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Archive for April, 2010|Monthly archive page

Idol Top 7 Gives Back, Takes Away Tim

In Television on April 24, 2010 at 3:15 pm

 

The need for making audiences feel better about their lives projected itself on television in the form of “Idol Gives Back” – the yearly fund-raising project backed by celebrities and artists who care enough to participate.

The Idol Top 7, on the other hand, struggled to sound “inspirational” as their mentor Alicia Keys offered good advice – both as a performer and as an artist. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to translate on stage – with a very few exceptions.

 

Crystal Bowersox performed without an instrument (other than her amazing voice) for the first time on the show. And it was brilliant. Pure talent. The fact that she got emotional towards the end only proved how she is not at all detached from any human emotion, as what others have perceived her to be. If she ever did thought of leaving the show, it would have left people with nothing to look forward to.

 

Lee DeWyze probably picked the best song to relate to and it did him wonders. He sounded like a real artist without any of the awkwardness that he had with his earlier performances.

The prediction of the Bowersox/DeWyze Top 2 may very well be under way based solely on Tuesday night’s performances. But then again, as I’ve learned so many times on this show, anything can happen – which translates to America being asinine.

On Results night, the Top 7 took a backseat as images of death, sickness and poverty flashed on the glamorous Idol screen, punctuated by performances of artists like Black Eyed Peas and Annie Lennox. It didn’t do well with Tim Urban’s departure, seeing his situation cannot be comparable to a child dying of malaria. The contrast of the whole thing is too awful to be funny.

So on with the Top 6 next week. Without all the hype, I hope.

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8 Facebook Etiquettes You Might Want To Try

In Internet on April 19, 2010 at 12:10 am

Avoid being ‘Hidden” in Facebook

1. Update wisely. Before telling the world what you ate for lunch, try thinking about whether or not your friends will care about it. Unless it’s this excellent recipe you’ve discovered and/or made yourself, it isn’t really all that interesting. Facebook was made to share significant details of your life, not your daily calorie intake.

2. Tag lightly. Be sensitive enough to recognize embarrassing/unflattering photos taken of your friends. They may be okay with you posting it online as long as you don’t tag them. Make it customary to ask your friends in advance if you can post their photos and tag them or not.

3. It is not a contest. Quality over quantity. Life isn’t about how many your friends are, it’s about how many really matter. It’s the same with Facebook. Although some people may see it as a platform to gain a wide audience, just remember that the more friends you have, the more feeds you will get on your home page every time you log in, hence, making it hard to keep track of everyone of your friends. Not to mention the massive application and group invitations you might not want to join.

4. Don’t break up in Facebook. Some things need to be done the old fashioned way. Changing your relationship status should be a mutual decision between you and your partner. Doing so without the knowledge of the other is unacceptable. The Change Status function is not a shortcut to ending relationships.

5. Wall vs. Message. Posting a message on the Wall can be seen by your other friends, not just the person who owns the wall. Sending a message, on the other hand, limits the recipient to the person you specify. These distinctions should be put to use by determining which messages you’d want to post to a wall (public), or send as a message(private).

6. Comment, not chat. Do not use comments to start a chat session. That’s what the chat application in Facebook is for. However, do not assume that anyone is available for chatting even though they are online. They may be looking at other sites, working on a document, or have stepped away from their computers.

7. Introduce yourself. Don’t add/invite your friends’ friends if you don’t know them personally. If you must do this, introduce yourself to the person (there’s a text box you can add a message) when adding him/her. Better yet, you can ask your mutual friend to introduce both of you.

8. Keep it wholesome. Unless you don’t have family or your boss in your Facebook circle, keep your contents PG-13. Nudity, crude language and offensive posts might not sit well with everyone you know. There’s a fine line between being provocative and being plain trashy. Know the difference.

The Vampire Diaries: High School never looked so ‘dead’

In Television on April 10, 2010 at 4:21 pm

The new series that is reminiscent of Dawson’s Creek – with a bloody twist.

