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Watch: Demi Lovato and L.A. Reid explain how 'X Factor' Season 2 is different

Watch: Demi Lovato and L.A. Reid explain how 'X Factor' Season 2 is different

What the heck is Demi Lovato's "secret weapon"?
If you watched Wednesday (September 12) night's premiere, you're already away of the new look for "The X Factor."
 
You've seen the hostless backstage audition footage and the montages celebrating the surprisingly critical Britney Spears.
 
But few would question that Demi Lovato was the star of Wednesday's two-hour episode, particularly her sensitive treatment of bullied teen Jillian Jensen, an extended moment that produced tears aplenty. 
 
On Monday, I sat down with Lovato and returning judge L.A. Reid to discuss second season changes and the fresh feel to "X Factor."
 
Check out the interview (as well as my chat with Simon Cowell) and remember that "X Factor" is back on Wednesday night.
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<p>Ben Affleck in &quot;Argo&quot;</p>

Ben Affleck in "Argo"

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Making the case for 'Argo' and the zeitgeist

Ben Affleck's film assumes the early frontrunner position

Some months back I pondered the idea of the dissolving of TomKat -- and therefore, a flood of fresh Scientology headlines -- adding a little extra leverage to the cause (if you will) for "The Master" this awards season.

The zeitgeist, you see, is a funny thing. It's malleable in some ways. The world is always torn in a million different directions, strife, discovery, politics and the economy all having their day in some fashion. And if any movie were to take the abstract approach, "The Master" is certainly it. Now that many have seen the film, of course, the Scientology angle has been softened. But the idea of putting one's faith and fate in the hands of another -- government, religion, whatever -- is still, and always, relevant.

But sometimes things line up specifically. Sometimes one doesn't have to connect a lot of dots to present that, say, "Moneyball" tells a story of the difficult, painful process of change for the good around the idea that the sum of all parts is greater than one single entity, and that that reflects where we are as a country (even if that's 100% true). Sometimes, like with Ben Affleck's Iran hostage crisis film "Argo," the reflections are much more defined.

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<p>Jake Gyllenhaal in &quot;End of Watch,&quot; one of 12 films contending for the top prize at next month's LFF.</p>

Jake Gyllenhaal in "End of Watch," one of 12 films contending for the top prize at next month's LFF.

Credit: Open Road Films

London Film Festival beefs up its awards shortlists

More films in the running for prizes at the October catch-up fest

With Telluride and Venice behind us, and Toronto winding down, the first, and biggest, wave of the fall festival season is just about over -- but Fantastic Fest, the New York Film Festival and the London equivalent are all still lying in wait. With no major world premiere this year in the vein of previous coups like "Frost/Nixon" and "Fantastic Mr Fox," London won't be competing with the Big Apple (which boasts "Life of Pi" and "Flight") for media attention, but it remains one of the most useful greatest-hits festivals on the circuit.

I was too tangled up in Venice business last week to report on the unveiling of the London lineup, but it's a healthy blend of established festival hits, less celebrated discoveries and archive gems. 200-odd features are in the mix, around 40 of which I've already seen -- affording me plenty of room to explore the farther corners of the programme when my coverage begins next month.

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<p>Kanye West</p>

Kanye West

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Kanye West and R. Kelly on 'To The World' from 'Cruel Summer'

Full album comes out Sept. 18

G.O.O.D. Music’s compilation, “Cruel Summer,” which drops as the season ends on Sept. 18, features label head Kanye West with a number of top artists including R. Kelly, John Legend, Kid Cudi, Raekwon, 2 Chainz and The-Dream.

Snippets of the full album are on iTunes, but today we get a full version of opening track  “To The World,” performed by West and Kelly. The song is basically a big “F You,” albeit an often clever one,” to you and yours.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Florence + The Machine on &quot;Jimmy Fallon&quot;</p>

Florence + The Machine on "Jimmy Fallon"

Watch: Florence + The Machine perform a stately 'Spectrum' on 'Jimmy Fallon'

Group continues U.S. tour before heading into a year-long hiatus

Florence Welch, the namesake of Florence + The Machine, is known for her dramatic, over-the-top performances, but for her debut on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” last night, she and the band delivered a breathtakingly spare version of “Spectrum.”

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Missy Elliott's &quot;Triple Threat&quot;</p>

Missy Elliott's "Triple Threat"

Look: Missy Elliott reveals 'Triple Threat' cover art

When can you hear the full song?

Missy Elliott has got sports on her mind. Earlier this week, she released a snippet of “Ninth Inning.”  And now, she’s switched from baseball to basketball. She just revealed the cover to “Triple Threat,” another song on her forthcoming new album.

The cover features someone in a basketball jersey with her name emblazoned across the shoulders and the words, “Triple Threat” where the numbers would be. On the accompanying basketball are the words “feat. Timbaland.” The producer is also on “Ninth Inning.”

We’ll have to wait until Sept. 17 to hear the full songs. That’s when Elliott will host a Ustream listening session to play both songs in their entirety. She will also answer questions from fans about the new album. That sounds like when we’ll hear about a release date and album title.


 

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<p>Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson in &quot;Boardwalk Empire.&quot;</p>

Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson in "Boardwalk Empire."

Credit: HBO

Review: Nucky goes full gangster in 'Boardwalk Empire' season 3

Prohbition mob drama still great in individual moments, but hasn't taken the leap
"I'm a philanthropist now," Nucky Thompson insists in the third season premiere of HBO's "Boardwalk Empire." (It returns Sunday night at 9.)
 
"You're a gangster, plain and simple," he's told.
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<p>Cover art for the album's first single, &quot;Your Body.&quot;</p>

Cover art for the album's first single, "Your Body."

