Things got animated at the Fox TCA panel for "So You Think You Can Dance." Cat Deeley emerged from backstage to introduce a special performance by current competitors Brandon, Cole and animator Cyrus. It's a high energy start to a somewhat groggy Monday morning, and while judges Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy and choreographers Spencer Liff, Christopher Scott and Stacey Tookey aren't quite as much fun, they still addressed some of the more nagging questions about the recent changes to the show.
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With "Mercy" and "New God Flow" permanently added to this summer's spinlist, Kanye West and the rest of his G.O.O.D. Music crew are ready to proceed with the larger album. "Cruel Summer" will be out officially on Sept. 4, featuring verses and music from West, John Legend, Common, Kid Cudi, Pusha T, Big Sean, Q-Tip, Mr. Hudson, Teyana Taylor, Cyhi, D’Banj, Hit-Boy and 2 Chainz.
The latter artist -- who has been the featured rapper of the year, it seems -- is not officially signed to Ye's label, though he clarifies in an interview with Complex magazine that he and the esteemed Watch the Throne rhymer are still sussing out a deal.
"I’m not officially signed, paperwork-wise, to G.O.O.D. Music. But I have a great rapport with ’Ye. He called me before 'Watch the Throne' came out," the Atlanta-bred rapper said. "I’ve talked to ’Ye 1,000 times about trying to make this situation work for the both of us, so it won’t feel like anyone is getting used or anything... I came from a situation with [Disturbing tha Peace], being under [Ludacris], where I got a phobia. Sometimes when an artist signs another artist, they’re so worried about themselves. And with ’Ye, he helps everybody."
Yeezy is keeping his word on press blackout, considering his bumpy past with interviews, Twitter, public appearances, and basically everything else that doesn't involve him rapping. But a press release touted the successful run of his "Cruel Summer" video concept, a seven-screen experience that bowed at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. It was conceptually built around the album, so if there is a live tour run of G.O.O.D. Music, perhaps fans will get a eyeful as well as an earful.
So, it's the Big Day for Emily, our intrepid single mom who has winnowed the field of single gentlemen down to just two guys: nice guy Utah Jef and hot guy Racecar Driver Arie. I am hoping Emily can, if nothing else, help Jef find his missing F, just to be nice.
My stint at the Television Critics Association summer press tour begins today, though Fienberg has already been here for two days covering what sounds like a very interesting slate of PBS panels (particularly if you're a "Downton Abbey" fan).
If you've been reading me a long time, you know what press tour is. If you haven't, my press tour primer from the Ledger days still applies. I'll be tag-teaming with both Fienberg and Liane Bonin Starr to cover the bulk of the tour, so keep all three of our blogs bookmarked if you want to know about it all.
Though I won't be doing this every day, I like to do a quick run-through of the schedule for certain days to give you all a sense of what the tour is like, and of what things you may be reading about today and in days to come. PBS wrapped up tonight, and FOX arrives for a full day of panels and other events. Here's how their schedule looks (all times are Pacific):
Sunday afternoon is a strange time to drop a major press release in this business -- there won't be much competing for our attention, granted, but it also implies that it's the kind of news that can wait until Monday. And that, I admit, was my reaction upon hearing that the 69th Venice Film Festival will open next month with Mira Nair's "The Reluctant Fundamentalist," a political thriller adapted from the Booker Prize-nominated bestseller by Mohsin Hamid, starring Kate Hudson, Riz Ahmed, Kiefer Sutherland and Liev Schreiber.
That shouldn't be read as a pre-emptive knock on the film, which may well be strong -- Nair has a reputation to salvage after the embarrassing artistic and commercial failure of "Amelia," but this kind of independent, ethnically-oriented material plays more to her strengths than studio prestige fare. But it's not the kind of highly anticipated A-list curtain-raiser that former Venice director Marco Mueller managed to secure two years ago with "Black Swan" and, to a lesser extent, with last year's "The Ides of March."
A few quick thoughts on last night's "The Newsroom" coming up just as soon as I keep walking into a glass door...
There is no bigger question for kids as they watch a film, particularly one that exposes them to an adult world they have no personal experience of so far. And once they start asking "Why?", it opens up a potential snowstorm of follow-ups. One of the most important things in any screening I have for the kids is the conversations that show me what they've taken from what they've just watched.
My oldest son, Toshiro, just recently turned seven. I know that when I think back to childhood, everything before seven is fuzzy, select images or impressions, but starting at the age of seven, I have a distinct recollection of things. I can tell you details about things that happened to me that year, places where I saw certain films, events that happened to me or to my friends. It feels in hindsight like seven was the age where everything clicked and turned on and I became a "real" person.
And in the summer of 1977, I was all about "Star Wars."
At this point I'm not sure I could tell the difference between watching "True Blood" and banging my head against a wall. This season is drowning in a storm of terrible storylines and the repetitiveness of so much of it (especially what's happening with Terry, Lafayette, Sam and Alcide) is downright numbing. Isn't "True Blood" supposed to be a fun, sexy, spooky soap? Because right now it's none of those things.
But we did make some seemingly significant progress in two areas this week -- the Vampire Authority reached a whole new level of crazy, and the hate crime gang was (unfortunately) unmasked for their close-up -- so the episode wasn't running in place for the full hour. Just most of it.
Let's break it down:
A review of tonight's "Breaking Bad" coming up just as soon as I guard the special sauce...
Let's see. What's happened lately in the Big Brother house? Um, Willie betrayed Frank, Britney went all kinds of paranoid, Kara went home, Frank’s became the new HOH, the Coaches' Competition promises all kinds of crazy -- oh my goodness, I am just breathless. Those hamsters seem to just be flopped on couches all day, but really, a lot is going on. Once it's been edited down, of course. This week promises even more drama, and we get the first violent outburst of the season. Whoot?
1. One Direction: “Up All Night” surpasses Lionel Richie’s “Tuskegee” to become the top-selling album released in 2012. We finally have proof: “Up All Night” trumps “All Night Long.”
3) Frank Ocean: One month ago, very few people knew who he was. This week he has the No. 2 album in the land and he has spoken his truth about his former same-sex relationship with little backlash. The truth shall set you free--and help you sell records.
4 )The Who: Remaining members reunite for a North American tour to recreate “Quadrophenia.” Anyone under 25 asks, “Who are you? Ooh hoo, ooh hoo.”
5) Bruce Springsteen: Has anyone ever gotten more mileage of getting the plug pulled on one of their shows? Or handled it with such good humor?
6) Universal Music Group: Opposition to its purchase of EMI continues to erode in the U.K. and will only have to jump through a few more hoops in the U.S. Once that deal is done, the questions will start on how long before Sony or Universal makes a play for Warner Bros...
7) Richard Branson: Everyone’s favorite entrepreneur makes moves to buy back Virgin Music, the label he started 40 years ago, from EMI. Fun factoid: the label’s first release was Mike Oldfield’s massive success, “Tubular Bells.”
8) The Grammy Awards: It looks like the “A Death In the Family” short film works. On the surface, the short doc was about putting on a show 24 hours after Whitney Houston’s death, but it also doubled as a pitch for Emmy voters, who took the bait. This year’s telecast received six Emmy nominations, the most the show has received and garnered the coveted Outstanding Special Class Programs nod they so badly wanted.
9) Coachella: The alternative music festival launches its own sea cruise. From landlocked to seaworthy. Hipsters declare they are already over the cruise before it even pulls away from dock.
10) No Doubt: Orange County’s finest returns after 10 years with a ska-influenced pop slice that will no doubt have its fans wanting to jump up with joy instead of “Settle Down.”