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April 2008 Archives

It's the end of the road for

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Brooke White. She breaks down and cries. And not in that phony way that people do on TV. These are real tears.

David Cook is called out

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And of course he is safe.

Syesha Mercado is in the bottom two again and seems to know it.

Seacrest calls both Mercado and Brooke White out and proceeds to screw around with both of them like a cat does with a wounded mouse.

The results trickle in

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Jason Castro (J-Caz according to Seacrest) is the first called out. And he's safe.

Looks like Dialidol.com was wrong on this one. They predicted he would be in the bottom two.

David Archuleta is the second called out. He's also safe.

Next week's theme is "Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame."

Has it really been three months (as Ryan Seacrest mentioned)? It feels much longer.

45 million votes came in (up from last week).

Group sing tribute to Diamond: is it me or do these things get more and more uncomfortable to watch with each passing week? Not since Up With People has pop music felt so...generic. I actually feel sorry for these kids.

"Idol" Speculation: Who is going home tonight

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According to the folks at Dialidol.com:

Syesha Mercado seemed to be the tops in terms of call volume. She was followed by David Cook.

According to the site, the bottom three this week are (in order) David Archuleta, Jason Castro and Brooke White.

The website correctly predicted Carly Smithson's exit last week. So, if White goes home, they'll be correct two weeks running.

Discuss.

Cristian stays; Shannon gets the 'Dancing' boot

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With mere minutes to go in the results show, Cristian de la Fuente finally revealed the extent of his Monday night arm injury: a ruptured tendon. Though his doctors said it will require surgery to repair, de la Fuente said he is delaying the surgery, especially after he and partner Cheryl Burke were saved to dance another week.

As predicted here, Shannon Elizabeth was voted off, after ending up in the "bottom two" alongside Marissa Jaret Winokur and her partner Tony Dovolani. Go figure. Marissa had her best night so far on Monday with two exceptional dances. Again, it comes down to fan base and she just may not have enough fans out there to carry her past next week. Too bad. She's shown more spirit and dedication and spunk than most of the other celebs this season.

'Dancing' changes the game

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With just three more weeks of competition in the season, "Dancing with the Stars" changed the rules tonight, with the announcement by head judge Len Goodman that the couples can now include one lift in their routines if it's in keeping with the integrity of the dance they're performing.

In the past, couples were penalized one point if a dance was included in the routine (it's a big no-no in professional competitions, it seems). Jason Taylor and partnery Edyta Sliwinska suffered the penalty Monday night when her tiny talented toes failed to touch earth during one elegant spin.

Why change the rules with just three to go? What if that rule change would have helped one of the other competitors, given them an edge in the scoring early on, who are now long gone? Franky, to change the rules at the 5-yard line just plain stinks.

Second round part two

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Brooke White pulls it together for "I Am...I Said."

"That is one of the tougher ones to sing," Jackson said. "Nice job."

"I really, really hated the first song. it was like a girls night out at a karaoke bar," Cowell said. "This was the Brooke we like. It was a million times better than the first song."

Archuleta continues to implode with another boring performance, this time "America." I'm longing for the days of Kristy Lee Cook. She would have known how to milk this cheese loaf for all it's worth.

"It was absolutely the right choice. Check. Check. Check," Cowell said.

Round two

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I think Cook and Mercado were the knock outs in round one.

Jason Castro gets soulful with "September Morn." It's palatable in an "easy listening radio" kind of way.

Jackson says "It was just ok."

"You need to get out of your comfort zone."

"We don't recognize you. You're not the person we put through to this competition," Cowell said. "There was no attempt to make the arrangement your own."

David Cook is looking more and more like the one to beat with "All I Really Need Is You."

"I'm a huge David Cook fan right now," Jackson says.

"I feel like I'm already looking at the American Idol," Abdul says.

"I thought the first song was ok and the second song was brilliant," Cowell said.

David Archuleta and Syesha Mercado

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Archuleta is a little boring on "Sweet Caroline." The song never builds much.

Diamond asks Syesha Mercado for a hug (kind of creepy, Neil) and says he was impressed. She's next with "Hello Again." She's terrific. Which means she'll be in the bottom two and probably voted off.

I'm not digging the straight Farrah hair, though.

Randy Jackson thought David Cook and Syesha Mercado were in the zone.

Paula Abdul thaught Castro sang twice and liked the second song better.

Simon Cowell hated everything.

David Cook

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"I'm Alive"
"David went to two songs that most people haven't heard before," Diamond says. "I got goosebumps."

Cook rocks "I'm Alive" and will score points for picking a song that few will be able to compare to the original because few know it.

Brooke White plays guitar on "I'm a Believer." It initially seems too low for her, but she gets better as the song goes on.

The Diamond tribute

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Left off the fact that Neil Diamond was the first male recipient of the Razzie (the anti-Oscar) for the worst performance for one of his "greatest achievements," the 1980 flop "The Jazz Singer"

Jason Castro is the first up with "Forever in Blue Jeans"

"I think he'll bring them both off very well," Diamond says.

Even his fans will agree, Castro doesn't have the strongest vocals of the group. The song doesn't do him any favors.

More rough than Diamond? Song choices leaked

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God bless the folks at TMZ.com. They are again first with the songlist for tonight's "American Idol"

It's down to the final five. Neil Diamond mentors and the kids perform his work.

Brooke White: "I Am...I Said" and "I'm a Believer"
Jason Castro: "Forever in Blue Jeans" and "September Morn"
David Archuleta: "Sweet Caroline" and *cringe* "America"
Syesha Mercado: "Thank the Lord For the Night Time" and "Hello Again"
David Cook: "I'm Alive" and "All I Really Need Is You"

Discuss.

