman is his colleague, Mrs. Coulter.

Not Yet Rated.  View the trailer a www.goldencompassmovie.com.  Release date:  December 7

The Perfect Holiday
The Perfect HolidayNarrated by Queen Latifah, this sweet little tale is about Emily (Khail Bryant), the youngest of three children, whose only Christmas wish is for her single mom, Nancy (Gabrielle Union), to be happy.  So she asks Santa for the one thing she overhears her mom wish for — a nice normal man.  Benjamin (Morris Chestnut), an aspiring songwriter working as the mall Santa, is more than happy to fulfill this Christmas wish.

Rated PG for brief language and some suggestive humor.  View the trailer at www.theperfectholidaymovie.com.  Release date:  December 12

Alvin and the Chipmunks
Alvin & the ChipmunksA live action/CGI version of the 1980s cartoon about how songwriter David Seville (Jason Lee) turns three chipmunks — Alvin, Simon and Theodore — into pop stars while the trio turns David’s house and life upside down.  Fun fact: the Chipmunks were named after Liberty Records executives — Alvin Bennett, Simon Waronker, and Theodore Keep.

Rated PG for rude humor.  View the trailer at www.alvinandthechipmunksmovie.com.  Release date:  December 14

National Treasure:  Book of Secrets
National TreasureA highly anticipated sequel to the 2004 hit, Book of Secrets promises even more intrigue and action as Ben Gates (Nicholas Cage) sets out to defend his family name when a missing page from John Wilkes Booth’s diary reappears and implicates Ben’s great-great-great grandfather in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.  Look for more mysteries and puzzles as Ben and his crew travel to Paris and London before returning to the states.  Jon Voight reprises his role as Ben’s father, Patrick.  Also returning is Diane Kruger as Abigail Chase, Ben’s love interest from the first movie.

Rated PG for some violence and action.  View the trailer at nationaltreasure.com.  Release date:  December 21

The Water Horse:  Legend of the Deep
Water HorseDiscover the magical beginning of one of Scotland’s most famous legends when a young boy discovers a very unique egg, one that takes him on an enchanted journey when it hatches into a water horse.  Walden Media, the company that brought you the Chronicles of Narnia, promises another fantastical tale.

Rated PG for action/peril, mild language and brief smoking.  View the trailer at thewaterhorse.com.  Release date:  December 25

Well I think I can find several good options to fill the lulls in my holiday shopping schedule.  Hope you find one or two you enjoy too.  See you in the concession lines!