CityBeat Blogs - TV/Celebrity http://www.citybeat.com/cincinnati/blogs-1-1-1-33-96.html <![CDATA[Your Weekend To Do List (2/27-3/1)]]> After fans were teased by its brief availability online two weeks ago — a “bug,” they say — the next chapter of House of Cards is finally here. Since some of us are guilty of binge-watching both previous seasons, it’s been more than a year since many viewers have spent some quality time with the Underwoods. Let’s recap. 

On the brink of his impeachment, President Walker resigned at the end of Season Two. Walker’s wealthy confidant Raymond Tusk was arrested, knocking out two of Vice President Frank Underwood’s political roadblocks. After two seasons of watching Frank go to any length to secure his power, it seems he’s reached the pinnacle. Which means … 

Frank Underwood is the President of the United States of America. Terrifying. But that doesn’t solidify his reelection in the upcoming race. Wife and sometimes literal partner in crime Claire Underwood made some low and dirty moves last season. Despite Claire helping them both rise in the ranks, expect to see her question the couple’s actions and use her title as FLOTUS as she sees fit. 

And Doug Stamper was last seen lying in the woods. While trying to protect Rachel he sufficiently spooked her, leading to a chase and brick to the head. Fingers crossed for his (unlikely) miraculous return. 

If you do want to leave the house (or you finish the entire season before tomorrow night), here are some other things to do this weekend: 

FRIDAY 
Elton John
Photo: eltonjohn.com
Music: Elton John 
The legendary Sir Elton John will be at U.S. Bank Arena on Friday with his piano and backing band, performing hits from his prolific five-decade career. His 2013 release, The Diving Board, was his 31st album, and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road — the album with “Bennie and the Jets,” “Candle in the Wind” and “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” — just celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2014. Warning: This show will probably sell out; he’s kind of a big deal. 8 p.m. Friday. $39-$149. U.S. Bank Arena, 100 Broadway, Downtown, usbankarena.com

The Total Look
Photo: William Claxton
Event: Art After Dark 
The Cincinnati Art Museum’s Art After Dark events are a great way to visit the museum after hours for socializing, art viewing and wine drinking. Friday’s Art After Dark event celebrates the opening of the museum’s new exhibit, The Total Look, an exploration of the creative collaboration between fashion designer Rudi Gernreich, model Peggy Moffitt and photographer William Claxton, featuring Mod garments Gernreich created in the 1960s and ’70s. Dress in your best ’60s-era ensemble for an evening of docent-led tours, dance performances by Pones Inc., appetizers and drinks. 5-9 p.m. Friday. Free. 953 Eden Park Drive, Mount Adams, cincinnatiartmuseum.org. 

Art: Final Friday/Reconstructed at 1305 Gallery 
Via the continued efforts of artist friends Michael Stillion and Melanie Derrick, 1305 Gallery continues to promote the work of quality artists more than a year after founder Lily Mulberry’s death. Final Friday, 1305 hosts Reconstructed: New Work by Michael Willett, a solo show of work by Willett, who graduated from DAAP’s MFA program and currently serves as an assistant professor of art at the University of Montevallo in Birmingham, Ala. His large-scale paintings and collages will be featured in an upcoming issue of New American Paintings, so check out his work while you can still see it for free. Through March 21. Free. 1305 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, facebook.com/1305gallery

Photo: Shen Yun Performing Arts
Onstage: Shen Yun 
Prepare to be uplifted and inspired by tremendous onstage energy as legends and classic heroes spring to life through historic Chinese dance. Sensational global performing group Shen Yun will take you on a profound journey through 5,000 years of Chinese culture, featuring the world’s most classically trained dancers accompanied by a live orchestra combining the best of Chinese and Western composition. Anticipate leaps and flips of Shen Yun’s aerial masters, thundering battle drums and singers’ soaring voices with dazzling animated backdrops that transport you to another world. 7:30 p.m. Friday; 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday. $53-$123. Aronoff Center, 650 Walnut St., Downtown, cincinnatiarts.org. 

