Saturday, April 05, 2014

Best of the Week: 4/5/14

Quote of the Week: Let’s look at the facts here: You made us sit down and made us listen to this story about how you met mom, yet she is hardly in the story. No, this is the story about how you are totally in love with Aunt Robin. (Penny Mosby, How I Met Your Mother)

Song of the Week: Downtown Train – Everything But the Girl (How I Met Your Mother)

Scene of the Week:

Big News of the Week: A Premature Happy Trails to David Letterman: The late night talk show host announced his retirement this week. Granted he said he will not be stepping aside from The Late Show until 2015 which should give him about a full year for a parade of stars to stop by and kiss his ring one (or two) last times. That also gives us plenty of time to predict who will replace him. My I guess / recommend John Stewart.

Preview Picture of the Week:

"Catch & Release" Melissa and Joey, Wednesday at 8:00 on ABC Family

Free Download of the Week: ATO Records: A Spring Sampler (NoiseTrade)

New Album Release of the Week: Duets - Linda Ronstadt

New DVD Release of the Week: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Video of the Week: Maria Full of Grace was a good film in all, but do you know what is missing? Action. So what would happen if you put Maria in The Transporter and instead of heroin, load her up with the same drug that Bradley Cooper took in Limitless. That is exactly the vibe I am getting from the trailer of Lucy. I am mean that as a compliment.

Next Week Pick of the Week: Justified, Tuesday at 10:00 on FX: I was worried at the beginning season when it was announced that Michael Rappaport, one of the worst living actor, would be joining the show. And sure this has been the weakest season to date, but a bad season of Justified has still been more entertaining than most shows at their best. We learned the twelve foot rule and got more Dewey Crowe this season. Plus it is a safe assumption that Rappaport will not be back for the sixth and final season considering that Raylan assumes he is the triggerman in the assault on Art. So the only question is will be in jail or in the ground by the end of the season. And if it is the former, by who’s hand? You have the Marshall Service, the Mexicans, Boyd and Win Duffy, and I am guessing that Wendy is not going to let Kendal take the fall as an adult, so just how far will she go to get Darryl to confess.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Around the Tubes: 4/4/14

I have gotten a plethora of cool press releases have been flooding my inbox recently that you may find interesting. This post will include blurbs on Justified, Inside Comedy, Warehouse 13, The Wil Wheaton Project, Helix, Defiance, Dominion, Nurse Jackie, Grace and Tony.

- Have questions about what's coming next on Justified? Join Timothy Olyphant for a LIVE Facebook chat today at 1:00 PM ET / 10:00 AM PT at

- On the season three finale of Inside Comedy on Monday on Showtime, Kevin Pollak recalls his childhood obsession with impersonating everyone from Robert Duvall to William Shatner; how Cosby influenced his acting career; and his early years coming up with buddy Dana Carvey. Bob Saget talks about his mother’s influence over his rebellious comedic style; his unexpected success in television; and the memories of visiting a famous member of The Three Stooges as a teenager. Also in this episode, Larry Miller reveals what happened behind the curtain right before his first appearance on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson,” as well an unforgettable gig performing at a police convention.

- Syfy’s long-running Emmy-nominated Warehouse 13 will open its doors on Monday, April 14 at 9:00 for the last time as it kicks off the series’ final six episodes. The new season picks up immediately after the events of the last season’s thrilling finale with new caretaker Claudia (Allison Scagliotti) in an epic battle with Paracelsus (guest star Anthony Head) for the soul of the Warehouse. However, their confrontation unleashes an unexpected horror and the Warehouse will never be the same again. In the new season, the entire Warehouse team will confront old questions while encountering new revelations. From a painful realization that Pete (Eddie McClintock) and Myka (Joanne Kelly) must face together, to Artie (Saul Rubinek) accompanying Claudia on a soul-searching journey regarding her long-lost sister, and Steve (Aaron Ashmore) colliding with his past, the final six episodes of Warehouse 13 will take viewers on an emotionally-charged roller coaster ride.

- Syfy has greenlit the 12-episode summer series, The Wil Wheaton Project (working title), a weekly topical comedy show hosted by actor, blogger and champion of geek culture Wil Wheaton. The 30-minute show will offer a fast-paced, lighthearted exploration and celebration of all things within the realm of science fiction and genre entertainment. The series premieres Tuesday, May 27 at 10:00.