 

Young Adult Fiction finds itself in television once more with The Vampire Diaries. Based on the novel of the same name by L.J. Smith, the premise is pretty straightforward: high school chick falls for a vampire dude whose family dates back to 1864, resulting to a lot of unresolved conflicts that continue to  be, well, unresolved. Just one of the few disadvantages of immortality. The result: a drama gripping enough for older viewers, and wholesome enough for younger ones.

The series follows the life of small town high school student Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) of Mystic Falls, Virginia who meets vampire brothers Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder). Stefan wins Elena’s affection and eventually reveals his true form. Damon, on the other hand, disrupts this union by plotting his ‘diabolical’ plan, and causing mysterious ‘animal attacks’ throughout town.

Watching the first few episodes might leave one a bit underwhelmed, as they are not  that strong as the succeeding ones. The good thing about Diaries is that it gets better with every episode so it builds up audience viewership over time, and not overnight. It might be for this reason that studio execs confirmed its second season, and its first season finale on May 13, 2010.

Just like the episodes, the characters at first appears to be shady, even laughable. But as the story gets better, the characters become authentic and relatable. It’s almost like Dawson’s Creek’s self-absorbed teen drama but with a bit of violent blood-sucking and kicking ass as well as the same amount of sexual undertones. Humor is used sparingly, with great effect and sometimes with awkward timing – which makes it even more effective – and makes the show memorable.

Times have changed. Gone are the days when a TV heroine slays vampires. These days, she dates them.

To watch episodes online, click here.

Casey James’ Idol Moment

In Television on April 8, 2010 at 12:23 am

Top 9’s Lennon-McCartney theme uncovers better, if not the best, performances in weeks.

 

For the first time in weeks, I enjoyed Tuesday’s Top 9 Performances like I used to enjoy American Idol. Why? No one sucked for a change. Everyone was great, with a few minor glitches. There goes the new standard for a good show.

This article is, however, is dedicated to Casey James whom I haven’t found compelling aside from his dashing soap opera-ish looks -  until this performance. It was honest, raw, and a head-turning standout. Anyone who hasn’t paid attention to him must have looked up and listened.  Leave it to a gorgeous guy to pretend like he’s heartbroken and you have a winner. Casey, in fact, confirmed this when Ryan Seacrest asked who or what he was thinking about while singing his version of Lennon’s Jealous Guy. "I was thinking about being a jealous guy," he quipped matter-of-factly, to which Seacrest came back with “It was believable.”

 

 

The judges were thoroughly impressed by this "other side" to Casey and the highest compliment, of course, comes from the voice of reason Simon Cowell, crowning it as the best performance of the night. I have to agree. With Crystal Bowersox’s number a bit too predictable, Casey did win the night on account of the Wow factor.

Siobhan Magnus redeemed herself only to an extent, with a note of disappointment from the judges for being a bit "sleepy" (Randy Jackson) and not sounding like something one would hear on the radio (Kara DioGuardi). Nevertheless, I thought her version of Across The Universe was beautifully dark and poetic in a way that only she can pull off. I was just about to take her off my dark horse list, but seems like she’s still in there for now.

 

Michael Lynch performed Eleonor Rigby in an arrangement leaning towards R&B – that was too much for my taste, but I see how it worked for him and how the judges thought it was a great performance. He is believable and is confident enough to stick to his guns (no pun intended) and doesn’t confuse the audience as to what kind of artist he is. That’s all good – but again, I’ve never been completely sold on Big Mike. There are a lot of R&B artists out there right now, and I don’t see anything new he can offer.

Tim Urban deserves more credit, but not too much. Tonight the judges did just that, commending his wholesome and endearing performance of All My Loving. There is no doubt Tim can carry a tune, but on Idol, that’s just not enough. With more evolved artists-to-be like Crystal Bowersox and Casey James, Tim would be lucky to make it as far as the Top 5. I wouldn’t get my hopes up, though.