Event: Cold Night & Warm Spirits 
If you’re tired of the winter dredge, seek refuge at Ault Park’s Cold Night & Warm Spirits whiskey tasting. Enjoy some of the finest American, Irish, Canadian and Scottish whiskies at this social and spirited event, with live music and light bites. Bring your own cigar to enjoy around a roaring fire on the cigar patio. Benefits Ault Park. 6:30-10 p.m. Friday. $40. 3600 Observatory Ave., Hyde Park, aultparkac.org.  

SATURDAY 
Marlee Matlin
Film: ReelAbilities Film Festival 
The ReelAbilities Film Festival, dedicated to movies that highlight the abilities of those considered “disabled,” isn’t new. It was here in 2013. But it’s vastly different this year — in fact, it’s now the city’s highest-profile film festival because the local group Living Arrangements for the Developmentally Disabled has contracted to operate the national series of ReelAbilities festivals and wants to make the Cincinnati fest, which runs from Friday to March 7, a showcase. There will be more than 15 features from around the world. Highlights include guests like Academy Award-winning actress Marlee Matlin at Friday afternoon’s awards luncheon; a touching film on Tuesday, The Commute, about a wheelchair-using man’s journey through the New York subway system; the Independent Spirit Award-nominated Stand Clear of the Closing Doors on March 7; and a documentary about the polio-afflicted great Rock & Roll songwriter Doc Pomus (“This Magic Moment”), which is being coupled with a tribute concert to him following the screening on March 6. Premiere Night Gala 6 p.m. Saturday. $150. More info at cincyra.org. 

Music: Chris Brown 
Yeah. He'll be at US Bank Arena with Trey Songz. So if you like Chris Brown, this is great for you. His tickets also cost more than going to see Elton John? 7:30 p.m. Saturday. $29.75-$199.50. U.S. Bank Arena, 100 Broadway, Downtown, usbankarena.com

Maple Sugar Days
Photo: Great Parks
Event: Maple Sugar Days 
Come celebrate the spring awakening of maple trees as you learn the craft of maple syrup making. Sweet tooths of all ages will discover how the clear, sticky sap is collected, boiled over a fire and transformed into syrup. Additionally, families can enjoy crafts, demonstrations and naturalist-led hikes. Maple treats, including waffles, ice cream and cotton candy, will be available for a small fee. Noon-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Free. Farbach-Werner Nature Preserve, 3455 Poole Road, Colerain, greatparks.org

Cincinnati Home & Garden Show
Event: Cincinnati Home & Garden Show 
According to the current weather forecast, most of our yards will still be covered in snow during the entirety of the 2015 Cincinnati Home & Garden Show. As depressing as that may seem right now, spring is (hopefully) just around the corner and it has already sprung at the Duke Energy Convention Center. Wander through fairy gardens, let your significant other try to coerce you into buying a hot tub or swoon over kitchens the size of your entire OTR apartment. Seriously. Your only other plans this week are working and shoveling the walk … again. Opens 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Through March 8. $13; free for kids. 525 Elm St., Downtown, cincinnatihomeandgardenshow.com

Xoe Wise
Photo: Provided
Music: Xoe Wise 
Singer/songwriter Xoe Wise moved from North Carolina to Chicago to follow her musical dreams and quickly became a local favorite. Wise has gradually moved from a Folk Pop style to a highly melodic and soulful Electro Pop/Chillwave approach since debuting with her 2010 album, Echo. Wise’s excellent 2013 EP Breakfast was well received, reaching the Top 20 on iTunes’ Singer/Songwriter charts and beautifully showcasing Wise’s sultry vocals and songwriting. This spring, Wise — who performed at the 2014 MidPoint Music Festival — will release Foreplay, an EP precursor to her anticipated full-length, Racecar Orgasm. 10 p.m. Saturday. Free. MOTR Pub, 1345 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, motrpub.com

