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‘The Voice’: Team Blake and Team Alicia Strive for Top 12


'The Voice': Team Blake and Team Alicia Strive for Top 12

'The Voice'

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The Voice
The Voice
Kelly Clarkson
Kelly Clarkson

Team Adam and Team Kelly will take the stage on Wednesday night.

The Live Playoffs continued Tuesday night on NBC's The Voice with 10 artists from Blake Shelton and Alicia Keys’ teams singing for a chance to advance to the top 12. After all 24 artists who made it to this round sang Monday night, the top vote-getter from each team automatically advanced. Now the rest are duking it out for the remaining slots. On Wednesday night, Adam Levine and Kelly Clarkson’s teams will sing, and the results from both nights will be announced afterward.

Team Blake went first, starting with Spensha Baker singing “Smoke Break” by Carrie Underwood. It was a fun modern country performance that is likely to connect with Team Blake’s fan base. Clarkson commended her on the song choice, and Shelton seemed confident that she will be moving forward.

Wilkes next sang “Don’t Speak” by No Doubt. His arrangement was creative and ambitious, slowing the song down and making it edgier. He showcased his impressive range as well as a knack for artistry and crafting the whole picture when it comes to a performance. Shelton highlighted the fact that the artists choose their own songs this round, adding that it was a great choice for Wilkes.

Singing the Dolly Parton classic “9 to 5,” Pryor Baird followed with an entertaining performance. He put some of his own spins on the song, giving it a different sound with his raspy voice. Shelton said he deserves to be on the show.

Austin Giorgio was up next, singing “Love Yourself” by Justin Bieber. It was a much different song choice for him, but this is definitely the stage of the competition to take risks, and his paid off, showing a different side of his voice and that he is more versatile than meets the eye. Keys praised his classic sound.

Closing out the Team Blake performances, Gary Edwards sang “America the Beautiful,” which was a bit of a pandering move on his part, but his vocal was strong and he put soul and emotion behind his singing. Clarkson commended his runs, and Shelton said he deserves to move on.

Terrence Cunningham got things started for Team Alicia by singing “Ain’t Nobody” by Chaka Khan. His arrangement turned it into a smooth ballad, and he showed more of his range on Tuesday night than Monday night. Eventually the performance gained momentum and became more uptempo, Cunningham showing a lot of layers. Keys and the other coaches were all blown away by his creativity with the song.

Christiana Danielle was up next. She chose to sing “Take Me to Church” by Hozier, and she proved yet again that she can sing just about anything and make it her own. She gave a solid rock performance with a lot of personality, and Clarkson went so far as to say she was the best contestant on the show even though she isn’t on her team.

Jackie Foster sang “Alone” by Heart, putting a lot of power behind her vocal. Her range was incredible, and Keys pointed out that she seems to have a strong grasp on who she is as an artist. That confidence certainly came through in her performance. She managed to sing boldly without oversinging.

Singing “Need You Bad” by Jazmine Sullivan, Kelsea Johnson was up next, and she also sang with a lot of confidence. She has sung a lot of different kinds of songs on the show so far, and this song choice was another great one. Keys said she’s carving out her own space.

The last artist of the night was Johnny Bliss, who decided to sing Adele’s “One and Only” in one of the most emotional performances of the evening. It wasn’t pitch-perfect, but his tone always stands out. Overall, Keys has an impressively versatile team, and Bliss definitely embodies that.

On Wednesday night, 10 artists from Team Adam and Team Kelly will sing. Then the top four vote-getters from each team will join Team Kelly’s Brynn Cartelli, Team Adam’s Sharane Calister, Team Blake’s Kyle Jade and Team Alicia’s Britton Buchanan in the top 12. The coaches also will have to chance to each pick an artist to round out the top 12. What did you think of Tuesday night’s performances?

The Voice Kelly Clarkson
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Sony Sues Brewer Over “Breaking Bud” Beer


Sony Sues Brewer Over "Breaking Bud" Beer

The studio claims Knee Deep Brewing is infringing on its 'Breaking Bad' trademarks.

Legal trouble is brewing for a company that launched a Breaking Bad-inspired beer without a license from Sony Pictures Television.

Sony on Tuesday sued Knee Deep Brewing, claiming the company intentionally imitated the Breaking Bad logo and other design elements in order to capitalize on the fame of the AMC hit series, which "has been ranked by the Guinness World Records as the most critically acclaimed show of all time and has been cited as one of the greatest television series in history."

The copying is gratuitous, Sony argues, and is clearly designed to avoid the difficulty of creating a unique brand.

