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USTownhall RoundTable: The Winter-Spring 2014 Sessions
Written by Scott Katz   
Sunday, 26 January 2014 13:42

 

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    MOST RECENT PODCAST BELOW!

 

March 9, 2014:

AMERICAN IDOL TOP 12: Emily Piriz eliminated.

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DANCING WITH THE STARS Cast Reveal & format changes:

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POP CULTURE NEWS: Queen summer tour with Adam Lambert

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March 2, 2014:

AMERICAN IDOL TOP 13: Kristin O'Connor eliminated.

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February 23, 2014:

AMERICAN IDOL Season 13 Rush Week / Top 13 selected

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February 16, 2014:

AMERICAN IDOL Season 13 Hollywood Week / Top 30

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April 13, 2014:

AMERICAN IDOL TOP 8 week 2: Malaya Watson eliminated.

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DANCING WITH THE STARS Top 9 perform: No one eliminated, but scores with last week will be combined with this week's to determine the next celebrity to go home.

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February 9, 2014:

AMERICAN IDOL Season 13 Hollywood Week

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April 6, 2014:

AMERICAN IDOL TOP 8: Sam Woolf gets the Judges' Save!

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DANCING WITH THE STARS TOP 9 perform: Billie Dee Williams drops out leaving only 9 celebrities remaining.

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February 2, 2014:

AMERICAN IDOL Season 13 Auditions week 3

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March 30, 2014:

AMERICAN IDOL TOP 9: Majesty Rose eliminated.

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DANCING WITH THE STARS TOP 10 perform: 2 stars from the top 12 go home on the first elimination episode.

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January 26, 2014:

AMERICAN IDOL Season 13 Auditions week 2

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March 23, 2014:

AMERICAN IDOL TOP 10: MK Nobilette eliminated.

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DANCING WITH THE STARS TOP 12 perform: Season Premiere!

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January 19, 2014: American Idol had its two-night 13th season premiere just days ago, and the panel weighs in on the revitalized series.  What did the panel think of the new judging lineup?  Were there any early favorites from the many contestants who auditioned?  Take a listen, and follow us every week for our take on the latest from American Idol!

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March 16, 2014:

AMERICAN IDOL TOP 11: Ben Briley eliminated.

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January 12, 2014: Our first podcast of the Winter 2014 sessions kicks off with a wrap-up of 2013 pop culture events including the Duck Dynasty controversy.  We also look ahead to the upcoming season of American Idol that we hope will be radically different from the slow motion trainwreck that was Season 12.

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USTownhall RoundTable: The Fall 2013 Sessions
Written by Scott Katz   

 

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December 18, 2013: On this episode, we have a pop culture podcast where we discuss the latest rumors concerning singer Adam Lambert and the legendary band Queen.  What new developments have there been?  Will Lambert and Queen continue to work together?  Will they take the next step and record new material together?  How does the panel think Queen fans would react?  It's all here in our final podcast for 2013!

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November 28, 2013: For week 11, Dancing with the Stars gives us a two-night finale as the four remaining celebrities – Bill Engval, Jack Osbourne, Corbin Bleu, and Amber Reilly – try to dance their way to mirrorball glory.  What did the panel think of these final dances, and how did they react to Amber Reily's win over odds-on favorite Corbin Bleu?  Not to mention pro Derek Hough's scoring an unprecedented fifth victory.

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October 23, 2013: Dancing with the Stars week 6 brings us a new gimmick –The Switch-Up Challenge.  How well did it go over with our panelists?  Also, we try to figure out what was behind some of the bizarre scoring on this episode.  Who did the panel think was overscored or underscored?  Listen in, and find out.

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November 20, 2013: Maksim Chmerkovskiy joins the panel on week 10 of Dancing with the Stars as a celebrity guest judge.  How well did the panel think he did?  Also, this semifinals episode brings us the not-so-unexpected departure of Leah Remini.

