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"Project Runway"

 "Project Runway" 

Credit: Lifetime

Can we skip the team challenges next season, 'Project Runway'? Please?

The team concept has sent home too many designers before their times

Last night on "Project Runway," the team challenge format worked about as well as it ever has. Richard, the weakest link, turned in an outfit so subpar (that white skirt? Nonononono) the judges had no choice but to send him home. They anointed Stanley the winner for an adorable A-line dress, and all was well in the world. Well, kind of. Not really.

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<p>Tatiana Maslany as Sarah in &quot;Orphan Black.&quot;</p>

Tatiana Maslany as Sarah in "Orphan Black."

Credit: BBC America

Review: BBC America's 'Orphan Black' has fun with many faces

A petty criminal assumes the identity of her exact lookalike in an entertaining new series

There are some weeks so full of premieres that I don't have time to actually write reviews of all the shows I would like to, and then I content myself with the thought that at least I discussed them on the podcast with Dan.

But of course not everybody listens to the podcast, and I wanted to take some of the praise about "Orphan Black" from this week's show and put it into written form. A busy day, so let's go right to the bullet points:

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"Scandal"

 "Scandal"

Credit: ABC

'Scandal' recap: The mole is revealed in 'Snake in the Garden'

Hollis asks Olivia for help and Jake wears down her defenses

I haven't always liked Mellie. In the last few weeks of "Scandal," she's been particularly annoying, tiptoeing around the Oval Office, inducing labor to pull Fitz closer, and generally meddling in matters about which she doesn't have all the information. But tonight, Mellie won me over, at least for a little while. Instead of wheedling and manipulating, she finally stood up to Fitz, calling him out on his pouty, cranky behavior (and comes awfully close to calling him a drunk to boot). Honestly, it's news he doesn't want to hear, but I have to think that a moment like this one -- in which his wife serves up the straight, uncensored truth -- may be the only way for him to find respect for FLOTUS again.

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"The Vampire Diaries"

 "The Vampire Diaries"

Credit: The CW

'The Vampire Diaries' recap: 'American Gothic'

Klaus and Caroline spark while Katherine hides the cure

You know how every episode of "The Vampire Diaries" tends to have a central theme or issue? This one might be "Psyche!" or "Everything you know is WRONG" or "Only suckers assume, ha!" Nothing is quite what you think it is on this episode, which is all about messing with our expectations. Not that you can have a lot of expectations with this show, which tends to toss more curve balls than Nolan Ryan. But even your eyes will deceive you, whether or not you need glasses. So, that person? Looks like Caroline, but maybe it isn't. Might be Silas. Might not be a person at all. Or maybe it is. Gotcha!

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Watch: Ariana Grande's video for 'The Way' featuring Mac Miller
Credit: Republic Records

Watch: Ariana Grande's video for 'The Way' featuring Mac Miller

'Nickelodeon' star leapt out of nowhere to claim top iTunes spot

Unless you’re a fan of Nickelodeon’s “Victorious,” you can be forgivenfor seeing Ariana Grande’s name at the top of the iTunes singles chart and saying, “Who?”

That’s understandable as her hit, “The Way,” has seemingly come out of nowhere to grab the top download spot.

“The Way,” which features Mac Miller prominently (you may remember that he debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 last year with “Blue Slide Park” ), catapulted to the top spot on iTunes after its release a few days ago through Republic Records.

[More after the jump...]

 

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<p>Katharine McPhee</p>

Katharine McPhee

Credit: Scott Kirkland/Picture Group

Recap: 'American Idol' - Top 8: Results - Plus Katharine McPhee and Keith Urban

Which singer received the fewest votes after their Detroit-themed performances

It's time for our "American Idol" Thursday results. 

The way I'm figuring it, the judges would let Devin Velez or Lazaro Arbos go home without hesitation.

If anybody else finishes last, the Judges' Save would be a definite possibility. Burnell Taylor would be the most interesting case. I think all five "Idol" women would get saved if they're voted out this week, but would the judges go out of their way to protect the best male from this season's dismal crop?

Let's see how things go after the break... Plus? Katharine McPhee performs!

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<p>Album art for LL&nbsp;Cool J's &quot;Authentic&quot;</p>

Album art for LL Cool J's "Authentic"

Credit: 429 Records

LL Cool J has guests galore on new album 'Authentic'

Fitz & The Tantrums, Snoop Dogg, and Travis Barker are also on new set

LL Cool J showed he still had it when his performance closed this year’s Grammy Awards. Now fans left wanting more will get plenty of LL Cool J, aka Todd Smith, when the “NCSI Los Angeles" star's” 14th studio album comes out April 30.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>GET&nbsp;IT?!?!</p>

GET IT?!?!

