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12 Best Live Musical Moments of 2012   Leave a comment

Hi everybody! It’s back to work day today. Luckily for me, I’m not required to go back to work yet (I still have my work from home card on me. Hahaha). January is a busy month for me as an awards prognosticator, as we’ll have the American award giving bodies steamroll one after the other. On January 10, nominations will finally be unveiled. So expect my last update for the nominations and the final predictions in the coming days.

As for now, forgive my late posts, but I’ll post the remaining 2012 year-end lists that I had. I still have three lists remaining (this one included), so just for effort’s sake, I’ll still be doing a write up of each. For this one, we’ll be focusing on the different musical moments that were created the past year. A live performance can make or break an artist. Think of Ashlee Simpson in Saturday Night Live or Lana Del Rey, who was once poised to be the next big thing… until we saw her SNL number. Then we have the likes of Lady Gaga who tops each performance she have bringing her artistry with each live performance that she does.

With that said, here are 12 musical moments that we’d sure remember from 2012:

You can click the name of the performance and it will bring you to the YouTube clip of it. 

pink

12: Pink, (“Try”) – American Music Awards 2012

Pink has already solidified herself as one of the best live acts among her contemporaries. Who can ever forget her Grammy performance of Glitter in the Air in 2009? That definitely is one of the best performances to ever grace the Grammy stage. This year, she did the whole acrobatic thing once again, but with a different approach; Pink, barefooted and with patches of paint all over her body, with a partner were just doing random catching and splitting and lifting in an interpretative dance-like number of her new single, Try. And to top things off, her vocals was spot on during the whole number. Amazing, really.

alicia keys
11: Alicia Keys, (“Brandy New Me/No One”) – 12-12-12 Hurricane Sandy Concert

New York native  Alicia Keys was one of the hundreds of singers who volunteered to be a part of the Hurricane Sandy concert last December 12. Belting out a crossover of the songs Brandy New Me and No One, it was such a delight to hear her just like how she used to slay them all off. And don’t you just love how she invited the whole audience to raise their phones during the No One part? Plus, her intro about how she was raised and how she’ll forever love New York is just the icing on top of this sweet cake.
rihanna
10: Rihanna, (“Diamonds”) – Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2012

The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is probably the meanest event of every year, as it makes all women worldwide feel bad about themselves. But if there’s one good thing that it has given us this year, it’s Rihanna’s performance of Diamonds.  Clad in a Adam Selman creation with Chanel vintage pearl sungless from Depuis to boot, Riri is every inch a model herself as she belts out one of the catchiest songs of 2012.

esperanza spalding

09: Esperanza Spalding, (“What a Wonderful World”) – 84th Academy Awards

Grammy Best New Artist Esperanza Spalding led the In Memoriam segment at last year’s Academy Awards with her rendition of What A Wonderful World. Together with the Southern California Children, this jazzy yet really touching performance as Esperanza served as background voice while pictures of the departed from Sidney Lumet to Elizabeth Taylor were flashing is one of the best highlights of the year.

psy

08: PSY and MC Hammer, (“Gangnam Style”) – American Music Awards 2012

Definitely the biggest song worldwide this 2012, Gangnam Style by Korean singer PSY has been literally everywhere the past few months. From CNN to the Europe Music Awards, it was also the most overperformed song of the year. What makes this number a stand out among all the endless versions of this is that it has MC Hammer in it. It can be credited as a number of one hit wonders, but I’m sure everyone was up their feet during this closing number at the American Music Awards.

christina aguilera

07: Christina Aguilera, (“At Last”) – Etta James Funeral

It was January of 2012 when we  lost one of the many music legends the past year. Etta James, more known as the singer of classics such as At Last and I’d Rather Be Blind, passed away due to a hepatitis C. Of course, there’s no one more fitting to perform her instant classic than one of the best vocals of the younger generation and a self proclaimed fan of the late Etta James herself, Christina Aguilera. Christina belted out At Last in true Etta fashion, and leaking spray tan issues aside, this performance got a standing ovation even before it ended.

jessica sanchez jennifer holliday

06: Jessica Sanchez and Jennifer Holliday, (“And I am Telling You I’m Not Going”) – American Idol Season 11 Finale

Despite the fact that Jessica Sanchez wasn’t crowned the Idol title during its eleventh season, this goosebumps performance of her and one of her most vocal fans, Tony winner and Broadway legend Jennifer Holliday, of the iconic diva song And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going sent shivers all over the world. It was one thing to do a number of it, but it’s another to diva-off with the original singer herself. Now if only they invited Jennifer Hudson as well, all roofs would have been blown after that performance.