- In other Syfy news, the channel has renewed Helix for a second season and unveiled its new Thursday line up. Starting June 19, Defiance will air at 8:00 followed by new show Dominion at 9:00.

- In other renewal news, Nurse Jackie has been renewed for a seventh season even though season six does not start until April 13 at 9:00.

- Loretto,TN-based duo Grace & Tony, the husband-and wife pair responsible for the progressive blend of musical styles dubbed “punkgrass,” have announced the launch of their collaborative video series, “Grace & Tony Greenroom Sessions.” The series kicks off today with a clip featuring the duo’s performance with Malcolm Parson of Carolina Chocolate Drops of the brand new Grace & Tony song, “The 1.” The video, along with all future session clips, will premiere exclusively on New sessions will be posted twice each month.

- Driven by Mike McFadden’s crisp vocals and magnetic poise, Brooklyn’s Animal Years brings a fresh face to indie roots rock. Now, they've teamed up with The Orchard to re-release their debut album Sun Will Rise in a Deluxe Edition, featuring four never before heard songs. The first of which, Leah, has just premiered on Indie Shuffle. Take a listen below:

Thursday, April 03, 2014

This Time I’ve Got no Hesitation and I’ll Be Moving on to Where I Belong

A Dotted Line - Nickel Creek

I finally got into Nickel Creek when they released their fifth album Why Should This Fire Die? I had an irrational hatred of country music in my youth, and once that thawed I was ready to look at artists pushing the conventions of the genre like Nickel Creek who drew on a heavy influence of folk too but still hung out on the outskirts of country music. Of course once I finally discovered the band, they went on an indefinite hiatus. Well at least I had the previous four albums to go back and check out and despite the hiatus, the individual members continued to make music by themselves, with the Punch Brothers, Fiction Family, and many other side projects.

In the nine years since their album, Mumford and Sons brought folk to the mainstream opening up the door of other likeminded artists to breakthrough, including The Lumineers who basically took the Nickel Creek esthetic and created a huge pop success out of it. Now Nickel Creek is back and ready to take back the folk crown. Where most groups reunite and put out a new album as an excuse to tour behind it, the first song Nickel Creek released in almost a decade, Destination, stands with everything already in their catalogue. The upbeat song features everything you loved about Nickel Creek, Sara Watkins beautiful voice, tight harmonies, and a great interplay of mandolin and fiddle.

The rest of A Dotted Line proves the trio has not lost a step. It sounds as if they spend the last nine years just saving their best song ideas for the inevitable reunion album. The rest of the album I mostly what you would expect from the group, nice folk ballads and of course there is a beautiful instrumental track Elsie. But they also push their sound further with Hayloft which is the most danceable song ever in the traditional, non-hoedown kind of way as well as their least Nickel Creek sounding song ever. It seems like we will not be getting a Christmas album from the group anytime soon because there is the beautiful Christmas Eve which could be another of those rare holiday track.

When bands have been away for almost a decade or more, the comeback album is just put out to promote the comeback tour and then play the hits on that tour with one or two new songs which are used as bathroom breaks for fans. Nickel Creek bucks that trend with one of their best albums yet. If you go and see them, make sure your bladder is empty before they start because you definitely do not want to miss these new songs live. Hopefully we do not have to wait another nine years for the next one.

Song to Download – Destination

A Dotted Line gets a Terror Alert Level: Severe [RED] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

I Want My Music Television: 4/2/14

There have been a couple of videos that have caught my eye lately so I thought I’d give them some love since the death of Musical Television left a void for a forum on the art form. If you are interested in buying the video through iTunes, click the title link (where available). If you are interested in buying the song, look for a link in the analysis.

Empire - Shakira

I may be reading into it too much but the whole runaway bride could explain why Shakira has yet to walk down the aisles with her baby daddy. And I usually do not comment on these sorts of things, but whoever the cinematographer Shakira has been working with needs some sort of award because her last two are just absolutely beautifully shot.

