Friday, December 28, 2007

Strictly Come Dancing Alesha Dixon Wins

Perhaps the greatest Christmas present a woman can receive is the gift of a gaudy mirrorball that looks like it was bought from a car boot sale, and that's what Alesha Dixon got after winning Strictly Come Dancing on Saturday.

Alesha Dixon won Strictly Come Dancing after a tense dance-off with her dancing rival Matt Di Angelo off EastEnders. Well, OK, maybe not tense - what with Alesha and Matt doing five dances each, all the old Strictly Come Dancing contestants doing a dance each, the Spice Girls singing a song accompanied by a dance and Bruce Forsyth doing a comedy song and dance number, watching the Strictly Come Dancing final felt a little bit like wading through treacle. But, hey, who cares - Alesha Dixon has now won Strictly Come Dancing and is now almost guaranteed to get this year's Christmas number one.

No, wait, that's the other one. What exactly do Strictly Come Dancing winners do again?

This year Strictly Come Dancing trounced X Factor in the ratings, and it's not hard to see why. In one corner you had Rod Stewart's wife with her bum hanging out and in the other hand you had a weird shouting Welsh alien singing 15 songs from the musicals that all sounded exactly the same. And, as any teenage boy will tell you, bums win. Even if the bums belong to Rod Stewart's wife.

So Saturday night's Strictly Come Dancing final was more than just an overlong dance assault presented by an old man and a woman dressed as a perfume bottle - it was a celebratory lap of honour that reminded everyone time and time and time again about every single thing that happened throughout Strictly Come Dancing from beginning to end in such detail that we may as well have not watched all the other episodes in the first place.

Seriously, everything. Presumably because the finalists had to do five dances - and therefore had to change sparkly sequinny outfits five times - the Strictly Come Dancing final was stuffed to the brim with any old filler that was at hand at any given point in time. Week-by-week retrospectives that reminded us that Kate Garraway couldn't dance and Dominic Littlewood was a bit of a twerp and Letitia Dean probably blasted vomit all over the place like a disgusting oil rig that smells of guts? Check. Dances by all these people that proved that they weren't so great after all? Check. Bruce Forsyth doing a big show-stopping number about how all women are suspicious of his constant sexually-predatory behaviour? Weirdly, check.

Dances by the two Strictly Come Dancing finalists? Oh yeah, that too. To win the coveted - yet painfully ugly - Strictly Come Dancing trophy, Matt Di Angelo and Alesha Dixon had to perform a punishing five dances each. At least we think it was five - by the time they'd both done three each we started to glaze over, all the dances seemed to blend into each other and we started to lose track of time. For all we know, Alesha and Matt might have danced anything up to a trillion dances each.

But we'll stick to five for now. Dancing their favourite ballroom dance, their favourite latin dance, some weird double dance to a T.Rex song, an identical dance danced identically at the same time as each other and a frantic piece of nonsense at the end. And picking either Matt Di Angelo or Alesha Dixon as the winner of Strictly Come Dancing was too close to call, which is something we learnt by having everyone involved in Strictly Come Dancing hitting us over the head with that fact every six or seven seconds.

In the end, though, Alesha Dixon was inevitably crowned as Strictly Come Dancing champion over Matt Di Angelo, which might have something to do with the way that at no point during the series did she muddle up her dance, go and sit on some steps and start crying like a big baby girl in front of millions and millions of viewers.

So congratulations to Alesha Dixon, who joins other Strictly Come Dancing winners like, um, that cricket bloke and, you, know, the others. Since winning Strictly Come Dancing, bookmakers have already slashed the odds of Alesha Dixon getting a number one record next year, even though nobody seems to have realised that, as gifted a dancer as she may be, when Alesha Dixon sings she makes a noise like a binbag of terrier puppies being pushed down some stairs.

Project Runway Canada Winner Is Evan Biddell

The potty-mouthed, Saskatoon-raised fashion designer proved he "measures up" and became the first winner of Project Runway Canada last night. Or shall we say, almost two months ago?

Biddell was awarded PR Canada's $100,000 payout back in late-October, shortly after he and fellow finalists Marie Genevieve Cyr and Lucian Matis showed their collections at L'Oreal Fashion Week in Toronto. A contract with the show's network Slice forbade him to spread the news until last night's finale. And you can imagine how difficult that was for the outspoken stitcher.

"I'm feeling pretty amped," Biddell, 24, tells Sun Media. "I'm glad this is finally coming out to the public."

When he wasn't pulling out the dramatics -- and the expletives -- on Project Runway Canada, Biddell was effortlessly coming up with playful, edgy designs that impressed the judges (supermodel Iman, ELLE Canada editor Rita Silvan and Bustle Clothing founder Shawn Hewson) and irritated his competitors right to the very end.

"I'm pretty sure they didn't want me to win," Biddell says of Cyr and Matis. "I think both of them would have rather had the either one win over me. I remember Lucian telling me that I probably didn't deserve to win. I thought it was down to one of them. I was honestly ready to go home happy, regardless."

Biddell -- who unlike his competitors, had no professional design training prior to the show -- went home a little happier than he expected. The 10 outfits he presented at L'Oreal Fashion Week had the wow factor the judges were looking for. So what if they were inspired by Saturday-morning cartoon characters?

"It was like this sort of team of girls who were going to come out and kick your ass," Biddell says of the colourful line he designed at a friend's studio on Vancouver Island during the three-month timeslot the Top 3 were given pre-Fashion Week.

After seeing his designs -- ranging from a dangerously sexy frock to a casual leather hoodie -- on the catwalk, the thought of winning crossed Biddell's mind. But he still nearly dropped an f-bomb when supermodel host Iman announced the verdict.

"Shut the @#$% up," he repeats. (Thankfully, he managed to stop himself after "the" during the taping.)

The oh-so-tender moment was classic Biddell -- though he insists he's not deserving of the "Biddell Bitch" nickname given to him by his close friends and oft-repeated by PR Canada fans.

"I'm actually a really down-to-earth guy," he says.

Along with $100,000 to start his own fashion line, Biddell won a professional portfolio shoot, a cover and feature spread in ELLE Canada magazine and a retail mentorship with Winners. His model, Ashley Hart, will also be featured in an ELLE Canada spread.

And now that Canada knows Biddell came out on top, he's not wasting any time.

"I'm going to set up a studio and get all the equipment I need to start working and get a show together for the spring," he says.

That studio will be in Vancouver -- not Saskatoon. Biddell hasn't lived in Saskatchewan for six years. He says Vancouver has his heart, but he dreams of opening a shop in London someday.

Meantime, he'll be on the West Coast working on a line of custom (read: Expensive) pieces and a line of everyday garb. He made a point on the show of not using "sweatshop fabric" and will continue working with organic cotton, vegan silk and other eco-friendly materials. In other words, he's keeping it simple.

"I like to just have the statement made without overdoing it," he says.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

VJ Logan Wins ‘America’s Most Smartest Model’

The season finale of VH1’s America’s Most Smartest Model aired tonight, and congrats to VJ Logan for winning the competition! It was a battle of sneaky vs. sneakier, as Andre Birleanu pulled out the first stop, calling up ex-contestant and my Bret’s boyfriend Pickel to help out with the presentation. During VJ’s presentation, nevermind the sound went out, but he used terrible grammar, such as “leader of the pact,” and “if I was the winner.” Regardless, he thought on his toes and bounced back from the audio malfunctions.

Pickel was giving a great presentation for Andre until Andre decided to add his two cents in and wound up putting his foot in his mouth, adding a nail to his coffin. Nonetheless, I boo you, VH1, for not inviting him to the wrap party! For shame!

After the presentations, co-hosts Mary Alice and Ben Stein decided to have the two of them out for a head-to-head debate to decide who the winner is. While VJ discussed what an asset he’d be to the fashion industry, Andre decided to make his discussion about what a sneaky cheat VJ was. It wound up being the final nail in Andre’s coffin, making VJ the winner.

Congrats VJ, you sexy, sneaky cheat! I applaud you!

The winner’s bio:

Van Jameson Logan, born in 1986 in Modesto, Grass Valley, is an American model.

Logan was an athletic child who loved sports. He also had excel in academics where he graduated with good grades in high school. He grew up without a father. His Mother worked hard to support the family by holding down multiple jobs.

Driven to succeed to help his mother and pay for his college education, Logan gave modeling a try. He was discovered at a Pro Scout Search and quickly started his modeling career by gracing the pages of many editorial magazines and also strutted several runway shows.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

New York star Tiffany Pollard selects George Tailor Made

George "Tailor Made" Weisgerber may have still been married to his estranged wife, but that didn't stop him from proposing to Tiffany "New York" Pollard during I Love New York's second-season finale last night on VH1.

While New York didn't accept the proposal, the 25-year-old Utica, NY native and former Flavor of Love fling still presented her final chain to the Queens, NY fashion planner.

"Tailor Made, I completely trust you and I know that you're here for me and you'll never run out on me," explained New York. "But right now, I cannot accept your proposal. But if you love me -- and you honor my wishes -- in 24 months, I'd love to marry you."

Tailor Made defeated Ezra "Buddha" Masters, a model and personal trainer from Miami, FL, in their quest to win New York's heart. Earlier in the season, I Love New York producers disqualified Buddha for physically assaulting Tailor Made during a verbal confrontation the two were engaged in. New York subsequently reinstated Buddha into the competition -- apparently against producers' wishes -- because she felt he didn't leave on her terms.