The Voice

05: Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, CeeLo Green, and Christina Aguilera, (“Hallelujah”) – The Voice Finale Performance Night

The aftermath of the Connecticut shootings left the whole world in shock, but more so, in tears. Thus, it was expected that all shows would pay tribute to the countless lives that we lost there. Probably the best tribute that I’ve seen was the two minute version of Hallelujah by the four The Voice coaches. Together with the rest of the finalists (both eliminated and not), hosts Carson Daly and Christina Millian, each of them holds a name tag with the names of the victims of the shooting. Then we’d hear Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, CeeLo Green, and Christina Aguilera belt out this Leonard Cohen classic. It was simple, heartfelt, and I bet there’s not a dry eye in the room that night.

adele

04: Adele, (“Rolling in the Deep”) – Grammy Awards 2012

Yes, we’ve all heard that she was under operation because of too much smoking during the last year of 2011. But like a true pro, you know that we’d still hear that voice back. And there’s no better way than to showcase it to the world with a performance of her Grammy winning song Rolling in the Deep at the Grammy Awards itself. Not only was she the Queen of Grammys that night (winning a perfect six trophies out of six nominations), but this performance received a long standing ovation with everyone from Rihanna to Sir Paul McCartney cheering for her.

Spice Girls

03: Spice Girls, (“Wanna Be/Spice Up Your Life”) – 2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony

90s kids, represent!!!! London did a really good job hosting the Olympics this year with their showstopping opening and closing ceremonies. What takes the cake though is the reunion performance of the Spice Girls doing a medley of Wanna Be and Spice Up Your Life on top of cars as they go around the huge stadium. It might take a long time before we see this again, so I guess we’d have to cherish this performance as if it’s the last.

Jennifer Hudson

02: Jennifer Hudson, (“I Will Always Love You”) – Grammy Awards 2012

A day before the actual Grammy Awards ceremony, the whole world was stunned when news broke out that The Voice herself Whitney Houston passed away. That’s probably the most difficult thing to hear on a day before music’s biggest night. So with no time left to do a tribute, it was just a simple number. But Oscar and Grammy winner Jennifer Hudson made sure that it will be a tribute that will never be forgotten. Just Whitney’s picture, a mic stand, and her soaring vocals in one of the most popular songs ever, Whitney definitely was smiling up from the heavens after this performance.

Bridgestone Super Bowl XLVI Halftime Show

01: Madonna (with LMFAO, Nicki Minaj, MIA, and Ceelo Green), (“Vogue, Music, Party Rock Anthem, Sexy and I Know It, Gimme All Your Luvin, Like a Prayer”) – Superbowl 2012 Halftime Show

And let’s all bow down to The Queen. Proving that she is still a force to be reckoned with, Queen of Pop Madonna showed all these artists how it’s actually done when she performed at the halftime of the Superbowl this February. With matching visual floors and coming from a throne, there’s no entertainer more fitting to do this year’s job than Madonna. Singing a medley of her most prominent hits from Vogue to Music to Like a Prayer, and inviting friends like LMFAO, Nicki Minaj, MIA, and CeeLo Green, this fourteen minute performance is nothing but a showstopper, all provided to you by Madonna herself.

What were your favorite performances from the list? Did you think I missed something? Pipe them in below at the Comments section.

