Daniel R. Coleridge

Idol's Sarah Sure Can Pout

If the Spice Girls still existed and Sarah Mather joined the group, they'd have to dub her Bitter — or at least Pouty — Spice.

Right after her rejection on Wednesday's American Idol, the 22-year-old cover-band singer from Wilmington, N.C., was asked to sing "Get Ready" — a song the judges had just finished criticizing her for choosing in the first place. Clearly annoyed, Mather sang the usually upbeat Smokey Robinson ditty in a stone-faced, listless and utterly passionless fashion.

"Well," she tells TVGuide.com, "there was so much focus on 'You did the wrong song.' For me to have to perform it again, I was just like, 'I'm not into this.' I was sad and I was upset. I wasn't gonna try to pull this great performance out when that's how I was feeling. It's hard, you know? That's the way I felt, and I had to be honest with the way I felt about it."

While he read more

Vera Drake Star Shines

When the Oscar nominations for best actress were announced last month, it was no surprise to see Annette Bening, Hilary Swank and Kate Winslet on the list. But art-house moviegoers were thrilled to see two lesser-known worthies — Vera Drake's Imelda Staunton and Maria Full of Grace's Catalina Sandino Moreno — instantly catapulted, if only temporarily, onto Hollywood's A-list.

Unlike Moreno, a fresh-faced newcomer in her early twenties, the 49-year-old Staunton has spent years paying her dues across the pond and awaiting this level of individual recognition for her work. "Well, [Drake director] Mike Leigh and I were having Chinese takeaway in the publicist's office and I was quite surprised, I have to say, that I did get nominated," she says. "I thought I was going to get squeezed out. So I was very surprised, and then absolutely over th read more

Top Model 4 Sneak Peek

The fourth season of America's Next Top Model begins March 2 on UPN, but we've got nagging questions that won't wait till then. So here, TV Guide Online hooks up with host Tyra Banks and her fellow executive producer Ken Mok for a sassy stroll down the catwalk into Model's past and future.

Change of Venue
This time around, ANTM is set in sunny L.A. "Our show needs to be on the pulse of fashion," Banks says. "Los Angeles is now a major fashion port in the industry. They're going into their third season of having a true Fashion Week like New York, Milan, Tokyo and London." The girls are housed in a snazzy apartment, right above a fashion design company, in an "iffy" part of downtown. "We show them a different view of L.A. than palm trees, beaches and Beverly Hills," Mok says. "It's a more gritty side."

Deliver Us From Eva
Will the third se read more

The Contender Reacts to Tragedy

The men behind The Contender are speaking out about Najai "Nitro" Turpin, the 23-year-old Philadelphian contestant who committed suicide on Feb. 14. Although NBC's boxing reality series will premiere March 7 as scheduled, the show goes on with a heavy heart.

"It's obviously been an awful week that went from disbelief to numbness, and now to the realization that Najai is actually gone," says executive producer Mark Burnett. "I totally enjoyed my time with him. It's cast a huge cloud over our company. All the girls referred to him as a teddy bear.

"I'm not sleeping that much thinking about it because I'm sad for him and his family," Burnett goes on to add. "I've been through this because of my background in Special Forces, seeing close friends killed. Najai wouldn't sleep in the bed on The Contender because he was so used to sleeping under the bed or in the closet for fear of various things [lik read more

Passion Ahead for ER's Dr. Carter

Best known for playing vixens in TV treats like Twin Peaks and Central Park West, Madchen Amick is really going against type on ER these days.

She's currently halfway through a 10-episode stint as Noah Wyle's newest love interest, social worker Wendell Meade. "[That name] is clearly why she went into psychiatry," the actress jokes, adding that Wendell's lack of steamy hookup scenes is unusual for her. "I've been wondering, 'Damn, how long is this going to take?' [My CPW character] would've already conquered him and moved on by now. I've kept the handcuffs and the candle wax in my back pocket for later."

