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