Lopez and 'Dancing' Smirnoff split

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Alas, it was only a matter of time. People magazine is reporting that "Dancing" pro Karina Smirnoff and her one-time celeb partner Mario Lopez have parted ways. The magazine cites a reputable source for the news of the breakup.

More details (and photos) of the 'Dancing' injury

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As reported last night, Cristian de la Fuente suffered an injury while performing the samba with his partner Cheryl Burke on Monday's "Dancing With The Stars" on ABC.

"In the very beginning of the dance, I fell back into his arms and I heard something crack," Burke told TV Guide, who was in tears after the show. "I thought it was my dress making that sound. I didn't think it was anything else."

More photos...

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Josh Radnor (left) speaks to Britney Spears, who portrays receptionist Abby, in a scene from "How I Met Your Mother." which aired on March 24. Spears will reprise her role as bubbly secretary Abby in the May 12 episode. (AP/CBS)

Britney Spears, who proved she’s worth a cool million viewers to ‘‘How I Met Your Mother,’’ is paying another visit to the CBS sitcom.

Spears will reprise her role as bubbly secretary Abby in the May 12 episode, CBS said Monday.

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Actress Natassia Malthe as "Scarlet" speaks with director David Nutter on the set for "Scarlet," LG Electronics' marketing campaign for their new flatscreen TV. (AP)

‘‘Scarlet’’ may look like a new TV show and act like a new TV show — but it’s no new TV show.

When it came time to pitch its new series of slimmer-than-slim LCD flatscreen TVs, LG Electronics opted to coyly offer ‘‘Scarlet’’ as ‘‘a new TV series’’ from director David Nutter, whose credits include ‘‘The Sopranos,’’ ‘‘Smallville’’ and ‘‘Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles,’’ instead of pointing out screen size and pixel resolution to potential buyers.

The big-budget advertising campaign, conceived by LG global brand marketing vice president Kwan-Sup Lee and a team of advertising and marketing agencies, stars model-actress Natassia Malthe as the sexed-up, butt-kicking, red-eyed heroine ‘‘Scarlet.’’ There’s no mention of LG — or even a prominent image of the TV itself — in the advertising materials or commercials.

New Patrick Swayze show still on tap at A&E

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A&E Television Networks has announced a big programming push for this year, planning to spend $650 million across TV and new media in 2008, up $50 million from a year ago and up 30 percent compared with 2006. The network is even rolling out a new logo and branding — ‘‘Real Life. Drama.’’ — that will launch Memorial Day weekend.

A&E also said it will launch a second scripted series in early 2009; the top contenders are ‘‘Danny Fricke,’’ starring Connie Nielsen — and ‘‘The Beast,’’ starring Patrick Swayze.

Casting news for '90210' spinoff

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Canadian-born Shenae Grimes has landed the female lead role on the CW’s ‘‘Beverly Hills, 90210’’ spinoff. Lori Loughlin also has joined the show, which centers on the Mills, a three-generation Beverly Hills family.

Drama on the 'Dance' Floor

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It was a night filled with surprises, passion and pain. The six remaining celebs each had to perform two dances, once in ballroom dance and one in Latin dance. And it was the Latin dance that did in the sexy hot Cristian de la Fuente.

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"Oh, did I tell you, honey? I got the 'Late Night' gig." Actor Jimmy Fallon in bed with Chewbacca during filming for a promo for the 2005 MTV Movie Awards.

After months of speculation, former "Saturday Night Live" comic Jimmy Fallon has sealed a deal to succeed ‘‘Late Night’’ host Conan O’Brien on NBC in 2009, sources said.

'Lost' recap: Smokey and the time bandits

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"They have rocket launchers, sure, but if we bar the door with this bookcase, we'll be safe as kittens!" Locke and Ben assume a defensive position in "The Shape of Things to Come."

Do we really need Ben to go all Indiana Jones on us? In tonight's return of "Lost," Ben — previously a maniacally creepy, holding-all-the-cards brainiac — zapped all over the world and all over the timeline ... kicking ass. In the end, he sets up the rest of the show (the episode was, after all, titled "The Shape of Things to Come") as a showdown between two power-hungry obsessives. Yup, he's one of them.

Warning: Spoilers after the jump...

Jennifer Lopez set for TLC reality series

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Jennifer Lopez will executive produce and star in a documentary series on cable channel TLC about her life as an actress and singer, new mother of twins (Lopez and husband Marc Anthony became the parents of a boy and girl in February) and entrepreneur launching a fragrance line.

Is Brooke White the new Sanjaya?

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Are the folks at www.votefortheworst.com helping to throw "American Idol" in Brooke White's favor or does White possess some Sanjaya-like mojo?

What are your thoughts, guys?

Luke & Noah, finally k-i-s-s-i-n-g

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A while back, we reported on "As the World Turns" fans who were angry over the platonic nature of the relationship between young hotties Luke and Noah on the soap. Well, our long national nightmare is over. The campaigned-for kiss finally happened yesterday ...

It's the end of the road for the Irish rose

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Not enough voters found Carly Smithson's performance of "Jesus Christ Superstar" to be super.

Carly Smithson joins Syesha in the bottom two

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Jason Castro is safe.

The fans have spoken. How else to explain this.

Cowell gave it a shot.

"Brooke, watching you last night I'm not surprised you're there because you made yourself human," he said. "Jason, you weren't very good, but you were charming."

Tonight's shocker: Brooke White is in the top four

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Syesha Mercado and Brooke White were brought out next.

White stood by her decision to stop and restart her song on Tuesday night.