Supernova - Ray LaMontagne

Listening to the new Ray Lamontange song and its seventies pop-rock vibe and hearing that he brought in The Black Keys Dan Auerbach to produce made me think that the singer is finally trying to be an actual rock star. He even released his very first music video. Sure it has the production value of your average lyric video, but hey, its baby steps.

Gulls – David Gray

Recently Coldplay went full Bon Iver for the first song off their upcoming album and it sounds like David Gray has been listening a lot to the Minnesota woodsman too. He even combined that sound with a trippy music video. Coldplay quickly followed up that Bon Iver sounding song with a more traditional sounding song, I hope the same goes for David Gray, but I am not really digging this new musical path.

High Ball Stepper – Jack White

As previously mentioned, I thought Coldplay releasing a Bon Iver meets Radiohead type song was a weird first impression to make. But at least it had words; the first song we get to hear off the upcoming Jack White album is an instrumental. But the paint and glitter in speakers motif of the music video is all sorts of awesome.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

A Long, Long, Long, Long Time Ago, Before the Wind, Before the Snow

Blood Sugar Sex Magik - Red Hot Chili Peppers

A year after the release of Blood Sugar Sex Magik, this month's induction into the Scooter Hall of Fame, the Red Hot Chili Peppers’s prior record label released a greatest Hits package entitled What Hits!? (the second most self aware greatest hit package after Jimmy Buffett's Song(s) You Know By Heart). It was a sly nod to the fact that their first four albums could at best be considered a modest success and a cheap way to cash in on the band’s new found stardom on a different label. Back during those eighties albums, the Peppers were lucky to get played during 120 Minutes but in the post-Nirvana world, videos from Blood Sugar Sex Magic were in heavy rotation on MTV and alternative radio that popped up in the early nineties.

Unlike some grunge coattail-riders like Stone Temple Pilots and Bush, the Chili Peppers may gave benefited from the music that came out of the Pacific Northwest, but they were something entirely different, a mix of rock, funk, and rap, with three musicians that pushed every boundary and a lyricist that poured his whole heart on the page. John Frusciante created some of the most inventive riffs of all time which played off well with Flea’s funky bass and his rhythm section partner, the underappreciated Chad Smith.

Even though Frusciante and Smith were on their second album with the band, but the missing ingredient may have been producer Rick Rubin. As he tends to do, Rick took the other the top, hyperactive group and focused them leading to a more cohesive and more easily accessible sound. Rubin also famously found Anthony Kiedis’ poetry book and convinced him to take one entitled Under the Bridge to the band. Of course that song ended up being the album’s breakout hit and remains one of the biggest in the band’s history.

Under the Bridge may have broke the band in a big way, but first single Give it Away opened the door. The song was just pure focused energy, punk rock mixed with a funky bass line which makes it danceable if mosh pits are not your thing. Then there was the Anton Corbin music video, filmed in black in white in the desert with each band member with an increasingly epic hairdo.

And the album is not just pure funk with the random power ballad in the middle; the Peppers pushed their sound with songs like Breaking the Girl. An acoustic track with weird percussion and other instrumentation that sounds like it came from a medieval fair, and somehow it worked completely. The album concludes with Sir Psycho Sexy (not counting quick hidden Robert Johnson cover), weird song that sounds like it was built around a pig inspired syth patch where Kiedis goes on for over eight minutes about a freak in the Garden of Eden and being stopped by lady cops in an explicit fashion.

A decade after the first greatest hits, the Red Hot Chili Pepper released a new best of album that is actually worthy of the title with many legitimate hits from subsequent albums. Well many legitimate hits and one song from the Dave Navarro era that most people would like to forget.

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Voice Season Six Battle Rounds I Power Rankings

I hate the Battle Rounds with a fiery passion. There may be four great performances in six season (none of which happened this season) and many more bad ones. It seems like best case scenario is that you get a complete train wreck. I thought the advent of the Steal in season three would make things better but it is now worse. Things have gotten even more predictable, I guessed 22 of the 24 winners before the contestants took the stage, one of the two I got wrong ended in a Steal anyway so it did not matter much. Plus it has become clear that each episode will end in a Steal so there is really no reason to watch it. And worse now that they are montaging Battle, that means no more train wrecks. Blake apparently forgetting the Erin Martin / The Shields Brothers debacle of a season two gave a female / male duet What’s Love Got to Do with It which may not have been as big a train wreck as the first time, but we will never know because it was montage. And in possible the worse rule change in the history of the show, they are actually adding a second Battle Round. Ugg. Hopefully they do more than three Battles per hour. Or just montage the whole round. But anyway. Here is my updated Power Ranking:

1. Sisaundra Lewis (Team Blake): Just like the coaches mentioned, let me bring up that note at the end: that was otherworldly. My goodness.