And as always, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

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Entertainers of the Year 2012   12 comments

Hey everyone! It’s two days before Christmas, and just eight days before 2012 comes to a halt. With that said, there’s no perfect time than this week to publish year end lists. Just two days ago, I unveiled my picks of the local movie posters of the year. Now this one is a concept that was inspired from Entertainment Weekly’s annual list of Entertainer of the Year. This is usually comprised of anybody in the entertainment industry that made an impact during the past year. Whether it’s from film, TV, fashion, radio and even to anything related to pop culture, as long as I think you made 2012 a memorable one, then you’re in. This is the first time I posted an article about this, though I made a list last year and had Anne Curtis as 2011 Entertainer of the Year.

After careful consideration, here are Tit for Tat’s Entertainers of the Year for 2012:

12. janine tugonon

11. paulo avelino

10. dolphy

09. john lloyd -bea

08. iza calzado

07. jodi sta maria

06. kikay barkada

05. carmina-zoren

04. art acuna

03. janice de belen

02. jessica sanchez

01. nora aunor

You can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

20 Best Performances from American Idol Season 11   5 comments

Okay so 11th season is done. White Guy with Guitar wins for the fifth year. I’m not actually putting the blame on Phillip Phillips. Had Crystal Bowersox won in Season 9, there will not be a strong clamor for a female winner, and WGWG argument is put into rest. LELZ. All in all, this season is pretty uneven. While the potential of the talents involved this year are very very varied, we’re stuck with the same old sucky themes (Year of Birth? Check. Billy Joel? Check. Queen? Check), WTF judges (given the choice, I’d rank Steven as the best among the three. You can actually tell that he’s genuine and not superficial), over the top standing ovations (and by over the top, it’s not the same definition as to what Steven says when he use it). Nevertheless, here are the 20 best performances of the season for me.

20. Jessica Sanchez, “How Will I Know”

This one is a real guilty pleasure for me. I love the way that she didn’t go Whitney all the way with this version, and that it did not sound dated despite the week’s theme as 80s. Also, bonus points for her acting out majority of the lines in the songs such as “I say a prayer”, “I’m too shy”, and “I tried to phone.”

19. Heejun Han, “My Life”

Due to the pressure of being in the competition such as Idol, I tend to favor performances where you can see that the finalists just decide to go with the flow and have fun. This is one of them. I love Heejun’s take of this Billy Idol classic, and how this sends a subtle FU that he doesn’t care what the judges will say. After all, that is “his life.”

18. Phillip Phillips, “U Got it Bad”

Count me in to those who were not that totally amazed with this one. The good news is that Phillip Phillips made this an unpredictable pick for his song choice. And while I appreciate the surprising song choice, it’s difficult to go gaga over it when it lost the storytelling that Usher did in the original. This is really good, but not as good as what others perceive it is.

17. Joshua Ledet, “It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World”

Another version of a song that is good, but not as good as judges want viewers to perceive. Joshua clearly has the chops to deliver a song and this one suits him because you can clearly see and hear James Brown’s influence in this number. Sadly, this still pales as compared to the versions of Christina Aguilera and The Voice’s Juliett Simms.

16. Jessica Sanchez, “Sweet Dreams”

I like this stripped version of this song especially since Jessica managed to get more dramatic with this performance. This prevented her from being a flat out Beyonce clone, and I think she’s being taken for granted when she delivered something new to this dance hit. But isn’t that the regular pattern in AI already? A guy changes the arrangement, he’s an artist, a girl does it, she’s a trying hard clone.

15. Jessica Sanchez/Joshua Ledet/Phillip Phillips, “Got to Get You Into My Life”

What I particularly like about this number is that despite the announcement of the Top 2, they managed to give a laid back and entertaining performance that highlights the strengths of the Top 3. And yes, for those doubting Phillip’s vocals, he’s not unforgettable here, and he held his own against the two vocal wise.

14. Sklyar Laine, “Wind Beneath My Wings”

I’m not particularly fond of Skylar in general, but she’s really an entertaining performer and brings vigor into all of her performances. Her Wind Beneath My Wings number not only closed the show that week, but it made its way into the best numbers of the season. Well done!

13. Joshua Ledet, “When A Man Loves A Woman”

Joshua’s best individual performance on the show is this number where we got to see him bare the song effectively enough that you wouldn’t mind all the theatrics that he did all season. If I’m gonna give Joshua a standing ovation this season, it will definitely be for this number.