And White is somehow spared despite the fact that Mercado had the better performance.

The Davids are safe

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David Cook and David Archuleta are both safe.

No one saw that one coming. Riiight.

Lloyd Webber teaches a master class

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Lloyd Webber has a few pointers about performing for TV versus a live audience (stage or otherwise).

Lloyd Webber calls Jason Castro out on his odd song choice ("Memory" from "Cats").

The composer came off a bit goofy, but good natured.

Who will be tonight's Broadway flop?

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38 million votes came in. Up from previous weeks

The group sing was "All I Ask of You" from "The Phantom of the Opera." It was Carly Smithson's first pick last night before Andrew Lloyd Webber talked her into performing "Jesus Christ Superstar."

Lloyd Webber accompanied the contestants on the piano. The crowd applauded as if Lloyd Webber were a rock star and not a Broadway composer.

Naomi Campbell stars in 'Ugly Betty' season finale

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Naomi Campbell is getting ‘‘Ugly.’’

The supermodel will appear in the second season finale of ABC’s ‘‘Ugly Betty,’’ according to actress Becki Newton.

‘‘She’s going to be in our last episode, which is exciting,’’ Newton said at the launch party for the new Sunglass Hut store design. ‘‘I’ve personally requested that I don’t stand next to her because Amanda would not like to be seen with such a tall, pretty person.’’

Real competition is coming to reality TV: Hosts including Ryan Seacrest, Howie Mandel and Tyra Banks are now eligible for an Emmy Award.

A category recognizing ‘‘outstanding host for a reality or reality-competition program’’ was created by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and will be presented at the 60th annual Emmys in September.

Mambo makes mischief for Marlee Matlin

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Marlee Matlin dances with Fabian Sanchez in Los Angeles backstage during the "Dancing with the Stars" show broadcast last night. (AP)

For the third consecutive week, a last-place finish has led to elimination on ‘‘Dancing With the Stars.’’

This week’s celebrity casualty was Marlee Matlin, who came into Tuesday’s results show with 21 out of 30 points. The actress, who is deaf, lost her timing at various points during her mambo Monday with professional partner Fabian Sanchez, and the judges took note.

‘‘You guys looked like you were forcing and struggling,’’ said judge Carrie Ann Inaba, who noted that the mambo is more rhythm-dependent than other ballroom dances and she expected it to be most difficult for Matlin.

‘‘You did a great job,’’ said head judge Len Goodman, ‘‘but it just looked uncomfortable throughout.’’

Judge Bruno Tonioli noticed ‘‘a few stumbles’’ but still called Matlin’s performance ‘‘a great achievement.’’
‘‘What you do here is a plus for the show,’’ he said.

Did Cook give the performance of the night?

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Cook's take on "The Music of the Night" was too Broadway. He nailed the high notes, but did little else with the song.

"That was an amazing vocal performance," Jackson said.

"You made the most of the song you were given," Cowell said.

Smithson just might make it into the final three. My picks for the bottom three this week: Mercado, Castro and White. I expect White to be ejected.

Is Carly Smithson a "Superstar"?

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It may be the closest thing to superstar Smithson will ever come.

She sings the hell out of it.

"It was actually one of my favorite performances of the night," Cowell said.

Brooke White begs for your love

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Brooke White screwed up the beginning of "You Must Love Me" (from the film version of "Evita"), stopped and restarted. "I lost the lyric," White explained.

“You must never start and stop,” Paula Abdul said, chastising her.

Castro's take on "Memory" from "Cats"

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"I never thought I'd see a man singing 'Memory' in dreadlocks," Webber said.

It was breathy and unmemorable. "It was a little bit of a train wreck," Jackson said.

Broadway in primetime

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Given the ratings for the Tony Awards show, I'm guessing this week's "Idol" will have some of the lowest ratings in the show's history.

Syesha Mercado is first up with "One Rock & Roll Too Many" (from "Starlight Express").

"I think she could bring the house down," Webber says.

It was bluesy. She had a few pitch problems, but she seemed to be enjoying herself.

"This may surprise you, but I feel that not only are you in your element, you could be a Broadway star and this was your best performance to date," Randy Jackson said.

"That was very sexy," Simon Cowell said. "I agree with Randy. This was one of your strongest performances by far. We saw massive amount of personality from you..."

Songs to raise the roof (or bring the chandelier down)

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TMZ.com is first with the song selections for tonight's "Idol."

Broadway composer Andrew Lloyd Webber is the guest mentor. Let's see how many times Simon will criticize the kids for sounding either a) Too cabaret or b) too karaoke.

Syesha Mercado: "One Rock & Roll Too Many" (from "Starlight Express"; here's hoping she does it on roller skates!)

David Cook: "The Music of the Night" (from "The Phantom of the Opera")
Carly Smithson: "Jesus Christ Superstar" (I would have thought she would have gone for "I Don't Know How to Love Him")
Brooke White: "You Must Love Me" (from the film version of "Evita"; this might very well be the most ironic choice if she ends up being sent home)
Jason Castro: "Memory" (from "Cats"; this might be the most half-baked song choice this season)
David Archuleta: "Think of Me" (from "The Phantom of the Opera"; wonder if he will do the aria at the end).

From the looks of things, this promises to be a train wreck. Thoughts?

First Lady Laura Bush chatty, genial on 'Today'

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Today Show host Ann Curry (left) and co-host First Lady Laura Bush on NBC's "Today Show" this morning. (Peter Kramer/AP)

As guest host of ‘‘Today,’’ first lady Laura Bush proved she can be as chatty and genial as the broadcast pros.