"Simply put, rather than investing the time, effort and resources necessary to establish their own reputation and identity, Defendants have instead opted to hijack the famous brand identity associated with SPT and its BREAKING BAD show for Defendants’ own intended benefit," writes attorney Jean-Paul Jassy in the complaint. "Defendants’ unauthorized use of SPT’s trademarks and design elements threatens to erode the value of SPT’s BREAKING BAD Marks by undermining SPT’s continuing ability to attract licensees for such marks and secure compensation for the right to associate one’s products with the BREAKING BAD show."

Sony is suing for trademark infringement, dilution, false designation of origin and unfair competition, among other claims, and is seeking an injunction to stop Knee Deep from using "Breaking Bud" and the current design and logo and damages.

The brewery didn't immediately reply to a request for comment on the complaint, which is posted below.

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DirecTV Wants Out of Government’s Fight With AT&T, Time Warner


DirecTV Wants Out of Government's Fight With AT&T, Time Warner

"The government offered no testimony or other evidence even hinting, much less demonstrating, that as a result of the merger DIRECTV’s incentives or behavior will change for the worse, or that it will be capable of harming competition."

The biggest antitrust trial in decades began nearly a month ago and, in that time, DirecTV says the Department of Justice has failed to show it belongs in the fight over AT&T's proposed $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner.

DirecTV, which was acquired by AT&T for $49 billion in 2015, on Tuesday filed a motion asking U.S. District Judge Richard Leon to either dismiss it from the matter or enter a judgment in its favor.

"The government has failed to state a claim for relief against DIRECTV, which is not a party to the challenged merger, much less an acquirer of any stock or assets (as the Clayton Act requires)," writes attorney Daniel Petrocelli. "Nor has the government introduced any evidence that could justify finding that DIRECTV bears any liability in this case or that its presence is necessary for full and effective relief."

Petrocelli argues that even if the government follows through on a newly mentioned plan to seek divestiture of DirecTV, the satellite company still wouldn't need to be involved in the matter because the court could directly order AT&T to divest DirecTV.

"The government has rested and its evidence provides no basis for ordering any relief against DIRECTV," writes Petrocelli. "The government offered no testimony or other evidence even hinting, much less demonstrating, that as a result of the merger DIRECTV’s incentives or behavior will change for the worse, or that it will be capable of harming competition. Indeed, the government’s chief economic expert has predicted that DIRECTV will charge its subscribers less as a result of the merger."

The only reason the government named DirecTV as a defendant, Petrocelli argues, is so it could seek admission of hearsay statements made by the company prior to its 2015 acquisition by AT&T.

Read the full filing below.

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‘Simpsons’ Criticized for Response to Apu Controversy


'Simpsons' Criticized for Response to Apu Controversy

Apu Nahasapeemapetilon

Representatives for Fox and 20th Century Fox Television said that producers prefer to let the episode "speak for itself."

The Simpsons is under fire for the way in which the show responded to controversy around one of its most recognizable and oldest characters, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon.

The outcry over the stereotypical portrayal of Springfield’s Kwik-E-Mart owner, voice by Hank Azaria, was addressed Sunday night in the episode “No Good Read Goes Unpunished" when Marge reads a book to Lisa that has been changed from its original version to something not so controversial.

Lisa says, “Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?” The show then panned to a picture of Apu.

While some viewers were fine with the response (showrunner Al Jean re-tweeted numerous positive takes afterward and before the show aired tweeted, "New Simpsons in five minutes. Twitter explosion in act three") there were those who felt like the moment was a slap in the face.

Comedian Hari Kondabolu, who last year released the documentary The Problem with Apu, was among those displeased.

"Wow. 'Politically Incorrect?' That’s the takeaway from my movie & the discussion it sparked? Man, I really loved this show. This is sad," Kondabolu tweeted. "In 'The Problem with Apu,' I used Apu & The Simpsons as an entry point into a larger conversation about the representation of marginalized groups & why this is important. The Simpsons response tonight is not a jab at me, but at what many of us consider progress."

Comedian and TV personality W. Kamau Bell also blasted the Fox cartoon.

“I think the fact that they put this ‘argument’ in the mouth of Lisa’s character, the character who usually champions the underdogs and is supposed to be the most thoughtful and liberal, is what makes this the most ridiculous (as in worthy of ridicule) and toothless response," he wrote among numerous tweets on the issue. "The 'argument' the episode makes is basically things used to better before political correctness when nobody cared about all these groups. It ignores the facts that ALL THESE GROUPS ALWAYS CARED ABOUT ALL THESE GROUPS. But these groups' complaints weren't respected/supported."

Al Arabiya English journalist William Mullally wrote, "The Simpsons response to The Problem with Apu: a callous and resentful shrug."

