Friday, May 18, 2012

Battleship Review, Idol Judge Swap, Idol Predictions

J-Hud: my choice to replace J-Lo
With news breaking this week that Jennifer Lopez would exit Idol after 2 seasons of judging, I thought it'd be an ideal time for me to re-cast the judges.  Actually, I've been thinking about this all season because as exciting as the threesome of J-Lo, Steven Tyler & Randy Jackson were last year, this year it quickly seemed tired... and so did they.   I'll keep with the make-up of 2 guys and 1 girl.  To step in for Jenny from the Block, I offer what may seem to be an outlandish but obvious thought: go with a former Idol star.  I give you Jennifer Hudson.  With Kelly on "Duets" and Carrie on tour, J-Hud is the only female left who is a household name, a proven powerhouse vocalist and a Grammy & Oscar winner.  And while her recent recording efforts have faltered, perhaps Idol can reignite a currently stalled career that has been worthy of so much more.  (Yes, I know she has an Oscar, but I still think she should be making huge, crossover Beyonce/Rihanna-like records.)  My second thought for a female would be to go Country. Idol has made Country stars, so how about you plop a Country judge in the chair?  Wynonna? Why not!? Big personality and one of the most (sadly) under rated vocalists around. I think she'd make great TV and would be brash 'n' brassy with her constructive criticism.  If they want younger, try LeAnn Rimes. Rumored to be long in-the-running for an X-Factor spot, the 29 year-old, started at 13 winning a Best New Artist Grammy and crossed-over to Pop.  Now for the first male-chair: Matchbox Twenty's Rob Thomas. Like Adam Levine on "The Voice," Rob appeals to youngsters and their parents.  And, just like Maroon was, Matchbox is in need of some "unconventional" media hype behind their upcoming fall CD - their first full set since 2002's "More Than You Think You Are."  (Their hiatus is due to Rob's successful solo turns from '05 and '08.)  At 40, he's the perfect singer/songwriter/musician to join the team.  For that final spot - the one Randy Jackson should volunteer to exit - I feel the "music expert" (IE record exec/music producer) is needed.  No one is better than David Foster.  Tough, honest, brilliant, Foster has produced hits for Barbra, Celine & Whitney.  I could go on, but overseeing projects by those ladies, I shouldn't have to.  But I will.  He discovered, produced and signed Michael Buble & Josh Groban and has 16 Grammy Awards.  However, he's running Universal's Verve Music Group which could pose a problem for Idol's own 19/Interscope.  In his place, a few names I offer-up are Babyface, Jimmy Jam - the more 'vocal' guy of Jam & Lewis (Janet, Mary J Blige)... and, hey, would George Michael do it?  There are other names and scenarios worthy of the panel: Janet Jackson (who turned down X-Factor), Chris Daughtry or Adam Lambert (as part of my "bring back an Idol star" theory), Brandy, Mary J, Cher.  Good Lord, would Cher do it?  Just don't move Iovine to a chair.  Look, clearly Simon Cowell & Co looked at the Voice judges and now knows he can get young, current, hit- making artists (Britney, Demi). So I anticipate, that Idol will do the same and at least two of those chairs will be filled by bodies younger than 50, perhaps 40.  The next panel likely to get scrapped will be the 56-59 year olds judging talent on "America's Got Talent."  If I were Sharon or Howie, I'd be getting nervous, 'cause if Stern wants to stay, he will - and the other two will get the boot... for a younger demo.  This is all not to my liking, I know Kenny Loggins (64) and Gladys Knight (67) could teach better than anyone under 40.  But this is TV and TV is ratings and sadly, youth.  Let's also keep in mind, J-Lo held-out to officially sign on last year until August... for a pay bump to $20 million for just one season.

Jessica Sanchez: My Idol Choice
As for the IDOL contestants? Joshua is a stellar vocalist. His music stylings and song choices lean heavily toward blues & gospel. And without that it-factor of the presence of someone like Usher, I wonder what kind of record he'd make.  I imagine Iovine & Co will pass on signing him, opening him up to go to a gospel label which will likely be his choice.  (Check out his amazing "Man's World.")  The top two?  Again, lacking any personality so what kind of record does Jessica make?  Katy Perry pop with power ballads? Those power ballads we ALL love are hard to find nowadays.  Jessica is an outstanding and amazingly gifted vocalist (check this out), but perhaps her 16 years aren't enough to have her put anything other than perfect vocals behind her songs. If killer vocals were all that is needed to be a huge star, Charise would have hit ("All By Myself").  Somehow - lack of material - she didn't.  As for resident hottie, Phil Phillips?  Not conforming to wardrobe suggestions and bending only slightly to the judges suggestions, clearly the headstrong PP knows what kind of act he wants to be.  Sadly, that kind of act is no longer relevant in any major way in music. John Mayer, Dave Matthews? It's been a while for them. (And the guy rockers Idol's given us: Lee Dewyze, Kris Allen, David Cook - and recently Daughtry, have all faltered.)  It's very clear that young girls are driving the voting process so PP could take it, unless these girls want to show real girl power and let Jessie be crowned, as she should, in my opinion.

Kitch: Battleship Down
REVIEW: Battleship - I won't waste a lot of space on this because I rarely feel ok walking out of a movie but quite frankly, I could have.  It took 32 minutes - THIRTY TWO - to set up the "story" before any real action began in what's supposed to be a kick-off to summer, action, "popcorn" flick.  The effects/CGI - even the Walrus-Men Aliens in Iron Man suits - are all first rate, but that slow start combined with cheesy dialogue and holes in an already thin storyline make this my choice for the worst of the year so far.  If it weren't for the hottness of Taylor Kitch and Alexander Skarsgard, I'd give it a "D."  As for Rihanna's screen debut? No harm, no foul. She took the role, clearly offered to Michelle Rodriguez, and did the one-note/kick-ass chick as it was written on paper. Movie grade "C-" --- For a scathing review, check this out. Ouch.

If you want to see an anti-summer blockbuster, check out the adorable, touching "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel."  Judi Dench & Maggie Smith lead a stellar cast of "seniors" who move into a dilapidated retirement hotel in India. The film is sweet, funny and inspiring. A perfect antidote to cure the pain of "Battleship."  So check into the "Hotel" and be Just Like Jerry!

No comments:

Post a Comment