Of course, there's a good reason Carter hasn't been swinging from the chandeliers with his new GF. "They've been intimate, but you haven't been seeing it," Amick says. "[The producers] are playing it very tastefully. Carter's coming off a very intense relationship with Thandie read more

Kate Winslet's Oscar Sunshine

It's 12 days until the Academy Awards, but Oscar nominee Kate Winslet is positively counting the minutes until her limo pulls up outside Hollywood's Kodak Theater. Though thrice nominated before — for Sense and Sensibility, Titanic and Iris — she's as giddy as an awards-season rookie this year, thanks to her best-actress nod for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

"It feels absolutely fantastic," Winslet says. "Just getting the part of Clementine was such a fight. I was so determined. I loved this character so much, and was always so amazed that [director] Michel Gondry saw beyond the period pieces and the corsets and gave me this opportunity. To be remembered for [Sunshine], since it came out so long ago — I could not be happier and more overwhelmed by that.

"Look, I've always been so amazed to get a job," the 29-year-ol read more

Race's Snarky Spouses Face Dr. Phil

Jonathan Baker and Victoria Fuller, reality TV's answer to Ike and Tina, may be the scariest couple ever to run The Amazing Race. So scary, in fact, that Blind Date host Roger Lodge recently told TV Guide he thought they were "a Dr. Phil episode waiting to happen."

Seems Dr. Phil was listening. He's invited the sparring spouses to appear on his latest prime-time special, Romance Rescue (tonight at 9 pm/ET on CBS). Ever since Jonathan was branded an abusive husband by scores of Race fans, who were horrified by the way he bullied and even shoved his wife, the couple have insisted that their personal dynamic is not nearly as bad as the editing made it look. "Things got blown way out of proportion," Victoria insists.

"We gave [the cameras] a lot of juicy moments," Jonathan ruefully admits. "I'm pretty horrified by what I saw. It hurt me deep down inside to see read more

Sandra Bernhard Cases Jordan

You think Veronica Mars is TV's quippiest lady detective? Wait'll Sandra Bernhard debuts on Sunday's Crossing Jordan (10 pm/ET, NBC) in the recurring role of Det. Roz Framus. Trust us, she hasn't kicked ass and taken names like this since Will & Grace last felt her wrath.

"I've known [series star] Jill Hennessy for a while. Two or three years ago, she put me up for another role, but the producers went with someone else — and it was a disaster," the mouthy broad tells TV Guide Online. "So I was kind of in their consciousness. They had passed on me, then realized, 'Oh, we should've gone with you in the first place.' That stuff happens a lot with me. I scare people."

Although this is Bernhard's first appearance on CJ, she explains that Jordan and Co. have known Roz for years — we' read more

Hilary Swank Defends Her Baby

Actress Hilary Swank is basking in her well-deserved best actress Oscar nomination for Million Dollar Baby. However, the current controversy surrounding Baby's big plot twist sure isn't conducive to a festive mood. Spoiler alert! If you haven't seen Clint Eastwood's film, you dunno what we're talking about and you don't wanna know, stop reading now.

Still reading? OK, then TV Guide Online shall proceed without fear of grumpy "You ruined the movie for me" e-mail.

Some advocates for the disabled community are offended by Baby, which stars Swank as an aspiring female pugilist who, under Eastwood's gruff tutelage, rises to boxing stardom, only to be paralyzed after a freak accident in the ring. After months of suffering, Swank's despondent character asks Eastwood's to assist in her suicide. (In fact, she compares it to euthanizing her lame family dog.) He reluctantly obliges her. Consequently, read more

ER's Sissy Switch

Talk about a letdown. Sissy Spacek sounded so excited about this Thursday's ER, where she was slated to play the long-lost birth mother of Dr. Kerry Weaver (Laura Innes). At the last minute, she dropped out due to a "scheduling conflict" and Titanic's Frances Fisher was tapped to replace her. What exactly was Spacek's conflict?

"You know what? I don't feel comfortable talking about it," Innes politely tells TV Guide Online. "I know that it's a family matter with Sissy, and she's very disappointed not to be able to do the show. It's kind of her business. It had nothing to do with the show, it was more a family conflict that she had."

Fair enough. As for ER selecting Fisher to pinch-hit as Weaver's mommy, Innes says, "Frances was always among the people on the list. We felt like she's very right for the role. She's a wonderfu read more

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