12. Jessica Sanchez, “Everybody Has A Dream”

I call this number as Jessica’s Bennie and the Jets. How she managed to turn a very boring theme week (Billy Joel), and transformed a song that sounded dated as hell into a possible winning performance, this is another of those Jessica’s numbers that merited a standing O from the judges back when it still mattered.

11. Hollie Cavanagh, “Rolling in the Deep”

Yes, I can hear that grunt. Singing Adele is not my cup of tea, and I absolutely abhor everyone who covers her songs. However, this Grammy version that Hollie did as the opening for the Top 7 redux made its way to the best list because I did not see her mimicking Adele; instead, I saw her stamping it with Hollie all over. Win!

10. Jessica Sanchez “The Prayer”

Jessica is really a polished singer above anything else, and performances like this one highlights her advantage into the competition. This is her best performance in the finale show, and I thought that note sealed the deal for her that round. I love to gossip just like J.Lo, but clearly, Jessica rallied her way that round with this number.

09. Phillip Phillips, “Volcano”

Ah, Who would have thought of covering Damien Rice in Idol stage? I bet most people think that his songs weren’t even cleared for the competition. LOL. This performance by Phillip is really one of his bests. I love everything that leads up to this number. The song choice, the treatment, the vocals (yes I said it) were all  good, and it highlighted Phillip as a good musician.

08. Hollie Cavanagh, “The Climb”

It’s such a shame that we get to hear Miley Cyrus own this song when all the other versions after this are clearly superior to hers. One of those is Hollie’s performance in the Top 5. I like that she used this as her swan song as well, as that performance of hers made me love Hollie more (Yes, I’m a fan).

07. Elise Testone, “Whole Lotta Love”

Elise is probably known as the oldest contestant this year, or a Mimi look-a-like, but I really think that she’s the most underrated candidate of the season. Elise knows how to deliver, and her vocals are really really interesting. Her take on Led Zepellin’s Whole Lotta Love puts all the other Idol finalists to shame as it packages her not only as a bonafide singer, but as an overall performer.

06. Phillip Phillips, “Beggin'”

See my point regarding Steven in my opening paragraph? This is one of those supporting evidence to that. When he gave this song to Phillip, it was very predictable that it’ll be just like his other performances. However, he owned the song so much that when he performed it in the Top 3, it really gave us a glance as if we are listening on his own tour and concert. No need to beg for more, as this one is an instant win for me.

05. Jessica Sanchez/Joshua Ledet, “I Know You Were Waiting”

Here’s the Idol showdown that everyone was secretly wishing. Mantasia meets Hudson. A redux of Season 3 all over again. This might not be the actual showdown that happened at the end of the season, but at least we got a glimpse of how it could have happened if they were the Final 2. And based on this number, it has the potential to be epic.

04. Jessica Sanchez/Jennifer Holliday, “And I Am Telling You”

The ultimate diva song. Everyone was waiting for Jessica to nail this during Top 4, and she actually did. Now she gets to perform this with seasoned singer a.k.a original Dreamgirl Jennifer Holliday. While there’s a part of me that thinks that it wasn’t Jennifer Holliday who showed up, and it was actually Effie White herself, no one can deny the power of this number as one of the best duets in Idol history. And oh, the birth of a new meme.

03. Phillip Phillips, “Home”

While this might sound as a Mumford & Sons reject, there’s something about the way Phillip sang this song. It’s as if he feels every line that he delivered, and not only does this count as the best Idol coronation song in 11 seasons, it also sealed the deal for Phillip for the title. I think that even non fans warmed up after he performed this yesterday.

02. Colton Dixon, “Piano Man”

Colton Dixon always sounded to me as the one who fits the Idol bill. And while it may sound totally absurd that he got booted off Top 7 (which was pretty understandable when you saw the performances that night), his Piano Man still highlights his effectiveness as a musician. This is an idol highlight that will be used a measure of comparison when future Idols perform this in the succeeding seasons.

