Tag Archives: American Idol

Billy Crystal Rocks The Oscar’s!!!


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about….more celebrating the movies! While I may by addicted to programs like Modern Family, American Idol and anything on HGTV or the Food Network, my all-time favorite show of the year is The Academy Awards.  Even though Eddie Murphy is awesome, I couldn’t be more excited with the triumphant return of the fantastically fabulous Billy Crystal as host, and he did not disappoint!

Billy always opens with a show stopping video montage; this year included a scene from The Artist, a kiss from George Clooney and a visit from the darling Justin Bieber. The best part, however, is Billy’s signature Best Picture Nominee’s Oscar tribute song; hilarious, clever, irreverent and poignant. We were off to a great start….

The stars were certainly shining tonight. Tom Hanks was dapper and adorable, J Lo and Cameron D were bootylicious and Sandra Bullock was lovely. But the first big award of the night was presented by the very handsome, yet super intense, Christian Bale (while he may be Batman, I lean more towards the delightful camp of a Batman by another name; George Clooney). While Melissa McCarthy was fantastic in Bridesmaids (not just because she is a Chicago girl) and Jessica Chastain was charming in The Help, the night belonged to Octavia Spencer, also from The Help. Her acceptance was emotional, beautiful and sincere.

With Amanda’s life in gymnastics, we are HUGE Cirque Du Soleil fans. Their salute to going to the movies was introduced by my childhood favorites Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy, and it was incredible. To quote Billy Crystal, “I pulled a hamstring just watching that!”

The Fighter’s Melissa Leo presented the award for Best Supporting Actor. I must admit I only know Christopher Plummer from The Sound of Music (Edelweiss), so I was rooting for one of my all-time favorite’s Nick Nolte (love him in 48 Hours, North Dallas Forty and Down and Out in Beverly Hills), but Christopher Plummer won and, at 82, he was utterly charming. He and Betty White must be drinking the same Kool Aid!

On a side note, I just have to say that Angelina Jolie is a true, classic, Hollywood movie star. She is absolutely mesmerizing (Jennifer Aniston; eat your heart out!)! I’m just saying…..

Nick Charles, his wife Nora and their dog Asta

Michael (Greed is Good) Douglas is AMAZING! He presented the Best Director award to Michel Hazanavicius of The Artist (which was such a wonderful throwback picture, making me think constantly of Nick Charles (my Nick’s namesake) and his faithful companion, his darling dog Asta), though I was a little surprised that Martin Scorsese wasn’t recognized for Hugo.

The lovely Natalie Portman presented the award for Best Actor. While the competition was tough in George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Gary Oldman and Demián Bichir, Jean DuJardin was the big winner for The Artist. I was half expecting him to give a wacky acceptance speech like Roberto Benigni, but he was far too classy.

Colin Firth was wonderful last year in The Kings Speech. Tonight he presented the award for Best Actress. I adore Meryl Streep, but was really surprised that the statue didn’t go to Viola Davis, who was truly wonderful as Abilene in The Help.

Tom Cruise hasn’t aged a day since Risky Business. With nine Best Picture nominees he had the honor of announcing the winner. It was no surprise; the night belonged to The Artist, a truly delightful and entertaining film.

In just over three hours, Billy Crystal was fantastic as the host on the 84th Academy Awards!

More Billy Crystal, more Hollywood, more movie favorites, more Academy Awards…..

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Dance to the Music: Dancing With the Stars and American Idol……Everyone’s a Winner!


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about………more Dancing with the Stars and American Idol season finales! Where have the past 4 months gone since we were first introduced to all of the “Stars” and met all of the decent contestants during Hollywood week? More importantly, what on Earth are we going to watch during those coveted hours Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings? Certainly not 2 ½ Men (at least until this fall when super cutie Ashton Kutcher hits the scene) and The Voice isn’t totally doing it for me. Seriously, who exactly is Cee Lo Greene (Forget You…woo, hoo, hoo)?

