Friday, May 25, 2007
Looking out for No. 1 (and some nuts)
It's not easy being No. 1 -- or a "Jericho" fan.

  • "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" is set to dominate the weekend (watch Mr. Moviefone's take) -- and perhaps make box office history. Just three weeks ago, "Spider-Man 3" set a new three-day box office record, but a number of prognosticators believe the third "Pirates" will outdo even "Spider-Man's" gaudy $151.1 million take.

    "Pirates 2" wasn't affected by mediocre reviews, and "Pirates 3" won't be, either. Critics have been rough on "At World's End" -- it's too long, too confusing, too much, they say -- but it appears that "much" is just what audiences are looking for. (Incidentally, if you have a parody of "Pirates" -- or any movie -- in mind, click here:'s I-Report is looking for you.)

  • "American Idol" finished the season on top of the ratings again, but those ratings weren't quite as good as last year's. Could be any number of reasons -- a relatively lackluster group of contestants, Daylight Saving Time, even Sanjaya's departure -- and some observers have their knives out. Fox and 19 Entertainment are likely laughing all the way to the bank, though, because it's still No. 1 by a healthy margin.

  • And then there are the No. 1 fans of a canceled show -- those fans of "Jericho," who have made their displeasure with CBS' move known across the Web (and yes, I've seen your notes to CNN). They've been sending nuts -- it's an inside reference -- to CBS by the crateload to protest the cancellation.

    According to a press release, "Over 8 tons of nuts have been ordered to date. ... Nearly 80,000 have signed the petition to Save Jericho. ... Dancing Peanuts to protest in from of CBS and full page ads in Variety are being planned."

    If you're a fan of "Jericho," you probably already know where to turn, but if not, is the URL.
  • Thursday, May 24, 2007
    'Idol' chatter: It ends with Jordin
    Only time will tell if Jordin Sparks, the winner of the 2007 season of "American Idol," becomes another Kelly Clarkson -- or another Ruben Studdard. If I were a betting man, I'd say she's gonna have a couple of big-selling CDs and a pretty good career. (Watch what's happened to "Idols" past)

    Last night's results show was probably the worst of the recent season-enders. Not surprising, I suppose; it's not been the best season. I particularly loathe the made-up awards given to the strange birds that try out and then come back for the finale to be made fun of again, this time on live TV. (And the worst of them was some woman from Atlanta who dressed like a stripping chicken. My town ain't really like that, people.)

    Last night's shining moment, other than the much expected coronation of Jordin, was Gladys Knight coming out and singing with the six female finalists. Featured singers Melinda Doolittle and LaKisha Jones belted mightily.

    My second favorite bit was the African Children's Choir. Very sweet. Makes me think I should see if they have a CD or four. Perhaps that series of tubes called the Internets can provide some assistance.

    That there loser, Blake Lewis, didn't do so bad as a runner-up. He won a car and a chance to jam with Doug E. Fresh. I still wish he had won -- OK, I really wish Melinda had won -- so it would give him a better chance to meet America (on the publicity blitz that now begins for Jordin) and get his name out there.

    No worries, however. I think he'll end up as a producer, and he will be very good at it.
    Tuesday, May 22, 2007
    'Idol' chatter: When 17 is a 10
    Somewhere Martina McBride is smiling because her classic country tune "A Broken Wing" is going to help a 17-year-old girl from Arizona win "American Idol."

    Had you asked me a few months ago -- after her audition in Seattle -- if the 17-year-old, Jordin Sparks, could win the competition, I think I would have said it was possible but the youthful one would have a hard time with some of the genres outside of pop music. Especially since she is a teenager.

    Not so Tuesday night. The kid's "Broken Wing" was every bit as good as the original, and that is a big statement because Martina is -- as Randy Jackson would say -- one of the best singers in the known world.

    I don't think Jordin's competition was bad. But Blake Lewis had a huge set of obstacles in the way. For starters, the finals have a schmaltzy ballad that often seems to arise straight from the book of love-song cliches. That favored Jordin and she nailed hers, making people forget Blake's well-that-wasn't-so-bad version of ... I forget the name of the song.

    The other big challenge was trying to outperform himself on the song that he had done before -- "You Give Love a Bad Name." He couldn't, so he didn't gain a big advantage over Jordin after Round 1. And she won the other two.

    I still wish Blake would win. He's cooler, more inventive, unique and a good entertainer. But the finals are often dominated by the better singers. And there's really no question that Jordin easily takes that title -- and the "Idol" title.

    I hear she's young. No matter. She sings like a pro.
    Monday, May 21, 2007
    Love to hate Paris?
    There is a tendency among the "holier-than-thou-why-should-I-care" crowd to pooh-pooh this whole Paris Hilton thing -- to dismiss it as a story not worthy of anyone's time to talk about Paris doing time, to toss the topic into the junk bin.

    Yet the interest remains, as we count down to her lockdown for an expected 23 days in the L.A. pokey for violating her probation on a charge of alcohol-related reckless driving.

    In fact, there's not only interest, but passion -- which led to a passionate discussion on "Showbiz Tonight" about why so many people love to hate Paris Hilton.

    After we learned that Paris was claiming this whole jail thing had left her "traumatized," we asked in our "Showbiz Tonight" Question of the Day: "Do you feel sorry for Paris?"

    Not only was the result one of the biggest responses to any question we have ever asked, it was also the most lopsided we have ever received. Ninety-eight percent said "No," they did not feel sorry for Paris. I'm guessing the 2 percent who said "Yes" -- they did feel sorry for Paris -- were her friends trying to stuff the ballot box so this wouldn't be a clean sweep. (Watch why Hilton fills many people with anger)

    I don't know Paris Hilton personally. I suspect that if I did get to know her, I would discover fine things about her that would dispel a lot of the pre-conceived notions surrounding her public persona. She has a true talent: the ability to nurture a lucrative career out of nothing more than her image.

    Yet what she has to realize is that images and perceptions work both ways. They can be a cash cow, and they can turn you into dead meat. If you also project an image of thinking you are above the law, that the rules of common decency are a one-way street -- and you don't realize that a little humility can go a long way -- then you are destined to not only learn from history but are doomed to repeat it.

    Paris will no doubt cash in on this chapter of notoriety in her life as well. And people will continue to love to hate her. But no one ever sustained a career fueled by sheer negativity. Paris needs to not only get her act together, but reinvent it. If not, she'll become a segment on a future edition of "Whatever Happened To ..." And you can bet this episode will have a laugh track.
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