"It's been a long journey, but it was all worth it," said Tailor Made. "In the end, I found the girl of my dreams."

I Love New York's finale episode began with New York, Buddha and Tailor Made traveling from Miami to Jamaica, where the final chain ceremony would be held. As soon as they arrived, New York opined about how she wished she could mesh Buddha's physique with Tailor Made's buying power.

"I wish I could combine them," said New York. "God just won't let me."

As the three ate dinner, Buddha started staring at New York, causing her to comment that he was really getting into her head. Buddha then sweet-talked New York and bad-mouthed Tailor Made, who had a hard time choosing his words. When New York asked Tailor Made why he was right for her, he answered because they're "distinctively different." He changed his answer to because they "complete each other," which New York thought made him sound like an actor.

Feeling as though the dinner couldn't have gone any worse, Tailor Made stole some alone time with New York and presented her with a jewelry box... which was empty.

"I didn't have a chance to get anything, but I wanted an excuse to come up here and be with you," explained Tailor Made.

New York was touched, describing the gesture as "sweet, clever, conniving and risky." The two walked and held hands on the beach as the hour grew late, and Buddha stewed in the resort room he was sharing with Tailor Made.

"That snake -- spineless ameba -- just stole a night with New York," opined Buddha.

The next morning Tailor Made was feeling confident until he learned New York would be taking Buddha for a one-on-one date. The two visited a plantation where they were met by horses, which she's terrified of (One would think they'd stop making New York ride horses). When the horses they were riding ventured into the water, New York freaked and wanted off. Buddha calmed her down by having her focus on Jamaica's beauty.

Tailor Made was going stir crazy back at the resort. He received a knock on the door and was met by Sister Patterson, who continued to express her concerns about Buddha's violent past. Patterson encouraged Tailor Made to be strong, giving him a pep talk and a slap in the face. Tailor Made saw it as a "wake-up call."

Buddha and New York ate lunch, and things seemed to be going swimmingly.

"There was nothing but her and I and the love between the two of us," said Buddha. "I could see Tiff and I together forever."

It was then time for a romantic ocean side dinner, and not surprisingly, drama ensued.

"I still have concerns," New York told Buddha, who said he loved her but was not in love with her.

"He's not making any sense to me!" said New York. "I don't know what the hell he's talking about!"

The two argued about the semantics of loving somebody and being in love with somebody before it escalated into a full-blown argument. Buddha contended he's not in love with New York because she won't trust him and resorted to calling her "blind."

"I am so disappointed with you," New York told Buddha.

She then asked Buddha if he wanted to leave to "test him," and he failed when he said "yes" and started to walk away.

"You want to know something? F**k you!" said New York as a parting shot.

It didn't last, as Buddha quickly came back and explained he wasn't leaving her.

"I can admit that I'm in love with Buddha, even though he's not in love with me," said New York. "But I think he can be.... I think he is in love with me. He's just afraid to admit it right now."

The next day New York went on a one-on-one date with Tailor Made, and the two arrived at a cafe and watched some cliff divers. Tailor Made decided he'd give it a shot to "prove" his love for New York. He held his nose as he plunged into the water -- and despite laughing hysterically as it happened -- New York saw it as "manly."

Patterson then arrived at the resort to talk with Buddha.

"My God... She's followed us to Jamaica!" said Buddha.

Patterson question Buddha's anger issues, and he admitted he had anger issues when he was younger. While he assured Patterson he can "control and restrain" the anger, it "never dies." Needless to say, Patterson was still concerned.

New York and Tailor Made enjoyed dinner together and he told her he loves her; can't picture his life without her; and is the happiest when they're together. Visibly nervous, Tailor Made then proposed marriage to New York with a diamond engagement ring.

"I can't believe Tailor Made just proposed to me!" said a shocked New York. "I don't know if I can deal with this. I have so many bad memories of [original I Love New York winner Patrick "Tango" Hunter]."

New York quickly pulled herself together and realized there was an out -- Tailor Made was still legally married to his estranged wife Nancy. New York expressed concern that Tailor Made was addicted to falling in love and then not making the relationship work. New York quickly got the hell out of there to presumably smoke a pack of cigarettes and contemplate what just went down.

Tailor Made said he felt like he was going to cry, and even though New York didn't answer with a yes, she also didn't say no. Still, he wondered if everything was "moving too fast" for her.

The next morning, New York presented the guys with gift watches as they prepared for the final chain ceremony. She thought about her final decision one last time and said she could see herself with both Tailor Made and Buddha.

I Love New York's final chain ceremony then commenced, and she began by thanking Patterson for all of her help during the journey. Instead of gushing about what a difficult decision this was for her, New York told Tailor Made and Buddha her decision was "pretty clear."

She called Tailor Made a wonderful man who's generous and spoils her rotten, but she quickly added she thought he lacks a backbone. New York described Buddha as cocky, arrogant and always pissing her off, however she's still drawn to him because their relationship is fiery and passionate. New York then showed Buddha the engagement ring, and he thought she was proposing to him.

"Buddha, are you in love with me?" she asked.

"As much as I want to say no, I am," answered Buddha.

New York then dropped the bomb that the engagement ring was actually from Tailor Made, and Buddha felt "gullible" because he wasn't able to make the connection on his own.

"I love you Tailor Made. That's no lie, I really do love you," said New York. "But I'm sorry, I can't accept your proposal."

Tailor Made thought his chance at a relationship with New York had just gone out the window, sure she was going to select Buddha.

"Buddha... I love you. But I'm not in love with you," said New York. "I'm in love with Tailor Made."

New York explained there's "fire" in her relationship with Buddha, but she's "always at odds" with him because they're both "very dominant" and always "bump heads."

Somewhat surprisingly, Buddha took the defeat in stride. He embraced New York and congratulated her and also shook Tailor Made's hand before exiting.

"So basically, [New York] said [Tailor Made] is a spineless, mindless individual... and he wins?" wondered Buddha. "If I have to be spineless and mindless to be with this woman, it would have never worked anyway."

"Tailor Made did exactly what he needed to do to win my heart," said New York. "Yeah he spit on somebody. Yeah he got f**king slapped. But so what! He did exactly what it took to win my heart, and that's why Tailor Made is my king... So there's one thing that I'm sure of: That Tailor Made loves New York, and New York loves Tailor Made!"

Although the move violated the show's rules, New York moved in with Tailor Made and his 12-year-old daughter Asia shortly after the show stopped filming over the summer, the New York Post reported Tuesday.

"I think the best thing to say is that Tiffany and I don't necessarily follow the rules," Tailor Made boasted to the Post. "It's always bewildered me how people end up finding their 'soul mate' on a reality show, but then they stay separated for months until the finale airs. I'm all for respecting the integrity of the show, but if you love someone, you can't let anything or any one come between you."

While the two tried to keep their romantic relationship a secret for as long as possible, the Post reported New York and Tailor Made were spotted "canoodling" last weekend in at least two Manhattan nightclubs.

VH1 plans to air an I Love New York second-season reunion show -- which filmed two weeks ago -- next month, according to the Post.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Todd Herzog wins 'Survivor: China,' beats Courtney Yates, Amanda Kimmel

Todd Herzog was rewarded for being Survivor: China's primary puppetmaster, as the 22-year-old flight attendant from Pleasant Grove, UT was revealed to be Survivor: China's winner during last night's finale of the long-running CBS reality series' fifteenth edition.

"All I could hope for was that people would be able to say, 'Survivor is a game,'" Todd said after host Jeff Probst revealed him to be the competition's winner. "I meant it when I said I made relations and bonds with people, and that those were true. But everything inside of the game was the game, and I meant that."

Todd -- who was only 14-years-old when Survivor: Borneo premiered in Summer 2000 -- claimed Survivor: China's $1 million grand prize during the live portion of last night's finale broadcast from CBS Television City in Los Angeles, CA.

"I knew that the second that I got out there -- that no matter what it took -- I would do everything I possibly could to be sitting right here," said Todd. "I had all of these people in my mind that could help me get here, and I can't believe it worked!"

Todd received four final Tribal Council jury votes, besting runner-up Courtney Yates, a 26-year-old waitress from New York, NY who received two jury votes; and third-place finisher Amanda Kimmel, a 23-year-old hiking guide and Miss Montana USA 2005 from Los Angeles, CA who received one jury vote.

Survivor: China's finale broadcast began with a video montage of the competition's first 36 days before the four remaining castaways returned to the merged Hae Da Fung camp following the previous elimination of Peih-Gee Law.

The next day, the castaways met for Survivor: China's final Reward Challenge, and Jeff explained the rules.

Each castaway would begin at the top of a platform, which they'd have to climb down via a ladder before crossing a bridge. Each castaway would then have to use planks to assemble another bridge before they could cross it. They would then use a traditional Chinese carrying device to move 12 large puzzle blocks back to the top of the platform, where they would solve the puzzle. First one to complete the puzzle would win the challenge's reward: pizza, beer, soda and brownies.

Todd grabbed an early lead and was the first to build his bridge, but Amanda was hot on his heels. Todd maintained his lead throughout the piece-moving portion of the challenge and was the first to have all of his puzzle pieces at the top of the platform, however Amanda was persistent and eventually emerged as the first castaway to complete the puzzle, winning reward.

