'American Idol' Season 12 Finalists Interviews

'American Idol' Season 12 Finalists Interviews

Angie, Devin, Lazaro, Curtis and more share their hopes and dreams
The annual "American Idol" Finalists party is one of my favorite red carpet events to cover. It's simultaneously wildly chaotic and yet efficient, as publicists take great pains to make sure reporters get a few minutes with each of the singers. And, let's be honest, you don't need a 30-minute sit-down with each of these kids. It's just a good chance to get in a few key questions like...
What's up with Burnell Taylor and his "conducting" gestures?
And... Since Paul Jolley is the only contestant capable of continuing the "Idol" White Boy With Guitar winning streak... Can Paul actually play the guitar? 
And... What's Devin Velez's mother gonna do the first time one of the judges criticize him?
Click through the interview gallery -- they're all very brief -- for these answers and more! It'll make you just a bit more in-touch with the Top 10 when they perform on Wednesday (March 13) night.
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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 172

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 172

Dan and Alan talk 'Survive and Advance,' 'Justified,' 'SNL' and more


Happy Monday, Boys & Girls!
Time for another installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
Last week, we had nothing to talk about, but it ended up being our longest podcast ever.
This week, we had very little to talk about, so we kept things short, or at least relatively short. We answered some mail, caught up on "Justified," chatted about the state of "Saturday Night Live" and whatnot.
Next week? Much busier!
Today's breakdown:
30 For 30's "Survive and Advance" (00:01:30 - 00:11:35)
"Justified" check-in (00:11:45 - 00:29:15)
"Saturday Night Live" check-in (00:29:15 - 00:39:30)
Listener Mail: Pilot casting (00:39:45 - 00:45:45)
Listener Mail: DVR impact on advertisers (00:45:50 - 00:50:20)
Listener Mail: Rotten Tomatoes for TV (00:50:40 - 00:53:35)
Listener Mail: "Walking Dead" and spoiler-y "Previously on" segments (00:53:35 - 00:59:40)
Sports Blather (00:59:50 - 01:04:50)

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.

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<p>Team Alabama performs an &quot;Amazing Race&quot; Detour</p>

Team Alabama performs an "Amazing Race" Detour

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'I Love Monkeys!'

Monkeys and mental blunders domination a fun episode
I was already in the tank for Sunday (March 10) night's episode of "The Amazing Race" before it began. Based on the monkey-heavy teaser and the title "I Love  Monkeys!" there was precious little chance that I would have negative things to say about at least one portion of this Leg, which counts as a major plus in a season that has been initially lackluster.
Fortunately, not only did the Leg get off to a very strong start thanks to the promised-and-delivered monkeys, but it also closed well, with a concluding 20 minutes positively glutted with mind-boggling decisions and interpretations that left me yelling at the screen with frustration, confusion and amusement.
In the middle? Yes, there was yet another weak Detour that contributed heavily to the end-of-Leg drama, but didn't amount to much as challenges themselves. That wasn't so good. But even if I'd just been ambivalent on the rest of the episode, the end-of-hour Phil-ism would have pushed it into positive territory. In this case, it made a "good" episode "very good."
Recap after the break...
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'Once Upon a Time' star Robert Carlyle breaks down the many sides of Rumpelstiltskin

'Once Upon a Time' star Robert Carlyle breaks down the many sides of Rumpelstiltskin

Which version of the multi-faceted character is the biggest challenge?
When you're on a red carpet, sometimes you only have a minute or two with an actor and you need to get to the root of what you're actually curious about. 
For lots of reporters, that's spoilers and hints about upcoming episodes, which is totally fine and I know folks love to hear about that.
But if you give me two minutes with Robert Carlyle (and Begbie is presumably not on-topic), I'm gonna ask about process and in the case of his work on "Once Upon a Time," I want details on the construction of a character who is simultaneously four or five different characters, who each have different accents, intonations and mannerisms. 
So if you're interested in what I'm interested in, this two-minute chat from PaleyFest in Los Angeles is mighty interesting. 
Check out the interview above, as well as my interviews with Ginnifer Goodwin and series creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis.
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<p>Laura gets her &quot;Survivor&quot; torch snuffed</p>

Laura gets her "Survivor" torch snuffed

Credit: CBS

Interview: Laura Alexander talks 'Survivor: Caramoan'

Bootee discusses working around her physical weakness, or trying to
So many people sign on for "Survivor" without any tangible strategy and inexplicably get carried through the majority of a season by either a fortuitous alliance or sheer physicality. 
That's why it always makes me a tiny bit sad when I do a "Survivor" exit interview early in the season and I get the sense that the person I'm talking to had a smart and multi-layered approach to the game and just got pushed into an unfortunate corner, perhaps not even making it to a Merge.
Laura Alexander quickly admits that she was the weakest person on her "Survivor: Caramoan" tribe and for that, she was voted out. Might the game have progressed differently, though, if Shamar Thomas hadn't been medically evacuated from the game shortly before an Immunity Challenge? Without Shamar, the Fans lost a potentially strong player, but mostly Laura lost a number in her alliance as well as a potentially deflective shield for scrutiny. 
In her exit interview, Laura takes much of the credit for the majority alliance that has steered the Fans' voting and explains her attempts to keep her deficiencies from being too glaring and what eventually did her in. 
You can decide if you also come away feeling like under slightly different circumstances, Laura could have had a much longer "Survivor" run.
[As I mentioned in Shamar's exit interview, this week's cats were a little shorter than normal because there were two of them.]