Credit: RCA

Christina Aguilera reveals details about new album, 'Lotus'

See when you can watch a sneak peek of the 'Your Body' video

Christina Aguilera’s new album, “Lotus,”  will come out in November, according to “The Voice” judge, who took to Twitter Wednesday to reveal details.

Among the other nuggets the Grammy-winning singer revealed:

*The album, her first since 2010’s “Bionic,” is called “Lotus” because a lotus "represents an unbreakable flower that survives under the hardest conditions and still thrives.”

*The inspiration for the album was "self-expression and freedom," she tweeted. "The album represents a rebirth for me."

*First single, “Your Body,” which leaked a few weeks ago, will be available for purchase on Friday. The single sleeve for the Max Martin-produced song features Aguilera wrapped in a diaphanous pink sheer dress with her arms overhead and lots of blonde extensions.

*A snippet of the music video for “Your Body” will air on “The Voice” on Monday, Sept. 17.

*Aguilera is currently listening to M83 and Frank Ocean.

Aguilera is in her third season as a coach on “The Voice.” At a press conference last month, “The Voice” producer Mark Burnett acknowledged that she and the other coaches, Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, and Cee Lo Green, may need to rotate out for a season to attend to their careers and touring, especially if the show continues to offer a fall and spring season.

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<p>The &quot;Guys with Kids.&quot;</p>

The "Guys with Kids."

Credit: NBC

Series premiere review: 'Guys with Kids' - 'Pilot'

What did everybody think of NBC's new sitcom?

I won't be writing reviews of every new fall show, but I did at least discuss "Guys with Kidswith Dan on today's podcast. We were not fans. For those of you who watched, what did you think? Were you happy to see Vanessa Huxtable back in an NBC family sitcom? Meadow Soprano doing lighter material? Cliff from "Bring It On" being all grown up? Anthony Anderson trying his hardest to earn the paycheck?

More importantly, do you find the idea of men having to take care of their own children as absolutely hi-larious as the "Guys with Kids" writers so obviously do? And will you watch again? Have at it.

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<p>Trust me... within 30 seconds of this moment in 'To The Wonder,' I guarantee Rachel McAdams is spinning and walking through a field. </p>

Trust me... within 30 seconds of this moment in 'To The Wonder,' I guarantee Rachel McAdams is spinning and walking through a field.

Credit: FilmNation

Review: Terrence Malick's 'To The Wonder' looks great but says little

The director's second film in two years is starting to look pretty familiar

One thing is increasingly clear:  Terrence Malick is a man on a very specific aesthetic mission.

When I was at Cannes in the summer of 2011, there was no film that was more heavily discussed or anticipated before it screened than "The Tree Of Life."  I felt like I was lucky to be there for the film, and there was a sense that everyone had made it their top priority for the festival.  The discussions afterwards were intense and ongoing all week, and I dare say no other film was covered quite as extensively during that fest.

Here in Toronto this week, though, I've gotten none of that surrounding the debut of "To The Wonder," Malick's new movie, and in the few conversations I've had with other people, it seems like the notion that he's got two more films coming in the next year or so and another major ongoing one in development has made him "just another filmmaker" as opposed to the figurative Sasquatch of Cinema that he was for so long.  I'm thrilled he's suddenly found this new productivity and that he's got a producing team in place who are able to help him realize all of this newfound creative energy, but it does mean that it's less of an event now.  There's a reason the world rarely freaks out at the news that there's a Woody Allen film coming out.  Something that happens every eleven months or so is not particularly noteworthy, no matter what the final film turns out to be.

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<p>Allison and Krystal of &quot;The Voice&quot;</p>

Allison and Krystal of "The Voice"

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'The Voice' Wednesday - Blind Auditions, Part 3

NBC's hit stares down FOX's 'X Factor' premiere with more auditions
It’s starting to feel a little bit like the film “Groundhog Day,” no? Another evening, another episode of “The Voice”. If any contestant tonight sings “I Got You, Babe,” I will be seriously freaked out. While there have been several strong participants thus far, the show really hasn’t had a breakout performance yet. And given that its two-day head start on “The X Factor” is now over, that might be a problem for the show over the long haul.
 
But with sixty-four total team members to select, we’ve only just begun to see the talent on display this season. And hopefully, we’ve only just begun to see the way the coaches will woo participants to their team. So far, those wooings have been one-note affairs, with each judge essentially sticking to the same script no matter the contestant. A little variety wouldn’t hurt on both sides of the equation.
 
With that in mind, let’s kick off tonight’s running diary. As always, all times are EST. As always, if the prepackaged sob story that accompanies a contestant is too dull, I reserve the right to completely make up a new one. Much like NBC, I’m all about the ratings. What can I say?
 
8:00 p.m. I love that shot of the four judges standing in the bright white light during these introductions. It’s like they are trapped in The Phantom Zone.
 
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"Big Brother"

 "Big Brother"

Credit: CBS

'Big Brother' recap: The battle for the POV and an Olympic-size prize

Two lucky houseguests get to hobnob with gold medalists

So, it's down to the final five, or what I like to call the Quack Pack and Jenn. Not that the Quack Pack is much of an alliance, as everyone except Shane seems to have a final two deal with Dan (and that may have happened and I just missed it), and Dan is eagerly rubbing his hands together in anticipation of stomping on their broken bodies on the way to the finish line. The crazy part is, of course, that every remaining hamster seems likely to smile up at him as he does it. "Gee, Dan, you're really good at cracking ribs! That barely hurt! And not nearly as much as when you stepped on my nose!" 

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