Friday, February 15, 2019

Singer 7 OUT of “THE MASKED SINGER”: LA TOYA JACKSON

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Last week, the 12 mysteriously covered and concealed contestants of Fox’s hilariously fun new reality singing competition “The Masked Singer” was finally whittled down to half. That one saw the exit of veteran talk show host Ricki Lake, who was costumed as “Raven” for the show. This week is the last regular showdown episode of the contest before it heads into serious territory with the semi-finals next week. By now, the initially far-out guesses of the in-show panel, stage/TV audiences and social media have been honed to make sharp deductions on the remaining singers’ identities. The seventh eliminated singer for instance, was correctly named online.
The Hollywood Reporter has it that the latest contestant to be unmasked in “The Masked Singer” last Wednesday, February 13, was none other than singer and famous family member La Toya Jackson. She was incognito as the competitor “Alien,” and her last appearance on the show – performances and everything else – was apparently an easy guess for home viewers this time. Alien had been pitted against Rabbit, Monster, Bee, Peacock and Lion, and her rendition of “Ex’s and Oh’s” by Elle King got chosen by the studio audience and show panel of Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger, Ken Jeong and Robin Thicke to be the weakest performance.
In her post-show interview with the Reporter, Jackson revealed that she had been a hesitant contestant for “The Masked Singer” but ultimately decided to go through with it for the unique experience. She also shared a few of the behind-the-scenes mechanics of the competition, such as how the contestants pick their songs (the producers ask for their song list to have them cleared for possible performance, with the singers having free pick on what they will perform for the episode).
Jackson was impressed at the measures used to conceal identities between the contestants and staff, though she felt the mandatory clue showcases tripped her over, as evidenced by the Twitter storms deducing her as the Alien that flooded her page. With her time in the show over, she has expressed interest at going through it again if given the chance.
And she just might. “The Masked Singer” was so good with its quirky premise attracting viewers and revitalizing the reality singing competition TV genre, that Fox went ahead and cleared it for a new season. In the meantime, the show is now going into the semis on February 20. Here, two masked singers will be unmasked, leaving only three to go head to head to head in the show finale.
Image courtesy of People.com

SMARTPHONE LEAKERS Cause Companies to GIVE UP Most SECRECY Efforts

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Over the past month, South Korean electronics giant Samsung must have been in the middle of their meticulous planning for a big bonanza this February when they planned to introduce their latest smartphone on the Galaxy S line, arguably the most prominent Android phone to match up against the iOS-using Apple iPhone. Whatever their plans were, they have been spoiled by tech new leakers galore, spurring them to reveal their tech event set next week on the 20th. But already they have a reservation page for the Galaxy S10 and variants before that date, as they have stopped trying to be pointedly ignorant of spoilers.
The Verge notes that Samsung and other smartphone manufacturers are growing increasingly resigned to the activities of veteran tech leakers that always seem to get the jump on their newest products and share the goods – promo images, specs and so on – to the public before the companies are good and ready. Such actions by the likes of Evan “evleaks” Blass and Roland Quandt have all but killed whatever sort of anticipation the companies hoped to build and hype ahead of the unveiling of new products. Blass had leaked the Galaxy S10, Quandt the Sony Xperia.
A rising trend of constant bulletproof smartphone leaks have led to some of their manufacturers to simply roll with the spoilers and carry on with earlier intros. Samsung’s fellow Korean electronics juggernaut LG is now openly promoting their G8 ThinQ, which they were supposed to show for the first time at the Barcelona World Mobile Congress, mere days after the Samsung live event for the S10. In fact, LG may have pretty much handed over the specs of the G8 which include Crystal Sound OLED tech (to make the display double as a speaker by vibrating it) to leakers’ circles.
With the Chinese smartphone makers, Vivo for instance is taking the simple route of releasing visible, near-candid press images of their devices like the upcoming V15 smartphone (top picture), even with the availability date still long in coming. This falls into Vivo’s market strategy to expand in Europe and India. Xiaomi too has followed suit with senior international VP tweeting images of their Mi 9 by his own hand, ahead of its February 24 debut.
Its fellow companies in that country however can still manage to pull of low-publicity local releases in China that are silent to world press, until a later, major international unveiling. Nevertheless, the capitulation of phone-makers to product secrecy on account of leakers is symptomatic of these companies’ struggle to coordinate launches of their newest smartphones.
Image from Business Today (India)

DISNEY Fan Reactions DIVIDED Regarding Two NEW Upcoming Film TRAILERS

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Like the multimedia juggernaut that it is, Disney is going in guns blazing on movies this 2019. For its subsidiaries Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm they have quite the selection of anticipated pictures like three MCU installments for the former and “Star Wars: Episode IX” for the latter. But Disney’s own production studios are not slouching, with three live-action remakes of their classic animated canon as well, plus a new animated film on top. This week, two of these films released teasers, and the viewer reaction for them are different as night and day: derision in one, awe in the other.
The much maligned teaser is that for the live-action version of 1993’s “Aladdin,” which rolled out its second trailer Monday, February 11. While certain elements of the preview garnered positive nods, such as the production design for the Arabian city of Agrabah, the “Prince Ali” segment and Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott), points were docked by fans concerning other factors. One was the squeaky voice of antagonist Jafar (Marwan Kenzari), which is a shame considering earlier photos of the actor in character were met with tentative approval. Next is the perceived wooden portrayal of lead actor Mena Massoud as Aladdin himself.
But the big offender to fans is the depiction of the story’s Genie of the Lamp, portrayed by Will Smith. Earlier shots of the actor as the Genie had him play it live, causing uproar that his skin was not colored blue like the original animation. The new trailer did see Genie Smith rendered with CGI blue skin, but now viewers are even more turned off to his role, more with the classic-lovers who believed on the late Robin Williams could portray Genie for Disney.
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If the second “Aladdin” trailer was criticized, CNBC reports there was little to none of that bile when Disney released the first true teaser for “Frozen II.” Fans of the 2013 animated blockbuster were stunned with wonder at seeing their beloved characters Elsa and Anna, and their companions on the start of a new adventure.
Said adventure looks to be taking a darker and more foreboding turn, as seen from the visuals of Elsa trying to repeat her freezing run atop a stormy sea, or Anna leaping across a chasm and using a sword against a figure sneaking up behind her. New characters were also featured, with the heroes’ journey to a place in autumn.
Disney’s “Aladdin” live-action film premieres this May 24, while the heavily-anticipated “Frozen II” comes in autumn on November 22, like the depiction in the trailer.
Images: Den of Geek, IMDB