Star Academy 8: The Season Of Gossip

I am not watching Star Academy 8 and nor do I want to. I watch the occasional prime on a Friday night but that’s pretty much it. The show is now in its eighth season and has been dragged for far too long. Many of the winners have gone into irrelevance, let alone some of the contestants. The show has become a vehicle for those running it to make too much money out of people “voting” and TV ads that bring in millions.

However, it looks like this latest season of the show has one thing that didn’t happen as much in previous seasons: gossip.

It looks like everyone’s talking about everyone else behind their back. How do I know this? Well, last Friday, I was home with my mom when a woman visited us and started telling us about the Syrian contestant Sarah: great voice apparently and horribly impolite. How so? she literally talks about everyone. Apparently, she hates Lebanese contestants (no idea why), she talks about them behind their backs, whenever she sees an opportunity to spur something up, she goes for it. She loves to make people hate each other while she stays on the side. And no one is safe from her.

And apparently there’s another contestant, the Palestinian Layan, who started rumors about one of the Egyptian guys, Karim Kamel, to be gay. Karim has withdrawn from the show on Friday with rumors that his family is suing the show. Now I don’t care if he’s gay or not, he’s simply horrible and the only reason he survived on the show was his country bringing him back every single time he was nominated for eviction. But don’t you think it’s horrible to start rumors about someone being gay when millions are watching?

Moreover, the show has been seeing such flagrant voting manipulation that it’s absurd. Since when does a Lebanese candidate beat a Saudi in voting? And not just by a small margin but by a considerable few percentage points! The look on the Lebanese girl’s face when she saw the results was priceless even though she ended up losing a few minutes afterwards. How did she end up losing? the students who vote publicly for the student they would like to keep are seated in such a way that those who have not made up their minds would vote to bring forth a tie, ultimately damaging a candidate over the other. The Lebanese contestants were placed first, the girl was given a lead and then crashed out of the show.

So yeah, maybe Star Academy should simply call it quits after this season. I mean seriously, when a singing TV show reverts to gossip and rumors to increase ratings, you know something’s wrong, especially when they have great talents that they need to focus on, including the Syrian girl Sarah. Until then, the Egyptian guy Karim will have those rumors, true or not, chase him till God knows when and viewers who have nothing else to do will still be entertained by a show getting useless by the minute.

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Black Swan – Movie Review

Black Swan is a new psychological thriller, brought to you by Darren Aronofsky, starring Natalie Portman as a perfectionist ballerina who lands the main role in a remake of “Swan Lake”.

“Swan Lake” is basically a ballet about a princess who falls in love with a prince, only to be turned into a white swan. To get rid of the curse, she needs to find true love’s kiss. However, the prince she loves is seduced by the black swan and the white swan ends up killing herself. Usually, the swan parts are played by two different actors. But in Black Swan, the director of the struggling ballet institute wanted to have the same person play both roles, possibly to show the dueling sides of humanity. Natalie Portman’s character, Nina, excels at being the White Swan. But her frigid, perfectionist self makes it hard for her to be the Black Swan, seductive and darkly sensual. The movie is her becoming the Black Swan.

As many of you know already, Natalie Portman is getting major award buzz for her role in this. She has won almost every award this season for her role in this movie and deservedly so. She gives an intense, haunting performance of a girl breaking out of her shell on so many levels that she’s not herself anymore. The movie itself can be considered simply as Portman’s vehicle. She is the fragile ballerina who is, for lack of better words, losing it. And she loses it perfectly.

I remember sitting dumbfounded after watching this. I haven’t watched it since. But it’s one of those movies that leave you in shock by the end. You don’t want them to end. You want to see what happens next, what kind of twisted psychological game Aronofsky has up his sleeve. And this is exactly what this movie is. A huge twisted psychological maze that is so open to interpretation that my friends and I cannot even agree on who the villain in this movie is, if there’s a villain in the first place. Some say it’s Nina’s mother – a woman who had to give up her dreams of becoming a ballet icon to raise her daughter and is now trying to live her dream through Nina – or Nina herself, with her Black Swan alter ego.

Others say that it’s Lily, the character portrayed by Mila Kunis. Lily is a newcomer to the ballet institute and she can be the perfect Black Swan. She doesn’t worry about the perfection of her moves, she doesn’t care about anything basically. She just lets go. And soon enough, Nina begins to feel threatened by Lily. Or is she?

Mila Kunis gives a pretty remarkable performance. She did not get an Oscar nomination for her role, although she got a golden globe nod and lost to Melissa Leo.

All in all, this is a movie with acting of extraordinary power. And if the hair on your neck don’t stand up when the last movie of the movie comes up, then there’s something really wrong.