Review Category : Entertainment

“American Idol” Judges, Host to Return for Season 14

Credit: Michael Becker/FOX (NEW YORK) — Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr. are all returning next season as judges on American Idol, according to a statement from Fox.

Ryan Seacrest is also coming back as host for season 14.

“Jennifer, Keith, Harry and Ryan are the very best in the business at what they do, and I’m absolutely ecstatic that they are returning to American Idol for another season. Each brings unique qualities and expertise to the team, but they all share the same passion for helping undiscovered singers achieve the American dream,” said David Hill, senior executive VP of 21st Century Fox.

Auditions for the singing competition are under way and continue in New Orleans this week before moving to New York in July. The show’s ratings have sagged in recent years to the lowest since the inaugural season and less than half that of its top years from 2005-2009.

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“Hunger Games” Stars Finish Shooting Final Film

Lionsgate(NEW YORK) — Get ready Hunger Games fans: You’re one step closer to the final film of the franchise.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2 has finished shooting, people associated with the film have confirmed via Twitter.

“That’s a wrap. Thank you @SuzanneCollins Thank you @Hibbits Thank you HG Fans,” producer Nina Jacobson wrote. “Other than that, I’m speechless.”

Meanwhile, actor Sam Claflin expressed his gratitude to everyone associated with the film, too.

“I just want/need to express my many thanks to everyone (cast, crew & fans) who have worked so hard for so long to make ‘The Hunger Games‘ experience what it is. But for also trusting me enough to let me be part of it,” he wrote. “I feel privileged, honoured and so very lucky to have shared this opportunity with so many passionate & talented people. #dreamjob @TheHungerGames @lionsgatemovies x.”

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2 is the fourth film in the franchise, starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth. It will be released next year.

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George Clooney Vacations in Italy with Amal Alamuddin and Her Mom

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — George Clooney and his fiancée Amal Alamuddin have been spending time near his home in Lake Como, Italy, and for awhile, they had some company: her mother. And, by all accounts, things have been going pretty well.

“They were outside, and Amal and her mom were smiling,” a source told People magazine. “It was going pretty great.”

According to the magazine, Clooney, 53, and Alamuddin, 36, have squeezed in some alone time too. Prior to her mother’s arrival, the couple enjoyed dinner at Villa D’Este in Cernobbio Village, arriving via boat taxi.

“George and Amal looked very much in love all weekend,” the source said. “They were all smiles, holding hands. There was an air of romance.”

The couple got engaged in April after just a few months of dating, and Clooney presented Alamuddin with an emerald-cut diamond engagement ring.

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Kristen Bell Pregnant with Second Child

ABC/Rick Rowell(LOS ANGELES) — Kristen Bell, 33, and Dax Shepard are expecting their second child, ABC News has confirmed.

The couple, who married in October, are already parents to 16-month-old daughter Lincoln.

“I can confirm that Kristen and Dax are expecting their second child and a sibling for Lincoln,” a rep for the couple told Entertainment Tonight. “The whole family is beyond excited.”

This news comes a week after the couple apparently adopted a new puppy.

“The newest member of our family comes in the form of this little black man,” Bell tweeted last Tuesday.

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Inside Casey Kasem’s ‘Heartwarming’ Memorial

Michael Tullberg/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) — Friends and family said goodbye this past weekend to radio legend Casey Kasem.

Kasem died on June 15 at 82 years old and his service took place Saturday at Bel Air Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles with almost 200 people paying their respects, according to People magazine.

“To have all of his family, friends and coworkers come together to remember and pay tribute to him was beautiful,” Kasem’s daughter Julie, 38, told People.

“It was a heartwarming celebration of my dad’s life,” she added.

The Wrap reported that many of Kasem’s old radio colleagues were in attendance but not his wife Jean, who battled the three adult children in court for weeks over Kasem’s medical treatment and care as he was suffering from dementia toward the end of his life.

“The day ended with a wonderful video presentation created by Mike Kasem,” family spokesman Danny Deraney told The Wrap.

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“Batman” Turns 25

Warner Bros.(NEW YORK) — Monday, June 23, marks the 25th anniversary of Batman, Tim Burton’s groundbreaking take on the Dark Knight.

The 1989 movie starred Burton’s Beetlejuice star Michael Keaton, who at the time was best known for comedic fare including that film and Mr. Mom.

His casting reportedly attracted tens of thousands of angry letters from fanboys, but in the end, his take on both Batman and his alter-ego Bruce Wayne is still well regarded even among die-hard fans of the DC hero.

While Keaton was fondly remembered, it was Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of the Caped Crusader’s nemesis, The Joker, that stole the show. To secure the star — who initially passed on the role that nearly defaulted to Robin Williams as a result — Warner Bros. allowed Nicholson a lucrative deal that gave him a chunk of the movie’s gross — a “back-end” deal worth at least $60 million, according to IMDB.

More than an honorable mention also went to another frequent Burton collaborator, composer Danny Elfman, whose score for Batman remains a classic. Prince’s album of songs inspired by the film — including his “Batdance” — certainly sold well at the time, though hold up far less well in the rear-view mirror.

Batman
also starred Kim Basinger as photographer/Wayne’s love interest Vicky Vale, as well as Billy Dee Williams, Richard Wuhl and Michael Gough, who went on to play Alfred for Keaton’s Batman successors Val Kilmer and George Clooney.

Made for a reported $35 million, Batman went on to make more than $400 million. Burton also directed the 1992 sequel, Batman Returns.

