I'm a believer.

I was skeptical when I heard that Leon Jackson had won Britain's X Factor some years back. He looked elfin and didn't stun with the winning song, When You Believe, previously covered by Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. Then everyone started talking shit about him, his new record dropped, and I found myself loving one of the singles. Alas, the jury seems to have decided that Leon's a dud. Poor record sales and a solid slagging from Simon Cowell cemented his status as reality show has been, worse mind you than the typical has been. Too bad because he is suddenly hot.

The single that converted me into a believer - Don't Call This Love. (I couldn't embed the MV, but here is a link. Um, Leon, Leon, Leon. Keep wearing those suits and walking through rain soaked cobblestone streets.)

A Little Bit

This is on repeat as my life spins out of control. Drake's remix of Lykke Li's Little Bit. Hot.

This video is what happens when some of my favorite people converge...Drake, Tony Leung, Wong Kar Wai...


High School High

My new and embarrassing obsession - Degrassi: The New Generation. I don't usually watch teen shows I didn't watch teen shows when I was actually a teenager so I don't know what to compare it to. Freaks and Geeks, My So Called Life, Dawson's Creek, The OC?? Essentially it is a spin-off of a popular Canadian youth series that never ends. (Full disclosure, I'm not a teenager nor do I own one, and in fact, my 10 year reunion is fast approaching, which probably accounts for my recent bouts of nostalgia.) Sneer as we might at kids and their petty problems, getting laughed at, finding friends, and surviving chemistry is a big deal when you're 16. Maybe one of the reasons we have so many adult wackos is because we don't take anyone seriously in their youth. I appreciate that this show maintains a conflicted if hermetic adolescent world that is neither overly saccharine nor alienating (see Skins, which I'm also watching now). It also enjoys surprising longevity for a show of this sort which gives the characters a chance to actually grow into themselves. A lot changes in those 4 years, and it's nice to see teen characters undergo similar transformations.

On a somewhat related note, I discovered the Dear Sister phenomenon thanks to a Degrassi parody of the episode where Jimmy gets shot. The whole bit is hilarious, so inspired by that and Huffington Post's useless poll of the day, here are my top SNL digital shorts (no links because I don't have access to Hulu).
  1. Dick in a Box
  2. Iran So Far
  3. Motherlover
  4. Dear Sister
  5. Natalie Raps
Merlin returned for a second season with a small splash, according to the viewer ratings. I thought the first episode was fair. Silly BBC family fare with high production values have become my comfort food, so I did enjoy it, but my criticisms from last season remain. Bradley James struts like a 21st century jock in chain mail, Katie McGrath needs to move her face, and the stories generally could benefit from more emotional depth. I think it's missing what Richard Armitage brought to Robin Hood - a villain with an occasional conscience. Merlin lacks strong actors and characters with any nuance. Anthony Head and Richard Wilson are of course up to par in acting ability, but there's nothing satisfying about their characters. Uther (Head) will always be a model noble, erring on the side of righteousness more often than not - except in matters of sorcery. So too does Gaius (Wilson) rarely venture from his affable, wise old man role. Nevertheless, I hope a couple plot strands will inject some intrigue. Gwen (Angel Coulby) and Arthur (James) get things warmed up, Morgana (McGrath) explores her own powers, and boy Mordred makes another appearance.

Other tv news...looking forward to the return of SNL, rather Ryan Reynolds' guest turn...Colbert and Stewart are finally back from their 3 week hiatus...zero opinion on Emmys because if I watch American shows, I'm always several seasons behind at best...just started season 2 of West Wing. I do intend on keeping up with a couple shows this fall, however. Glee already occupies my Wednesday nights, and in the next couple of weeks we'll see Flashforward with Joseph Fiennes and John Cho (romancing Gabrielle Union - guaranteed to be the hottest couple on network tv) and Three Rivers with Daniel Henney. Of the two, I'm actually looking to the former for the content. The latter is mostly for extra eye candy.