Even better, she demonstrated how to keep it under control Tuesday. In the company of the NBC morning show’s fawning, overeager veterans, Bush brought a welcome air of restraint — while much of the time, her on-air companions might have seemed to the former teacher like schoolchildren on a sugar rush.

‘‘You did that so well, it’s obvious that WE are overpaid,’’ news anchor Ann Curry marveled after Bush did a brief voiceover announcement.

‘‘Well, it’s been obvious we’re overpaid for a long time,’’ co-anchor Matt Lauer chimed in. ‘‘It didn’t take Mrs. Bush to prove that.’’

'Twas the night before the Pennsylvania primary, and all over TV were presidential candidates — and even the president himself — denigrating their station by pandering to google-eyed couch potatoes.

Everywhere you surfed tonight, there they were — on CNN, on Fox, on "Deal or No Deal," even the WWE.


President Bush is happy to be anywhere with good ratings.

Feet don't fail me now

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It's mid-season point on "Dancing with the Stars" and Kristi Yamaguchi finally snagged her elusive perfect score of 30 with a truly enjoyable jive. Of course, Yamaguchi is no stranger to dancing --- on ice ---- having toured in numerous ice shows in her skating career. Does it give her an edge here? I'll bet you her Olympic gold medal it does!

Candidates want to smackdown your vote!

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Get ready for a presidential smackdown!

Candidates Hillary Clinton, John McCain and our own Barack Obama are serious about courting the blue-collar vote in tomorrow's Pennsylvania primary election. Because they're each appearing on tonight's "Monday Night RAW" world-wrestling show.

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WWE wrestlers settle their differences. Is the Democratic primary about to be decided this way?

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton played up her image as a tireless problem solver — this time for laughs — when she visited Comedy Central’s ‘‘The Colbert Report’’ last night.

Not to be outdone, Sen. Barack Obama, her rival for the Democratic nomination, showed up via satellite to poke fun at what he called the media’s fixation on gaffes and trivialities.

NBC goes green for Earth Day week

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NBC Universal isn’t painting its Rockefeller Center headquarters green — at least not yet — but the company is pushing all of its networks to deliver environmentally-friendly programming next week.

‘‘Dateline NBC’’ will report on melting snow on mountains in Bolivia, ‘‘Today’’ will have daily segments on renewable energy, Jim Cramer will talk about ‘‘green’’ stocks on CNBC’s ‘‘Mad Money’’ and NBC is encouraging its affiliates to report on environmental issues on local newscasts.

Green is the password in late-night entertainment, too, where ‘‘Last Call with Carson Daly’’ brings on Darryl Hannah to talk about organic skateboards.

Do you think Kristy Lee Cook can get her horse back?

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Mercado is safe. Kristy Lee Cook thinks she's a goner. And she's right.

Here's hoping she can get back that favorite horse that she sold to fly to the auditions.

She handles the news of being eliminated with a lot of class.

The fate of David Archuleta hangs in the balance

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Just kidding. We all know he's safe. Who are they trying to fool?

He's the first on the couch.

Seacrest has David Cook swap with Syesha Mercado. Seacrest tells Archuleta to go stand by the group that he thinks is safe. He refuses. Eventually, Seacrest brings Castro's group over to Archuleta

So: Archuleta, Castro, Cook and Smithson are all safe this week.

Bottom three: Kristy Lee Cook, Syesha Mercado and Brooke White.

Your thoughts?

Mimi in the house

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Would you look at that? Someone took the Bedazzler to Mariah Carey's microphone stand.

Critics have said that the melody to Carey's peppy elegy "Bye Bye" is too simple for a diva of her stature. After hearing it on "Idol," I can't get over the fact that Carey wrote a peppy elegy. People grieve in different ways, I guess.

But few of us do it with a Bedazzler-studded microphone. Oh, Mimi. We love you.

A message to "Idol" producers

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Please, please, please kill the viewer call-in segment.

Elliot Yamin and some mo' results, sort of

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Elliot Yamin, who came in third in season five, gets some post-Idol time on the "Idol" stage.

Seacrest pours some salt in the wound by mentioning that Yamin's mom recently died. Is Seacrest going to have any fans after this season? First his comment last week to Michael Johns (we didn't kick anyone off during "Idol Gives Back" last year, but the road ends here for you...)

Syesha Mercado joins Castro's group.

Ok, my theory is thrown a wrench. Brooke White is told to join the Cook group.

Shameless plug two-fer

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The songwriting contest and the summer arena tour all in one breath! Bravo, Seacrest. Bra. Vo.

Jason Castro is the first out. Seacrest doesn't have him sit in the couch, though. Castro is told to start a group stage left. David Cook is second out. He's told to go stage right. So, one of them is in the bottom three, right?

Carley Smithson joins Castro on the left. Kristy Lee Cook is told to join David Lee Cook.

My prediction: four people will be in Castro's group. Castro will be told to sit down.

Bottom three: Smithson, Syesha Mercado and Brooke White. Your thoughts?

Ratings are down; is anyone watching?

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According to E online, ratings for the results show are down three million.

The mundane group song (Mariah Carey's "One Sweet Day" ) certainly isn't going make anyone want to tune in.

Carey is scheduled to perform "Bye Bye" and former contestant Elliott Yamin will also be killing some of the hour. Seriously: why is this still an hour?

Is Jennie Garth moving back to '90210'?

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When you start talking about "The Hills," you get a different reaction depending on how old your audience is. Younger folk think you're talking about the MTV scripted/unscripted drama of that title. Older TV fans (ahem) think you mean Donna Martin and Brandon Walsh. That is, "Beverly hills, 90210."