Jeff gave Amanda the option of eating the food -- which would have been a very large meal for just one person -- by herself; with one other person; or with two other people. After deliberating, Amanda chose to share her feast with Todd. Amanda explained she chose Todd to see where his head was in the game, unsure if she was able to trust him.

"I don't trust you that much from what I've heard," Amanda told Todd. "I just have the feeling that if anyone of us back-stabbed me right now, you would."

Todd was hurt by what Amanda said, claiming when they formed their alliance on Day 1 he had full intentions to stick with it until the end.

"I swear on my life... I'm in this to the end with you," Todd told Amanda, adding it was the "honest 100% truth."

Back at camp, Courtney and Denise Martin, a 40-year-old school lunch lady from Douglas, MA, chatted, with Denise commenting she thought Todd should be the next one to go.

"He's a slippery little sucker," agreed Courtney.

Amanda and Todd returned from their Reward Challenge outing, and Todd proceeded to live up to his "slippery" billing by sweet-talking Denise about his fear that the three remaing women would vote him out of the game in favor of an all-female "girl power" Final 3 alliance and telling Denise that he felt Amanda and Courtney had the best chances of winning the jury vote.

After overhearing Todd's conversation with Denise, Courtney decided that Todd was only "looking out for himself." As Courtney and Amanda discussed their trust issues with Todd, he approached and wanted to make sure Denise was still going to be the next person on the chopping block if any of them were able to win immunity.

"Ya," Amanda assured him.

After remembering Survivor: China's 12 previously booted castaways via the game's traditional "Fallen Comrades" journey, the Final 4 arrived at the game's final Immunity Challenge, which would test their endurance and ability to focus. Jeff explained each castaway would balance a stack of porcelain dishes on a long, wobbly balancing arm. The more dishes that were added to the stack, the more difficult the challenge would be and the last castaway to not drop their stack would win immunity.

Twenty-seven minutes and several dishes into the challenge, Todd became the first castaway eliminated from the challenge when his stack of dishes fell to the ground. Courtney followed shortly thereafter, leaving only Amanda and Denise still in the running for a guaranteed spot in the game's Final 3.

Denise immediately tried to strike a "I won't write your name down, you won't write my name down" deal with Amanda, but she refused and insisted they instead "battle this out." Denise's stack eventually fell to the ground, winning Amanda immunity anyways.

"I'm so excited that I'm for-sure in the Final 3... I have nothing to worry about tonight," said Amanda back at camp. "But I'm afraid whoever gets voted out tonight is going to think that it was because of me... So it's such a good thing and then it can be such a bad thing."

Denise said she was "really, really nervous" as the "old lady" on the "outside." She tried to sway Amanda, who said she hadn't decided yet who she was going to vote for and added she respected Denise's determination. Denise explained how this was her one shot since she was the oldest of the Final 4. Todd sensed Amanda might have been weakening and made it clear he intended to vote for Denise at the upcoming Tribal Council. Courtney and Amanda agreed.

However despite her conversation with Todd and Courtney, Amanda still seemed uncomfortable with the idea of voting Denise out, and as she talked further with Denise, Todd told Courtney he hoped they could still trust Amanda.

Courtney said she didn't think Denise deserved the $1 million "just because she sucks at life" -- a reference to the $7-an-hour-lunch-lady-with-kids sob story that, having already used it on them in camp, Todd, Amanda and Courtney were sure Denise would play for the jury if she made the Final 3. Courtney also realized her comment about Denise made her the "biggest bitch on the planet."

Amanda explained her current position to Denise -- that she had been in an alliance with Todd since Day 1 and didn't want to back-stab him but would also rather have Denise in the Final 3 instead of Todd. While Amanda requested more time to think about it, she did offer Denise some hope.

"I will guarantee you I will not vote for you tonight," Amanda told Denise.

Afterward, Amanda discussed the situation further with Courtney. Amanda attempted to convince Courtney that in addition to knowing how to "sugarcoat things so well," Todd was well-liked and had "connected" with everyone on the jury, however Courtney disagreed.

"Denise is gonna cry [and win jury votes]... he's the schemer [and the jury will hold that against him]," Courtney told Amanda.

But despite her personal feelings, Courtney still seemed willing to turn on Todd if Amanda decided to do so.

"Just let me know, cause I'll vote with you," Courtney told Amanda.

"This is not just for me, it's not just for you -- it's for both of us," Amanda replied.

"Right now in the game, my biggest threat is probably Todd," Amanda later explained to the cameras. "Todd has made a lot of personal connections with a lot of people on the jury [and] the jury is a younger jury so I think he's my biggest threat right now. I'm at an awful crossroads... Denise [or] Todd... I'm still undecided, I don't know what I'm going to choose."

Survivor: China's fourteenth and penultimate Tribal Council then commenced, with Peih-Gee, Erik Huffman, James Clement, Michael "Frosti" Zernow, Jean-Robert Bellande and Jaime Dugan observing as the first six members of the jury.

However rather than using Jeff's Tribal Council questioning to make a last-minute attempt to convince Amanda and Courtney to vote out Todd, Denise -- apparently certain that there was no longer any chance of getting Todd's allies to turn on him -- instead confidently boasted about what a huge final jury threat she'd be.

"I don't know why they shouldn't vote me out," boldly stated Denise, explaining she'd be sure to receive sympathy votes from the jury if she made the Final 3.

Denise then outed Amanda, telling everyone Amanda claimed to have her back at the Tribal Council. Needless to say, Amanda wasn't too happy with Denise's comment and stated that while she might have told Denise she "had her back," she had made the statement "a while ago.. .not today." Todd made a face and commented how if he was Denise, he wouldn't have found Amanda's reaction encouraging.

Denise voted for Todd, who along with Amanda and Courtney voted to boot Denise, making her the thirteenth castaway eliminated from Survivor: China and the seventh and final member of the jury.

"I definitely believe I would have won this entire thing if I'd have stayed in the game," Denise -- apparently still unaware that Survivor juries have never crowned "sympathy" winners when given the opportunity -- opined following her ouster. "I'm just proud of what I've accomplished -- I think I did a great job -- I never gave up and to make it 38 days out here is a spectacular thing for a 40-year-old woman."

Once the remaining threesome returned to camp, Amanda made little secret that she was upset about Todd's Tribal Council comments. Amanda said felt "horrible" about it and thought Todd's goal was to make her look bad in-front of the jury. Todd apologized, but Amanda was still pissed and questioned the intentions of Todd's comments.

"She I don't think believes me -- that it was an accident -- but it was," said Todd.

The next morning Amanda, Courtney and Todd received a celebratory breakfast basket for being the Final 3 before journeying to Survivor: China's final Tribal Council. Amanda, Courtney and Todd would each have an opportunity to make an opening statement before each jury member could either address the Final 3 with a statement or question.

Amanda said she felt "blessed" to be in the Final 3 and had a specific strategy at the start of the competition -- to align herself right away -- and she chose Todd. After the merge, Amanda said her strategy was to align herself "with people I had a chance to physically compete against, and I did, I won the last [two] Immunity Challenges." She concluded by saying there were some things she wasn't proud of -- specifically her votes to oust James, Jean-Robert and Frosti -- and apologized for any hurt feelings.

Todd thanked the seven jury members for playing a role in helping him reach the Final 3. He was aware he lied and back-stabbed, but hoped the jury realized the difference between the strategic and personal relationships he had with them. He concluded by saying he had lived his dream and was ready to face the firing squad.

Courtney said she had no strategy entering the competition and was actually surprised she survived with each passing day. She said the fact she's not a Survivor buff set her apart from Amanda and Todd, especially since she felt she was still able to make the game work for her. She was happy with the way she played and thought she deserved credit for it.

The jury then addressed the Final 3. Low-lights included James tossing a softball because he didn't want to be a "bitter Betty;" Erik asking Amanda what her riskiest move of the game was; and Frosti learning his personal relationship with Courtney was real and not a product of the competition.

Jean-Robert said that since Todd had betrayed him and voted him out of the game, he'd entered the final Tribal Council verbally obligated to not vote for Todd and was undecided about what to do. Always the strategic mastermind, Todd decided to appeal to Jean-Robert's ego and said he'd been forced to vote Jean-Robert out because the professional poker player was becoming an "extremely great strategic player" in the competition.

Jaime wanted to know why each of the Final 3 felt the other members of the Final 3 didn't deserve her vote. Courtney struggled with the question -- but not Todd, who thoroughly bashed Courtney and Amanda by claiming he played a more strategic game then either and adding he "did the dirty work for the nice girl," aka Amanda.

Denise was still upset she was on the jury rather than facing the jury before calling Amanda a liar and calling attention to Todd's "deceptive side." Denise concluded by saying she respected Courtney being outspoken with her thoughts.

The seven jury members then cast their votes and the majority of them recognized Todd for his strategic game play by writing his name down -- giving Todd the $1 million prize and leaving Amanda to wonder what would have happened if she had followed through with her idea to vote Todd out instead of Denise.

During the subsequent live reunion show, Jeff revealed the obvious: that James -- the man he acknowledged was Survivor's most popular castaway "in a long time" -- had won the "Survivor of the Season" text message/ vote that allowed home viewers to award $100,000 to one of the season's castaways.

