Monday, March 3, 2014

Oscars 2014 Recap: I Know My First Name's Idina...

Classy People. Classy Show. 

So Guys. The Oscars Happened. Oh, did they ever happen!

In a show that ran long and had virtually no upset wins ("Get a Horse" lost animated short, and... that was it.) the show still managed to spin out a little wild and be entertaining as some late evening craziness kept the internets ablaze with comments. Here are some highlights from the night.

1. Lupita WINS! Bobby EGOT'S! Cuaron makes history AND wins twice!

It was a night of eloquent speeches and lots of fun first time winners. Maybe it was a result of housing the orchestra in some building down the street again, but I don't remember anyone getting plaid off despite several people going on for a bit. Even when a team won, and one person was the main speaker, the second person was always given a few seconds to quickly shot hello to his or her mom or kids. Bobby Lopez completed his career EGOT, winning for "Let It Go" (over 2.5 hours into the ceremony - JESUS.), Cuaron won for editing and also became the first Latino winner for Best Directing. But in my opinion, the most lovely win went to Lupita Nyong'o. Here's her beautiful speech in total:

Thank you to the Academy for this incredible recognition. It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s. And so I want to salute the spirit of Patsey for her guidance. And for Solomon, thank you for telling her story and your own. 

Steve McQueen, you charge everything you fashion with a breath of your own spirit. Thank you so much for putting me in this position, it’s been the joy of my life. [Tears, applause.] I’m certain that the dead are standing about you and watching and they are grateful and so am I. 

Chiwetel, thank you for your fearlessness and how deeply you went into Solomon, telling Solomon’s story. Michael Fassbender, thank you so much. You were my rock. Alfre and Sarah, it was a thrill to work with you. Joe Walker, the invisible performer in the editing room, thank you. Sean Bobbitt, Kalaadevi, Adruitha, Patty Norris, thank you, thank you, thank you — I could not be here without your work. 

I want to thank my family, for your training [laughs] and the Yale School of Drama as well, for your training. My friends the Wilsons, this one’s for you. My brother Junior sitting by my side, thank you so much, you’re my best friend and then my other best friend, my chosen family. When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid. Thank you.

Thank YOU, Lupita!

2. Twitter breaks.

Ellen broke the internet with this improved A-List selfie. She told everyone to retweet it, and retweet it they did until twitter could retweet no moew! You know, despite everyone's nerves about the night, the big nominees were all very game to play with Ellen whenever she called on them in the audience. You could tell they have a lot of trust with her to have a good time and enjoy making moments.

3. American Gets Hustled!

Bored Now. Poor American Hustle! It was probably my favorite movie this year, it had 10 nominations tonight and went home with zero wins. You will have your time, Amy Adams! You will! I swear it!

4. Jennifer Lawrence Falls Down Again!

Jennifer looked amazing and got the falling out of the way on the red carpet instead of during the actual ceremony. Unfortunately, it was still under the watchful eye of Ellen who called her out about it in the opening monologue. She'd have gotten extra points had she succeeded in taking down the young lady in front of her as well.

5. Introducing Adela Dazeem

Having already broken twitter once last night, John Travolta tried to make it happen for the Oscars a second time when he bizarrely introduced Idina Menzel as something close to Adela Dazeem. It was one if those truly special WTF moments. Many Frozen and Broadway fans had been anxiously awaiting Idina's live performance for weeks now. We had to wait until after 11pm for the show to finally give us what we wanted. And then John Travolta takes the stage. Upon initial viewing, I did not hear his flub because we were not interested in Travolta and were urging him to hurry up out of there. But then as the performance started things got weird on stage and online. The song felt rushed. Idina seemed nervous or flustered. They cut out the middle verse where the song builds vocally. The ear piece was malfunctioning. The band wasn't even in the same building! Through all this the presentation was still lovely. She cracked a bit on the top note, but girl was singing live and that note's in the stratosphere. It happens. She gave it her all. Did the whole performance fall short of our extremely high expectations? Yeah, a bit. We would've wanted it to go perfectly for Idina, because she deserves a perfect moment! The missed high note doesn't bother me. It was more that I thought Idina looked pressured throughout a song that's about release. I felt like the production never let her relax.

But even before the song ended, twitter and FB started ripping into Travolta. What name did he call her? Certainly not Idina. People couldn't figure it out. Eventually, we settled on either Adele or Adela Dazeem. Either way, it was so preposterous! Quite ironically, social media was NOT gonna let it go at all. As of this posting, @AdelaDazeem has over 14,000 twitter followers off of just four tweets.

