<p>The Turbanator!&nbsp;</p>

The Turbanator! 

Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' - Sudden Death, Part 4 - 10 More Guys Perform

The Turbanator leads the final group of 'Idol' semifinalists

I hated the way "American Idol" handled Hollywood Week this year, with the pointless gender splitting and subsequent elongation of an already dull slog.

But I've liked the Sudden Death approach to the Top 40. Let America actually see some full performances before they get to vote. Yes, it allows the judges to put an additional early imprint on contestants who are favorites due to talent -- Angela Miller, Curtis Finch Jr. etc -- and also contestants who are favorites due to narrative or personality -- Charlie Askew, Zoanette Johnson, etc. But I think it may make the electorate a bit more  informed when voting begins next week. Maybe.

The first week of Sudden Death, we saw the highs of the first group of girls and the lows of the first group of boys. And last night, we got a pretty representative group, with a few standouts, a few weak performances and whatever you want to say about Zoanette. 

How would the last group of men do? Click through...

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<p>Cochran of &quot;Survivor&quot;</p>

Cochran of "Survivor"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: Caramoan' - 'There’s Gonna be Hell to Pay'

Miscommunications and a tricky strategy make for an interesting vote
Pre-credit sequence. The Fans return to camp after booting Allie. Eddie is confused. Matt is very proud at himself for choosing his side. "We are not friends. But we need each other to win," Reynold tells Matt and Sherri. Shamar is feeling gloat-y with Eddie and Reynold and also introducing certain viewers at home to the phrase "ace boon coon," which you probably don't want to start using with your friends if you weren't using it already. "The camp is totally in chaos," laments Laura, who wishes Shamar would chill. But Shamar isn't just ranting at the people who tried voting him out. He's also going off on Matt, whose vote helped save him and yelling at Julia, who was 100 percent invisible last week. "The part of Shamar that was fun has completely gone," Laura says. 
 
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<p>This is&nbsp;Juliana Chahayed. She's either a tiny girl or that's a big guitar</p>

This is Juliana Chahayed. She's either a tiny girl or that's a big guitar

Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' - Sudden Death, Part 3 - 10 More Girls Perform

The ladies shined last week, will a new group continue the momentum?

Last week was a mixed bag on "American Idol."

On Wednesday, a group of 10 women, led by Angela Martin and Amber Holcomb, really shined. There were only a couple truly bad performances and I could have justified sending six or seven singers through.

On Thursday, a group of 10 men, led by nobody in particular, laid a huge egg. I wouldn't have let more than two or three of them advance.

Another group of 10 women will be hitting the Las Vegas stage on Wednesday (February 27) and while we've seen indications that a few of them are talented... Who knows? 

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<p>Idries and Jamil of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>

Idries and Jamil of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Idries & Jamil talk 'The Amazing Race'

Twin gynecologists discuss their water issues
In my recap of Sunday (February 24) night's "Amazing Race," I harped extensively on misfortune/negligence of going on the Emmy-winning competition if you're unable to deal with water. 
 
I probably slightly over-emphasized the role that water played in the elimination of twins Idries and Jamil Abdur-Rahman, neglecting that even sandcastles proved a challenge for the sibling gynecologists in the previous Leg. 
 
Still, on the most basic level, Idries and Jamil were undone by their difficulties in the crystal clear blue waters of Bora Bora, which led to their elimination in the second Leg of the "Amazing Race" season.
 
Due to last Monday's holiday, Idries & Jamil were my first "Amazing Race" exit interview of the spring and, yes, we spent a long time talking about water. 
 
Click through for the full conversation...
 
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'Jack the Giant Slayer' director Bryan Singer talks 3D, family films and 'X Men: Days of Future Past'

'Jack the Giant Slayer' director Bryan Singer talks 3D, family films and 'X Men: Days of Future Past'

Which aspects of 'Jack and the Beanstalk' were sacred?
RICHMOND, ENGLAND - I rushed in to interview with "Jack the Giant Slayer" director fresh off of shooting my musical stand-up (Check It Out Below) in front of Hampton Court Palace. 
 
I apologized for my cold hands, but Singer knows a thing or two about shooting in the frigid temperatures in Henry VIII's former residence. Much of "Jack the Giant Slayer" is shot on elaborate soundstages and using digital trickery, but several key outdoor and crowd scenes were shot in the  open spaces and courtyards around the palace, which justified the location of the film's recent junket and has added some historically confusing footnotes to the guided tours.
 
We chatted in a room decorated with a painting that Singer told me was one of the Queen's favorites, but it was unclear which Elizabeth was playing favorites with the Hampton art. 
 
You may have already seen Singer's interview-closing discussion of his approach to "X-Men: Days of Future Past," but we also talked about "Jack the Giant Slayer," including his approach to the classic fairy tale/legend,  the target age range for the new film and his learning curve with 3D technology.
 
Check out the full interview above and my interview with "Jack the Giant Slayer" stars Nicholas Hoult and Eleanor Tomlinson.
 
"Jack the Giant Slayer" opens on Friday, March 1.
 