2. Madilyn Paige (Team Usher): I found it interesting that right before picking her, Usher talked about her maybe thriving on Blake or someone else’s team. When Usher said that it did give me pause that he may have picked the other guy even though this Battle seemed like the second most obvious winner of any Battle and that Madilyn deserved it. But could Usher’s comment be foreshadowing for the next round? I kind of hope so because I always thought she would be better off on Blake’s team.

3. Sam Behymer (Team Adam): I wanted to like Sam’s Blind Audition but it sounded like she was trying to add too many moments and when you try to make too many parts of a song a moment, nothing ends up being special about it. After the round I hopped that Adam would iron out those issues (the studio version of Royals was significantly better and maybe my favorite studio recording of the round). Thankfully on the rehearsals Adam and Aloe really hammered those out unnecessary moments and Sam ended up having one of the standout performances of the Battle Rounds. And since she had more control, when she hit the line, “give a little time to me we’ll burn this down” really stood out as a defining moment.

4. Audra McLaughlin (Team Blake): The Battle Round is my least favorite part of the show; it is really hard for anyone to stand out unless you completely blow your opponent out of the water. It is even worse when you go up against a duo and there were times when Audra felt like a third wheel and other times when she tried too hard to out[-sing two voices which ended up being too loud. But she clearly has one of the best voices in the competition and the studio version is significantly better than the live performance. Unfortunately there is another Battle Round this season, but on the bright side, there are no more duos left on Team Blake.

5. Josh Kaufman (Team Adam): I am under the assumption that singers get montaged for one of two reasons, because they were simply not good, or because they go up against a frontrunner in the Battle Round and maybe should have won. Even though Josh has the much better voice, I thought Austin Ellis may have actually had a slightly better performance. But I do think the song was more in Austin’s wheelhouse, and Josh has a much higher potential. The question is will Adam be able to find better songs that suit Josh from here on out that are better for him than Happy was.

6. Kaleigh Glanton (Team Blake): Is a familiar Battle Round scenario, coach pairs two singers of different styles, gives them a song that is in one of the singer’s wheelhouse, and then picks that singer as the winner. So when Blake gave Kaleigh and lounge singer Noah a Michael Buble song, I figured Carson might as well have raised Noah’s hand right then and there. Except Kaleigh amazingly did the lounge song better than the actual lounge singer.

7. Clarissa Serna (Team Shakira): It became apparent to me during the behind the scenes package that Clarissa should go with the straight hair more often.

8. Brittnee Camelle (Team Usher Adam): I did not think much of her Blind audition; probably that most had to do with the horrible song selection. But give this girl an actual good song and, wow. I do not know what Usher was thinking about letting her go. It may have been smarter to go with Shakira who took both her Steals to the Live Show last year while Adam, who did take three Steals to the Lives the first two seasons, dumped both his Steals in the Knockout Round last season even though they were probably better. Hopefully Adam gives her more sexy RnB and no cheesy pop songs but she is much better at the former.

9. Ddendyl (Team Shakira): Montage win… yawn.

10. Tess Boyer (Team Usher Blake): I have never been a fan of Janis Joplin so I definitely liked Tess’ more subtle approach to the song.

11. Morgan Wallen (Team Usher): Montage win… yawn.

12. Dawn and Hawkes (Team Adam): I talked earlier how it is hard for Audra to go up against a duo but it is also challenging for duos to go against a singular artist. You have to present yourselves as individuals, as a duo, and then force yourself into a trio for parts of the song. The performance was a bit sleepy which worked well for their first performance, but I wanted more during this round.

13. Patrick Thompson (Team Adam Shakira): When Adam did not choose him, I figured if anyone, Blake would steal him, possibly even Usher since he was similar Ryan Innes. I did not see Shakira being the only one to push her button.