SUNDAY 
Attractions: Mummies of the World 
The Cincinnati Museum Center’s once-in-a-lifetime exhibit features real mummies and artifacts, some dating back as far as 4,500 years. Discover how mummies are created, where they come from and who they are in an immersive, multi-media display. Through April 26. Non-member exhibition-only tickets: $19.50, $17.50 senior, $12.50 child. Cincinnati Museum Center, 1301 Western Ave., Queensgate, mummies.cincymuseum.org

Bravo
Attractions: Bravo the Galapagos Tortoise's Last Day at Newport Aquarium 
The Newport Aquarium’s 650-pound Galapagos tortoise Bravo — the largest turtle in the Midwest — is set to leave his Turtle Canyon home on March 1 and return to the Columbia, S.C., zoo. Upon Bravo’s departure from the aquarium, Turtle Canyon, also home to Thunder, an more than 100-year-old snapping turtle, will temporarily close for renovations. The greenhouse-like facility will re-open as a new exhibit in mid-March. During Winter Family Days, two kids get in free with each paying adult. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. Through March 1. $23 adult; $15 kids. Newport Aquarium, Newport on the Levee, Newport, Ky., newportaquarium.com

Event: Ohio Winter Food Festival 
Formerly known at the Taste of Northern Cincinnati, the Ohio Winter Food Festival celebrates the restaurants of Cincinnati’s northern suburbs. This friendly competition pits vendors like West Chester’s Troy’s Café, Parkers Blue Ash Tavern, Sharonville’s Brick House Bar & Grill and more against each other to win best in show. Taste each of the restaurants’ signature dishes and vote for your favorite. Noon-4 p.m. Sunday. $18; $20 at the door. Sharonville Convention Center, 11355 Chester Road, Sharonville, sharonvillechamber.com

August: Osage County at Clifton Performance Theatre
Photo: Jennifer Mahuet
Onstage: August: Osage County 
Tracy Letts’ 2008 play was a throwback to another era, a three-act, three-hour drama about a dysfunctional family colliding in the arid flatlands of the Oklahoma plains when their father goes missing. Not the usual fodder of contemporary drama (or perhaps because of it), the show won that year’s Pulitzer Prize for drama and Broadway’s Tony Award for best play. It features 13 vivid and vicious characters and a houseful of contentious, sometimes startling interactions. It’s going to be all the more interesting when this sprawling script is staged in the close confines of Clifton Performance Theatre, which has about 40 seats for this production. Through March 14. $20. Clifton Players, 404 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, cliftonperformancetheatre.com

Attractions: Falling Waters at Krohn Conservatory 
The Krohn Conservatory’s early spring floral show takes design inspiration from architect Frank Lloyd Wright (his 1935 modernist Pennsylvania home built for the Kaufmann family is called “Fallingwater”). The show features a Mission-style flowerbed that looks like a stained glass window made of hundreds of pansies, tulips and hydrangeas, as well as real stained glass windows created by local artist David Duff of Classical Glass. Through March 22. $4 adult; $2 child; $1-off coupon online. Krohn Conservatory, 1501 Eden Park Drive, Mount Adams, cincinnatiparks.com

TUESDAY
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Photo: Andrew Eccles
Dance: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 
Alvin Ailey once said, “Dance is for everybody. I believe that the dance came from the people and that it should always be delivered back to the people.” More than two decades after his passing, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is coming to the Aronoff for two days to deliver said gift of dance to Cincinnati. Among the six dances the troupe will perform over these two shows is Ailey’s most renowned and moving work, Revelations. Set to a series of African-American spirituals, Revelations explores both painful and splendid moments during the African-American journey. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. $30-$75. Aronoff Center, 650 Walnut St., Downtown, cincinnatiarts.org.
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<![CDATA[I Just Can't Get Enough…Oscars ]]>

Neil Patrick Harris hosted the 87th Oscars Sunday night. Let’s talk about it!

Having hosted multiple Emmy and Tony award shows in the past, quadruple-threat NPH (he sings, dances, acts and does magic) was well suited — cue Barney Stinson high-five — to the task. He did in fact sing, dance, act and do magic all while poking fun at the nominees, recreating significant movie moments and ad-libbing on the fly. Great job, NPH!

