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Season 10 of American Idol is terrific. Whereas previous seasons have lost viewer interest and enthusiasm, I personally think that this might be the best season so far. Why?

In short, the contestants are much, much stronger as a group than in previous seasons. I think a lot of credit should be given to new judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez for helping to make this happen. While such a declaration may provoke chuckles, there are some numbers to back it up. According to American Idol, in comparison to all previous 9 seasons, this year the judges brought twice the number of people to the 2nd round of competition. Then they vetted them more thoroughly than any other previous season. (more…)

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So we all have those weird things about us that happen in our lives. One of mine is that when I was in college I suddenly started liking country music. Until that point, I really despised country music even though I grew up in Georgia.

I was going to college in Boston, so maybe it was a function of me missing my regional identity. Watching CMT suddenly felt right, and so I watched country music videos on a near-daily basis, eagerly learning the rich history and classics of the genre.

Along those lines, I’m excited in kind of a youthful way about the new movie¬†Country Strong. It looks like a Walk the Line rip-off set in modern day, but with Tim McGraw and Gwyneth Paltrow in the leading roles instead of Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon. Gwyneth Paltrow sings in the movie, ¬†starring as a mid-career country music star who is in a period of crisis while married to her manager (real-life country music star McGraw). Several new, younger stars enter the picture, and tomfoolery ensues as well as some inevitable reckoning and life lessons. Did I say that the movie also has trains? I love trains! (more…)

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Peruvian rock star Pedro Suarez-Vertiz's new album is called Amazonas. Click over to Huffington Post to watch the music video for the album's title track.

One of Peru’s most popular musicians has released an optimistic climate change anthem as the title track of his newest album Amazonas.

While Pedro Suarez-Vertiz has produced numerous hits, he is also well known for writing socially conscious songs. For these reasons, he is a beloved musician and celebrity in Peru. He has also gained an international audience because of songs like “Cuando Piensas en Volver” (When You Think of Returning), an anthem for expatriates who miss their countries.

Click here to read more and watch the video on The Huffington Post.

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