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<p>Scotty McCreery performs on the &quot;Today&quot; show earlier this month</p>

Scotty McCreery performs on the "Today" show earlier this month

Credit: AP Photo/NBC, Peter Kramer

Exclusive Interview: Scotty McCreery talks hitting No. 1, his 'no' list and prom

What his parents do if he gets bigheaded

Scotty McCreery has only been 18 for three days, but so far so good.

The day before his birthday, he celebrated with 15,000 fans in Raleigh, N.C. (one town over from his hometown of Garner) and received a gold plaque for his first single, “I Love You This Big,” selling more than 500,000 copies.

Then on Tuesday, he played country’s most sacred spot, Nashville’s Grand Old Opry, alongside Trace Atkins and LeAnn Rimes.

Later that night, the “American Idol”  got confirmation that his debut album, “Clear As Day,” was a lock to enter the Billboard 200 at No. 1, making him the youngest male artist of any genre to achieve that feat with his first studio set.

So how did he celebrate? By continuing on with interviews and promoting “Clear As Day.” Hitfix talked to the unfailingly polite McCreery Wednesday morning (he even called early) about coming in at No. 1, how he spends his rare time off, what he won’t sing about, and the prom.

I grew up in Raleigh, so he and I couldn’t help but engage in a little chat about top N.C. past time —golf —as well as what it means to be a Carolina gal and girl.

You got the best 18th birthday present ever. How did you find out that “Clear As Day” went to No. 1?


I got an email last night from my manager. She said this is where we’re at, so congratulations. We were going wild. We’ve been working towards it. It was really cool to see all the hard work paying off

You topped Adele on the chart. That must feel good.


The thing that’s really cool about Adele is she’s been going strong for weeks on end. It’s amazing to see what she’s doing but it’s just wild to see ”Clear As Day” take off like it’s doing. We’re excited about it.

With “Clear as Day,” you found your voice very quickly. The song selection is material that seems to speak to you. How many songs did you plow through to come up with the final choices?


Oh, we went through a bunch, and the label, they’d gone through a lot before they even got to me. We had a big meeting in Nashville with the songwriters and the publishers and told them what we wanted to have on the album and what kind of topics we were looking for, so after that, the songs were really coming down the pipeline, a bunch at a time. It was fun getting the songs and I think we picked the right ones.

[More after the jump...]

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Glenn Close stars in Rodrigo Garcia's "Albert Nobbs"
Glenn Close stars in Rodrigo Garcia's "Albert Nobbs"
Credit: Roadside Attractions/Liddell Entertainment

Glenn Close aims for Best Actress in the first trailer for 'Albert Nobbs'

The 30-year labor of love makes its way to theaters this fall

The word on Rodrigo Garcia's "Albert Nobbs" started at Telluride a little over a month ago. At the time I noted that Glenn Close's 30-year labor of love "never really breaks free of its stage roots," but that the actress was fantastic in the titular role. I also spoke with her about her long journey with the material at the fest. I expect the acting branch -- should they see the film, which is always difficult with smaller films this time of year -- will respond well to her work, but beyond that, it'll be a dicey play for other elements to work Oscar magic, I think.

Check out the new trailer via Yahoo! Movies below.

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<p>Paul Simon</p>

Paul Simon

Credit: AP Photo

Paul Simon plans 25th anniversary tour behind 'Graceland'

Box set commemorating landmark set due as well

Paul Simon is planning a 25th anniversary tour behind “Graceland,” the landmark Grammy-winning album. The tour will likely take place in May in conjunction with a “Graceland” box set, according to Billboard.

The tour will include some of the original musicians who played with him on the original 1987 outing, including South African vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo. A number of musicians who played with Simon then are still with him on his excellent tour to support his latest album,  “So Beautiful Or So What” (read our review here).

The box set will also include a documentary highlighting Simon’s return to South Africa in July for a performance that featured trumpeter Hugh Masekela and Ladysmith Black Mambazo. "The documentary," Simon told Billboard, "took me back to the artistic aspects and the political aspects of making Graceland and the controversy that surrounded it and how it was resolved, plus what remains of it and what we learn from it."

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<p>Ben Stiller and Matthew Broderick co-star in the new caper comedy 'Tower Heist'</p>

Ben Stiller and Matthew Broderick co-star in the new caper comedy 'Tower Heist'

Credit: Universal Pictures

Universal backs off 'Tower Heist' VOD test when theater owners protest

What does this mean for the future of the theatrical window?

What a difference a week makes.