As far as the night’s trends, there were a few:

Using the acceptance speech as a bigger platform

While some folks stick to the traditional “Thank God, the Academy and my manager” speech, others used the time in the spotlight to address other issues. This is nothing new — Marlon Brando famously boycotted the 1973 Academy Awards for Hollywood’s treatment of Native Americans, arranging for Sacheen Littlefeather to attend in his behalf and decline the Best Actor award (for The Godfather).

This year’s acceptance speech shout-outs ranged from appreciating parents (J.K. Simmons) and supporting ecological sanitation and women’s rights (Patricia Arquette) to empowering the LGBTQ community (Graham Moore) and discussing immigration (Alejandro González Iñarritu).

Play someone with a disease, win awards

Again, this trend is far from new. The Academy — and audiences — love to see an actor transform, and portraying someone with a mental or physical condition can certainly do the trick. It’s not a surefire way to win an Oscar — just ask poor Leonardo DiCaprio (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Aviator) — but the Oscars have looked favorably on roles like this in the past. And present: Eddie Redmayne won Best Actor for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything; Julianne Moore was awarded Best Actress for her role as a woman with early-onset Alzheimer’s in Still Alice.

Ladies in White

Whiteness wasn’t just the hilarious subject of NPH’s first joke in the monologue (see below), it was also a prominent dress color for many attendees, nominees and performers. Patricia Arquette, Reese Witherspoon, Carmen Ejogo, Marion Cotillard, Lupita Nyong’o, Julianne Moore, Lady Gaga, Kerry Washington, Nicole Kidman and others all rocked white, channeling the snow that many of those not in L.A. were knee-deep in.



Now for a play-by-play recap of the event.

Neil Patrick Harris opened the show with a theatrical song, but not before making a joke about celebrating the “best and the whitest” – err, brightest film stars.


I like how the Oscars always start with the supporting actor award to get people excited, only to spend the following hour busting out all the technical awards and best picture nominee previews.

Best Supporting Actor
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Edward Norton, Birdman
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
Robert Duvall, The Judge

Yay! Simmons has been in the acting game a long time and killed it in Whiplash. Totally deserved.He used the time to thoughtfully and thoroughly thank his wife, kids and parents and urged viewers to do the same. “Call your mom. Call your dad.”

Adam Levine continues to take over the world/every television program. He performed a song from a movie he was in (???).

Costume Design
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Inherent Vice
Into the Woods
Maleficent
Mr. Turner

Makeup and Hairstyling
Foxcatcher
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Guardians of the Galaxy

Makeup, hair and costume design awards went to the visually delightful The Grand Budapest Hotel. Costume designers always wear the best stuff, obviously Exhibit A: Milena Canonero’s sequined pants.

Oscar lobby boys officially became weird when they held Channing Tatum's hand down the stairs.

Best Foreign Film
Ida
Tangerines
Leviathan
Timbuktu
Wild Tales

I love director Pawel Pawlikowski’s style — he just talked though the Oscars’ STFU Music Cue until it finally stopped playing! All bets are off now that we know the truth: Just. Keep. Talking.

The (not nominated) Lego Movie had its moment in the sun with an over-the-top performance of “Everything is Awesome.”


Best Live Action Short
Aya
Boogaloo and Graham
Butter Lamp (La Lamp au Beurre de Yak)
Parvaneh
The Phone Call

Best Documentary Short
Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1

Joanna
Our Curse
The Reaper (La Parka)
White Earth

Sound Mixing
American Sniper
Birdman
Interstellar
Unbroken
Whiplash

NPH recreated Birdman undies scene:


Sound Editing
American Sniper
Birdman
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Interstellar
Unbroken

Jared Leto showed up in Dumb and Dumber cosplay to present Best Supporting Actress; he also had a heavenly moment.



Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Emma Stone, Birdman
Meryl Streep, Into the Woods
Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
Laura Dern, Wild

Yay again! The Boyhood actress had this one in the bag. During her speech, Arquette promoted the organization GiveLove and gave a call to action to all the country’s mothers.