And with earlier announcements that the CW is plotting a new "90210" spinoff series, now comes word that one of the original show's residents might be returning to the zip code.

Michelle Obama on 'The Colbert Report'

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Barack Obama declined to appear on Stephen Colbert's news-parody show "The Colbert Report," taping in Philadelphia this week (its first remote outing), but his wife, Michelle Obama, faced Colbert's singular wit last night.

Colbert began the interview by "grilling" her about her "silver spoon" upbringing on Chicago's South Side. He even serenades her at one point. Eventually he asked: "Why would you want to be first lady? You’d never get any sleep because I understand the phone keeps ringing at 3 a.m."

Hillary Clinton is scheduled on the show tomorrow night.

Watch the Michelle Obama appearance here...

And then there were seven 'Dancing' swells

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Presley has left the building. As in Priscilla.

Cristian de la Fuente and partner Cheryl Burke, and Priscilla Presley and partner Louis Van Amstel were left to stand in that hideous red light while the scary exit music played. But the writing was pretty much on the wall Monday night when Presley just couldn't deliver her rhumba. (She was also in the bottom two after last week's results show.) The 62-year-old actress/businesswoman was voted off the show.

"This has been an incredible experience. It's been life-changing," Presley graciously said.

And once and for all, the show officially clarified that Presley DOES NOT operate a psychic hotline, as was "reported" on the April 1 (April Fool's Day) "Dancing" show. Told ya so.

More "cute kids" danced. Again, one tiny tot couple was "eliminated." Still seems harsh, but boy can they dance!

Chicago's Bernie Salazar takes home the runner up prize

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Salazar, who was eliminated on "The Biggest Loser: Couples" back on March 5 has won the $100,000 runner up prize for losing the most weight of the eliminated contestants.

He began the show at 283 pounds and lost a total of 130 pounds or 45.94 percent of body weight lost.

When we spoke with Salazar back in March, he vowed to win it.

His partner on the show, Brittany Aberle lost a total of 57 pounds.

Frankfort's Dan Evans takes the lead

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Dan began the show at 310 pounds, finished at 174 (136 pounds lost and 49.37 percent weight lost). He's in the lead for the runner up prize at the moment.

Jason Castro has the coveted last spot

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He picked "I Don't Wanna Cry."
Carey thought it was an interesting choice and even gave him a few tips to pep it up.

"I didn't really love it," Jackson said. "I felt like I was at a lua

"I'm going to have to agree with Paula. I thought that was good."

Curtis is still out front

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Amanda passed Curtis' wife Mallory and is second with 31.37 percent.

David Cook does ok

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Cook's take on "Always Be My Baby" doesn't have the energy or excitement that he had in previous weeks. He actually seems to mumble through most of it. The judges liked it, though.

"That was the most brilliant performance yet," Jackson said.

"It was like coming out of karaoke hell into a breath of fresh air," Cowell said.

The runner ups...who is out front?

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Curtis is leading the pack. He began the show at 381 pounds and finished at 231. The 150 pounds he lost amounts to a whopping 39.37 percent total weight loss.

His wife Mallory is in second. She began the show at 217 pounds, ended at 152 for a total of 65 pounds lost and 29.95 percent total weight loss

Brooke White takes on Carey's anthem "Hero"

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Carey thought White was "genuine." White performed piano and seemed to speed through the slow ballad. It's typical of what you would hear in a piano bar.

"I was digging it until the bridge," Jackson said.

Abdul called her out for speeding through it. Wow.

"I don't think you had much choice other than to do what you did," Cowell said. "It was like ordering the hamburger and only getting the bun. Your voice wasn't strong enough to carry that song."

Syesha hopes to keep from "Vanishing"

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Syesha picked "Vanishing" from Carey's self-titled 1990 debut album.

Carey thought Mercado was "cool, composed and did a great job."

It's another great performance, but I suspect she'll still be in the bottom three. Girl can't catch a break.

"That's probably the toughest song of the night," Jackson said. "You did a good job with it all things considered."

"Technically, it was very, very good indeed," Cowell said. "Having said that, at this stage in the game I'm not sure I would have chosen a song that not many people have heard of."

My picks for the runner-up prize

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Eliminated contestants are eligible for a runner-up prize. The winner is the person who lost the most weight post show.

Frankfort mother and son team Jackie and Dan both look pretty good as do Chicago's Bernie and his former partner Brittany.

Jay lost the man boobs. Thank God.

Any of them is in the running.

Carley Smithson and the insult heard 'round the world

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"Things have been boring without Michael [Johns] here," Carly Smithson said, unintentionally insulting the remaining contestants.

Mariah and Carly pretend they've never met each other before (Not true according to a 2002 interview from the UK's News of the World).

Smithson picked "Without You." She came across as a bit angry in my book, but it's a solid performance.

"I liked that you challenged yourself with this song," Jackson said.

"I wanted to hear you sing this song even before Mariah Carey week," he said. "Could you pull this off? I don't think you did."

America's pick for the final two

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The twist this season on "Biggest Loser" was that America would be selecting the final two contestants from the four remaining on the show.

America picked former NFL player Roger of Mark. No surprise there. I'm guessing the voting public wanted to ensure the female contestant would have a fighting chance.

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David Archuleta is first with "When You Believe" (from "Prince of Egypt") and channels his own inner diva.

"I thought it was really moving," Carey said.

"I was a little worried about tonight with guys singing girls songs...if you can sing, you can sing anything and you can sing anything. That was the bomb."

"I would have bet a million dollars on you picking that song in advance," Cowell said. "You set the bench mark...You performed that really well."

Anyone else not looking forward to tonight?