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'Once Upon a Time' star Ginnifer Goodwin talks happily-ever-afters

'Once Upon a Time' star Ginnifer Goodwin talks happily-ever-afters

Why does Goodwin want Snow White making tacos?
Fairy tales are all about leading up to happily-ever-afters, but presumably when ABC's "Once Upon a Time" reaches its happily ever after, the show is over. Right? Things can't get too happy or else the drama is gone?
Not true, protests Ginnifer Goodwin, who I talked to on the PaleyFest red carpet in Los Angeles last weekend. The "Big Love" veteran, who plays Snow White on "Once Upon a Time," suggests that the characters deserve some downtime.
"I want to see them making tacos," Goodwin suggests.
Tacos may not be in the cards for the "Once Upon a Time" characters, but Goodwin suggests that we'll soon get to see more of my favorite incarnation of Snow White, the Woodland Warrior version of Snow. She also discusses her own accident-prone nature which led to a hospital vision last season.
Check out the interview above, as well as my chat with series creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis.
The next new "Once Upon a Time" episode airs on Sunday (March 10) night.
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<p>Shamar and &quot;Survivor&quot; host Jeff Probst</p>

Shamar and "Survivor" host Jeff Probst

Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Interview: Shamar Thomas talks 'Survivor: Caramoan'

What does the polarizing castaway regret from his brief experience?
In "Survivor" lore, you don't really want your name to end up next to Colton Cumbie, but that may be where Shamar Thomas' name is going to go.
Granted that fan opinions on Shamar have been far more varied than the near-universal malice directed at Colton, but both Shamar and Colton go in that very tiny "Survivor" chapter dedicated to contestants who dominated screentime in the early stages of a season only to be medically evacuated and leave the game without making a lasting impact.
For three weeks, the 27-year-old Iraq War veteran rubbed most of the other "Survivor: Caramoan" Fans tribe the wrong way with his aggressive personality but sometimes passive camp behavior. Each week it seemed like logic dictated that Shamar would be heading home, but he was part of an alliance that was determined to remain strong, even with him as an integral part. 
Shamar, unhappy in the game from the opening moments, contemplated quitting  earlier and then chose to depart during Wednesday's (March 6) episode at the doctor's recommendation after irritating his eye and being diagnosed with a divot in his cornea. 
I tried to get Shamar to discuss his behavior in the game, as well as his image problem in one of this week's two "Survivor" exit interviews. You can read his answers however you choose. Click through for the full Q&A.
[Note that this week's two exit interviews -- the second will post tomorrow -- are a little shorter than normal. That's what comes from attempting to fit two bootees into a standard interview time. As a completist, I'm just grateful I got to chat with both of them.]
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<p>Kree Harrison of &quot;American Idol&quot;</p>

Kree Harrison of "American Idol"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' - Las Vegas Round: Finalists Revealed

It'll take 90 minutes to unveil the Top 10-or-so

What have you done, America?

No. Seriously. I'm actually kinda curious. I want to know which girl is going to advance along with Amber, Kree, Candice and Angela. 

I want to know who's going to advance among the Men, who were mostly a mediocre lot.

And, finally, I want to know if the judges are going to toss in any twists, two wild cards, perhaps? "Idol" is ending a week earlier this year, so I suppose that if you eliminate the Judges' Save and just do a Top 10, that fits, right? 

We'll see. It'll take 90 minutes, but we'll find out.

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<p>Matt smash!</p>

Matt smash!

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: Caramoan' - 'Kill or Be Killed'

Medical comes calling, as does Tata the Bushman
Pre-credit sequence. The Fans have lost hope. Wait. Sorry. The Fans have lost Hope. "Where do you think we're going to go from here?" Eddie whines to Sherri. "It's mind-boggling that we got rid of Hope tonight because she was the prettiest one here and she was a threat to everybody because of that," says Eddie. Really, Eddie? Really? Ugh. Reynold tells Laura that she made him look like an idiot. Matt protests that this is part of the game, but Reynold says that he doesn't want to be associated with any of them and he has no respect for them. Eddie's all "Good luck winning after you vote me and Reynold off," to which somebody correctly notes that they haven't been winning with them either. I dislike Eddie a lot. And Reynold tells me Eddie could be next to go. I'm fine with that.
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<p>Five of the &quot;American Idol&quot; Top 10 Men</p>

Five of the "American Idol" Top 10 Men

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' - Las Vegas Round: Top 10 Men Perform

Will the Men bounce back from a rocky start in Vegas?

No matter what Randy Jackson, Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban and Mariah Carey try saying, the "American Idol" Top 10 Women weren't spectacular on Tuesday night. Four of them were very good, a couple of them were pretty bad and the rest of them were OK. That's a decent show and there's no reason to engage in hyperbole.

The Top 10 Men will have to step up their games on Wednesday (March 6) night if they're going to be worthy of their five slots in the overall Top 10, which will be unveiled on Thursday. Based on the Sudden Death performances, I don't think most of these guys are especially worthy, but let's find out.

Full recap after the break...

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