01. Jessica Sanchez, “Stuttering”

Probably what I consider as the best performance this season, it really is a damn shame that she was sent home after this number. There are so many things going for her during this performance. It was a very inspired song choice and something that is not predictable, Jessica nailed every note she had in that two minutes, she was looking every inch a celebrity there, and this was clearly the genre and direction that she’s the most comfortable with. It’s sad that she didn’t take more risks after this (which is fully understandable), but clearly takes the cake for the best of the season.

That’s it for me. Do you agree with this list? What will you remove? What was your best choice for the season? And do you agree that Steven is the best judge? Pipe them in!

Posted May 24, 2012 by Nicol Latayan in Lists, TV

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Weekend Update (March 18 – March 24, 2012)   Leave a comment

So here’s a recap of the different things that happened the past week:

 * The Philippines won two awards at the 6th Asian Film Awards last Monday at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center. Shamaine Buencamino won Supporting Actress for Nino while Eugene Domingo  won the People’s Choice for Best Actress. This is the second time that a Filipino won an acting award after Gina Pareno won in the same category for Serbis way back in 2009. Iran’s A Separation swept the awards this year winning Picture, Director and Screenplay for Asghar Farhadi, and Editing. Eugene Domingo, who was shimmering in gold, was the crowd favorite, thanks to her funny banter with Andy Lau. She also gets to present Best Supporting Actor that night. Hurray for Pinoy pride!

Photo courtesy of pep.ph

* FX’s American Horror Story officially campaigns in the Miniseries categories at the Emmys this year. Given the format of the series, this is the logical thing to do in order to earn more Emmy nods. However, their eligible material (13 episodes) is 12 times more than their possible competition this year. While I don’t think Connie Britton will defeat Julianne Moore or Nicole Kidman for the Emmy, she is now guaranteed a nomination. Jessica Lange will transfer her frontrunner status at the Miniseries Supporting Actress category with literally no one having a chance against her.

* In other Jessica Lange news, she now replaces Glenn Close in the Elizabeth Olsen starrer Therese Raquin. For the longest time, Close has been attached to the project despite some names literally coming and going. However, it’s now official that Lange will be replacing her for the role of Madame Raquin. Between this and Sally Field’s role in Lincoln, it’s safe to say that Meryl Streep is NOT hogging all the roles for 60+ aged actresses.

 * For some reality show news, Erika van Pelt finally left Idol stage, as she was eliminated at last Thursday’s results show. Sporting a new  Adam Lambert look-a-like makeover, it seems like the change of look didn’t provide her any luck. While it was Heejun Han who everybody predicted to be a goner that night, it will only take a few weeks before EVP will also be a goner. Take it as a case of foregone conclusion. Next week will probably be Heejun’s farewell unless he turns into a Sanjaya or John Stevens.

 Photo courtesy of gossip,whyfame.com

* Over at The Voice, I’ve witnessed probably the advancement of the worst vocals into the live shows in the longest time that I have been watching singing reality shows. Erin Martin’s butchering over The Garage Brothers of Tina Turner’s classic “What’s Love Got to Do With It” is a big slap to genius Jamie Lono for not making it last week. Dear Erin made it sound as if Ke$ha is a Mariah or a Celine. She’s not even singing! Between this and Chessa three weeks ago, we all know that Purrfect the Cat and not Cee-Lo, should be the one tp choose the victors for his battle rounds.

* The women of Wisteria Lane a.k.a the Desperate Housewives get one last time to cover Entertainment Weekly as a group. As the nearing series finale comes, we get to see more juicy and interesting storylines among the four Housewives. While the show was never able to regain the glory of their first season heydays, I think that they were still able to come up with decent to good seasons and the performances of the Housewives has been underrated in terms of awards consideration. For the first time, they’ll be talking about that infamous Vanity Fair cover in 2005. Very juicy, indeed!

* The Hunger Games is now in theaters, and while this hasn’t topped any box office records, it’s slowly joining the bandwagon. In fact, with a good ratings from the critics and impressive box office returns, it is safe to say that it is the new book to film sensation that will keep everyone gaga. Catching Fire, though, is premiering to theaters much later than usual on November 2013.