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Tonight's Mentor is Mariah Carey. Carey has sold millions of records and is one of the few pop singers able to hit notes in the whistle register (that would be the register above falsetto and just below the ones only dogs can hear.

The guys have a distinct disadvantage. Few guys can hit the whistle register. Here's hoping that guys even tries.

The final seven get scary with Mariah Carey

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TMZ.com is again first at leaking the songlist for tonight's "Idol." Mariah Carey will mentor.

Here's what TMZ is reporting (and their mole has been 100 percent accurate so far):

*Syesha Mercado picked "Vanishing" from Mimi's self-titled 1990 debut album.
*David Cook went with "Always Be My Baby" from Carey's 1995 release "Daydream."
*Carly Smithson selected "Without You," Carey's 1994 remake of the 1970's song by Badfinger (Carey's version was released on her 1993 album "Musicbox."
*Brooke White went with "Hero" (also from "Musicbox").
*Jason Castro performed "I Don't Wanna Cry," a ballad from her debut album.
*Kristy Lee Cook is tempting the fates with her selection, "Forever" (from "Daydream")
David Archuleta will put his spin on "When You Believe," a duet Carey performed with Whitney Houston on the soundtrack for "The Prince of Egypt."

TMZ's original post can be found here: http://www.tmz.com/2008/04/15/glitter-2-idols-sing-mariah/

Thoughts and comments? I'm all ears.

Lifetime goes for broke, brings in Trump

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Lifetime is reaching for its funny side with several new comedies, at the same time enlisting mogul and ‘‘Apprentice’’ star Donald Trump to executive produce and narrate a scripted series that’s in development.

Blame it on the rhumba

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It's halftime on "Dancing with the Stars," the midpoint of this season's competition, and still there is little to be excited about. Even on the "hottest night of the season" as Latin dance night is billed, there was little sizzle to be had amid all the attempts at the sensuous rhumba and sexy-playful samba.

'King-maker' Stephen Colbert in Philly this week

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Stephen Colbert’s bid for the presidency may have fallen short, but he’s still determined to influence the race.

Today, ‘‘The Colbert Report’’ begins a week of broadcasts in Philadelphia, where the all-important Democratic Pennsylvania primary is looming. Colbert hopes the relocation will return him to center stage in the election.

‘‘I don’t need to be president. I don’t need to be president,’’ repeated the comedian in a recent interview, as if trying to convince himself. ‘‘If somebody else needs that, if Hillary Clinton or John McCain or Barack Obama need that title to make themselves feel good, that’s fine. I just want the power to decide who will be president and I’m going to Philly to help exercise that.’’

It should surprise no one who was robbed of an hour of their lives Tuesday that CBS's "Secret Talents of the Stars" has been (gulp) canceled after just one amazing (for all the wrong reasons) episode.

I watched in morbid delight from the opening monologue, when an uncontrollably shaking John O'Hurley -- they guy who's made a career masquerading as his recurring character J. Peterman from "Seinfeld" -- outlined the show's seemingly can't-miss premise.

CBS was somehow certain it had struck television gold by taking B-, C- and D-list stars, exploiting some passing interest or mild hobby they might have, and then pumping it up as a 'secret talent.' How did this not take?

George Takai -- Sulu of "Star Trek" fame -- took his secret talent from the shower to national television with a rendition (and I use this word loosely) of "On the Road Again."

Country singer Clint Black showed us that there's a difference between charming and funny -- and that one does not equate to the other. He possesses one of these characteristics (hint: it has nothing to do with his purported 'talent').

Figure skating darling Sasha Cohen reminded us why contorsionism has never really caught on in the United States.

And the judges -- Debbie Reynolds, Brian McNight and producer Gavin Polone -- were simply regrettable. Perhaps their finest moment as a group came following Mya's performance.

Though she held her own as a tap dancer (though I can't imagine how we were supposed to believe that this talent was a secret), all the judges could seem to agree upon was that Mya is, indeed, hot. Alas, Mya's performance was not enough to carry the show -- especially since she was VOTED OFF!?!?!?! along with the Takai.

The only tragedy is that the American public will never get to see all the hard work that Roy Jones Jr. put in to learning how to rap. They'll never be titalated by Danny Bonaduce's unicycle riding. And how will any of us ever sleep knowing that there's video footage out there of "Nature Boy" Ric Flair salsa dancing that we'll never see?

It seems in the end that "American Idol" meets "Dancing With the Stars" meets "America's Got Talent" meets "The Surreal Life" doesn't make the delectable reality soup that someone originally thought it would. Better luck next time, CBS. How about a reality show to find your next evening news anchor?

Michael Johns is going home

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Paula Abdul is shocked. I'm with her. I didn't see this one coming.

The presidential candidates on "Idol" finally

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Bono first, then Hillary Clinton, then John McCain, and finally Obama.

I didn't realize Bono was running. Wait. Is he even eligible to run? I kid...

Hillary looked stiff, Obama relaxed, but McCain made me laugh thanks to his joke about "American Idol" being just like the presidential vote (except that the votes in Michigan and Florida count in "Idol"). Kids: ask your parents why this is funny.

7:38 and no one is in the bottom three yet.

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Jason Castro and Kristy Lee Cook are both safe for another week.

That leaves Michael Johns, Carley Smithson and Syesha Mercado in the bottom three and all up for elimination.

Johns is a bit of a surprise. It's not looking too good for Mercado.

Brooke White is the first called out and she's safe. Guess she'll be missing her sister's wedding this weekend afterall.

David Cook is second (and obviously safe). Some Vegas bookies now have Cook favored to win, by the way.

David Archuleta is also safe.

