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The Voice: Semi-finals, 5/16/16

May 17th, 2016 · No Comments

by Lyn Jensen

The Voice is cutting its field in half this week, with four contestants, regardless of team, advanced to the finals next week. If Randy Jackson had been one of the judges Monday night, he would’ve been telling all eight how they were in it to win it. Pink was celebrity guest advisor. Now for the music:

1.  Shalyah Fearing (Team Adam) has one of the three weakest voices of the final eight. Pink advises her not to overuse her rasp, but she gets raspy and loud anyway. She’s more about drama than vocal on the Dreamgirls song, “I’m Telling You I’m not Going.” (What happened to Adam’s plan to have her sing “No More Drama,” by the way? Did he not get clearance, or did he reconsider?) Pharrell finds her to be “sweet” and “tender” but I don’t. Gwen says, “You were singing for your life” and Adam declares, “the moment we’ve been wanting to have,” but there are just too many bigger voices for her to elbow past.

First duet:  The Voice is doing much the same thing American Idol used to do–pair up contestants for duets in the even-numbered middle rounds. Country-flavored Alisan Porter and Adam Wakefield sound beautiful together on “Angel from Montgomery.” The host, Carson Daly, calls the performance amazing.

2.  Paxton Ingram (Team Blake) has another of the three weakest voices remaining in the competition. Blake assigns him Meatloaf’s “I’ll do Anything for Love But I Won’t do That” because “it’s got the dynamics Paxton likes to play around with.” The change of style (less churchy R&B, more like a rock frontman) is a wise move but he, too, probably won’t elbow past the bigger voices heading for the finals. Pharrell notes he took the next step, and advises him to get some experience with Broadway, and “it’d be interesting to see you do those big rock tunes, too.”

3.  Laith Al-Saadi (Team Adam) attempts to break out of his classic blues-rock groove by taking an Adele song (“One and Only”) and making it his own. He struggles with some of the notes, so Pink advises him, “clench your butt cheeks.” (Is this Pink or Miley Cyrus talking?) I don’t see or hear anything other than great about his performance, but this morning’s iTunes chart indicates his risk may not have paid off. He didn’t get as many iTunes downloads as he usually gets, so he may be on the bubble at a bad time. He’s had his career breakout, though, regardless of what happens tonight.

Second duet:  Brian Bautista and Mary Sarah find common ground with their interpretation of Ariana Grande’s “Break Free.” It’s a performance with some country and some R&B overtones, but works as mainstream pop. Carson notes Mary stepped out of her comfort zone.

4.  Alisan Porter (Team Christina) has been an inconsistent front-runner, but she finds some great moments on “Desperado.” Her vocals often show more emotion than vocal technique, but this is her best performance in several weeks. Blake says she made the song her own. Adam talks about her ability to connect emotionally.

Third duet:  Laith and Hannah Huston sing the bluesy “Knock on Wood,” and she’s overmatched. It’s not even one of her better vocals.

5.  Adam Wakefield (Team Blake) keeps favoring soulful, smoky, haunting country songs. Blake assigns him one of his own hits, “I’m Sorry.” It was written by Chris Stapleton, Blake explains, and it’s the type of song he’d like to see Adam do more of. At rehearsal the question of whether to play piano is resolved when Pink observes, “As soon as he got behind the piano his voice opened up.” He gives what may be his best performance of the season at just the right time. Pharrell observes this Adam’s bringing a different kind of soul to country. Blake says, “I feel like that’s how you sing it. You’ve had so many breakout moments, never a moment like that one.” It’s the top Voice iTunes download this morning.

6.  Bryan Bautista (Team Christina), who’s becoming this season’s smoky-lounge cocktail-jazz singer, turns Christina’s “Hurt” into a smoky-lounge cocktail-jazz ballad. Christina raves, “Such a huge and crazy song range-wise, I wanna hear it again, I’m downloading it!”

Fourth duet:  Paxton and Shalyah, the two kids breaking out this season, get rappy and hiphoppy on “Masterpiece.”

7.  Mary Sarah (Team Blake) delivers what may be her best performance with “I Told You So,” a song written by Randy Travis. She’s singing each word, fondling every note. Christina says, “You’re really owning who you are.” Blake babbles, “Ask me how do you know what’s good, I want you to YouTube that. That is your best performance.” Don’t underestimate a pretty girl with a pretty voice on Team Blake.

8.  Hannah Huston (Team Pharrell) has the third-weakest voice in the final eight. Pharrell assigns her “When a Man Loves a Woman” for a style “of that era.” She’s raspy, loud, pitchy, still hasn’t developed much identity or personality–if she makes the finals, it’ll probably be because of her attractiveness and her sentimental working-girl backstory. She lays on the emotion and drama but just doesn’t have enough voice for the song. (Laith does. Tessanne Chin did. Susandra Lewis did.) However, Blake raves, “You haven’t had anything like this the entire season!” She may have elbowed her way into the finals, but who did she elbow aside?

I voted for Laith, Adam, and Bryan, guessing they and Alisan “Curly Sue” Porter would be final four. Going strictly by this morning’s iTunes chart, however, the final four would be Adam, Alisan, Mary, and Hannah. Will Laith’s and/or Bryan’s online votes be enough to offset a shortage of iTunes downloads? Or will two female vocalists with soft support–until this voting window–become the dark horses of the finals?




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Beyond Reality – Dancing with the Stars – Season 22 Episode 9 Chat

May 17th, 2016 · No Comments

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Casting Call – New Documentary Series About Final Wishes

May 16th, 2016 · No Comments

Parents of young adults: Are you worried how your kids will handle their inheritance? Do you want to make sure your children marry within your religion? Do you feel like they can’t handle taking over the family business that you’ve worked so hard to build?