Regrettably, as it turned out, Joel Schumacher was given the wheel for 1995’s Batman Forever starring Kilmer, and 1997’s disastrous Batman and Robin, starring Clooney. Clooney later said his take “killed” the franchise — though many industry observers faulted Schumacher.

It wasn’t until 2008, with Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, that fans got a Batman closer the source material Burton adapted so effectively.

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Lauren Conrad Ditches Bachelorette Venue over Discriminatory Same-Sex Policy

Michael Loccisano/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Former Hills star Lauren Conrad’s bachelorette party in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, hit a snag.

While trying to celebrate her upcoming nuptials to law student William Tell, Conrad said she left The Office on the Beach restaurant because they were being discriminatory against same sex couples, who were also dining at the restaurant.

She tweeted Friday: “The Office in Cabo does not allow same sex couples to participate in couple games. Had to walk out. #equality #StopTheHate”

Conrad’s best friend and Hills’ co-star, Lo Bosworth, was also on the trip and tweeted, “If you support #equalityforall don’t eat at The Office in Cabo San Lucas.”

The manager of the establishment told People magazine it’s all a “huge misunderstanding” based on a joke the emcee made. She apologized for what transpired.

Conrad and Tell are set to marry later this year. She was previously linked with Hills co-stars Brody Jenner and Jason Wahler.

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“Rising Star” Recap: Show Begins with Several Contestants Advancing

ABC(NEW YORK) — ABC’s new and interactive singing competition, Rising Star, premiered Sunday night with a two-hour show. While it aired live on the East Coast, viewers on the other side of the country also had the chance to determine the contestants’ fate.

Viewers were asked to download the Rising Star app, “check in” before each performance, and vote on each contestant, who sang behind a massive video wall. If the contestant received at least 70 percent in “yes” votes, the wall rose, and he or she advanced.

The Rising Star “experts” — Kesha, Ludacris and Brad Paisley — were allowed to vote. So were West Coast viewers, even though they watched the show on delay. Their votes counted towards contestants who didn’t make the cut during the East Coast airing.

At stake in the competition: a contract with Capitol Records.

Josh Groban is the host of Rising Star, frequently engaging in witty banter with the contestants and experts.

Here are the highlights from the series premiere:

Joshua Peavy, 28, was the first contestant in Rising Star history to take the stage. He delivered a performance of Bryan Adams’ “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” that earned him 80 percent of the vote. Ludacris gave him props for kicking off the competition. Kesha said she could feel the performance. Brad praised Joshua for showing heart.

Maneepat Molloy, 16, was a little different from your typical reality TV singing contestant. She belted out the Italian song “Con Te Partiro,” made famous by Andrea Bocelli. She barely advanced, with just 73 percent of the vote. Ludacris said Maneepat lacked presence, though Kesha believed that’s something that can be learned with experience. Brad said he voted for her based on potential.

Daniel Wolfe and Olivia Thai, a couple, was the first act that failed to meet the 70-percent threshold on the live broadcast. Ludacris dismissed the duo’s version of OneRepublic’s “Counting Stars” as drunken karaoke. Kesha said Daniel and Olivia’s enthusiasm was sweet. Both she and Brad encouraged them to keep at it.

Jesse Kinch, 20, raised the stakes, drawing 92 percent for his strong rendition of “I Put a Spell on You.” Ludacris said Jesse exceeded expectations and made the most of his time on stage. Kesha said Jesse’s voice was sexy. Brad joked that Jesse may have killed someone with his performance.

Sarah Darling tallied 88 percent with her take on Kacey Musgraves’ “Merry Go ‘Round.” Brad implied that they have mutual connections, and then complimented the way she handled what he considers to be one of the best country songs of the last five years. Kesha was hoping Sarah would reach higher notes.

Macy Kate, 17, was a surprise contestant plucked from the audience. She closed the show with Rixton’s “Me and My Broken Heart.” She received over 90 percent of the vote. Kesha said she was blown away. Ludacris said there’s room for improvement but it was a good start.

Rising Star continues next Sunday on ABC.

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Kim Jong-un Regime Critical of Upcoming James Franco-Seth Rogen Comedy

Sony/Columbia(NEW YORK) — In their new comedy, The Interview, opening later this year, James Franco and Seth Rogen play a TV host and producer who are recruited by the CIA to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. Not surprisingly, Kim’s regime isn’t in love with the plot.

A spokesperson for Kim tells Britain’s Telegraph that while Kim will probably watch the film, the story “shows the desperation of the U.S. government and American society.”

He continues, “A film about the assassination of a foreign leader mirrors what the U.S. has done in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Ukraine. And let us not forget who killed [President John F.] Kennedy — Americans.”

The spokesperson also says, “In fact, President [Barack] Obama should be careful in case the U.S. military wants to kill him as well.”

The Interview will debut this October.

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Sex Abuse Lawsuit Against Former Elmo Puppeteer Dismissed

Wendell Teodoro/WireImage(NEW YORK) — A Pennsylvania judge has dismissed a sexual abuse lawsuit filed against former Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash. The judge ruled that the plaintiff, Sheldon Stephens, filed his lawsuit after the statute of limitations had expired, according to TheWrap.com.

Stephens claimed Clash sexually abused him after they met in 2004, when Stephens was a teenager.

Four similar suits brought by other accusers were previously dismissed.

A spokesman for Clash tells TheWrap.com, “We believe we are finally at the point as a team where we can begin to turn our full attention to restoring Kevin’s personal and professional reputation over the coming weeks and months so he may regain his rightful place as an accomplished and respected artist.”

Clash, 53, resigned from Sesame Street in November of 2012 amid the allegations.
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