14. Biff Gore (Team Usher Blake): I would have given Biff the slight edge in his battle but the song did benefit him a bit more because he can let go in the way that the song need.

15. T.J. Wilkins (Team Usher): I would have given the Battle to Biff, but T.J. may be around longer because while he is too clean to properly sing a song like Ain’t too Proud to Beg, he seems to be more versatile and with the right songs, he could be a dark horse this season.

16. Bria Kelly (Team Usher): I found this performance less annoying than the very shout-y Blind Audition, but she still remains a little too much for me. Unfortunately shout-y females (Juliet Simms, Jackie Lee) have done well on the show.

17. Kat Perkins (Team Adam): I had to laugh when Adam said, “It’s a shame that they are both together.” Hey idiot, you were the one that put them together. If you think they are both top five artists then why put them together. Unless you think the other three are also on your team. Granted Adam’s hubris probably thinks that. Even though I thought Patrick was better this round, both were definitely two of the top thirty-two singers this season and should have advanced. I would not go as far to say both, or either, are top five like Adam did.

18. Melissa Jimenez (Team Usher): A couple seasons ago, Loren Allred got montaged twice and then somehow advanced to the next round because she hit a note at the end her performance even though her opponent was much more consistent. Personally I would have taken Britnee who was much better throughout the battle than Melissa who only hit one great note.

19. Stevie Jo (Team Usher): I would have given Stevie Jo the win too, but mostly by default. Instead of both advancing, if I had the decision, I would have been content with both going home.

20. Delvin Choice (Team Adam): There were a few times this season where I would have been content if both would have been sent home, this was at the top of that list. If one had to advance, I guess Delvin was the right, I hate to do this, choice, because it sounded like Caleb Elder was singing “I’m a man.” Seriously, how do you mess up the lyrics in the title of the song?

21. Cierra Mickens (Team Shakira Usher): It is interesting that Shakira put Ciera and Emily together because for both singers I liked their Blind Auditions but wondered if I liked them because they picked songs that are hard to screw up. I did not like their Battle Round, but again, I wonder if it had more to do with the song selection, Brave is kind of boring and bland and there really is not much you can do with it. I guess I will have one more round to figure out if I like either.

22. Emily B (Team Shakira): Basically what I said about Cierra applies here.

23. Jake Barker (Team Usher Adam): I am surprised anyone wanted to Steal him, let alone all three. Grated it could have been very well that only Adam wanted him and Shakira hit her button because she always has to press her button second and Blake, well Blake just did it to irritate Adam. But in a season filled with unworthy four button pushes, it is only apropos that there was also an unworthy three button Steal.

24. Ryan Whyte Maloney (Team Blake): Yeah, not that surprising a dude singing What’s Love Got to Do with It got montaged. Oh Blake, what were you thinking? The Shields Brothers are the only dudes that should sing that song.

25. Jake Worthington (Team Blake): I have long assumed that performances get montaged because they were not good, if that is the case, I wonder how bad the montage Battles were that they did not shown so this Battle was. One of the worst Battles the show has ever aired.

26. Deja Hall (Team Shakira): Winning the least entertaining (shown) Battle does not make me think she will be going much further.

27. Josh Murley (Team Adam Shakira): Not the most head-scratching Steal ever, but you have to wonder what Shakira was thinking unless she has started to use the philosophy of the other coaches to treat their Steals like fodder. But that would be weird for Shakira whose best performer last year was a stolen artist. She would have been much better off stealing Alaska and Madi.

28. Christina Grimmie (Team Adam): Montage win… yawn.

29. Dani Moz (Team Shakira): There was a Battle last season when it seemed pretty clear that Shakira picked someone based solely not on who she thought was better but on the assumption that someone would steal the loser. I wonder if that was her thinking with Dani and De'Shawn Washington because my jaw dropped in shock when she picked Dani. Did she think just because Blake and Usher thought DeShawn won (Adam was indecisive) that one of them would steal him? If that is the case she may be overtaking Christina as the worst coach on the team.