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October 16, 2013: The first shocker of this cycle of Dancing with the Stars was on Episode 5 discussed in this podcast.  Mark Ballas and Christina Millian, after receiving the first 10 of the season and being tied for highest judges' score of the night, were voted off as a result of low fan turnout for them.  Is this season's new voting procedure needlessly confusing people and resulting in lower than expected fan voting?  Also, who does the panel predict will go home in the next episode?

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November 13, 2013: Week 9 on Dancing with the Stars brings us the Trio Challenge where each couple gets to invite another pro to dance with them.  This quarter-finals episode brings another surprise elimination as early favorite Elizabeth Berkely Lauren is sent packing.

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October 9, 2013: Episode 4 of Dancing with the Stars sees the departure of fan favorite Valerie Harper.  Should she have gone this soon?  Was the presense of Julianne Hough on the judges' panel a good thing for the show?  Also, the panel gives their ideas on things that could be done to improve the show.

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November 6, 2013: It's Cher Week on Dancing with the Stars week 8!  Did the panel think she made a good judge or would they have preferred to turn back time to when Len was on the panel?  What about the results?  Was this one shocking elimination too many or did the right contestant get sent home?  Which celebrity contest has the most pizzaz?  Who on the panel lost their happy place?  The answers await you in this riveting podcast!

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October 2, 2013:  Episode 3 of Dancing with the Stars and the elimination of Bill Nye the Science Guy.  More about the I Heart Radio Concert.

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October 30, 2013: Week 7 of Dancing with the Stars has one of the more surprising eliminations of the season.  How did the panel react to Snooki being sent home?  Did the panel agree with the judges' scoring?  What does the Fox say?  Find out in this podcast!  Also, a preview of Adam Lambert's upcoming stint on the hit series Glee.

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September 25, 2013:  The Panel discusses Episodes 1 & 2 of Dancing with the Stars including the new format and their picks for their favorite celebrity dancers.  Also, Adam Lambert and Queen perform on the I Heart Radio Concert.

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2013-2014 TELEVISION SEASON PREVIEW
Written by USTownhall staff   
Sunday, 15 September 2013 09:38

 

ABC CBS FOX NBC The CW
SUNDAY
7:00 America's Funniest Home Videos  60 Minutes  American Dad reruns Football Night in America          
7:30 The Simpsons reruns
8:00 Once Upon a Time  The Amazing Race The Simpsons Sunday Night Football
8:30 Bob's Burgers
9:00 Revenge The Good Wife Family Guy
9:30 American Dad
10:00 Betrayal The Mentalist
10:30
MONDAY
8:00 Dancing with the Stars How I Met Your Mother Bones The Voice Hart of Dixie
8:30 We Are Men
9:00 2 Broke Girls Sleepy Hollow Beauty & the Beast
9:30 Mom
10:00 Castle Hostages The Blacklist
10:30
TUESDAY
8:00

Marvel's Agents of SHIELD

NCIS Dads The Biggest Loser The Originals
8:30 Brooklyn Nine-Nine
9:00 The Goldbergs NCIS: Los Angeles New Girl The Voice results show
Supernatural
9:30 Trophy Wife The Mindy Project
10:00 Lucky 7 Person of Interest Chicago Fire
10:30
WEDNESDAY
8:00 The Middle Survivor The X Factor Revolution Arrow
8:30 Back in the Game
9:00 Modern Family Criminal Minds Law & Order: SVU The Tomorrow People
9:30 Super Fun Night
10:00 Nashville CSI Ironside
10:30
THURSDAY
8:00 Once Upon a Time in Wonderland The Big Bang Theory The X Factor Results Show Parks and Recreation The Vampire Diaries
8:30 The Millers Welcome to the Family
9:00 Grey's Anatomy The Crazy Ones Glee Sean Saves the World Reign
9:30 Two and a Half Men The Michael J. Fox Show
10:00 Scandal Elementary Parenthood
10:30
FRIDAY
8:00 Last Man Standing Undercover Boss MasterChef Junior Dateline NBC The Carrie Diaries
8:30 The Neighbors
9:00 Shark Tank Hawaii Five-O Sleepy Hollow (encore broadcast) Grimm America's Next Top Model
9:30
10:00 20/20 Blue Bloods Dracula
10:30
SATURDAY
8:00 College Football Comedytime Saturday Fox Sports Saturday reruns
8:30
9:00 Crimetime Saturday
9:30
10:00 48 Hours Mystery SNL Primetime
10:30

 

 

 
USTownhall RoundTable: The Summer 2013 Sessions
Written by Scott Katz   
Wednesday, 10 July 2013 21:01

Now that the traditional broadcast television season is over, the USTownhall RoundTable podcast series will delve into topics of a more general nature from the worlds of pop culture and current events.