So here we are, down to our final three contestants for the coveted Mirror Ball, and our final two Idol hopefuls…….It’s been a real horse race.

 

Heading into the final night of DWTS you’ve got Hines Ward (darling, personable and graceful Steeler’s QB), Chelsea Kane (who claims to be a Disney star, but I’ve never seen her on The Suite Life of Zach and Cody and she wasn’t even in High School Musical’s I, II or III) and, of course, America’s favorite, Kirstie Alley (from TV and movie classics such as Cheers and Look Who’s Talking I and II, and the only contestant ever to tame bad boy professional dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy).

What’s the best way to kick off the season finale party? Obviously with Don’t Stop the Party by the Peas (otherwise known as the Black Eyed Peas), but for me, the party would only have been complete with an appearance from my ultimate boy friend, Season 9 winner, Donny Osmond (and this is not a…..Puppy Love).

With a star studded night, Josh Grobin was quite fine, but if it doesn’t have a beat I can dance to, forgedaboudit (I would have been awesome on American Bandstand or the Soprano’s). As a gal who adores nostalgia, I was thrilled to see Belinda Carlisle and the Go-Go’s (and they have Got the Beat). Country sweetheart, Sarah Evans, made an appearance singing A Little Bit Stronger, which was okay, again, if you like ‘em slow.

The race could have gone any which way, so it all came down to the final round in competition: (best dancer) Chelsea and Mark, with their Hogwart’s inspired Viennese Waltz, (dancer with the most personality and chutzpah) Kirstie and Maks, with the Cha Cha Cha (Forget You……Cee Lo Greene makes a DWTS appearance tonight, too) and (most charming and delightful dancer) Hines and Kym, with the Samba. But which of these competitors reigns supreme?????

The mirror ball trophy goes to, the incomparable………Hines and Kym, bringing it home to the Steeler Nation!

On the other hand (or channel), I haven’t quite gotten over the fact that James Durbin isn’t in the final American Idol race. While I don’t have a classically trained ear, my earliest musical experience comes from exposure to my K-Tel and Donny Osmond albums (you see, everything always comes back to my Donny). What I absolutely adored about James was his range, his passion, his talent and intensity. Even though he’s cute as button and will clearly have a huge career, Scotty McCreary just isn’t doing it for me. As for Lauren Alaina, I think she’s got the chops to be a huge Carrie Underwood/Kelly Clarkson type, but I just can’t shake the feeling that she’s a little bratty. In my house, I might have washed her mouth out with soap (from the pump dispenser for easier clean up). It’s a toss up as to who will walk away victorious, and quite frankly, since it won’t be James, I’m not all that worried. However, I hope they’ve got a super big finale planned……..one where Steven Tyler sings with James (they owe him one)!

More dancing, more singing, more mirror ball trophies, more recording contracts, more stars in the sky…….

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“Idol” Chatter……


 

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……more “Idol” chatter! Okay, we haven’t been on the American Idol bandwagon since the reign of Kelly Clarkson, Season I, but we have been watching since the days of Taylor Hicks (with the HUGE, unbelievable, Chris Daughtry upset. Ala Jennifer Hudson; one never knows where the under-dog goes….). My very favorite part is at the beginning of the season, when every nut job in America comes through the judges chambers. Who needs the Marx Brothers or the Three Stooges when you’ve got that kind of fodder?   

With the exodus of Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell, I was more than a little bit concerned about the potential judges. After Harry Connick Jr’s extraordinarily successful guest spot last season, I thought he would make a thoughtful and fabulous judge (and, he is one of my all time favorite top ten ultimate boyfriends). However, I must admit, despite the fact that I have never been a J-Lo fan, this year’s judges…..ROCK! I adore Steven Tyler, even though he’s kind of working a flakey Paula Abdul thing. He’s so stinkin’ cute, I think it totally works.