* Oscar winner Taylor Swift? Not gonna happen folks. While T-Swift’s efforts with another T (T-Bone Burnett, that’s who) gets critical praise, together with the whole Hunger Games soundtrack, it won’t be hearing it’s name come Oscar time, as it was the second song to be featured at the credits of the movie. Oscar contenders for Best Original Song must be played in the course of the movie, up until the first song in the credits. This is the same thing that happened to Madonna’s Golden Globe winning song “Masterpiece” for W.E. Luckily for Swift though, she can count on a Globe and Grammy nods in the Original Song categories.

* Kate Winslet wants that EGOT title right? Winslet is set to appear on her first Broadway show: a play written by two time Oscar nominee (The Hours, The Reader) playwright David Hare. There is no tentative date yet for this play, but Winslet is probably going gaga over the thought of her achieving the EGOT now. If she managed to accomplish that, she’ll be the youngest member of the club whose latest inductee is producer Scott Rudin.
 * Lastly, it’s the Golden Screen Awards tonight. This is the closest to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Golden Globes, as they separate the awards into Drama and Comedy categories. While I’m hoping for an Angel Locsin repeat win in the Best Actress: Drama category, that and Best Actor are the most difficult to predict. Martin Escudero (Zombadings), Eugene Domingo (Babae sa Septic Tank) are the frontrunners for the Comedy Lead acting while John Regala and Nonie Buencamino are the most buzzed for Supporting Actor. Nino stars Raquel Villavicencio and Shamaine Buencamino are the frontrunners for Supporting Actress while both Solenn Heusaff and Rocco Nacino might have repeat victories in the Brakthrough Acting categories.

photo courtesy of mykiru.ph

That’s it for this week’s report of Weekend Update! 😀

Simply The Best   3 comments

So American Idol Season 10 is over, and Scotty was formally announced the winner though he already won like weeks ago. LOL. Anyway, here are my ten choices for the best performances of the season.

10. Haley Reinhart, “What Is And What Should Be” (Top 3, Personal Choice)

Despite trippin’ on her way back to the stage, Haley managed to finish the song and still do well. That’s what a performer is and what should be. LOL.

9. Thia Megia, “Out Here On My Own” (Top 24, Females)

Thia managed to bring in the chills, and the vocal powers in this performance that advanced her to the Final 13. Too bad she lost personality and stayed safe within her remaining weeks.


8. Casey Abrams, “Nature Boy” (Movie Week)

Casey gets mad props for playing different kinds of instruments, and this performance of Nat King Cole’s Nature Boy is definitely a season highlight.

7. Haley Reinhart, “I (Who Have Nothing)” (Leiber & Stoller Songbook)

It’s difficult when a past Idol winner already sang and made a moment with one song but Haley’s I Who Have Nothing managed to stand out and held her own against Jordin’s version of the same song.

6. Jacob Lusk, “A House Is Not A Home” (Top 24 Males)

Had Jacob tried to make his performance about the “voice” (pun intended) and not about his awkward swaying and oversinging, then we’d have seen more remarkable performances like this.

5. Casey Abrams, “Your Song” (Elton John week)

Singing one of my favorite Elton John songs ever, Casey made me remember Moulin Rouge! and how romantic this song is. With or without his instruments, Casey can still make a room for himself with this performance.

4. Pia Toscano, “I’ll Stand By You” (Top 24, Females)

By having the most premature exit on the show, Pia proved that she’s m0ore capable of staying longer with performances like this one.

3. Haley Reinhart, “Bennie and the Jets” (Elton John week)

This performance was what made people take her seriously. And she did an awesome job choosing this as her swan song.

2. Haley Reinhart, “House of the Rising Sun” (Songs From Then and Now)

The bare vocals at the start and the drama of the lights made this the best individual performance all season.

1. Haley Reinhart, and Casey Abrams, “Moanin”

This duet reminds me of Grammy performances. This is just pure awesome music and talent.

So what’s your favorite? 😀

Posted May 28, 2011 by Nicol Latayan in Lists, Music, TV

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