 

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Sun, September 8, 2013: Pop Culture podcast topics - In what we hope is our final discussion on the American Idol judges, the panel discusses the addition of Harry Connick, Jr. to the show after talks with Dr. Luke fell through at the last minute.  Also, more of Adam Lambert and Avicii, and we reveal the celebrities and professionals due to perform on this cycle of Dancing with the Stars.  Then, we finish things off by giving our take on the MTV VMA Awards and Miley Cyrus's twerk heard 'round the world.  Was she unfairly slammed by the media or did she take her image makeover too far?

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Sun, August 25, 2013: Pop Culture podcast topics - American Idol selects Dr. Luke as final judge?  Randy Jackson returns in Jimmy Iovine's mentor role?  Also, more about Adam Lambert and Avicii, and the panel discusses Justin Guarini and his recent blog post about his hard times since his Idol days.  Plus, the panel tries to figure out – with little success – exactly how Dancing with the Stars' once-a-week format will work in terms of the voting.

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Current Events podcast topic - The panel pays tribute and discusses the recent death of Gale Chester Whittington, one of the flashpoints of the gay civil rights movement in the late 1960s and author of the memoir Beyond Normal: The Birth of Gay Pride.

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You can learn more about Mr. Whittington at the following websites:

http://www.galechesterwhittington.com/index.html

http://www.freefishcaretips.com/

http://www.galechesterwhittington.com/somebodyneedstosayit7.html

Sun, August 4, 2013: Pop Culture podcast topics - Adam Lambert joins forces with legendary music producer Nile Rodgers and Swedish producer and DJ, Avicii.  Latest Hollywood casting news: Ellen DeGeneres hosts the Oscars; Derek Hough returns to Dancing with the Stars (along with Maxim Chmerkovskiy?); Keith Urban returns to American Idol (along with Jennifer Lopez and will.i.am?) — and much, much more!

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Sun, July 14, 2013: Pop Culture podcast topics - Actor Cory Monteith of Glee dies, Adam Lambert joins cast and departs from record label.

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Current Events podcast topic - George Zimmerman acquitted in Trayvon Martin case.  Full analysis of events, evidence, verdict, and the handling of the case by the prosecution and defense. (Note that the date of the shooting incident is incorrectly stated during the podcast.  It actually occurred on February 26, 2012).

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Sun, July 7, 2013: Topics - Adam Lambert concerts in California and Florida / US Supreme Court decisions regarding California's Prop 8 and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

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Sun, June 23, 2013: Topics - Summer Movies / Exodus International closes its doors / Mormon mom Prop 8 supporter discovers her son is gay

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013: Topics - Adam Lambert receives "Hope of Los Angeles" award / Update on American Idol behind-the-scenes turnoil / Mariah Carey's #Beautiful song and video / changes in the music industry in the IPod age / Our suggestions as to how American Idol can be fixed re: theme nights, judges, mentors

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Sunday, May 26, 2013: Topics - Pop culture events

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USTownhall RealStories presents NICK LACHEY of The Winner Is
Written by Scott Katz   

NUP_156380_0001-resizeThis summer, NBC premieres The Winner Is – a new kind of singing competition.  The series, hosted by singer Nick Lachey, marries the talent search of traditional shows of this type with the fast pace and drama of a game show.  In each episode, six contestants will be paired off to sing against each other.  A panel of 101 music experts will judge the performances and decides who advances to the next round.  Before the results are announced, the contestants are given a choice: leave the game immediately and take home a cash prize ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 or opt to stay in the game in the hope of advancing.  If the contestant turns down the cash and the judges do not pick him or her to advance, the contestant goes home with nothing.