We’re casting parents who need expert help making sure their final wishes are met. Please submit a picture/short bio and how you feel your story may relate to our needs. Email to:

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Amazing Race – Season 28 – Episode 12 Finale Chat – 5/13/16

May 15th, 2016 · No Comments

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Beyond Reality – Survivor 32 Kaoh Rong Episode 13 Chat – 5/11/16

May 12th, 2016 · No Comments

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The Voice: Season 10, Top Nine, 5/9/16

May 10th, 2016 · No Comments

by Lyn Jensen

By this stage of The Voice, it’s apparent who the finalists are going to be:  Alisan Porter, Laith Al-Saadi, and Adam Wakefield. Those are the singers who are competing to win the season. Who the fourth (and maybe fifth) finalist is going to be–that’s barely relevant, because only one person can win, but the last finalist’s slot could well go to Bryan Bautista and/or Mary Sarah.

Last night there were nine singers, after tonight only eight will be left. Next week’s the semi-finals, when there’ll be multiple eliminations. So how is the final field shaping up?

1.  Paxton Ingram (Team Blake) is probably more a Radio Disney type than a budding R&B star. He takes a youthful approach to the Whitney Houston hit, “I Want to Dance with Somebody Who Loves me.” It demonstrates his voice isn’t strong enough to compete with this season’s front-runners.

2.  Mary Sarah (Team Blake) wants to play guitar while she sings Maren Morris’ current country hit, “My Church,” but Blake advises her to move around instead. “Soldiers want to see you move around,” he says. (She must be getting a lot of soldiers’ votes.) Pharrell critiques her performance, “More freedom to emote … Your best connection to a song.” Adam agrees it was her best, it was like it was her song.

3. Nick Hagelin (Team Christina) hasn’t been getting the level of attention needed to stay in the competition. He’s got the kind of looks, presence, and vocals to get a teen-idol and/or Radio Disney audience, but that hasn’t been getting him votes (or iTunes downloads). His song choice is Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home” and Christina advises him to get “all Brian McKnight” on the vocal runs. The judges praise both the singing and the performance, but the fact remains–he just barely escaped being cut last week. (He got an Instant Save). That means he needs to jump over someone else (like Paxton or Shalyah) to stay, and such a jump isn’t likely.

4.  Hannah Huston (Team Pharrell) shows her weaknesses–she’s singing a big dramatic ballad (“Say You Love Me”) but she lacks a big dramatic voice. Blake likes it, and Pharrell talks about, “graceful” and “tender,” but that wasn’t what I heard.

5.  Shalyah Fearing (Team Adam) attempts a message song, Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come.” She starts out like a torch singer, showing off her strengths–some big broad emotional textures and colors. Then she gets too emotional, oversinging, overdoing it, and shows off her lack of range. Overall she’s shaky–not finale material.

6.  Laith Al-Saadi (Team Adam) shows a more intimate side with keyboard-playing and a Bob Seger power ballad, “We’ve Got Tonight.” He has the same kind of smoky whiskey voice as Seger–and sufficient range to be able to put on an entire concert. Adam says the performance stopped the whole room. Pharrell urges votes “for that guy that always loved classic rock,” even though Laith’s on Adam’s team. (Sorry he’s not on yours, Pharrell?)

7.  Adam Wakefield (Team Blake) has enough range for an entire concert, too. Once again, however, he insists on getting more soulful than country-fried, copying Bonnie Riatt’s version of “Love Has No Pride.” However, this is one time when his soulfulness works. Christina says she had a dream about him last night. Blake says lots of girls “are having dreams about you.” He thinks it was his best performance.

8. Alison Porter (Team Christina) turns in her weakest performance, rocking her way through “Cryin'” that was a hit for Aerosmith. Her performance is more about acting and personality than a voice, and her lack of a bottom end is showing once again. Christina and Pharrell like it, but Alison needs to stay away from material that requires a strong bottom.

9.  Bryan Bautista (Team Christina) sings Beyoncé (specifically her “1+1”). Put this together with his other recent performances and he shows a broad enough range to compete with the top half of this field. Adam especially likes the way he’s so impressive in his falsetto upper register.

Two more weeks and we’ll have a Season 10 Voice champ. Then it’ll be a long wait for fall and Season 11.

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Beyond Reality – Dancing with the Stars – Season 22 Episode 8 Chat

May 10th, 2016 · No Comments

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Beyond Reality – Amazing Race – Season 28 – Episode 11 Chat – 5/6/16

May 7th, 2016 · No Comments

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Casting Call – New Series Wants to Tell Your Story

May 6th, 2016 · No Comments


October Films wants you to direct the greatest story never told – yours!

We are making an unprecedented series that will capture the offbeat, emotionally charged and extraordinary situations unique to your life. You will self-document your own story – whether you are a young cadet in Wyoming, a homeless teen in New York City, a beauty queen in Florida or an aspiring musician in Detroit. Bold perspectives and diverse backgrounds are welcome – this is an opportunity to show the world what makes you a one-off.
If you appear to be under the age of 26 and are a legal resident in one of the 50 states of America and want to know more; email the casting team your name, age, number, location, photo and title of your story to STORY@OCTOBERFILMS.TV

This is a call for potential voluntary participation in a documentary-style television show. No employment is being offered.

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Beyond Reality – Survivor 32 Kaoh Rong Episode 12 Chat – 5/4/16

May 5th, 2016 · No Comments

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