Representatives for Fox and 20th Century Fox Television said that producers prefer to let the episode "speak for itself."

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John Oliver Creates Crisis Pregnancy Center Via ‘Last Week Tonight’ Church


John Oliver Creates Crisis Pregnancy Center Via 'Last Week Tonight' Church

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John Oliver
John Oliver
Late-Night TV
Late-Night TV

“I do give out condoms, but I tell people they’re zero percent effective because I cut the tops off these suckers," Rachel Dratch, making a return appearance as the host's TV wife, Wanda Jo, said. "Lets you blow the Holy Spirit right on through.”

On Sunday’s (April 8) episode of Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver discussed crisis pregnancy centers, arguing that the religious organizations use manipulative tactics to convince women not to get abortions.

And thanks to Last Week Tonight's church, Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption, Oliver and his TV wife Wanda Jo (Rachel Dratch) created a crisis pregnancy center of their own.

The pair filed paperwork in New York last week, Oliver explained, to create the nonprofit Our Lady of Choosing Choice.

After revealing the organization’s van, brandishing the phrase “Vanned Parenthood," Oliver opened the vehicle to show Dratch inside. “Praise be, praise be! And welcome to Vanned Parenthood,” she announced.

Oliver explained that while in the van, they are allowed to tell the visitors any information that they can think of. Dratch added, “I tell women if they get an abortion, it’ll make a ghost baby that will haunt your hoo-haw forever.”

“Getting an abortion turns your breast milk into kombucha,” she added. “Eww! That’s weird!”

And, she said, “After an abortion, your vagina seals shut like an Egyptian tomb."

Oliver chimed in, "That’s a striking image. These are all things that we can say."

Dratch also shared her lack of qualifications when it comes to helping pregnant women. “Did you know that I’m not legally required in New York to have any training at all to use this ultrasound machine?,” she asked. Oliver then responded, “That’s absolutely terrifying, but in that case let’s get some jelly on some bellies.”

The actress then used the ultrasound wand to check if Oliver was pregnant. She declared, “You’re pregnant! It’s a miracle!”

The pair followed up the pregnancy announcement with a conversation about their feelings on birth control. “I do give out condoms, but I tell people they’re zero percent effective,” shared Dratch. “Because I cut the tops off these suckers. Lets you blow the Holy Spirit right on through.”

“The best part is, just like our church, we are tax-exempt and we could be eligible for government funding,” shared Oliver. “Praise discretionary budgets!”

The segment concluded with Oliver explaining just how problematic he believes real crisis pregnancy centers are. “The point is this is all perfectly legal, and there’s absolutely nothing stopping us from parking outside an abortion clinic tonight and harassing people first thing in the morning and frankly there really fucking should be.”

Watch the full segment below.

John Oliver Late-Night TV
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‘Walking Dead’ Season 8 Finale: 7 Predictions for the End of “All-Out War”


'Walking Dead' Season 8 Finale: 7 Predictions for the End of "All-Out War"

What's ahead for Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) as they race toward the end of the battle?

[This story contains spoilers through the latest episode of AMC's The Walking Dead, as well as the comic books on which they are based.]

The end of the line is almost here. The only question now: will mercy prevail over wrath?

OK, it's not the only question, but it's a big one! Since the start of Walking Dead's current eighth season, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) has been seen pondering this very dilemma. At first, viewers weren't clued into the context of Rick's question. Now, the particulars have come into focus: Rick's wrath and mercy both reside beside him underneath a tree, as he's bleeding out at some point in the future — some time after losing his son Carl (Chandler Riggs), sending him into a murderous tailspin.

With only one episode left in the vicious season, and with the stage well and truly set for a climactic battle between Rick and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), we're about to find out where Rick lands when it comes to the extent of his bloodlust. But there are other fates and twists to consider as well. A longtime series regular is about to leave the show for a new zombie adventure; another longtime series regular is likely leaving as well, albeit under less than ideal circumstances.

Ahead, THR weighs in on the outcome of Rick's war, the characters set to depart Alexandria (one way or another) and more. Here are our predictions for what's coming up in the season eight finale:

1. Negan Survives

Not a tough prediction, assuming you're hip to the Walking Dead comic book lore. At the end of Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard's "All-Out War," Rick overpowers Negan and decides to lock him away for the rest of his life, rather than kill the man. The show is geared to follow the same path, or a similar one at the very least. It's why we keep going back to Rick's question about mercy prevailing over wrath, for one thing. For another, Morgan didn't build that prison cell in Alexandria all those episodes ago for no reason. Expect Negan to wind up in the cell by the end of season eight, with plenty more stories in his future as Walking Dead moves ahead.