30. Music Box (Team Shakira) Usher): I am all for pseudonyms, but Music Box does not work for a singular person. But this is not a reality show trying to find the greatest nom de plume, and her voice was way too over the top the whole time and was the main reason why this was the worst Battle of this round. And for the first time in the history of the Steal, Blake was not the coach who made the dumbest Steal of the season.

31. Kristen Merlin (Team Shakira): So after her big pitch to her two country artists that she secured this season was that Shakira would bring in Miranda Lambert to mentor them, they ended up montaging their battle. Alrighty. Maybe Miranda was not that good of a mentor.

32. Megan Rüger (Team Blake): Montage win… yawn.

As I always do, it is fun to see who has the strongest team. So I rank each contestant, giving one point to last place and thirty-two to number one and add up each team and here is how they stack up after the Battle Round:

Blake – 148
Adam – 148
Usher – 132
Shakira – 100

After the Blind Auditions, Shakira had a slight lead and now way at the bottom. It certainly did not help that she does not have anyone in my top eight. Bad pairings, bad picks, and some bad song selections did not help her. It is amazing that she got anyone to steal one of her artists when Blake was not poached once. Blake jumped from third to tied for first with Adam who was fourth and far behind after the Blind Auditions. Adam did have the best of the lackluster steals this season. But who care what I think? Here is how the iTunes buyers rank the Battle Round winners (and Steals) by how high they charted in the top 1500. I also included Blind Auditions that charted during the Battle Round to give you an idea of who may have some staying power this season.

1. Madilyn Paige (142)
2. Josh Kaufman (168)
3. Sam Behymer (266)
4. Kristen Merlin (371)
5. Jake Worthington (399)
6. Jake Baker (429)
7. Christina Grimmie (450)
8. Madilyn Paige – Titanium (455)
9. Stevie Jo (457)
10. Bria Kelly (459)
11. Clarissa Serna – Zombie (501)
12. Dawn and Hawkes – I’ve Just Seen a Face (507)
13. Kaleigh Glanton (507)
14. Christina Grimmie – Wrecking Ball (603)
15. Dawn and Hawkes (597)
16. Sisaundra Lewis (611)
17. Jake Worthington - Don’t Close Your Eyes (634)
18. Josh Kaufman – One More Try (742)
19. Kat Perkins (943)
20. Clarissa Serna (1111)
21. Morgan Wallen (1193)
22. Audra McLaughlin (1291)
23. Dani Moz (1314)
24. Bria Kelly – Steamroller Blues (1397)

The first thing I noticed from the iTunes list is how many contestants did not even show up in the top 1500: only 17 of the 32 advancing made the list. For comparison, last season 27 charted somewhere including three in the top 100. If you count the Blind Auditions, 36 songs charted sometime during the Battle Rounds. The second thing that jumped out at me was how high Kristen Merlin charted being montaged. Sure there have been a few that were montaged during the Battles that charted fairly high, Cassadee Pope made the Overall Top 200, last season, Holly Henry made the Top 100 Pop Charts. But those two had good selling Blind Auditions, Kristen’s Battle Round song charted 300 spots higher than her Blind Audition. Kristen even out charted Christina Grimmie despite the latter being touted as a YouTube star. I guess when your fan base is used to streaming your music for free, they are not that inclined to buy it. But it did help make Team Adam have 6 of his 8 member on the chart. Shakira only had three, even worse; one of those was the montage Kristen so six of her contestants who performances in full did not make the top 1500. To give a better idea of who is the most popular this season, I took the average of how high their first two songs charted and here is how those artists rank.

1. Josh Kaufman (152)
2. Madilyn Paige (158.5)
3. Chistina Grimmie (261.5)
4. Jake Worthington (269.5)
5. Bria Kelly (292.5)
6. Dawn and Hawkes (310.5)
7. Sam Behymer (408.5)
8. Stevie Jo (480)
9. Kaleigh Glanton (495)
10. Kristen Merlin (529.5)
11. Jake Barker (591.5)
12. Clarissa Serna (598.5)
13. Sisaundra Lewis (675.5)
14. Morgan Wallen (688.5)
15. Kat Perkins (697)
16. Audra McLaughlin (771.5)

Again, not an impressive showing compared to last season where 23 of those advancing to the third round had both their songs make the top 1500. Also, number one on this list, Josh, would have been the fourth highest on last season’s list behind Holly Henry who did not even have her second performance aired. Making things worse, last season had to compete with multiple marquee albums that come out in the fall, there still has not been a big name album to come out this year so far so you would think it would be easier to chart.