It was last Wednesday that we published a story about the VOD test that Universal Studios was planning with "Tower Heist," the new Eddie Murphy/Ben Stiller comedy directed by Brett Ratner.  In that piece, I wrote "What I'm really curious about is what backlash there might be from theater owners."

Looks like the backlash was immediate and effective.

Universal has now cancelled their VOD test entirely because theater owners threatened to not play the film at all.  Universal says they are going to continue to look at new ways to play with what they're calling the "premium home video on demand," or PVOD, and that they still plan on conducting an experiment into the idea soon.

NATO, the National Association of Theater Owners, responded to the announcement with a public statement of their own, saying "NATO recognizes that studios need to find new models and opportunities in the home market, and looks forward to distributors and exhibitors working together for their mutual benefit."

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<p>Kaylani and Lisa of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>
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Kaylani and Lisa of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

HitFix Interview: Kaylani & Lisa talk 'The Amazing Race'

The Vegas Girls talk Twitter, clue-reading and their brief 'Race' run
For a team that only competed on "The Amazing Race" for only three episodes, Kaylani Paliotta and Lisa Tilley had a memorable journey.
 
The Las Vegas-based former showgirls finished near the back of the pack in the season's first leg, but they got a disproportionate amount of premiere-night screentime after Kaylani dropped her passport at a gas station and had to rely on the kindness of Twitter-wielding strangers to retrieve the key document.
 
The following week, as team after team failed to notice a key clue at an Indonesia orphanage, Kaylani & Lisa were one of only three pairs with the eye-for-detail necessary to complete the task properly.
 
Of course, that advantage lasted only as far as this past Sunday's (October 9) episode, when a difficult Roadblock sent Kaylani & Lisa to an emotional elimination, with a crying Kaylani earning host Phil Keoghan's reassurance that she hadn't disappointed her young daughter back home.
 
In our exit interview, Kaylani & Lisa discussed their standout "Amazing Race" moments...
 
Click through for a full transcript...
 
 
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Taking questions for 10/14 Oscar Talk

Taking questions for 10/14 Oscar Talk

Offer up your burning queries

Alright, you know the drill. Rifle off your need-to-knows and Anne and I will address as many as we can in Friday's podcast. Make 'em good!

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<p>&nbsp;Scotty McCreery</p>

 Scotty McCreery

Credit: AP Photo

Scotty McCreery 'Clearly' enters Billboard 200 at No. 1 and sets records

Who else bows in the top 10?

Scotty McCreery is sitting on top of the world — or at least on top of a number of records.  “American Idol’s” Season 10 winner charged onto the Billboard 200 this week at No. 1 selling 197,000 copies of “Clear as Day.”  (We interviewed McCreery this morning and will post that interview later today).

As if that were not enough of a triumph, he entered the record books as well: McCreery is the first country act to bow at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with his debut album, and McCreery is the youngest male artist of any genre to start at the top spot with his debut release, according to Billboard.

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<p>Bruce Willis will most likely kill some bad guys in 'A Good Day To Die Hard,' and I don't even feel like it's a spoiler to say so.</p>

Bruce Willis will most likely kill some bad guys in 'A Good Day To Die Hard,' and I don't even feel like it's a spoiler to say so.

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Bruce Willis sets Valentine's Day 2013 as 'A Good Day To Die Hard'

John McClane heads to Russia in the fifth film in the series

These days, movie news can break anywhere.  Case in point, Tom Rothman using Jim Rome's show to reveal the first major details for "Die Hard 5."

I think Rome does very good work, and there's a reason he's one of the biggest names in sports broadcasting.  His radio talk show is gigantic, and he's an incredibly well-known media figure.  Even so, it's still odd that Rothman, the co-chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment, would pick Rome's show as the place to unveil the plans for the future of John McClane, the New York City beat cop with the worst luck in the world.

In keeping with the tradition of the series so far, don't expect a number in the title.  Instead, Fox has announced this new one as "A Good Day To Die Hard," and they've staked their claim on February 14, 2013 for release.  The film will be set in Russia, where McClane goes to try and convince local Moscow cops to go easy on his son, who did something stupid while on vacation.  When McClane arrives, though, he quickly realizes that things aren't right, and suddenly two generations of McClanes find themselves confronting terrorists whose actions threaten the entire world.

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"Ringer"

 "Ringer"

Credit: CW

Is Sarah Michelle Gellar's 'Ringer' worth revisiting?