At the conclusion of Survivor: China's reunion show, Jeff formally announced Survivor's next edition -- which was reportedly originally set to be a second "full all-stars edition" featuring castaways from the show's last seven seasons -- will be a "half all-stars edition" that will feature popular former Survivor castaways competing against a group of "superfans."

As previously announced, Survivor's sixteenth edition -- dubbed Survivor: Micronesia -- Fans vs. Favorites -- will premiere on February 7, 2008.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Leon Jackson Wins The X Factor 2007

The Winner Of The X Factor 2007 is announced.

And we hear the winner’s single When You Believe for the first ever time…

Leon Jackson is named as the winner of The X Factor 2007. Rhydian Roberts and Same Difference take second and third place respectively.

Here’s the action as it unfolded in the Grand Final Results Show tonight…

It’s been a spectacular journey for our contestants and viewers alike as we’ve shared hopes and long-held dreams with all of our acts

And as the show opens we know that the winner’s title – and the £1million record deal which accompanies it – will be announced soon.

Adding to the magic of The X Factor final, and while the nation works it dialling finger into a frenzy to vote, Kylie reveals her new single, Wow. Singing live, she shows why she’s been a chart favourite for the past 20 – count ‘em, 20 - years… Wow indeed!

All too soon Dermot invites the three finalists to take their place on the stage to announce which acts will sing one more time for your approval.

Dermot announces that Rhydian will sing When You Believe for you before this show is over. Leon will too. This means that Same Difference are the third-placed act in The X Factor 2007 and have contributed their all to the competition. Simon said he was “genuinely gutted for them – they’re really nice kids. I wouldn’t have wanted to work with any other group”.

The phonelines reopen and Leon takes to the stage first to perform When You Believe for the first time. Although his hands shake on the mic, he holds his composure, singing out loud and rich and true. If he was an amateur when he started this competition, he is the consummate professional now. Whatever the result, he can be proud of his performance tonight.

Louis said, “You’re young, you’re talented, you’re gifted. You can win this competition.”

Sharon said, “I wish you the best of luck in the world”.

Simon said “I think both of you deserve to be where you are tonight. A great version of the song. Congratulations”.

And Dannii told him, “You look stunning. The progression is amazing. I hope you have a very long career ahead”.

Leon responded, “I’ve loved every second of this journey. I’m thankful to everyone who’s supported me. It’s been the most incredible experience of my whole life”.

Phew! We leave Leon in tears… there’s only 1% between them in the voting at this point. And Rhydian is up next.

The Rhydler also sings When You Believe. His version is slower, deeper, and as you’d expect, more operatic. Every emotion seems to flit across his face as he performs, his voice growing stronger as the song draws to a close. Make no mistake, Rhydian may be more experienced than Leon, but he wants this grand prize of great opportunity just as much.

Louis tells Rhydian, “that was polished and professional, an amazing performance…“

Sharon says, “You have your completely difference identities, that was very contemporary, fantastic”.

Simon slips, “Leon, Gosh. I’m sorry, Rhydian. If this is the last time we every here you sing, what a way to go. Thank you for being an incredible contestant”.

Dannii said, “Thank you for giving me the opportunity to work with you, every show was amazing and there will be many more to come”.

And Rhydian responded, “Thanks a lot. It’s been a long few months and a great few months. It’s all been great. Thank you so much for voting, I’m overwhelmed!”

We’re all feeling a bit overwhelmed by the time both contestants are invited back onto the stage. They shake hands before the result is announced.

Dermot announced the winner of The X Factor 2007 is…. Leon. Dannii climbs on stage to comfort her charge who is by mow speechless. “It’s not real. Thank you to everyone who voted. I thought I would try my hand at this to get some experience. And I ended up winning!”

Rhydian said ” I can’t complain I’ve had a lovely time. Leon is a great guy as well as a great singer. My congratulations to Leon.”

And choked with emotion, Leon returns to the spotlight to sing his debut single one more time as all twelve of his fellow live show performers flank him and join in the chorus. In tears, Leon says "This means the world. I set out to pursue this because I love singing. As time went on I knew I could potentially change my mum's life. I just did....!"

Thanks for the entertainment guys. The X Factor 2007 is over. See you in 2008...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Saleisha Stowers wins 'America's Next Top Model's ninth season

Saleisha Stowers was crowned America's Next Top Model's ninth-season champ during last night's finale broadcast of The CW reality competition series.

"When I was younger I was just weird. I had low self esteem. I just wasn't happy with my life," said Saleisha after her she was revealed to be the winner. "I've grown into a strong young woman. I'm so happy with myself right now. This is what I dreamed of. I fought for this so hard and I was so determined. I have it now and I'm not going to let it slip out."

For winning Top Model, the 21-year-old receptionist from Los Angeles, CA received the show's grand prize package of a management deal with Elite Model Management; a $100,000 contract with cosmetics company CoverGirl; and a cover story and six-page fashion spread in an issue of Seventeen magazine.

Saleisha defeated Chantal Jones, a 19-year-old student from Austin, TX, who was Top Model 9's runner-up.

The judging panel felt Chantal was believable as a cover girl and more high-fashion than Saleisha -- who they called commercial. However Chantal was also deemed to be too amateur and a bit uncomfortable in her runway walk, while Saleisha's previous experience as a model obviously paid-off as she owned the catwalk during the finale's runway fashion show at Beijing's Forbidden City.

"I'm hurt. Of course I wanted this really bad," said Chantal after she learned she finished second. "I really thought I was going to win. I really believed it. But it just wasn't meant to be. This wasn't the way I'm supposed to make it. So I'm going to continue to work hard and reach my dreams."

Jenah Doucette, an 18-year-old student from Farmington, CT, finished third during Top Model 9 despite the fact she was constantly praised for her photo shoots. But her sarcastic sense of humor often clashed with others and she had an emotional breakdown during the judging panel that saw her elimination.

While Tyra Banks was glad Jenah finally dropped her guard, the Top Model creator and judge still sent her packing.

"I hope I made a breakthrough at panel today. I definitely feel a lot better," said Jenah following her elimination. "I think I had my guard up. I think I was on defense. I think I was scared of coming off the wrong way. I wanted to win this really bad -- that's what I was here for -- but I felt really different while I was here. I think that there's a lot of pressure I think there was a lot of me that didn't come out... That's because I was scared."

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Helio Castroneves and Julianne Hough win 'Dancing with the Stars'

IndyCar racer Helio Castroneves and his professional partner Julianne Hough were crowned Dancing with the Stars fifth-season ballroom champions during last night's live finale results show broadcast on ABC.

"This is an incredible moment right now! It's awesome!" Helio exclaimed after host Tom Bergeron revealed he was the fifth-season celebrity champion based on the combination of the judges' score shares for the dancers' Monday and Tuesday night performances and the share of home viewer votes cast immediately after Monday night's broadcast.

"I want to thank, obviously first of all, my [IndyCar] team for letting me do this," he continued. "Secondly, obviously my family, the fans, and this special person here [Julianne]."

After 10 weeks of competition, Helio and Julianne defeated Spice Girl Melanie Brown and her professional partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy, who finished second, and entertainer Marie Osmond and her professional partner Jonathan Roberts to take home Dancing with the Stars' mirror ball trophy .

Like Helio -- a two-time, back-to-back Indianapolis 500 champion who won the IndyCar race in 2001 and 2002 -- Julianne is now a two-time, back-to-back champion in her profession. Last season, the Dancing with the Stars professional claimed the show's Spring 2007 fourth-season title with celebrity partner Apolo Anton Ohno.

Julianne joins Cheryl Burke -- who won Dancing with the Stars' second-season title with Drew Lachey and the third-season crown with Emmitt Smith -- as the only professional partner to have two mirror ball trophies to their credit.

"Helio has a positive outlook on life every single day," said Julianne during a video montage that aired before the results were revealed. "He works hard, and his joy and his charisma just radiates and makes me want to be a better person, better teacher, better everything."

During Monday night's live performance episode broadcast Helio and Julianne received a 25 for their jive routine and a 29 for their freestyle routine from the judges, giving them a combined score of 54 out of 60 possible points. The score placed them right behind Mel and Maksim, who received a 28 for their cha-cha and a 27 for their freestyle routine, giving them a combined judges score of 55 out of 60.

Mel and Maksim and Helio and Julianne also performed their favorite fifth-season routine during last night's live results show broadcast -- with their scores contributing to their final combined judges score total but not being voted on by home viewers who had already voted based on Monday night's performances.

Mel and Maksim performed their Week 8 mambo routine, for which they originally received a 29, while Helio and Julianne performed their Week 8 quickstep, for which they originally received a 30. However both couples received perfect 30 scores from the judges for last night's performances, so they had a negligible affect on the competition's ultimate outcome (Helio's share of the total judges' points awarded shifted fom 49.54% to 49.70%).

Tom then revealed the results and awarded the fifth-season mirror ball trophy to Helio and Julianne, eliminating Mel and Maksim -- who were the fifth-season's highest-scoring couple with five perfect 30s -- from the competition.

"I've enjoyed all of it, and especially being with [Maksim]. He's incredible. He really is," Mel told Dancing with the Stars co-host Samantha Harris at the conclusion of last night's broadcast.

In a change from last season's finale format, the couple who received the lowest score based on a combination of the judges' scores from Monday night's two routines and home viewer votes cast immediately following the broadcast was eliminated at the beginning of Dancing with the Star's fifth-season finale broadcast.