Now it is time some spoilery talk. The Battle Round II preview spoiled almost all the pairing except four, but two of those could be figured out by process of elimination, so there are only two Battles that are completely unclear (but can be assumed because of like genres). Looking at the Battle Round II match ups, some coaches made some dumb matchup because some of the higher iTunes charters are going up against each other. The other coaches may be wise to do some stealing, but I fear they will just go with more fodder. Here is the match ups, I listed who I think will win first and ordered the teams with how confident I am with my picks

Team Adam
Christina vs. Sam (S to Shakira)
Josh vs. Delvin (S to Usher)
Dawn and Hawkes vs. Kat
Jake vs. Brittnee (interesting that Adam would have his two stolen artists going against each other)

Team Blake
Sissaundra vs. Biff
Audra vs. Megan
Jake vs. Tess
Kaliegh vs. Ryan

Team Shakira
Clarissa vs. Dani (S to Adam)
Emily B. vs. Kristen
(Here are the two that are unclear but I am assuming these are the matchup based on similarities; again it will be odd that Shakira is pairing her two stolen artists)
Ddendyl vs. Deja
Patrick Thompson vs. Josh Murley

Team Usher
Melissa vs. Music Box
T.J. vs. Ceirra
Morgan vs. Stevie Jo
Bria vs. Madilyn (S to Blake)

So thanks to Usher and Adam, four of the top seven best selling singers on iTunes this season will be going up against each other. Since Bria is getting a major push (she closed out two episodes including the season premiere which is what I consider the pimpiest of the pimp slots) she is likely to win and despite being montage, I would still consider Christina the favorite in her second Battle (though it is entirely possible she got the Holly Henry treatment this season: heavily featured in first promo, early four chair turning Blind Audition, late Battle Round montage, out in the third round). If that is the case, that means the coffeehouse singer contingent, which has done fairly well on the show, especially iTunes, will be completely gone. Hopefully I am either wrong or coaches actually use their Steals wisely on Madilyn and / or Sam otherwise the show may see another dramatic drop in the rating again this season. I do not think it is a coincidence that the rating went way down the last two season when the coffeehouse singer fan favorites Caroline Glaser and Holly Henry went home prematurely. But the thing is as the ratings tanked the last two seasons as the show went on, the overall view ship stays mostly the same meaning the show is getting progressively older, much like American Idol in its middle seasons. Of course few people, young or old watch that show anymore these days . If The Voice keeps eliminating fan favorites before they can vote for them, they may quickly match American Idols in the ratings sooner than later.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 3/30/14

Shameless: Good news and bad news for Frank, he is now at the top of the liver donor list, bad news, he had to lose a kidney to get there. But since there are still two episodes left, there may still be some time for him to completely bottom out. But hopefully the episode is a lesson to anyone who thinks about turning to the black market for a vital organ.

The Walking Dead: Wow, we actually got our first glimpse of Terminus and it is not even the finale. I thought like the previous seasons, we would only get a glimpse of the next season’s setting with the last scene. So Maggie and Glen’s groups finally met up and made it there, I am guessing Tyrese and Carol will not be far behind. The big question is if Rick will make it with Darryl’s new buddies hot on their trail. It is probably nice that Rick has a man on the inside of the group. The other big question, will we actually learn what happened to Beth this season?
You can download The Walking Dead on iTunes.

Crisis: So the bad guys might not be all that bad as it looks like they are avenging some evil deeds by the CIA. They are just going with the any means necessary to expose the conspiracy instead of simply calling some new media to cover the story.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Crisis on iTunes.

Revenge: There are few things I hate more than the “x amount of time ealier’ place card at the beginning of episode, and Revenge is the worst at doing them because almost everyone makes you think Emily is in dire straits but by the time the scene plays out at the end of the episode, it always turns out that was her intent the whole time. So I knew as soon as we say Emily storm out the opera, she planned the whole thing, and yep, she planted the news of her fake pregnancy.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Revenge on iTunes.