2. Dwight Dies

Austin Amelio's traitorous Savior has a lot of life left in him if we're going based on the comics — but the death of Carl (Chandler Riggs) earlier this season should make it clear that all bets are off in terms of fidelity to the source material. What's more, there's nothing in Dwight's future that can't be achieved through Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), who doesn't exist in the comics. Dwight's death would mean an end of the old Saviors' regime, Negan notwithstanding. As the series looks to move into new stories now that its episode count numbers well past 100, we're banking on another big shake-up from the original Walking Dead tale in the form of Dwight's death, and Daryl's subsequent ascension.

3. Morgan Flies

Again, not a hard prediction to make: Morgan's leaving The Walking Dead for Fear the Walking Dead. "It is known," as they say on another show. But how is he going to wind up in the Clark clan's orbit? The answer may reside with the helicopter previously seen at the Heaps. Whoever and whatever that party entails, it's a fair guess that Morgan getting to the chopper could be his ticket to Texas.

4. Maggie's Surprise

Lauren Cohan's future with The Walking Dead is very much up in the air at the moment, with the actress signing on to star in Whiskey Cavalier, an ABC drama pilot co-starring Scott Foley. Since it's a recent development that appears to have taken the Walking Dead creators by surprise, it's not likely that Maggie's exit is in the offing for season eight. What's the big surprise awaiting Maggie, then? It's the fact that there isn't any big surprise planned — meaning, fans might be in for a very anticlimactic ending for Maggie's time on the show, depending on factors having nothing to do with the story of Walking Dead.

5. The King and Queen, Side by Side

Earlier in the season, Ezekiel (Khary Payton) lost everything: Shiva, his people, his self-esteem. Through it all, Carol (Melissa McBride) has been nearby, if not always directly at his side. The show has hinted at a romance between the two characters ever since they first met in season seven. As both the war and season draw to a close, we're calling the shot: Ezekiel and Carol are coupling up.

6. Alexandria Thrives

The season began with a glimpse into the future. We later learned the true nature of those visions: they were Carl's hopes for his father's life after the war. Walking Dead comic book readers know that the story eventually skips forward several years in time, featuring a utopian community eerily similar to the one sketched out by Carl. Once the war ends in the finale, the chances are good the story will skip some years down the line as well, with Alexandria and the surrounding communities hitting the peak of their powers. Heck, maybe even Georgie (Jayne Atkinson) will make good on her promise to check back in on the group. What's more, another group might surface…

7. The Whisperers Hide

Following "All-Out War," the next major conflict in Kirkman and Adlard's comics centers on a group of vicious survivors known as the Whisperers. These men and women (and even children) survive on the open road by wearing flesh suits as disguises, blending in with and walking among the dead. Feral and ferocious, the Whisperers make their impact known in a decidedly gruesome event that takes more than a few main characters off the board. Season eight likely won't go quite that far down the road, but some sort of tease about the looming Whisperer War is very much in the cards.

What are your predictions for the finale? Sound off in the comments section below, and keep checking for more coverage.

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TV Ratings: Masters Lifts ’60 Minutes’ to Tie ‘Idol’


TV Ratings: Masters Lifts '60 Minutes' to Tie 'Idol'

ABC earns top marks in the key demo on Sunday, while CBS scores with total viewers.

Great news for a CBS: a rising Masters finale, up 14 percent from 2017, assisted its Sunday lineup — doubling 60 Minutes' score from the previous week to tie American Idol.

Final numbers for Patrick Reed's Augusta National victory won't arrive until later on Monday, but the highlight of the PGA calendar was the biggest thing going over the weekend with an overnight 8.7 rating among metered market households. That helped 60 Minutes, which started on time, jump more than 100 percent to a 1.5 rating among adults 18-49. The series also scored 10.8 million viewers, leading primetime.

CBS neighbors Instinct (0.9 adults), NCIS: Los Angeles (0.9 adults) and Madam Secretary (0.6 adults) also saw lifts, but ABC ultimately took bragging rights in the key demo. The network saw an even episode of American Idol earn a 1.5 rating among adults 18-49 and 7.2 million viewers. Deception took a 0.7 rating.

On NBC, Dateline (0.6 adults) took a small hit before even episodes of Little Big Shots (0.8 adults), Genius Junior (0.7 adults) and Timeless (0.6 adults). Fox had new episodes of Bob's Burgers (0.8 adults), The Simpsons (0.9 adults), Brooklyn Nine-Nine (0.8 adults), Family Guy (0.9 adults) and Last Man on Earth (0.7 adults).

TV Ratings
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