That was Marie and Jonathan, who had found themselves at the bottom of the judges' leader board for the third week in a row following Monday night's broadcast. The pair had received only 46 out of 60 possible points for their two routines -- a 24 for their samba and a 22 for their "living doll"-themed freestyle routine.

Marie's elimination brought an end to her tumultuous Dancing with the Stars journey.

She fainted on-camera following an October 23 samba routine; saw her 90-year-old father George pass away during Week 7 of the competition, causing her to miss the subsequent results show broadcast; had her 16-year-old son Michael enter rehab for undisclosed treatment only several days before the semifinal round; was criticized by Maksim for playing the sympathy card with voters; and had her finale worthiness questioned following her doll-themed freestyle.

"I am so pleased to be here at my age," said Marie, who received a standing ovation from the studio audience after her ouster was revealed. "I was telling Jonathan -- first of all, I love him to pieces -- and with everything I've been through in the last 10 weeks? Wow. He pulled me through it... and the fans."

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Natalie Gaucci is the New Australian Idol

It was the night we had been waiting for with baited breath — the Grand Final of Australian Idol 2007.

From the spectacular Sydney Opera House, thousands have turned up to see whether Matt Corby or Natalie Gauci will be named winner. A string of stars also walked the events red carpet.

First up, hosts Andrew G and James Mathison crossed to Tim Bailey in Natalie's home town of Melbourne where her friends and family were going crazy, and then to Cronulla in Sydney's south, where the same goes for Matt's loved ones who were with Austereo's Labrat.

Outside the Opera House the concert was set to kick off and the judge's also headed out. Dicko was delighted. "In past years they locked us inside," he said. "But this is Idol for the people.

James revealed that less than 1% separates our Final 2 — the closest margin ever — as Young Divas kicked off the outside live show with their new single "Turn Me Loose". They got the crowd into a frenzy.

Next to take the stage was reining Australian Idol — at least until tonight - Damien Leith who performed "All I Want Is You". The singer, whose first two albums have debuted at No.1 is a model of what could lie ahead for tonight's winner.

Idol created another magic moment with the much-anticipated live return of Divinyls — their first public performance in 10 years. Preceded by a choir, the Aussie rock legends performed their hit "Boys In Town" — well known to Idol fans after Natalie Gauci took to the top of her piano to belt out the song curing the competition. Lead singer Chrissie Amphlett advised the winning Idol to "find their voice" and make sure their music comments on "now".

Then series one runner-up, and now a bit of a legend in his own right, Shannon Noll sang his newbie "In Pieces" and, in a sneak peek of the new Australian series of So You Think You Can Dance, a random selection of the Top 100 dancers performed a routine to Solitaire's "Move Your Feet".

My Mum Rocks winner Dani Fry had her special moment as she sings "Who's Loving You". The Melbourne mum's performance of the Smokey Robinson classic proved that mum's really do rock.

Rogue Traders — fronted by So You Think You Can Dance host Natalie Basingthwaighte (with a rather special hairdo) — made a spectacular entrance on motorbikes, through a sea of pyro, to perform "I Never Liked You".

Finally it was time for our Final 2 to arrive … in a stretch Porche. Making their way through the massive, screaming crowd, they finished at the top of the Sydney Opera House steps

"My heart is beating so fast right now I can't describe it," Natalie admitted. "It's pretty full-on."

Added Matt, "I feel really humbled."

Then the Final 12 appeared on stage to perform Lionel Richie's all-time party classic "All Night Long". Matt and Natalie appeared on stage to finish the song — and were surprised to be joined by very special guest Lionel Richie himself on stage. The gob smacked Idols - soon joined by the rest of the Final 12 — brought the house down with their new R&B legend pal.

Next was a medley, opened by amazing dancers Paul White and Christina Chan, Matt and Natalie sang Barbra Streisand's "Somewhere" before the rest of the Final 12 arrived for The Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations", Smash Mouth's "Walking On The Sun", M People's "Movin' On Up" and Fatboy Slim's "Praise You".

Natalie Gauci, on the eve of her birthday, said that this time last year she was celebrating her special day.
"When I look back on this I know I'll say, ´Oh my God, did I do that?'" she said.
A look at Natalie's time on the show, a message from her grandparents who couldn't be in Sydney, and a cross to Melbourne to meet her best friend Naomi, music teacher, first piano teacher, music teacher and her uncle in a tutu followed.
Then a surprise: her grandparents actually were in the house!
Natalie then went into a performance of a song that proved to be a turning point in her time on Idol —Michael Jackson's "Man In The Mirror."

Matt Corby said he was prepared for an "emotional surprise" but hadn't spotted any wayward relatives backstage. James threatens to surprise him with a punch below the belt.
"That would help me sing ever harder!" Matt said.

We then saw Matt's amazing journey to the Final 2, and cross to Cronulla once again to catch up with his mates, who have dressed as Matt and show off his skateboard — which he loses so much that he's written his mobile number on it. Then we met Matt's primary school principal, and former band member Alyssa.
Matt's surprise guest — yes there was one — was Jarrad Klapper, who taught him to play guitar and sing.
Matt then performed a favourite from his time on Idol — The Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony".

"You're my favourite, I love you," Kyle told him after the song. "I got into this business to find people like you."

As anticipation mounts, the night's final group performance was Snow Patrol's "Hands Open", which brought the audience to its feet.

In another surprise for the Idols, one of the Final 12 was chosen by a winner at home to win a brand new Mazda. The lucky finalist? Holly Weinert, who was the first Idol to leave the show.
"You must have been really impressive in that one show," James deadpanned.

And then it was time. James opened the envelope in his hot little hand to announce the winner was — Natalie Gauci!

A stoked Natalie shone her amazing smile, and runner-up Matt couldn't have been happier for her.

Natalie then sang the Winner's Single — her debut single — "Here I Am" in an emotional performance that did her proud.

"I really feel really honoured that a lot of people have voted for me," she said, "and I'm going to put on a good show [on tour], so I hope people come to see me!"

And for another year, that's it for Australian Idol. Thanks to everyone who has hit the website day after day to check out all the news.

And, most of all, congratulations Natalie!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Phenomenon: Mike Super is the Phenomenon

The search of the next great mentalist is finally over. Among the 10 contenders that attempted to allure world-renowned mystifier Criss Angel and famed mentalist Uri Geller, as well as the audience, on the NBC's Phenomenon, a winner has been declared in he comes in the form of Mike Super.

The winner was revealed in last Thursday's episode of the competitive reality series where there were only four contestants left. Mike Super impressed the judges the most, consequently beating Angela Funovits, who came in 2nd place, Eran Raven, who ranked in 3rd, Guy Bavli, who came in 4th place.

Last week's episode of Phenomenon also featured Angel as he revealed the contents of one of his two envelopes he challenged Geller and former contestant Jim Callahan to read. It was divulged that the content of the envelop was an index card reading “911,” which has often been the subject of Angel's discussions when it comes to people who claim that they have real psychic powers. In the past, Angel often said that if a person really had powers, he or she should have alerted the nation on the terrorist attack.

The content of the second envelop is said to be revealed in the first episode of the new season of Criss Angel: Mindfreak.

Super, who comes from Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, has been engrossed with tricks and magic since the age of six. His passion to mystify people has earned him numerous awards and recognitions, including 2004 Best Novelty Performance and America's 2003 Entertainer of the Year. He has entertained audiences across the country and celebrities such as Regis Philbin and Joan Rivers.

Over the last five weeks, Super contended with nine selected mentalist by showing off a wide variety of mystifying talents in front of a panel of celebrity guests, who experienced the spellbinding illusions along with the studio audience. Under the watch of judges Geller and Angel, who offered their unfiltered opinions each week, Super rose triumphantly with the help of viewers who voted him as the next great mentalist and winner of the grand prize of $250,000.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Saturday Night Divas Video Clips

For one night only, a host of the world’s top female music stars will appear together on the same stage for an unmissable ITV1 music extravaganza.

Myleene Klass hosts this one-off TV event that will feature big names - Jennifer Lopez, Celine Dion, Alicia Keys, Girls Aloud, Natasha Bedingfield, Chaka Khan, Jamelia and X Factor winner Leona Lewis - who will all be belting out some of the biggest hits in music today.

Set against a lush Moulin Rouge-style backdrop, the musical celebration promises many a memorable performance: in addition to artists’ own tracks expect to hear some unique covers of classic songs.

The glitzy bash marks the end of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and is to say a big thank you to its very special studio audience of fund-raisers from four of the UK’s leading Breast Cancer awarness charities: Breakthrough Breast Cancer, Breast Cancer Care, Breast Cancer Campaign and Breast Cancer Haven. And, in addition to the ITV1 show, we’ll be offering unique backstage access online through our dressing room chats with the stars, behind-the-scenes pictures - plus there will be exclusive videos of tracks performed especially for

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Phenomenon - New Reality TV Show

An intriguing and mystifying meeting of the minds takes place on live television when famed mentalist Uri Geller and world-renowned mystifier Criss Angel ("Criss Angel Mindfreak") conduct an intensive search for the next great mentalist on "Phenomenon."