The new series had a shaky start, but there are glimmers of hope
As excited as many "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" fans were to see Sarah Michelle Gellar return to primetime, it was inevitable that the pilot of "Ringer" would disappoint. It's just not easy to live up to Joss Whedon. But even if SMG and the long shadow of "Buffy" had been taken out of the equation, it isn't likely "Ringer" would have emerged as an unqualified hit -- Its lackluster attempt at film noir, its laughable green screen effects in the pilot, its thuddingly obvious metaphors, its plodding exposition (more on the first episode's failings can be read about in Dan and Alan's reviews) didn't exactly add up to must-see TV. But pilots have been known to wobble before a series ultimately gets its footing, so I was committed to watching "Ringer" -- with fingers crossed. 
 
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<p>Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi)&nbsp;won't be going anywhere for a while now that HBO&nbsp;has renewed &quot;Boardwalk Empire.&quot;</p>

Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) won't be going anywhere for a while now that HBO has renewed "Boardwalk Empire."

Credit: HBO

HBO renews 'Boardwalk Empire' for season 3

Prohibition-era mob drama won 8 Emmys last month

Last fall, HBO ordered a second season of "Boardwalk Empire" only days after the first-ever episode had aired. This fall, HBO execs made Steve Buscemi, Terence Winter and company sweat it out just a bit more, announcing the third season renewal three weeks into season 2.

“Following a triumphant first season, I was eager to see what Terry Winter, Martin Scorsese and the rest of their stellar team had in store, and they continue to surpass our highest expectations,” HBO president Michael Lombardo said in a statement.  “The response from the media and our viewers has been extremely gratifying.”

Ratings for the new season have been down from the season 1 averages - especially when you factor in the 4+ million people who watched the Martin Scorsese-directed series premiere - but ratings (whether for the Sunday at 9 airing alone, or combined numbers across all platforms, including On Demand and HBO Go) have never been the driver for these kinds of decisions at HBO. They're not dependent on advertising, so raw viewership numbers matter less than harder-to-quantify issues like how a particular show represents the channel's brand.

"Boardwalk" isn't cheap, and it wasn't the dominant Emmy force some were expecting before it premiered. (It won 8 Emmys last month, but 7 of those were in technical categories, and Scorsese's win for directing was practically pre-ordained from the moment the show was announced.) But it's a strong show with a lot of praise from the critics (including this one), and coming in at a shade below 3 million viewers for the most recent Sunday airing (before all the other timeslots and platforms are factored in) isn't bad at all, particularly after HBO saw the miniscule numbers for its two Monday comedy premieres this week, with "Bored to Death" drawing 240,000 viewers and "Enlightened" only 210,000.

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<p>Steve McQueen (left)&nbsp;directs Michael Fassbender on the set of 2008's &quot;Hunger.&quot;</p>

Steve McQueen (left) directs Michael Fassbender on the set of 2008's "Hunger."

Credit: IFC Films

Oscarweb Round-up: McQueen's De Niro

Also: Underdog actresses and Steve Jobs's impact on film

Yesterday's news that Michael Fassbender will be hooking up with Steve McQueen for a third shot on goal (after "Hunger" and "Shame") has me excited at the beginnings of a beautiful partnership. Fassbender as Pitt or De Niro to McQueen's Fincher or Scorsese? I think we all respond to successful collaborations and these two are already off to a brilliant start. There's no doubt in my mind they have a lot of magic left in them and perhaps haven't even begun to show us anything. The new film is called "Twelve Years a Slave" and little is known about it as of now, but I'm already pumped. [Variety]

Let's see what else is going on in the Oscarweb today...

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<p>Charles Grodin and Robert De Niro in &quot;Midnight Run.&quot;</p>

Charles Grodin and Robert De Niro in "Midnight Run."

Credit: Universal

Here come two words for you: Why I love 'Midnight Run'

Significantly more than two words on your humble critic's favorite movie

If you've been following me for even a short amount of time, you probably know that "Midnight Run" is my favorite movie - not the best movie I've ever seen, but the one that gives me the most enjoyment, time after time, year after year. I quote one of Charles Grodin's lines as the sign-off to each week's podcast, use the soundtrack's cover image as my avatar on most social media, will frequently reference it in my writing, and even wrote a long post on it a few years ago on the old blog.

But after seeing it in a movie theater not long after it was released back in the summer of '88(*), I'd only ever watched it on home video, sometimes alone, sometimes with friends, occasionally with my indulgent wife. A couple of weeks ago, though, my friend Steve told me that the 92nd Street Y Tribeca was not only screening the movie, but following it up with a Grodin Q&A, and even though this was in the heart of my busiest time of the year, work-wise, I couldn't resist going, for both the movie and The Duke.

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