No surprises thus far.

The spill over

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Dr. Phil is official b-listed. His filmed segment for "Idol Gives Back" aired tonight instead of last night.

Discuss

What, they could only learn two group songs this week?

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Not only do we have to sit through a recap of last night, tonight's group sing is "Shout to the Lord" which the group of eight closed "Idol Gives Back" with.

Why Jason Castro is my favorite "Idol"

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1. He always looks half-baked and doesn't seem to care.
2. He thought nothing of making fun of Ryan Seacrest as Seacrest opened the show. High-larious.
3. His music choices are usually anti-Idol and more interesting than what everyone sings.

Doing the Presidential bump

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Despite producers trumpeting appearances by all three Presidential hopefuls, as anyone who watched last nights "Idol Give Back" knows, Clinton, McCain and Obama never appeared. Apparently, because they were bumped.

Anybody expecting them to appear tonight?

Flotsam and jetsam from Tuesday

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Seems the Web is abuzz with news that some folks were unhappy with the "children's competition" on the week four results show. Tiny dancing tots, two couples to be exact, danced their hearts out in front of millions of us viewers. One duo was told they were "out" of the competition; the other moves on to face a new challenger next Tuesday night. Yep, these kids are "seasoned veterans" supposedly of dance competitions so "losing" shouldn't be traumatic. But was it right to make them face the music in such a way in front of millions of viewers? Why wasn't it just a demonstration dance, rather than a judged performance?

Other "Dancing" news you can use..... Julianne Hough's country music album, "That Song in My Head" (Mercury/Nashville) is due out May 20. The title rack is already getting tons of airplay. The 19-year-old is also slated to sing the National Anthem at the Indy 500 on May 25. And, the bubbly dancer-singer hits the road for her first tour starting June 11. The headliner? Brad Paisley.

Heard Tuesday night: Priscilla Presley was penalized one point by the judges for performing a lift during her Viennese waltz. La Presley murmured "I love feeling my legs in the air." There you have it.

Summing up 'Lost' in a single word

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We know we've said it more than a few times. But until this video showed up on YouTube recently, we didn't realize how many times the characters in "Lost" had similarly shown disbelief and bewilderment by the endless plot twists and shocking revelations on their infernal island — by saying, simply, "What?!"

Enjoy this ingenious montage, and feel comforted that Jack, Sawyer and even Ben are just as stunned as you are most of the time...

Cilla almost hits the road

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You are right. There is no "sparkle" this season as there has been in the past. Carolla was having fun and at least did bring some humor to the show. But it in the end, it's the dancing that matters, so he had to go. I thought Jason was great and deserved the 29. At least he has the charisma and personality that Kristi seems to be lacking. I gotta agree with judge Len Goodman, all her dances have a "sameness" to them in terms of emotion and musicality.

Should be interesting to see how next Monday's dances go.

'Cilla almost hits the road

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"Dancing With the Stars" has reinstated its practice of letting viewers know just who's in the "bottom two" each week. This time out, it was Priscilla Presley and Adam Carolla left standing in the red light while the scary exit music plays.

In the end, it was Carolla who bowed out gracefully when he was told he was voted off the show.

"I lost 20 pounds of fat but gained 100 pounds of angel," he said of his pro partner Julianne Hough.

'Nuff said for this week.

"Idol" gives back...just not to its workers

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Reuters is reporting that workers from a dozen or so realty TV shows, including "American Idol" have filed a labor complaint with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.

The workers liken working on the shows to being in a sweatshop and are seeking overtime pay and meal breaks.

One former "American Idol" production assistant said he often worked 12-20 hour days seven days a week without meal breaks or overtime pay.

FremantleMedia, the company that produces "American Idol" declined to comment.

Discuss.

David Archuleta and Brooke White close us out

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Archuleta stealthily picks another song that few Americans have heard of (Robbie Williams' "Angels). His tone is a bit too nasally and he tacks on the usual vocal runs at the end (nothing complicates and ruins a simple melody than a vocal run in my book).

"When you did the refrain and stopped and did those runs, that was your hottest moment of the season

"The best song choice of the night so far," Cowell said. "Why this song has never been a hit here still amazes me."

David Cook is "Innocent"

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But the song started out terrible. He was pitchy. Ugh. He wrote "Give Back" on his palm. What a com-puh-lete and utter TOOL

"Not one of your strongest weeks, man," Jackson said.

"I didn't like this performance very much at all," Cowell said. "I thought it was a teensy bit pompous. We say this week after week: originality, choice of song and something you're going to remember in a couple days. This wasn't anywhere near as good as last two weeks.

Kristy Lee Cook has a Lazarus moment.

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Kristy Lee Cook keeps the country vibe going for another week with Martina McBride's "Anyway."

She's been in the bottom three since, well, since the show started. It's a great performance and should be her Lazarus moment that keeps her in the competition for a couple of more weeks. The judges agree.

"There were a couple of pitch moments, but I loved it," Jackson said.

"You outdid yourself tonight. This was your best by far," Abdul said.

"I thought you were very good, indeed," Cowell said. "Tonight, you look like a star, Kristy."

Syesha believes...do you

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Wow...Syesha Mercado is taking a huge risk by performing "American Idol" winner Fantasia's "I Believe."

It's risky because she will inevitably be compared to Fantasia. I've liked her even in the weeks she was in the bottom. I like her again, which means she's probably a goner.

Jackson compares her. "She has that special connection I didn't find with you. She sang the living daylights out of it."

"This is one of your most shining nights," Abdul says.

"You sang it very well," Cowell said. "What it lacked for me was that big wave of emotion."