Okay, obviously he had some kind of brain fart reading the prompter. But he doesn't know who Idina is? She starred in Rent. She starred in Wicked. They didn't meet backstage moments before he did the intro? It just seems insane. But it certainly woke everyone up as the show headed towards midnight. I laughed til I cried reading people's scathing comments. I missed two awards while trying to compose myself. Thanks for all the laughs at your expense, Jorn Tromolto.

6. Encyclopedia Ellen and The Mystery of The Red Rose Curtain

The sets on stage last night were certainly... interesting. There was the army of gummi bear Oscar statues. The array of blinding spotlights. The giant scrim that showed projections of the Wizard of Oz in front of P!nk while she sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow. But the strangest one for me was this huge curtain of giant red roses. It was enormous! And I couldn't stop myself from thinking, "Why is that thing there??" Nobody acknowledged it, despite it taking up the whole stage. Was is hiding some big set piece or star entrance? Was there going to be a big reveal? No, it just hung there. Did it symbolize the red carpet? Was it an ode to the poppy fields of the Wizard of Oz? The world may never know...

7. Ellen was Mean. Liza was Displeased.

She's not quite as Super Nice as Jimmy Fallon, but Ellen is not known for throwing sharp jabs either. Still, there were some delightfully prickly moments in the opening monologue I appreciated. Liza Minelli might have felt differently at the time. Ellen shouted out the real life Captain Phillips and Philomena who were in the audience that night and then mentioned the real Liza as “One of the best Liza Minnelli impersonators that I have seen in my entire life… Good job, sir!” Liza was like "Did she call me a MAN??" The audience wasn't totally with her (Liza was there to celebrate mom Judy Garland and the 75th Anniversary of the Wizard of Oz.) Not ready to make nice just yet, Ellen closed out the monologue by offering up two possibilities, “Possibility number one: Twelve Years a Slave wins Best Picture. Possibility number two: You’re all racists. And now welcome our first white presenter, Anne Hathaway!”

If that drag queen read wasn't enough, she got shut out of Ellen's Group Selfie for being too short! Look at her stretching! Won't someone notice poor Liza??!

8. The Happy Shimmy

Thank you, Pharrel for giving the world the Happy Shimmy. Streep came ready to play last night, folks.

9. The World is Round, People!

Jared Leto gave a nice long speech with shout outs to his Mom, Ukraine, Venezuela, AIDS victims and 30 Seconds to Mars. Matthew McConaughey thanked the Holy Trinity of Me Myself and I. But my favorite of the actors' acceptance speeches outside of Lupita was the lovely Cate Blanchett who said. "To those of us in the industry who are perhaps foolishly clinging to the idea that female films -- with women at the center -- are niche experiences, they are not. Audiences want to see them, and in fact, they earn money!" Thunderous appplause and then, "The world is round, people!" She is divine. And the first Australian ever to win multiple Oscars!

10. Pizza! Pizza! Pizza!

Ellen made a joke about ordering the starving nominees pizzas. And then later the pizzas arrived. And then Ellen handed out the pizzas. And then the nominees actually ate the pizzas while sitting in the their seats in the theater. And then Ellen went around with Pharrell's hat collecting money for the pizza. It sounds simple.But it was a fun way of engaging with the audience and keeping them involved as more and more of their categories were settled. Again, it speaks well of Ellen that so many people continued to play along with whatever she asked them to do. It turns out they did not map out these interactions in rehearsal. Ellen just let them know she'd be doing something and they waited to see what it was. I thought these bits worked really well. And made me hungry for pizza!

So overall, it was a nice night with some lovely wins, funny jokes and head and baffling errors. I guessed 20 of the 24 winners which I score as "not too shabby." 12 Years a Slave is a worthy best picture win. Hopefully next year Amy Adams takes hope the gold trophy and John Travolta will be on hand to call her Armani Slumndal.  That'd be a win for everybody. Our dreams are valid.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

2014 Oscar Predictions: Academy Hustle

(Let's all head straight to the after-party, since we're not likely to win anyway.)

The 2014 Oscars are upon us! Before I live tweet this bitch later tonight, I figured I'd break my long blogging hiatus (all my writing time this year has gone to playwriting and FB statuses! Sorry, blog!) by going on record about my pics to win this year. All the early results from this awards season indicate it will be a "spread the wealth" sort of year with no one movie sweeping all the technical or the performance categories. Conventional wisdom would also indicate that 12 Years A Slave will win Best Picture, but it's not a total lock. It's a very powerful film and expertly made, but I found it so painful to watch. It's not a movie that if I would just sit down and watch flipping through the channels on a Saturday afternoon while folding my laundry. Same thing could be said for Schindler's List, though. Shakespeare in Love, however...