The exhilarating and mystifying live show is based on a successful Israeli version judged and monitored by Geller, which achieved a historical record-breaking viewing audience. The series showcases 10 carefully selected mentalists who will compete live against one another each week by demonstrating a wide spectrum of mystifying talents on a panel of celebrity guests who experience the spellbinding illusions along with the studio audience.

Together, Geller and Angel will assess the contestant's talents each week and offer their unfiltered opinions.

Ultimately, the fate of the winner is in the hands of the viewers at home, who will vote to determine which competing mentalist will receive the grand prize of $250,000 and become the next great mentalist.

"Phenomenon" is executive- produced by Suzy Lamb ("Grease: You're The One That I Want"), Michael Agbabian ("Last Comic Standing") and Dwight Smith ("Last Comic Standing"). The series is, based on a successful Israeli version judged and monitored by Geller, which achieved a historical record-breaking viewing audience, is a Granada America/Keshet Broadcasting/Kuperman Productions co-production in association with SevenOne International. SevenOne International controls the worldwide rights to the program.

Sneak Peek At 24's Season 7

Season 6 is now history for Kiefer Sutherland and FOX's "24." But the team behind Jack Bauer and CTU are already scheming on plot lines and ideas for Season 7. The pressure is on to deliver. Jack's latest crusade got a cool reception from some fans this spring who complained about a familiar theme of nukes in the hands of terrorists.

One of the key men behind the show is Writer and Executive Producer Michael Loceff, who lives in Kitsap County's Kingston area. We asked him what's up for next season. Loceff told us, "what we are going for, is really taking this to the personal level," unlike this season's focus on nuclear threats, the President getting hurt and possible war. Loceff says "you just can't go much bigger than that, unless you put a spacesuit on Jack Bauer and shoot him into orbit. Which you know, we may get there. but we're not going to be there yet."

Next season expect smaller story lines for the characters, including Jack. Loceff adds "and he how tries to resolve a particularly thorny conflict in the final episode."

One reason Loceff can't spill the beans about next season is, most of it hasn't even been written. Instead, most of the show is written, filmed and edited during the season. Loceff says "that's apparently one of the surprising facts about the show."

He believes that fly by the seat of your pants system gives the show intensity. Loceff says "the pace that we like to run it at, doesn't work if we stick to the outline."

There are constant re-writes. Loceff says "the problem with that is, when you do all the squeezing and throwing out, and squeezing and throwing out, by the time you are done, you have squeezed 6 episodes of work into one episode, so you no longer have stories for 5 episodes." Or an episode may end-up several minutes short. That's when the race begins to think of additional story lines and finish writing, whether it's at Loceff's Kingston home or the writing room, which is in the same building as CTU's studio in Chatsworth, California. Loceff says "a lot of paper-balls get tossed around. There's people doing spit-balls at each other."

But Loceff's got a writing system down pat with his cousin Joel Surnow, a co-creater of "24". Surnow sits at his computer and types while Loceff circles the room spewing out lines. Sometimes they use ideas they've saved. Loceff says "let's see uh, the President's wife is having an affair. Can we use that? Uh, no that didn't work. We pull out one after another ideas, things, that we want Jack to say or do. Jack in group therapy? Not yet."

Loceff tells us Season 7 will focus on smaller and more intense story lines. but the specifics are still a mystery, even for Loceff and the writers.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

X Factor First Live Show Result Leona Lewis Performs Kimberly Southwick Eliminated

Tensions are high as the familiar X Factor theme tune belts out. It's a tough time for our contestants, as we are all about to find out which of our twelve acts is about to leave the X Factor competition for good.

While the last desperate votes are called through, Leona Lewis, getting goosebumps being back on the X Factor stage after her win almost one year ago, lightens the mood. Her new single is going head to head with the Take That boys for the top spot next week. Can Leona's Bleeding Love do it? One things for sure, she was certainly popular in the hall - maybe that cheer said it all! (And Dermot was only joking about getting Simon to judge her - but he did)! "It was just incredible Leona, I'm very proud of you, that was just stunning".

And after the break it was onto the tough stuff! Dermot's made no secret that he doesn't favour this part of his role ( unlike Simon who says he loves being nasty!), and delivering bad news to one of this bunch will be the hardest thing he has to do as X Factor host. best get used to it Dermot - it won't get easier from here on in!

Leon, Alisha, Same Difference and Daniel were among the contestants who fell foul of the judges' comments, and they are feeling particularly shaky as the programme kicks off. But no-one is safe, and it not the judges'opinions, but the public vote, which counts for everything now.

And then the moment can be postponed no more. As Dermot gathers the contestants on stage, hands are clasped in hope and prayer. Of course, the moment is milked for full effect...

...just as we're doing here! Leon was saved, then Daniel... Emily... until In the end it fell to Kimberley and Alisha to fill the dreaded bottom two spots. Their mentor Sharon told Dermot, " I don't think I can be allowed to say what I think because I'd be banned from national television forever".
"I don't bave any advice for them cos what I've said so far has been no good. I think I'm going home now Dermot". And with a hug and a kiss, she left her two girls to sing for survival.

It looks like Kimberley won't be able to make it through her number as she falters on the first words, full of emotion. But thank God for this song - it'd make anyone happy, and soon Kimberley is giving the performance of her life! Would it be enough?

Meanwhile Alisha looked liked she already knew she was going home as walked onto the stage for the second time, but she too pulled a better-than-before performance out of the bag.

Finally it was time for the judges' verdicts... but there's something serious going on.

It looks like Sharon was not joking about walking out. Having left her seat and standing apart from the rest of the crew, Sharon looks ready to leave the studio. As Dermot explains to a confused auditence, "Sharon can't choose between her acts. The final vote will be between three judges, as Sharon has decided to leave the night"

"Leave the show!" shouts over Sharon. Is she for real?

With pressures of time to adhere to, a valiant Dermot tells Sharon, "we'll come back to that later. First I have to do the results..."

And asking the remaining three judges for their votes, he is told...
Simon - "Because it is a singing competition, I'm sending home Kimberley!"
Dannii - "Can I sit this one out too? I can't choose... I have to choose...Alisha"
And the casting vote fell to Louis - they are both terrific, fun girls. It's the fun factor versus the talent factor - the act I'm sending home tonight is... Kimberley.

As the shock kicks in, Kimberley stumbles through a few final questions, revealing her highlight
was "going to Sharon's house and meeting Ozzy - he really is mad".

It would be good if Sharon was there to hear her - but she's not. Mrs Osbourne has already left the building.

And 19-year-old Kimberley Southwick can do no more now. She's back to the X Factor house to pack her bags; for our favourite brummie barmaid, the X Factor journey ends here.

X Factor First Live Show Recap

The first X Factor Live Studio Show of the series was a bumper edition filled with tears, trauma, and of course, fabulous entertainment.

He’d been looking forward to bounding onto the big stage for ages, and once Dermot was out in the spotlight, he looked right at home. It was hard to tell who’d been more nervous beforehand – him or the acts. Well, Dermot’s OK… but what about our ten fearless performers…?

It’s never easy being the first act on stage but Kimberley made it look easy as reclined atop a grand piano resplendent in fancy scarlet frock and matching red talons! Taking a deep breath before belting out her track and boogieing good-style, it was a moment to savour – and a dream come true for the Tamworth lass.

And boy did Kimberly start the show with a bang! The pyrotechnics lit up the room and as she delivered a fabulously choreographed version of The Weather Girls’ It’s Raining Men she had all of the audience – as well as her six hunky cowboy-clad dancers – transfixed!

While Louis Walsh said he “loved her” and Dannii Minogue said she’d “a fabulous voice”, Simon Cowell wasn’t quite so kind, however. “Shrieky karaoke on a big budget indeed!” The cheek! ”….And to think she was worried about falling of those high heels or being dropped by those handsome men!

More handsome still, of course, is Andy. Named by Dannii Minogue as “the best birthday present ever”, the second act on stage chose to slow things down completely with the Rod Stewart classic, I Don’t Want To Talk About It… but he certainly got the judges tongues wagging after he’d sung for their approval.

With Louis predicting Andy “would go a long way” and Sharon calling his performance “divine”, Simon likened him to “a singing puppy, loveable but a bit wet”. Dannii, meanwhile, promised more from her charge – “all this, and there’s so much more to come from you” – she promised.

The first of our bootcamp-made bands came next. Futureproof, our ladband, delivered the Robbie Williams ballad, She’s The One. With well-planned harmonies (not to mention futuristic silver-but-street clothes), their reception was top notch – but would the judges’ comments keep them smiling?

While Louis said there were "two or three really good voices within the band – you have potential", Sharon said they’d "already come far", and Simon mused that indeed they were “a really good group”. Meanwhile Dannii pointed out “a few tuning problems” – but we reckon she fancies Sean and she’s worried they may challenge for the top spot in the comp!

Well, if it’s big –indeed huge! - voices they’re after they should be certainly be knocked out by the amazingly glamorous Beverley – her high octane Gloria Gaynor classic I Will Survive brought disco back to town! As our Saturday night entertainment hit fever pitch, a cloud of silver glitter rained down on the stage – and the judges didn’t dampen the mood either!

Sharon said Bev’s performance was “fantastic – it looks like you’ve been performing your whole life!” while Dannii talked her up “amazing transformation” and played down a couple of “bum notes”. Simon tood his classic comment book out and pencilled in a newie – saying “it was very Stars In Their Eyes, but fun and popular. But what you can’t do week after week is sing Louis Walsh’s record collection!” But Louis stood by his diva, and told them, “it doesn’t matter, Beverley has The Voice”.