Inspirational week for the final 8 performers

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Michael Johns is first up with Aerosmith's "Dream On."

He's wearing an ascot. That's a look that American guys can never get away with, least they hear some silly "Scooby Doo" reference.

Randy Jackson says this is one of the important weeks. He thought it was a pretty good song choice, but felt there were pitch problems. "This is about being the best singer, not finding the person following his dreams."

Paula Abdul thinks it was a perfect song choice. "You sound as good as you look."

Simon Cowell thought it was a very good performance. "I don't like it when you do an impersonation of a rock star. I thought it was a little bit wannabe-ish."

Aren't all "Idol" contestants wannabes? That's why they're on the show.

Songlist leaked by TMZ again

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Let's see if they're correct two weeks running (from www.tmz.com)

Syesha Mercado -- "I Believe" by Fantasia
David Cook - "Innocent" by Our Lady Peace
Carly Smithson -- "The Show Must Go On" by Queen
Brooke White -- "You've Got a Friend" by James Taylor
Jason Castro -- "Over the Rainbow" by Judy Garland
Michael Johns -- "Dream On" by Aerosmith
Kristy Lee Cook -- "Anyway" by Martina McBride
David Archuleta -- "Angels" by Robbie Williams

Politicians stump for votes as "Idol" gives back

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So, presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Barack Obama will all appear tomorrow on the "American Idol: Idol Gives Back" special.

They'll be joined by the British Prime Minister (Gordon Brown), the beauty that is the Beckhams (David and Posh).

The rest of the list (in caps as I cobbled it from a press release):

MARIA SHRIVER; JIM CARREY; ADAM SANDLER; ALICIA KEYS; JULIANNE MOORE;

DAVID SPADE; DWAYNE “THE ROCK” JOHNSON; DR. PHIL; THE JONAS BROTHERS; FELICITY HUFFMAN; GEORGE LOPEZ; KYLIE MINOGUE; KOBE BRYANT; EDDIE IZZARD; EMMA BUNTON; CHERYL HINES; KYRA SEDGWICK; MICHAEL KORS; MINNIE DRIVER;

RICKI LAKE; ROB SCHNEIDER; JIMMY JOHNSON; ROSELYN SANCHEZ; SELMA BLAIR;

TOBY KEITH; JIMMY KIMMEL; WHOOPI GOLDBERG; SARAH SILVERMAN; MICHAEL CHIKLIS; MARY MURPHY; SHEILA E.; WWE® SUPERSTARS JOHN CENA, TRIPLE H AND

CHRIS JERICHO; AND THE BAND FROM TV TO APPEAR ON “IDOL GIVES BACK”

Pamela Anderson is returning to TV. Relax, it's not a "Baywatch" sequel. It's worse: another reality show.

And while the new gig, launching this summer, promises to "offer an unprecedented look inside the life of one of today’s most iconic superstars in the style of a uniquely shot documentary film," there's one thing it will not show: her kids.

Conan's stalker priest is guilty, amen

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The Roman Catholic priest accused of stalking NBC talk-show host Conan O’Brien has pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct.

'Project Runway' moves to Lifetime network

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OK, reset your TiVos: "Project Runway" is switching networks.

Fashion Project Runway Show.jpg
"Project Runway" judges Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn pictured at the final "Runway" show during Fashion Week in February in New York. (Peter Kramer/AP)

'The Office' meets 'American Idol'?

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Melanie Brown and Joey Fatone have a new role to add to their scarily similar resumes: TLC host.
The duo will co-host ‘‘The Singing Office,’’ a tongue-in-cheek singing competition that pits different groups of employees against each other.

Stars shine for 'Idol Gives back' special

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Idol Gives Back Insider-1.jpg
Miley Ray Cyrus is seen backstage at the "Idol Gives Back" fundraising special of "American Idol" Sunday night in Los Angeles. (Matt Sayles/AP)

‘‘American Idol’’ — and just about everyone else in Hollywood — were in a very giving mood.

‘‘Idol Gives Back,’’ the Fox singing competition’s charity event, was taped Sunday night at the Kodak Theatre and is scheduled to air Wednesday. The star-studded gala kicked off with ‘‘Idol’’ finalists performing Rihanna’s ‘‘Don’t Stop the Music,’’ while performers from ‘‘So You Think You Can Dance’’ twirled in the background.

‘‘Idol’’ host Ryan Seacrest served as master of ceremonies of the event, which featured several live musical performances and celebrity appearances by Billy Crystal, Robin Williams, Peyton and Eli Manning, Jimmy Kimmel, Sarah Silverman, Reese Witherspoon and Brad Pitt.

‘‘Tonight isn’t just about raising money,’’ Pitt told the screaming crowd. ‘‘Sometimes, to help people, we’ve got to travel outside of our comfort zone to really understand another situation.’’

A model ending for "Make Me a Supermodel"

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As plots go, Thursday night's finale of "Make Me a Supermodel" wrapped things up nicely. At the end, the bromance between Ronnie and Ben was dead and two people were left standing:

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Find out who was crowned after the bump

Hooray! A second 'Office'! But on second thought ...

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A spinoff of "The Office" has been rumored for a while now, but today it became official. But that's about it. Details on the new series are mum.

Watch Richard Roeper on 'Top Chef'

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Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper figured prominently on last night's "Top Chef: Chicago," getting to enjoy (mostly) tasty concoctions and help render a verdict as to which chef was too bland to stay.

Good-bye, Goot!

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"The Goot" is gone. Yes, Steve "this is the greatest moment of my life" Guttenberg turned in his dance shoes tonight on "Daning With the Stars," just as predicted by yours truly. Can this season be saved?

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