I DO like to be entertained by films, so in that sense if I was voting this year, I would pick American Hustle or Gravity as my top choice. But I certainly wouldn't begrudge 12 Years a well deserved win. We'll see what happens. What we'll all remember about this anyway is After Earth's Best Picture snub. It is unconscionable.

All the categories have their front runners, but Academy Voters don't always stick to the Awards Season script. There could be some delicious upsets. As long as "Let It Go" wins Best Song whatever else happens is fine with me. Should it somehow lose... just wait for my tweets.

Here's hoping Ellen brings back the Swan Dress!! And without further ado... my predictions (in BOLD)!

Best Picture:

American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street

Best Actor in a Leading Role:

Christian Bale (American Hustle)
Bruce Dern (Nebraska)
Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave)
Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)

Best Actress in a Leading Role:

Amy Adams (American Hustle)
Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
Sandra Bullock (Gravity)
Judi Dench (Philomena)
Meryl Streep (August: Osage County)

Best Actor in a Supporting Role:

Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips)
Bradley Cooper (American Hustle)
Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave)
Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)

Best Actress in a Supporting Role:

Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine)
Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave)
Julia Roberts (August: Osage County)
June Squibb (Nebraska)

Best Animated Feature:

The Croods
Despicable Me 2
Ernest & Celestine
The Wind Rises

Best Cinematography:

The Grandmaster (Philippe Le Sourd)
Gravity (Emmanuel Lubezki)
Inside Llewyn Davis (Bruno Delbonnel)
Nebraska (Phedon Papamichael)
Prisoners (Roger A. Deakins)

Best Costume Design:

American Hustle (Michael Wilkinson)
The Grandmaster (William Chang Suk Ping)
The Great Gatsby (Catherine Martin)
The Invisible Woman (Michael O'Connor)
12 Years a Slave (Patricia Norris)

Best Directing:

American Hustle (David O. Russell)
Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón)
Nebraska (Alexander Payne)
12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen)
The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese)

Best Documentary Feature:

The Act of Killing
Cutie and the Boxer
Dirty Wars
The Square
20 Feet from Stardom

Best Documentary Short:

Facing Fear
Karama Has No Walls
The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
Prison Terminal

Best Film Editing:

American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
12 Years a Slave

Best Foreign Language Film:

The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)
The Great Beauty (Italy)
The Hunt (Denmark)
The Missing Picture (Cambodia)
Omar (Palestine)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling:

Dallas Buyers Club
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
The Lone Ranger

Best Original Score:

The Book Thief (John Williams)
Gravity (Steven Price)
Her (William Butler, Owen Pallett)
Philomena (Alexandre Desplat)
Saving Mr. Banks (Thomas Newman)

Best Original Song:

Happy (Despicable Me 2)
Let It Go (Frozen)
The Moon Song (Her)
Ordinary Love (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom)

Best Production Design:

American Hustle
The Great Gatsby
12 Years a Slave

Best Animated Short Film:

Get a Horse!
Mr. Hublot
Room on the Broom

Best Live Action Short Film:

That Wasn't Me
Just Before Losing Everything
Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?
The Voorman Problem

Best Sound Editing:

All Is Lost
Captain Phillips
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Lone Survivor

Best Sound Mixing:

Captain Phillips
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Inside Llewyn Davis
Lone Survivor

Best Visual Effects:

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Iron Man 3
The Lone Ranger
Star Trek Into Darkness

Best Adapted Screenplay:

Before Midnight
Captain Phillips
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street

Best Original Screenplay:

American Hustle
Blue Jasmine
Dallas Buyers Club

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Tweets of Music

"What the f**k did I just watch?"

That was the serious question I posed to myself at the conclusion of yesterday's 3 hour tour through Rodgers & Hammerstein's Sound of Music Live! I asked myself that question not because I hated it (by its conclusion, I decided I enjoyed it very much) but because I wasn't actually sure what it was. It was a "live television musical event," but what IS that? It's not a movie, but it's being filmed. It's not a staging of the classic movie version of Sound of Music, but the stage musical version of Sound of Music that came before the film. But it's also not a live performance happening in a theater. The action is happening on multiple sets in a sound stage. There's no live studio audience so there's no applause and there's no energy for actors to feed off of while performing live. The actors are essentially performing in a vacuum, save for each other and the camera crews. There are commercial breaks throughout the performance which affect the natural flow of a two-act/one intermission stage show. So ultimately, what IS THIS?? The best I can come up with is: It's... unique! It's a "live television musical event." Cozy up on the couch, open the social media site of your choice and live-blog about it to to your heart's content! That's what live TV is for!