The last act of the first hour, all eyes were on the stage when 15 year old Emily started to sing the George Michael and Aretha Frankin hit I Knew You Were Waiting for Me. It didn’t matter that – as demonstrated by her funked-up school blazer she’s way too young to remember the original, because she made it entirely her own. The judges remain impressed by Emily’s talents, but views were mixed on her performance on the night

“I know you’ve got it but I don’t think the song really suited you”, explained Louis, while Dannii voiced a view held by all the judges; “the song is quite playful but I want to see you do a ballad”. Simon wasn’t going to keep his critique mild because of Emily’s age; “You’re fifteen years old. But I’ve going to say the vocals were not good enough. But Emily’s mentor Sharon rose to Em’s defence. “Believe me, we have all heard a lot worse tonight. You are typically a ballad singer and it’s hard for you to come on with the dancing. I think you did just fine”. So it wasn’t down to the singer at all.. but the choice of song…!

If you thought the judges were fierce during the first part of the competition read on to see how serious their comments got in the second half! Ouch! Why doncta just stab me with a knife??

Leon is certainly one of the most nervous contestants in the competition. And if Leon’s nerves were bothering him beforehand, he didn’t let it show. Maybe it was the four leggy dancers who diverted his attention – the Beatles certainly didn’t have that type of accompaniment when they sang Can’t Buy My Love – but then they didn’t deliver a jazz/swing mixed tempo version of it either!

The judges’ comments were not good, Louis started well; “When I first saw you at the auditions I thought you were great, and you have a good voice”, but it went downhill from there. “You lost all the melody, it was a dreadful arrangement…. but you were great”.

Sharon laid in too…“You do have a real real good voice a a likeable personality, but the song was all a bit frantic and it wasn’t good”. While Simon just let it all go!

I know everyone’s nervous, but that was a complete and utter nightmare The arrangement was terrible. I think you’ve taken the place of somebody else who should have been in the show, and Dannii you choice of song and arrangement was literally insane!”

Danni bristles, and explained the choice of song. “It’s music that you’re passionate about and that’s why we chose the song. And I know that everyone from home will get behind you and support you, and we’ll see you back here next week”!

Leon remained stoic. “I will try to take your comments on board”, he said.

Grinning from ear to ear as– as we’ve come to expect – they stepped on stage were Same Difference (despite Louis’ obvious frowns!). 50’s styled Sean and Sarah went for the Bee Gees-penned (but we’re guessing Steps-inspired) Tragedy. It was a proper dance-fest of cheesiness, and they were loved for it, earning a huge whoop of a cheer at the end. Now, who wouldn’t want to get up to dance along? Well….

Never has Louis Walsh looked quite so grumpy as he watched the duo. “Sean and Sarah, you are nice people and I know your family love you. But the song is called Tragedy and it should have been called Disaster” He goes in for the kill “You make the McDonald Brothers look like Lennon and McCartney” Ouch”!

Sharon tries to calm things down, telling the pair, ”It’s getting hot in here! You are cheesy. You are double cheeseburger and bacon. And I love cheese!” Dannii too is fairy impressed; “I think there is probably a huge market who would buy your albums there. There was a bit of screeching on the vocals – but I think that was from too much skipping!”

Sean and Sarah’s smileyness seems to be rubbing off on Simon! “I would like to be you two for an hour a day so I can be happy. The biggest music in the world is High School Musical and you appeal to the same audience” After bigging up the band, he turned on Louis, and an argument ensured. “Louis, There are young people who watch theis show and you came across as a miserable man and then they start to proper argue.

Changing the mood once more was Niki Evans. Making the most of her magnificent voice, the mum-of-two tackled the Sinead O’Connor arrangement of Prince’s Nothing Compares 2 U. Sinead, of course, is a hard act to follow, but as the auditorium grew silent the clearest of notes chimed through. Niki more than managed with a real storng emotion showing through. But would the judges be impressed? You bet!

Dannii said she loved the performance. Sharon told Niki she was “in a class of her own” pointing out that when Louis was given the Over 25’s category, Simon said there was a winner in it. “Niki, I think it might be you”.

Simon used the moment to snipe and Louis, after telling Niki her performance was
“more than good, it was fantastic. Now you have to believe you can win, you must want to win”.

To Louis he said, “The way you were unbelievably disrespectful to this category when you got it knowing there was someone like Niki in there was unbelievable”.

Louis wasn’t bothered, having made his peace with his stars, “that was the performance of the night, you made it your own.”

Waiting patiently in the wings was 23-year-old receptionist Alisha. In an incredibly apt song choice, she stood on the big stage and began to sing the Gabrielle hit Dreams, And Alisha gave an accomplished rendition in homage to the '90’s hit.

Louis kept things simple, I’m not sure about the song but I love you. Dannii suggested Alisha should try to connect with the camera more, and the rehearsal was better. Simon wasn’t sure “I think you may be vulnerable tonight, after that performance, because we don’t know enough about you.”

Sharon held her hands up to the criticism on the song choice. “I chose it, I made you sing it. Crap song, Get rid of me not her. Alisha’s voice is great.

If Alisha’s problem is that we don’t know enough about her, here’s a contestant who worries we think we know too much. While all of our singers may be household names soon, Rhydian was well on the way to fame – or infamy – before tonight’s show. Rhyd was anxious to let his rich – and very loud! - baritone voice to do the talking (in song, of course) and he certainly succeeded. With the mock opera Jim Steinman hit I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That) The Rhydler raced from side to side, owning the whole stage. In doing so, he blew the cobwebs and the audience – away.

“That was by far the best performance we’ve had tonight” said Simon. “every good classical singer has to be pompous and confident and you’re the one person I’d look forward to seeing week on week it was absolutely outstanding”.

Louis told Rhyd, “You’re arrogant pompous ambition and you remind me of someone, I love the Billy Idol haircut and the mad eye” ( which was high praise… we think!), Sharon said he was a sweet boy, mad boy, strange boy – but mama doesn’t know what to make of you… can I see your chest? (speaking of Rhyd’s legendary Pecs).

Dannii was on her feet along with the rest of the audience and it was the tip of the iceberg. And before the comments were done, Simon chipped in concerning Rhydian’s bad press: “I’ve met you backstage and you are a very nice polite person”. The official website can second that! And when “pompous, arrogant” Rhydian had the chance to answer back – he used it to wish Dannii a happy birthday. Bless!

The penultimate act this evening was Daniel De Bourg. The London dance teacher toned things down but upped the ante with the chilled-out Bryan Adams hit Heaven ( the ballad version, of course! Would he be in Heaven by the end of the night? The judges thought so…

Sharon decided his performance was “a bit touchy feely but very nice”, while Dannii said his vocals had improved since rehearsals”.

Simon wasn’t so impressed. “I thought it was ok, but it was a bit boring really. I’m used to hearing the Bryan Adams version with a rock production. It was a bit like have water for dinner it - it doesn’t leave you anything.”.

Louis half-agreed. It wasn’t the best performance of the night but I know you can do better… I think he’s good, but I want him to be great”

If Kimberly was happy to open the show while it was ...Raining Men, the girl group Hope were making best use of Rhianna’s Umbrella (ella-ella-eh-eh). The outfits! The singing! The sexiness! There’s nothing to say but “Wow!”

All of the judges were very impressed. Louis went first, saying “You look like you’ve been doing this for years and years and you put a lot of estab lished girl groups to shame.”

Sharon did her famous bluff: “I have a problem. You’re good looking, sexy, you can sing… I hate you! And Dannii thanked Louis for the idea of putting the two bootcamp bands, Futureproof and hope, together. Simon, mentoring the groups, was happy with his lot. “Your performance was as good as anyone in the charts today and especially I’d like you to say thank you to Phoebe for the great vocal.”

And so the first all-live show of season is over, and battle lines are drawn between the best of friends who all hope to eventually walk away with pop’s shiniest crown. By now, you may know your favourite. But by the time the results show airs, we will know which of the ten hopeful acts has got the thumbs down. Whose X Factor journey ends here? We’ll find out later tonight….

Monday, October 08, 2007

The X Factor 2007 Top 12 Revealed

The final three boys revealed!
Watch the video below as finalists receive the good news.
The final three boys have been revealed! Let's learn a little more about the lads...

Andy Williams
Age: 22
From: Newport, South Wales
Job: Runs an asbestos removal company with his brother
Andy's story...
Andy lives at home with his Mum and Dad and elder brother, Lee, 25. For the last four years Andy and his brother have been running their own asbestos removal company.
Andy actually auditioned for X Factor when he was 19 but got turned down. So he spent three years training every night and has been going out clubbing regularly to practise his dance moves, and he’s hoping to impress Brian Friedman!
After getting through the first round audition Andy got a “music” tattoo on his bum, the same as his Dad and Brother!

Leon Jackson
Age: 18
From: West Lothian, Scotland
Job: Sales Assistant in Gap
Leon's story...
Leon is an only child and has been bought up by his Mum in West Lothian. His Mum has struggled financially to bring him up and Leon is desperate to win to give them both a better life. Leon only started singing properly in January after his mum bought him an ipod and he started recording his voice. His friends were so impressed with his voice that they dragged him down to karaoke every week and he’s not looked back! Leon loves contemporary jazz and his influences are Michael Buble and Jamie Callum. Apart from his keen hobby of karate (black belt), Leon says that singing is the only thing that makes him happy. If he hadn’t got through to the finals Leon would be starting University to do an Architectural Technology course.