The contestant who survives the entire seven week competition will win the grand prize of one million dollars!  Episodes begin airing June 10 and 17 before moving into its regular timeslot on July 11.

 

 

 

 

USTownhall RealStories speaks with Nick Lachey of The Winner Is:

USTH: Can you just talk a little bit about the process by which the show found these contestants? Was there some kind of audition process?

NICK LACHEY: We had a great scouting department that really searched the country for great talent. I can't emphasize enough that these are talented people from every walk of life. I mean, everything from an emergency room nurse to a chicken farmer to a 10-year-old 6th grader. I think we've really captured talent form all across the country.
And so there were four or five different cities you could go and actually audition in. But in addition to that, we took submissions online. And again, the scouting department did a great job of finding truly the most talented people in the country and bringing them to LA for the show. So I really commend them for doing a great job.

 

NUP_155421_0136_crUSTH: If you were a contestant on the show, how much of a risk taker would you be? Would you try to go all the way or would there be a point where you would say you'll just take the money and leave the show?

NICK LACHEY: Well, I think that's the real captivating thing about this show. I think any performer who comes into this, they're coming in with the intention of going all the way and winning the $1 million. I mean, that's the goal.

But when you get in the heat of the battle and you just give them your performance and your opponent's giving a great performance, it's really tough to reason how the judges in the audience have voted the thing.

So, it becomes this really walking the fine line between being confident in your performance and in yourself and also trying to take yourself out of the situation enough to be objective and say, "All right, should I take the money? It'd be a shame to walk home with nothing right now. Should I take the money and leave with something in my pocket?"

So that's where the real drama comes into this whole thing. So it's tough to know. I mean, you like to think you'd go in and make the rational, smart decision but when you're in the heat of the battle – I think you can ask any performer. We have a great amount of pride in what we do. And it's tough to admit that you've been beaten, so to speak.

So, it becomes a real mental challenge to balance those things and make the right decisions so fast.

 

USTH: For this first season, do you know how many episodes it's going to run?

NICK LACHEY: Yes. For this first one I believe we have seven, which includes the $1 million finale. Or is that wrong, maybe six. I can't remember now offhand.

NIKKI LICHTERMAN (from NBC publicity): Seven.

NICK LACHEY: Seven, yeah. So there is seven. So there's six preliminary episodes and then the 7th one is the $1 million finale where we take the winner of the previous six and then they all compete for the chance at the $1 million. So that's what kind of makes up the first season.

 

USTH: As far as things are concerned right now, is the show just scheduled to be on  just this one summer season or do you see it basically continuing as an ongoing series?

NICK LACHEY: Well, I love the show. I can speak honestly that in filming it we would all sit backstage and literally we'd have wagers going on as to whether people are going to take the money, not take the money. I think it's a really, really intriguing, captivating show that I think is really going to catch on, which would suggest that we come back for many more seasons. I think that's the hope.

 

USTH: And as you look back on these past seven episodes that you've filmed, what are your thoughts that you're left with about how this experience was for you?

NICK LACHEY: I had a blast shooting this show. I mean, that's what I really took away from it. Got to meet some very, very talented people, meet some great young singers and old singers for that matter. But more than anything, what I loved about doing this show was the ability for me to really be myself. I mean, I think more than you saw maybe on The Sing-Off in the past.
In this show, I was able to really loosen up and be me and interject a little more and it was a looser kind of environment – just a different kind of show.
So, I think each and every show you host – they're all different and they all kind of tap into a different part of your personality. And this one certainly did for me, but it was a lot of fun to be a part of and a lot of fun to do and certainly hope we get to do a lot more of them.


Our thanks to Nick Lachey for taking the time to speak with us.  The Winner Is has two sneak peek episodes on Monday, June 10 and Monday, June 17 – both following NBC's hit series, The VoiceThe Winner Is then returns for the remainder of its run on Thursday, July 11 at 9pm.

 

 
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USTownhall RoundTable podcast: The Worlds of Entertainment and Current Events