We’re down to the final 7. This was a busy week: Songs of the New Millennium;

Scotty “turn the lights down low” Mc Creery is absolutely darling! Seriously, he’s a great throw back country singer who’ll have a deservedly big, big, big career , but I can’t figure out how week after week this kid keeps coming up with country tunes that fit the theme of the week. He must have one lucky horse shoe as he was able to un-Earth Elton “Pin-ball Wizard” John’s one and only country song during Elton John week. This week he brought us a charming, if not hokey version of “Swinging”.

James Durbin has it going on! I have believed since the beginning that he is our 2011 American Idol. In the words of Randy Jackson, not only does he have “mad skills”, he is absolutely charming and adorable. Even though I didn’t quite get this week’s “Uprising” I totally recognize an amazingly talented guy when I see one. As a bonus, he is so likeable and genuine (like when he lost his mind when Hulk Hogan appeared on the show), that unless you are an ogre, your heart just has to melt.

Hayley Reinhart is a survivor. How many times has she been in the bottom three and lived to tell the tale (should Pia and Paul have been so lucky!?!)? I really do like her soulful voice, but her awkward dance moves make me think of Elaine on Seinfeld.

Jacob Lusk? In the immortal words of Aunt Bunny (circa, Eddie Murphy’s Delirious), “Lord, help me Jesus!” This kid is incredible, but, like Scotty, he’s kind of a one trick pony. I love Luther and he does him WELL, but Jacob is not your American Idol.

As much as I hope James wins, Casey is totally my guy. I like ‘em quirky and full of good humor. While with James, Randy was all, “This is the best performance of the night” he should have waited until he heard Casey before he rushed to judgment. Casey sang Maroon 5’s “Harder to Breathe” and it was soulful, jazzy, rockin’ and interesting. I think he’s a true artist. To quote Steven Tyler to Casey, “All men are created equally, but some are more equal than others….” Need he say more?

Stefano “How you doin’?” Langone needs to go home. I love that he channels Joey Tribbiani, and I think he would make a swell Frankie Vali in “Jersey Boys” on Broadway, but to quote Morris Day (of Morris Day and the Time), “You ain’t got to go home, but you’ve got to get the hell out of here!”

In the grand finale was Lauren Alaina. She may have been amazing when she sang with Steven Tyler in the pre-season, but as a show stopper, she has fallen short. Her rendition of Sarah Evan’s “Beautiful” was certainly very nice, but it reminded me of an uninspired Glee episode.

As for your bottom three: Jacob, Stephano and Hayley, any one of them could have gone home, but, alas this was Stephano’s night. He was actually charming and gracious as he made his exit. And why not? He made the Top Ten Tour and he’ll probably get a recording contract (Bucky did).

More American Idol, more great singers, more family time…..

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Spring Break: Home Alone….


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……more suspiciously quiet weekends! Spring break is quite the phenomenon. When I was growing up, I didn’t know anyone that went away for spring break. It was merely a week off of school where we enjoyed sleepovers with our friends and had the luxury of sleeping late in the mornings. For as long as Chuck and I have had a family of our own, we have not been avid vacationers (I’m rather a homebody). For the past 12 years, while our kids have been busy with athletics, we’ve had the pleasure of hitting all of the hot spots; Peoria, Kalamazoo, Milwaukee, Detroit, Fort Wayne, the Dells……are you jealous yet?  

Life has been so crazy busy lately. Chuck does Commercial Real Estate and Land Development with a partner, and they are up to their eyeballs in building a fabulous, brand new Harley Davidson dealership in Palatine, while I have several design projects in various stages of development. This is definitely not a time for us to get away. My mom is awesome though, and saw this is a great opportunity to whisk Nick and Amanda away to visit with my brother and sister-in-law in Hot-lanta!

The kids couldn’t pack their bags fast enough, leaving the cold behind (and who could possibly blame them?). After Wrigley and I returned from dropping them all off at the airport, our house suddenly felt extremely quiet. We are accustomed to a free for all; activities, friends, laughter, arguing, Nick and Amanda wrestling, exercising contests, music, the blaring television…… The silence was deafening, and it was only one o’clock in the afternoon. What were Chuck and I going to do for the rest of the day much less the rest of the week?  