Visual Effects
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Guardians of the Galaxy

Interstellar

X-men: Days of Future Past

Best Animated Short
The Bigger Picture
The Dam Keeper
Feast
Me and My Moulton
A Single Life

Feast director Patrick Osborne is a Cincinnati native and gave us a little shout-out.

Best Animated Feature
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Big Hero 6
The Boxtrolls
Song of the Sea
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

Star T.J. Miller (Silicon Valley) was literally in the last row of the theater, but still managed to get the camera's attention as he celebrated in the nosebleed seats.

Production Design
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Interstellar
Into the Woods
Mr. Turner

Best Cinematography
Birdman
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Ida
Mr. Turner
Unbroken

Film Editing
American Sniper
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Whiplash

Idina Menzel finally got her revenge on Glom Gazingo John Travolta.

Yet he still managed to act like a fucking weirdo.

Best Documentary Feature
Citizenfour
Finding Vivian Maier
Last Days in Vietnam
The Salt of the Earth
Virunga

Best Original Song
“Glory” (Selma)
“Everything Is Awesome” (The Lego Movie)
“Grateful” (Beyond the Lights)
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” (Glen Campbell … I’ll Be Me)
“Lost Stars” (Begin Again)

John Legend and Common won this right after giving a powerful performance of the song.

Best Original Score
Alexandre Desplat, The Imitation Game
Alexandre Desplat, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Jóhann Jóhannsson, The Theory of Everything
Hans Zimmer, Interstellar
Gary Yershon, Mr. Turner

Lady Gaga gave the most “normal” — for lack of a better word — performance of her career with a tribute to The Sound of Music, proving that beyond the meat dresses and famous fiancés and 9-inch heelless platform monstrosities, Gaga is a talented entertainer.

Best Original Screenplay
Birdman
Boyhood
Foxcatcher
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Nightcrawler

Best Adapted Screenplay
American Sniper
The Imitation Game
Inherent Vice
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash

In his acceptance speech, director Graham Moore revealed he tried to kill himself as a teen because he felt different. “Stay weird. Stay different,” he encouraged.

Best Director
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Alejandro González Iñarritu, Birdman
Bennet Miller, Foxcatcher
Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game

Best Actor
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton, Birdman
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper, American Sniper

Best Actress
Reese Witherspoon, Wild
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night

Best Picture
American Sniper
Birdman
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Selma
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash

Iñarritu dedicated the award to, among others, Mexicans and immigrants.

While I was rooting for Boyhood (a movie I will probably never stop talking about and encouraging people to see), I’d be remiss not to say Birdman deserved all the accolades it received. Overall, many of the year’s best films got some deserved recognition on a night that was entertaining for movie makers and lovers alike. Also, did this year's show break the record for tighty whitie references?

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<![CDATA[I Just Can't Get Enough]]>

Comedy Central’s nightly “news” lineup is amidst a total overhaul with the recent end of The Colbert Report and the addition of The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. Stephen Colbert stepped down in December, and now The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart is following suit. The comedian shocked audiences at a Daily Show taping this week with the announcement that he’d be retiring from the show sometime later this year. While Colbert left to replace David Letterman as Late Show host (Letterman will step down in May; Colbert will take over in September), it’s unclear whether Stewart has another gig lined up, but it does sound like the show will continue with a new host. (The show originally featured Craig Kilborn before Stewart took over in 1996.)

Amy Schumer stars in a new Judd Apatow movie and, predictably, it looks hilarious.

Some previously unreleased Spice Girls songs hit the webz Wednesday, only to disappear from SoundCloud soon after. Could this be assign of another girl powa’ reunion?!

Speaking of leaks, House of Cards’ third season — which does not premiere until Feb. 27 — was available on Netflix for about 30 minutes yesterday. No, Frank Underwood was not pulling a Beyoncé by releasing a full season unannounced. It was a “mistake.”

A leak? More like the best House of Cards ad ever. Anyone who had momentarily forgotten about the upcoming season is now ready to binge the moment it premieres.