The Voice: I am a big proponent of the Steal and in fact I am going to go ahead and take credit for the idea after pitching the idea during season two. Unfortunately except in the few rare exceptions (Amanda Brown, Caroline Glaser) the Steals are mostly wasted on fodder for the next round. I did find it interesting this season coaches started complaining when their talent did not receive a Steal. Shakira looked generally shocked that nobody picked up De'Shawn Washington (it seemed to me that she only picked Dani because she assumed DeShawn would get stolen). Then Adam physically got out his chair to call Usher an idiot for not stealing Alaska & Madi (Adam, maybe you should not have wasted a Steal on Jake Barker). I would have like to have seen one of the coaches steal both arists and I am not just saying that about the latter because Alaska looks like a combination of Selina Gomez and Victoria Justice (okay, I am mostly saying it because Alaska looks like a combination of Selina Gomez and Victoria Justice).

Both times, Usher explained his lack of a Steal on “waiting on something specific.” Then he stole Music Box. Yes, the same Music Box you missed if you blinked during her montage. Yes the same Music Box who was on the losing end of the worst battle that actually showed this season (which was hard to choose because there multiple stinkers this season which again makes me wonder just how bad the six montaged Battles were). And Usher followed that up by Stealing another female RnB singer who lost a lackluster Battle. So was the something specific that Usher was looking for were singers who had no chance of upsetting one of his original singers in the Battle Rounds II?

As it usually is with the Battle Rounds, there were none that I would classify as great and really only two that I would even call good, both that happened this week. There was the cuteness overload that was Madilyn Paige and Sam Behymer who had a breakout moment during her Battle. The rest this season ranged from average to why was this not montaged. At least now we can move onto the Knockout Round. Oh wait, those have been replaced with the Battle Rounds II. Ugg. Can they just montage the whole round and move straight to the Live Playoffs? Wait, the Playoffs are no longer live? Double ugg.

You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download songs performed this week with the widget at right.

How I Met Your Mother: For an entire season that took place on the weekend of a wedding, they sure skipped over the actually ceremony fairly quickly. I think Marshall and Lilly’s wedding got more screen time this week. Not that I am complaining, ever wedding should fly through the ceremony to get to the open bar.
You can stream recent episodes over at You can also download How I Met Your Mother on iTunes.

The Blacklist: When the old guy showed up as Ivan, I thought to myself, this old dude is the big hacker? I was expecting some teenager. It turns out I was on to something because Ivan was just a patsy. I actually liked that the villain of the week turned out not to be some supervillian that crossed path with Red and was instead just a lovelorn teenager. More importantly, Lizzie finally found out about her husband. And he was found out by some silly elephant instead of fingerprints I figured were left behind since he did not have time to destroy all incriminating evidence. But he has to know that is the case so it will be a little silly if he stickls around next week as if nothing happened.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download The Blacklist on iTunes.

Castle: Wait, Captain Gates has a family? Who knew?
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Castle on iTunes.

Justified: When Boyd continually insisted on smoking despite not actually being a smoker and being in a non-smoking room, I knew something was up. Did he sneak something sharp in the box? Did he poison all but one of the cigarettes in the pack? Nope, he packed it with explosives. Awesome. But the bigger news of the week: Kendall shot Art? Okay, it is obvious that he did not do it because his story did not line up with what we saw. Now the question is just how will Raylan prove that Daryl was the actual triggerman. I am guessing Wendy and Dewey will have something to do with it.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Justified on iTunes.

Survivor: Cagayan: Ugg, someone seriously quit to keep themselves punching someone, how lame. How about pulling yourself out before Cliff Robinson gets booted?
You can stream recent episodes on You can also download Survivor: Cagayan on iTunes.

The Americans: I could never be a spy (or healthcare provider) because there is no way I am wiping another dude after they go to the bathroom. I would just sooner untie him and hope he does not attack me.
You can download The Americans on iTunes.

Hannibal: I guess I was a little off guessing that Hannibal may keep Beverly alive in his torture basement. I was also completely wrong that it was Hannibal that killed the bailiff. But I guess it is still probable that Hannibal killed the judge.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Hannibal on iTunes.