Rhydian Roberts
Age: 24
From: Powys, Wales
Job: Student on Vocal Studies and a Personal Trainer
Rhydian's story...
Rhydian currently lives in Birmingham where he attends university, but was bought up in Powys, Wales where his family still live. Rhydian is a classical baritone singer and has had vocal training for the past seven years. He sings popular opera similar to Russell Watson and Il Divo, if he released an album he’s convinced the “whole of Wales would buy it”. In his youth Rhydian was the strongest bench presser in Wales, but gave up weight lifting in his early teens to follow his passion for music. Rhydian sees taking part in the show as an opportunity to bring his style of music to the masses.

The final three girls revealed!

Three girls have succeeded in making the X Factor 2007 live shows. The are...

Alisha Bennett
Age: 23
From: Wembley, London
Job: Receptionist at Virgin Active Gym
Alisha's story...
Alisha was inspired to audition for The X Factor after watching Leona Lewis win the show last year, Alisha lives just down the road from The X Factor studios so saw the crowds of fans queuing every week and thought “I want some of that!” Alisha’s musical background has been based mostly around her church gospel choir and she has been having singing lessons for the last year. Alisha is really close to her Mum, Sharon, who is her harshest critic and she describes them as an “Ab Fab” pair as they are both equally loud and flamboyant. Alisha is passionate about fashion and shopping and loves reading all the glossy magazines to get style tips and she has worked as a style advisor in Top Shop.

Kimberley Southwick
Age: 19
From: Tamworth, West Midlands
Job: Working in Mum and Dad’s pub
Kimberley's story...
Kimberley lives in her parents’ pub, “The Fox” in Tamworth with her brother. Kimberley loves country music and performs in her pub karaoke regularly. She did attend Italia Conti for one year but left because she “didn’t enjoy it”, and has previously performed on Michael Barrymore’s My Kind of People. Kimberley has recently quit a job at a call centre because she found it so boring, but her worst job was dressing up as a Santa’s elf in a Christmas grotto.

Emily Nakanda
Age: 15
From: North London
Job: Student
Emily's story...
Emily was the first ever 14 year old to audition in front of the Judges singing “Almaz” by Randy Crawford. The Judges were bowled over by Emily with Simon saying that she is the reason why the “age range was lowered”. Emily lives in North London with her Mum, Step Dad and older brother Terry. Last year Emily was seriously ill with peritonitis so her family feels “very blessed to have her with us”. Emily has sung in school and church choirs and loves all musical genres.

The final three Over 25's revealed!

Competition in the Over 25's category has been fierce but Louis has chosen the three contestants who have the best chance of winning the grand prize.

Standing in the spotlight during the live shows will be...

Beverley Trotman
Age: 37
From: Luton, Beds
Job: Primary School Teacher
Beverley's story...
Beverley is a primary school teacher, a job she adores and in her spare time she has been singing in choirs since the age of four and is a member of the award winning Kingdom Choir, who have performed as backing vocalists in the past on both The X Factor and Grease Is The Word. Beverley lives in Luton with husband Jonathan and their two children Tianna, 12 and Luke 10. Beverley is from a large family and one of her nephews, Leon Barnett plays for West Brom.

Niki Evans
Age: 34
From: Tamworth Birmingham
Job: Catering Manager at a school
Niki's story...
Niki applied for The X Factor after finding an application form for her in her recently deceased dad’s belongings. Niki’s dad went to every gig with her and had been her driving force so she is taking part in honour of his memory. Niki has been in bands since the age of 12 and at 16 was signed to PWL but never experienced any chart success. Having so many knocks early on in her life dented Niki’s confidence in her singing ability but she is hoping this experience will bring back some self belief in herself. Niki lives in Tamworth with husband Darren and they have two boys, Morgan 12 and Jonah 10.

Daniel De Bourg
Age: 31
From: London
Job: Dance Teacher
Daniel's story...
Daniel originally trained as a dancer at The Royal Ballet from the age of 11 and at 17 he worked as a professional dancer with the Rambert Dance Company for four years but had to give it up because of a serious knee injury. In 2001 Daniel was signed to Dreamworks and worked with R Kelly, but after the company was bought out, Daniel’s single was shelved and he never got to release any of the material. After his failed stint in the States, Daniel moved back to London and took up teaching dance and ballet as well as doing a bit of modelling. Daniel lives with friends in London and has a three year old son Theron who he sees every week.

The final three groups revealed!

One boy band, one girl band and one duo represent Simon Cowell's groups in The X Factor's Live stages. They are....

Same Difference

Name: Sean Smith
Age: 21
From: Portsmouth
Job: Entertainer

Name: Sarah Smith
Age: 18
From: Portsmouth
Job: Student
The Same Difference story so far...
Sean and Sarah are brother and sister from Portsmouth who live with their Mum, Dad and Gran. At their first audition Simon described them as “the most annoying pair of people he’d met” because they were so smiley and happy, and Simon advised them to go and watch lots of “depressing documentaries”!
Sean left home at the age of 17 to perform on cruise ships and has performed in a number of pantomimes.
Sarah left home at 16 to attend the Italia Conti school and has just finished her diploma. She’s also done some modelling work in her time but singing has always been her big passion. Together Sarah and Sean perform at their local old peoples home and their dream is to win The X Factor so they can entertain the world.

Name: Aaron Delahunty
Age: 19
From: London
Job: Admin assistant for a market research company

Name: Adam Chandler
Age: 21
From: Maidstone
Job: Singer

Name: Matthew Protheroe
Age: 17
From: London
Job: Student and sales assistant in All Saints

Name: Richard Wilkinson
Age: 23
From: Leeds
Job: Unemployed

Name: Sean Rumsey
Age: 20
From: Warwickshire
Job: Student and works part time in a service station

The boys were originally given a no from the Judges as solo performers at Bootcamp but were given the opportunity to work together to form a boyband, along with a number of other solo performers.

The Futureproof story so far...
Adam was born and raised in Kent and lives at home with his Mum and sister. He attended The Brit School and is now a full time singer and promotions guy. He has been singing for eleven years and considers himself very lucky to earn a living from something he loves. At the age of 18 he owned his own entertainments company. Adam’s musical influences include Stevie Wonder, Lionel Ritchie, Ray Charles and Frank Sinatra.

Aaron was born and bred in London and has been busking around Covent Garden since the age of 10. He has been in a variety of bands and can rap, dance, song write, sing and produce. Aaron is passionate about music and it’s been the one constant aspect in his life and insists he will make it one day.

Sean is passionate about music and has been singing for eight years. In 2003 Sean got through to the finals of Teen Idol and in 2006 he got through to the Bootcamp stage of X Factor in a duo called “Ste and Sean”. Sean was bought up in a small town in Warwickshire with his two brothers and three sisters.

Richard was born and raised in Leeds and lives with his Mum Dad and older brother. Richard has spent nights lying awake dreaming of being on stage so being through to the finals is like a dream come true for him. He has always loved singing but started taking it seriously from the age of 14.

Matthew has always dreamed of performing in front of thousands and attended the Sylvia Young Theatre School. Having performed backing vocals for Westlife and appearing on the West End in Ragtime the Musical, Matthew has already had a small taste of life on the stage and wants more. Matthew lives in London with his Mum, Dad and brother who all back him 100%.


Name: Charlie Mole
Age: 23
From: Sunderland
Job: Beauty Therapist

Name: Emily Biggs
Age: 17
From: Torquay
Job: Student

Name: Raquelle Gracie
Age: 20
From: London
Job: Singer/Actress

Name: Leah Lauder
Age: 20
From: London
Job: Student

Name: Phoebe Brown
Age: 16
From: Adelstone, Woking
Job: Student

The girls were put together at Bootcamp after they each received a no from the Judges when they auditioned as soloists. Mentor Simon likes the girl’s feistiness but wants them to lose their “attitude”.

The Hope story so far...
Leah lives in London with friends and is heavily into her spirituality. A keen singer all her life she’s always looked for inspiring females in the media for people like herself and sister to look up too, but never found any, so she’s hoping that through X Factor she can fill that gap.

Charlie lives in Sunderland with her partner Lee and five year old son Jack. Having just finished her beauty therapist course Charlie was all getting geared up for starting her new career before getting through to the finals of the X Factor, now she is hoping she can make her young son proud of her.

Emily is from Torquay where she lives with her Mum, Dad and older brother Andrew. Emily decided to audition for the show after singing in the audience of The Sharon Osbourne Show during an ad break. Both Louis and Sharon applauded, so she thought she might as well have a go at auditioning.

Raquelle was born and raised in Manchester but now lives in London. A budding singer/actress Raquelle studied at Italia Conti for three years and has appeared in a couple of plays. Raquelle impressed Simon Cowell at Bootcamp because of her “ruthless” nature, and her ability to do the splits!

Phoebe, the youngest member of the group has just finished her GCSE’s and lives with her Mum and younger brother in Surrey. At the weekend’s Phoebe has been attending the Guildford School of Acting and has singing lessons twice a week.