Because we sure do know how to live, I warmed up some left over taco meat and we feasted on a huge and delicious mound of nachos. I closed my eyes for a few blissful moments in-the-middle-of-the-day! We scrolled through our DVR and watched three hours of American Idol (which is really about 90 minutes of actual viewing time once you take out all of the commercials and the boring parts). We watched the movie Morning Glory, with Rachel McAdams, Diane Keaton and Harrison Ford. It was delightful and charming. Afterwards, flipping through our cable channels, we settled upon 1982’s Tootsie, with Chicago’s very own, Bill Murray. We rotated around our television viewing positions, from our family room, to our basement, to our bedroom to avoid developing bed sores.

While the peace and quiet was really very restful, I’m thankful that we won’t have to become accustomed to it any time soon. I live for the hustle and bustle of family life, even the noise, the arguing and the wrestling. This is seriously going to be the weirdest week ever.

More eerie quiet, more catching up on favorite TV shows, more being bored together…..

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It Had To Be……Harry Connick Jr. on American Idol!!


This season American Idol has been a real sleeper….until this past week!

I am completely stuck in a time warp. You know of my complete and utter devotion to Donny Osmond. I have loved him forever, and we are fellow Sagittarians.

As the More is More Mom®, I love all kinds of music and musicians. My favorites being, in no particular order; Michael Jackson (he is the King of Pop, so you’ve got to give him that); George Michael (Wham rocks! But, who needs Andrew Ridgeley?); Morris Day (for the Minneapolis sound everyone else goes with Prince and his talent, but not me, I go Morris, with his naughty personality and fantastic delivery, every time); Elton John, the Bitch is Back (we’ve seen him once in concert by himself and he was amazing), Billy Joel, Only the Good Die Young (we’ve seen him twice with Sir Elton and their dueling pianos….once at Wrigley Field!); Frank Sinatra, for his musical styling’s; Bobby Darin for his silky, melodic voice; and of course Dean Martin for his rich baritone. But I think my second true love is Harry Connick Junior……

Chuck and I first met Harry Connick Junior (not for real, but metaphorically speaking) when he scored one of our favorite movies When Harry Met Sally (okay, it was probably my favorite movie, but as a young man in love Chuck said all the right things and agreed that it was his favorite movie too.). In fact, his version of the classic standard, It Had to Be You, is “our song.” We’ve seen him three times in concert, and he’s always been fantastic. What I love about Harry, besides his musical talent and his quirky good looks, is his amazing sense of humor and timing. I’m a sucker for smart, clever and funny….everything Harry is. He has impeccable timing and a way with a phrase.

Harry was unbelievable with the final five on American Idol. I venture to say that he was the very best guest they’ve ever had (and Quentin Tarrantino and Jamie Fox were pretty darn awesome last year). He did an amazing job creating the arrangements for all of the contestants, especially Big Mike, Crystal and Lee. I totally don’t get it though….how did Casey not go home? He was awful!

So last night, I was totally psyched that Harry was performing. While he’s great, why did he think that And I Love Her was an exciting and enthralling selection, even if it is on his new album? That is such a “B” side song (for those of you youngsters that haven’t ever played a 45 recording, like we did in the olden days on our phonographs, the “A” side is the popular single, and the “B” side is the boring song that doesn’t get any air time.). If you want to serenade your wife, do it at home, not on my time. Harry must know he’s not an amazing singer, he’s a stylist! He should have wowed us with a big band musical sensation, because he is sensational.

I know I’m getting old, because even though Harry’s song choice wasn’t very exciting, he still always delivers, and if he had sung the phone book he would still have been way more entertaining than Lady Ga Ga. Give me an old fashioned crooner over a freaky performance artist any day of the week…..especially if it’s Harry Connick Jr.!

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