 

Katie Stevens is “blossoming” according to the judges. She sang the staple choice Let It Be with enough sincerity and competence. This is the second performance that I saw Katie’s emotional presence on stage, the first one on Rolling Stones week when she sang Wild Horses. I think for someone who is still trying to figure out her identity, she should be safe in sticking to simple arrangements and investing on her vocal skills. She is much too young to be thinking about gimmicks such as Crystal’s didgeridoo and Lee’s bagpipes.

Andrew Garcia tried his luck one more time with his version of Can’t Buy Me Love, but it didn’t pick up where he left off with last week’s more relevant performance of Chris Brown’s Forever. This arrangement, however, “drowned” his voice and ruined the acoustic vibe he so desperately clings to every time.

My guess on who’s going home? The last one mentioned is always the least worth mentioning, hence, the most likely to lose votes. Yes, Andrew, it might be you.

Great Idol Moments – Top 10 Performances

In Television on April 1, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Some of the most interesting things happened on this interesting night.

A lot of things are missing from this season’s contenders, but drama is not one of them. People keep on wondering “What the hell is wrong with Idol this year?”, but I think I’ve made the decision to get over that and just enjoy these people and their journey, be it successful or not. Here’s a list of probably the greatest Idol moments that happened during the Top 10 Performance Tuesday night.

1. Self-Belief and Lee DeWyze. The basic personality of a winning Idol contestant is belief. Lee DeWyze became a classic example of someone rising from his own doubts and insecurities and revealing his true self. It was the first time I heard Simon Cowell talk about a ‘life-changing’ moment like he was Dr. Phil. Great performance, even greater personal triumph.

 

2. Love behind the Idol stage. I could not believe it when I saw it, but it might have happened. Didi Benami and Ryan Seacrest shared an “a-ha!” moment on stage. Could it be the first case of forbidden Idol love? Didi, bless her heart, behaved like a true lady. Seacrest, on the other hand, behaved like a nosy one. If a girl doesn’t want to tell everyone about you, then don’t push it.

 

3. The Rise and Fall. Andrew Garcia is back and Siobhan Magnus falls. Which was more surprising, I couldn’t say. It was the first time I saw Siobhan upset to the point of crying. Hopefully she gets her groove back on and not let the pressure get to her. I think Andrew can give her advice on that. Andrew on the other hand probably revived his and Chris Brown’s music career.

 

 

4. Excessive Happiness. Tim Urban can sing – he just doesn’t know what to sing. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s look at his attitude. Someone needs to find out what Tim is on. It’s good to see he doesn’t let the judges ruin his mood, but isn’t smiling and laughing at every serious critique seem a little too much? Even when Simon was being blatantly sarcastic, it seemed like a good-natured joke to him. Good news: It eases the tension during the show. Bad news: It makes the judges feel they’re not taken seriously.

 

5. Taking Chances. It worked for Big Mike but Crystal was another story. Crystal Bowersox looked nice and pretty when she performed. There’s just one problem: she didn’t look like herself. This is what happens when you allow a show like Idol to define who you are through shoes and clothes. You may think you’re still the same person inside, but people can only see what’s outside. The performance was great, but the makeover sadly was distracting and totally unnecessary. Who needs stilettos when you have that voice?

 

6. Most Confusing Advice Ever. Listening to five judges who can’t seem to agree with each other can severely damage a music career. Poor Katie Stevens – she’s been in this rollercoaster ride while the judges fight over what kind of singer she should be. But then if she knew what she was, they probably won’t be arguing at all.  Aaron Kelly, on the other hand, is getting there but always falls a little too short. It’s so sad to see someone with so much talent get this close to a moment, but then lose it in a second.

 

 

7. The Hottest Male Singer Ever. Casey James is the ideal Idol package – good looks, a musical style, great personality and a wide female appeal. Oh, and he can sing.

 

8. The Funniest Judge Ever. Ellen DeGeneres can make you laugh while she’s delivering bad news, doesn’t take herself too seriously(ehem, Simon Cowell), and generally is just a nice person. She is funny without being silly (ehem, Paula Abdul) and makes concrete explanations through her analogies that people at home can relate to.