October 28, 2016
        Ten Contenders will compete for Best Documentary Short Subject                "The Circle" and "The Lost City of Z": Which potential 2016 contenders got bumped to 2017?                Natalie Portman, Janelle Monáe, Matthew McConaughey, Bryce Dallas Howard, Edgar Ramirez, Stacy Keach at Hollywood Film Awards                Viola Davis will be campaigned in Best Supporting Actress for "Fences"                Mel Gibson to be Honored with the Hollywood Director Award at the 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Michael Moore drops a surprise new film with "Michael Moore in TrumpLand"                Hollywood Contenders: New Oscar Predictions for October                Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Naomie Harris, Lily Collins get Honors at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                "Manchester by the Sea" leads the Gotham Award nominations                Tom Ford, Marc Platt and Kenneth Lonergan to be Honored at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Tom Cruise is in his action hero comfort zone with "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back"                "Moonlight" could be A24's big Oscar horse this year                Ewan McGregor steps behind the camera with "American Pastoral"                Hollywood Contenders: A second crack at Golden Globe predictions for 2016                "The Accountant" seeks to help give Ben Affleck another blockbuster        

Paula Abdul’s co-judge thinks she’s totally aware

By Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith

HollywoodNews.com: Paula Abdul’s new CBS “Live to Dance” competition show took a ratings tumble when it ran up against her old show, “American Idol,” in head-to-head competition last week (26.2 million viewers compared to 5.3 million) — but “Live to Dance” judge and Paula pal Travis Payne refuses to go negative about that.

“The only way to look at it is that both shows are perpetuating the arts. Both are so specific. There’s room for both,” insists the renowned choreographer and dancer, known for his work with Michael Jackson as well as dozens of other top names including Beyonce, Shakira, Usher, Lady Gaga, Madonna and (small world!) Jennifer Lopez. As far as all the talk about competition between Abdul’s former and current shows? “Great!” he declares. “It gets people to be interested. As long as it’s not mean-spirited, wonderful.”

But people do get mean-spirited — very — when it comes to Abdul.

Payne, who had his first professional audition with none other than Paula years ago, admits he feels protective. “Absolutely! But I know she’s strong and she’s smart. She’s very aware — very aware — of all that goes on and she’s an excellent sort of mentor and a wonderful businesswoman. And she’s thrilled to be executive producing this show, and getting to use all her talents. You know, we spend a lot of our time lending our names and talents to someone else’s vision. Now, for her, this is her vision. That’s a major accomplishment.”

The fast-paced seven-week “Live to Dance” competition is in semi-finals, with its winner of $500,000 to be determined on the Feb. 9 finale. “We are in just a sort of constant state of excitement,” says Payne, who adds that despite being aware of “American Idol,” he’s “only had time to focus on ‘Live to Dance.’”

He feels that, among other things, the show offers “a nice alternative” to shows that trade on devastating critiques. I think about how my parents were with me, and how instructors were with me, and I was always way better when I was in a positive, nurturing place. That’s how Michael Jackson was — everybody must be happy, everybody must be heard. We give it to the contestants straight, but we also say how to improve, and how to meet a different level of challenges — rather than, ‘Oh my God, that’s the worst thing I’ve seen.’”

To read more from this article go to Beck/Smith Hollywood.

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About Beck / Smith

Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith are among America’s leading columnists. They’ve covered the Hollywood beat for decades — Elvis and “Easy Rider” through the Jonas Bros. and “Avatar” and all the stars and their triumphs and scandals in-between. Their Creators Syndicate column, Beck/Smith Hollywood Exclusive, is a source of top celebrity interviews and entertainment news in newspapers across the country as well as online. To read more about Marylin and Stacy go to BeckSmithHollywood.com

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