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'Jack the Giant Slayer' stars Nicholas Hoult and Eleanor Tomlinson talk Bryan Singer and beanstalks

'Jack the Giant Slayer' stars Nicholas Hoult and Eleanor Tomlinson talk Bryan Singer and beanstalks

Bryan Singer fairy tale hits theaters Friday
RICHMOND, ENGLAND - The recent junket for Bryan Singer's "Jack the Giant Slayer" created quite the clash of cultures.
 
On one hand, the director and stars were discussing their high-tech reimagining of the story of Jack and the Beanstalk, a classic fairy tale being brought to the big screen with 3D flair and layers of complicated computer imagery used to produce grotesque giants and towering green staircases leading to a kingdom into the sky. 
 
On the other hand, the interviews were being conducted at the Hampton Court Palace just outside of London, a former residence of royalty constructed for Cardinal Wolsey back in the early 16th Century. You can't see much of the palace in the set-up for this interview, but if you listen to the echo in the audio, those are the reverberations of high ceilings and Tudor opulence.
 
In this conversation, stars Nicholas Hoult and Eleanor Tomlinson discuss the challenges of acting opposite tennis balls for many of their "Jack the Giant Slayer" scenes, as well as Singer's role in helping them all "just create a spectacle, a fun family adventure the people can laugh at and get swept up in the romance between us two," as Hoult put it. 
 
As you can see from some of the behind-the-scenes footage edited with the interview, parts of "Jack the Giant Slayer" actually were shot at Hampton Court Palace and, as Hoult and Tomlinson explain, Singer also made sure they had plenty of "real" beanstalk to work with.
 
Check out the interview above.
 
"Jack the Giant Slayer" opens on Friday, March 1. Stay tuned in the days to come for interviews with Singer, as well as co-stars Ewan McGregor and Stanley Tucci. 
 
And check out the video below for my introduction to the junket. Warning, it contains singing.
 
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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 170

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 170

Dan and Alan talk Oscars, 'Vikings,' 'Downton Abbey' and more

The

Sepinwall is back from Disney World, which must mean it's time for the triumphant return of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
 
Lots to talk about this week, but we start with a long discussion of the Oscars, followed by reviews of "Golden Boy," "Red Widow" and "Vikings" and a few pieces of Listener Mail, culminating in a discussion of the "Downton Abbey" finale, with spoilers.
 
Here's the breakdown:
Oscars (00:02:45 - 00:26:20)
"Golden Boy" (00:26:25 - 00:40:50)
"Red Widow" (00:40:55 - 00:51:50)
"Vikings" (00:51:50 - 01:02:00)
Listener Mail - Watching TV on the road (01:02:20 - 01:08:30)
Listener Mail - NBC's need to experiment (01:08:35 - 01:15:45)
The "Downton Abbey" finale (01:15:55 - 01:36:30)
 

the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. [Or you can always follow our RSS Feed.] 

 

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.

<p>Katie and Max of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>

Katie and Max of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'Loose Lips Sink Ships'

Water, water everywhere. That's a bad thing if you hate water.
You'll have to tell me, fellow "Amazing Race" fans: Was Sunday (February 24) night's episode really, really lame and anti-climactic or did it only feel lame to this recapper who had to watch the episode after seven-ish hours of consecutive tweeting and live-blogging of the Oscars and really might have preferred to just to to sleep, rather than dealing with an "Amazing Race" Leg with little travel, a couple uninspired challenges and a lot of whining? I mean, I'd like to think that even in my exhausted state, I would have enjoyed a GOOD episode of "The Amazing Race," but this didn't feel like one of those to me.
 
Or am I wrong? 
 
Click through and I'm gonna run through the episode as quickly as possible. 
 
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<p>Oscars host Seth MacFarlane</p>

Oscars host Seth MacFarlane

Credit: ABC

2013 Academy Awards Live-Blog

How did Oscar host Seth MacFarlane handle the lead-up to a big 'Argo' Night?

It's a wonderful night for Oscar! Oscar, Oscar! Who will win!

Follow HitFix's full live-blog of Hollywood's Big Night, hosted by Seth MacFarlane and join the conversation below. 

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<p>Jeff Probst snuffs Allie's torch on &quot;Survivor: Caramoan&quot;</p>

Jeff Probst snuffs Allie's torch on "Survivor: Caramoan"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Allie Pohevitz talks 'Survivor: Caramoan'

What was Allie thinking with The Foursome?
Allie Pohevitz's elimination from "Survivor: Caramoan" can be explained using simple math:
 
If you're in an alliance of four in a tribe of 10, you shouldn't assume that the lone guy who everybody hates will be seen as more of a threat than your tightly bunched, cuddling group of pretty people. Because 6 > 4.
 
Reynold, Allie, Eddie and Hope formed an early alliance within the Fans tribe based on shared interests, shared youth and shared attractiveness. They were convinced that because everybody seemed to hate lazy, ornery Marine Shamar, he'd be an easy first elimination and they could skate. They were incorrect. Led by Sherri, the outsider alliance reminded the Foursome of the basic math I mentioned earlier and voted Allie out.
 
In this week's "Survivor" exit interview, Allie talks about hating Shamar, failing to properly obscure her alliance and knowing about the Reynold's Idol, even if the editing made it look like she didn't.
 
Click through for the full Q&A...
 
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