It’s been a great week in fashion for models who don’t look like hungry baby aliens, which is rare. The Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue featured two plus-size models; “World’s Oldest Supermodel,” 83-year-old Carmen Dell’Orefice appeared on the cover of New You magazine; and Jamie Brewer, who many of us know from American Horror Story, walked in a New York Fashion Week show today, becoming the first person with Down syndrome to do so. Yay beauty diversity!

And then there was The Grammys.

The night’s program kind of reminded me of the Super Bowl half-time shows of the early 2000s, where the desperate attempt to appeal to as many people as possible resulted in a mashup of lineups that simultaneously featured Nelly, Britney Spears and Aerosmith. Between Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett and Jessie J and Tom Jones, there were lots of slow songs sung by duos of old and young people, which made it very easy to watch the 603 other shows on Sunday nights (Hey, Better Call Saul!)

Sam Smith was the big winner of the night: Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best New Artist and Best Pop Vocal Album all went to the magical songbird. Beck won Album of the Year and Best Rock Album (“Beck is still making music?” – everyone. Yes, he is. Morning Phase came out a full year ago). All those categories sound the damn same!

Of course, since Beyoncé was also nominated for Album of the Year — and a bunch of other categories she didn’t win #salty — Kanye just had to, well, Kanye Beck’s acceptance speech, and Bey and Jay Z were definitely surprised

I love Beyoncé’s subtle “No, Kanye, don’t...Someone stop him…” — which is basically the equivalent of “Somebody get a sponge!” — and Jay’s legit look of terror.

Also of course, if anyone thought Kanye was taking a jab at himself by recreating Taylorgate, he wanted to remind them of what a real asshole he is by running his mouth some more after the show. And then other people responded to Kanye’s response and now I’m writing about it. Circle of life, folks.

Highlights:

Sia’s “Chandelier” performance with Kristen Wiig and Maddie Ziegler totally takes the cake as my favorite performance (and you know this is a serious claim when Queen Bey is in the picture). Kristen Wiig gave a soulful choreographed performance with the Dance Moms star — who would have guessed?

GOOSEBUMPS.

Beyoncé recreated her sister’s recent wedding with her performance of “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” It was Sunday, after all. Amen!

Speaking of taking us to church, Hozier and Annie Lennox was my favorite collab of the night, performing the former’s breakout hit and “I Put a Spell on You.” Intoxicating!


Pharrell traded his Arby’s hat for an old-timey child bellhop uniform and presenting a heavy performance of “Happy”

And then it looks like Taylor Swift begged Jay Z to go to brunch with her. Awkward, especially when he finds out “brunch” is Taylor’s word for playing tea party with her cats while in pajamas. But judge for yourself.

"Brunch." "Brunch!" "BRUNCH."

See all the winners here.

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<![CDATA[Lamb Watch 2015]]>

With the news of local musician Jess Lamb competing on the 14th season of American Idol, I’ve been watching and waiting for the initial audition episodes to end so we can really get into the competition and see more Jess. This week was the first half of Hollywood rounds, where some 200 contestants that received golden tickets during the aforementioned auditions before the judges — Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr. — converged under one roof. The musicians and singers will perform solo and as groups for the judges, who will gradually dwindle the crowd down to the top 24 finalists.

Unfortunately for locals (Spoiler Alert), we got about 30 seconds of Jess Lamb air time between this week’s two episodes. But on the upside, she’s still in the game!

On Wednesday’s episode, the judges surprised a room full of contestants, telling them a select few would be called onstage to perform right then. For viewers at home, we’ve seen these folks before — they’re the ones we saw audition and receive golden tickets (but keep in mind there were many more than what we saw), the judges’ “most memorable auditions.” But they don’t know that. For those in the crowd, it seems like random contestants were pulled up to perform in front of their competition with no immediate feedback from the panel of mega-stars. And the judges were continuously bewildered as to why these kids were coming up scared shitless.

Highlights:

First up was Jax, who looks like a PG-13 Ke$ha that got puked on by Forever 21, but gave a really cool cover of “Toxic” by Britney Spears.