Credit: Open Road

Review: Andrew Niccol hammers another nail in his own career's coffin with witless 'The Host'

How does the writer of 'The Truman Show' end up here?

Holy cow. Someone please tell me that this is it. All the "Twilight" books have been filmed, and now we've got a movie version of the novel "The Host" by Stephenie Meyer, and that's all she wrote, right? Please, someone, tell me this is all, because I need some good news after sitting through the preposterous, tone-deaf, almost breathtakingly terrible new film by once-promising writer/director Andrew Niccol.

Someday, someone smarter and more tactful than myself will write a book examining the insidious way talented filmmakers subjugated themselves to the knuckle-headed financial juggernaut of the Stephenie Meyer machine. I may dislike the last two films in the "Twilight" series enormously, but my frustration at watching the considerable talent of Bill Condon squandered on those two films is tempered by the knowledge that he just bought himself the freedom to make anything he wants for the rest of his life. Now Andrew Niccol has been tasked with taking her one non-"Twilight" book and bringing it to life, and the result helps emphasize some of the problems with both the uber-popular "supernatural romance" sub-section of the young adult genre right now and with the career of Niccol himself.

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"Dancing with the Stars"

 "Dancing with the Stars"

Credit: ABC

Lisa Vanderpump and Gleb Savchenko talk 'Dancing with the Stars' groin connection

The pair jokes about Giggy, Ken's reaction and more
Lisa Vanderpump just may be my favorite on "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" due to her wry assessments of her mostly hysterical castmates, so I was thrilled to see she'd be hoofing it for "Dancing with the Stars" this season. If anyone can find the humor in being tossed around or criticized for floppy hands, it's Vanderpump. Today I got a chance to talk to Vanderpump and her partner Gleb Savchenko about their experiences on the show, dirty dancing (kind of), and whether we can expect more Giggy in the future. As expected, Vanderpump was funny, dry and supportive of her newbie dance partner (this is his first season on the American version of "Dancing with the Stars"), who was just as big of a fan of hers. Who ever said a "Real Housewives" star can't play nice?
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<p>Richard Pryor in his 1982 &quot;Live on the Sunset Strip&quot; special</p>

Richard Pryor in his 1982 "Live on the Sunset Strip" special

Credit: Sony Pictures

Forest Whitaker steps in to produce the Richard Pryor biopic - but will it actually happen?

Honestly, this project seems cursed...

A biopic of late, great stand-up comedian Richard Pryor is clearly a cursed production. Versions with filmmakers like Martin Scorsese and Kasi Lemmons have crashed and burned, even with stars attached. Filmmaker Bill Condon was coming off the $100 million "Dreamgirls" in 2006 and had an honest script in place depicting all the drugs, women and turmoil of Pryor's life, but the hard R rating made it difficult to land financing. It was dark with a capital "D," and stars such as Eddie Murphy, Will Smith and Jamie Foxx balked, further scaring off studios as the project bounced from Fox Searchlight to Paramount.

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"The Voice"

 "The Voice"

Credit: NBC

Listen: CulturePop Podcast No. 7 - 'Dancing with the Stars,' 'The Voice,' Justin Timberlake

We weigh in on 'The Real Housewives' and more

Welcome back to CulturePop! If you listened to us in the first weeks, you'll notice some of our sound is much better and some is not. Unfortunately, I've discovered that my line-in on my Mac isn't working and have to find a time to drag it in for repairs. We also had a little Skype slogginess, but that being said, we're getting there and we hope you'll tune in. Here's the rundown for our seventh podcast:

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<p>Ben Affleck and Olga Kurylenko in &quot;To the Wonder.&quot;</p>

Ben Affleck and Olga Kurylenko in "To the Wonder."

Credit: Magnolia Pictures

Malick's 'To the Wonder' to be released day-and-date in theaters and on VOD

Magnolia will finally release the divisive film Stateside on April 12

Round about the time we were all waiting breathlessly for "The Tree of Life" to finally land, the idea of a Terrence Malick film bowing simultaneously in theaters and on VOD and iTunes would have seemed pretty far-fetched. But the journey for his follow-up, "To the Wonder," has been different from the off.

Unveiled at Venice without a US distributor, the esoteric love story garnered enough damning reviews to scare off bigger distributors like Fox Searchlight (who had nurtured "Tree"), and was left waiting for some time before finding a home with niche outfit Magnolia Pictures. They were in no hurry to release it, either, wisely skipping the pressures of the 2012 awards season and waiting until the spring -- allowing the UK to be the first territory to release the film, last month. Meanwhile, critical reception for the film has warmed up somewhat since its chilly festival debut, with further champions joining the early defenders. 

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