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May 02, 2008

Song sung blue


So after suffering through halting renditions of his iconic songs from the final five on "American Idol" the other night (well, three of them didn't completely suck), Neil Diamond had the dubious pleasure of presiding over a sing-a-long with Al Roker and various microphone-equipped fans on the "Today Show."

The Grammy-winning singer-songwriter has an album and tour to promote, so he continued to be gracious, belting out "America" and "I'm a Believer" this morning, sounding like his timeless self and seemingly having a good time. But with Roker, Vieira et. al. joining in, adding some "dance moves" for added impact, it must've started to feel like a very long week.

Doesn't do much to scour the brain of the limp versions of his power pop ballads by Brooke "Cry Me a River" White and Jason "The Lost Olsen Triplet" Castro on "Idol." Too bad they both couldn't have been kicked off.

But if there's one thing we know about Diamond, it's this -- the guy's got stamina. Decades in the business and still going strong. Local stop: Hollywood Bowl in the fall. Definitely a hot ticket.


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Oscar Contenders

  • So "The Dark Knight" didn't make it into the final five after all, never mind that critical and popular support. Let's just call the comic-inspired mega-hit "The Biggest Snubee."

    Here are the best picture contenders in a race that, two weeks away from the Oscars, seems to be a foregone conclusion ("Slumdog") unless there's a come-from-behind possibility ("The Reader" anyone?)

    "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett; the politically timely "Milk;" rags-to-riches fairy tale, "Slumdog Millionaire," Holocaust best-seller-based drama "The Reader," and Watergate-era biopic "Frost/Nixon."

    Could "Button" and "Slumdog" split the vote, allowing another film to take the prize? Doesn't seem likely. After having clung to "Button" for months as what we thought would be the Academy voters' top vhoice, our money's now on "Slumdog." Momentum can't be ignored.

    Watch this blog for updates, ephemera and all manner of postulating.

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  • Mmmmm, chocolate Oscar. Not every star will walk away from the 81st annual Academy Awards with a trophy, but if they hit the high-profile Governor's Ball they can have pastry chef Sherry Yard's gold-dusted candy version. Also on the menu from celeb chef Wolfgang Puck is tuna tartare in sesame miso cones, chopped Chino Farms vegetable salad with ginger soy vinaigrette, Maine lobster and caviar. Serve it up! (Getty Images)

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