There's a bit of debate (mostly online, ironically) as to whether snarky live tweeting is "fair" to the production or the performers involved. Are we really allowing ourselves to experience the piece as a whole if we're constantly throwing out our opinions to the interwebs, picking things apart before we've allowed them to sink in. Personally, I think it's totally fair and a delightful part of the communal TV watching experience to live tweet. If you don't want to be involved, don't be! At a live theater, I would never act that way. But creatively riffing on something that is happening live is its own sort of improv skill. I think it should come from a good place in our hearts though. We kid because we love. Taking the piss out of something doesn't mean we don't ultimately appreciate it. As I said to a friend online, Shade isn't hate, it's just shade. If you can only complain and not not enjoy it, you should spend three hours doing something else.

Overall, I thought  Sound of Music Live was a huge success for NBC. Nobody tripped down the sets giant stairs (despite my urging), nobody forgot their lines, the camera work and sound work were pretty much always on point, the sets were great, Broadway stars were out in force on screen and there was a live musical on network TV in  prime time! And the network promoted the hell out of it and millions of people watched. So they'll probably do another musical in the future, because seriously, what else does NBC have that pulls those numbers? Pretty much nothing! So nice job, everyone.

And naysayers, keep in mind this was an experiment! No one would know if the live show would work at all, and some things worked really well! And for the things that didn't, why not be a force for good and point out the obvious flaws so when they do it next time there's a public record of what areas could be improved? It's our DUTY as musical theater lovers to tweet and post our FEELINGS! Just put some thought into your thoughts, you know?

God Bless, Carrie Underwood. She is not a trained actress, and her line readings especially in the first half of the show were ROUGH, but I applaud the effort. She was trying. I could see she was trying. I felt she was invested. She was stretching as an artist. There was no sense of her just going through the motions. No glazed over eyes while her scene partners were talking. She had one performance to nail everything. No previews. No safety net. All eyes on her. Whether you think she was miscast, she still fully committed to this 3 hour journey. There was no turning back. Even a high school production would let the kids have 3 or 4 shows over a weekend to settle in and get some perspective on what they're doing. I was left with the impression that she started out very nervous and as things went on, she relaxed. I also felt that given the opportunity to keep playing  the role, her confidence would build and her performance would improve. I'm not discounting the shortcomings, I'm just applauding the risks she took professionally in taking on the role and for investing herself in it. She knew she'd be opening herself up to a lot of scrutiny and she did it anyway. And her attachment to the project brought a lot of eyes to TV screens.

PLUS there were the highlights of the night in Audra McDonald as Reverend Mother and Laura Benanti as Elsa. These women are INSANE talents. And they got to show what they can do to millions of viewers! Audra's "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" made the whole thing worth it. It's glorious. Carrie's present and emotional reactions as her scene partner during the song made it even more special. And separately, Laura's reaction shots throughout the performance were PRICELESS. When Elsa exits the story, we were all sad to see Laura go.

And then there was Kurt! Little second-son Kurt! I didn't even know that could be a scene-stealing part. Just like when Maria's saying her prayers, Kurt can be a little forgotten. But that little kid had stage (and screen!) presence. He was a delight.

So in conclusion, it's fun to make jokes, but it's also fun to support the art form and recognize the effort put in to make something nice. It doesn't replace the stage musical, or the classic movie we watch over and over again, but it can compliment both and introduce new viewers to the joys of musical theater.

And for the record, here's all the snarky things I had to say about the show last night:

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Rafael Nadal: We're Still Having Fun and You're Still No. 1

"We've been together since way back when..."

The 2013 ATP World Tour season has been a tremendous year for Our Hero, Rafael Nadal, and therefore a very exciting year for all of his fans. Last year was so difficult having been out for 7 months with injury, missing the Olympics, The US Open and the Australian Open and seeing his ranking slide during his absence. He missed the game and the game definitely missed him. But look at where we are now! At this year's ATP Tour Final Championship Nadal got two special trophies. The first was for being voted the ATP World Tour Comeback Player of the Year (richly deserved) and the second was for earning the title of Year End No. 1. I'm so thrilled for him! It's had me singing that old Orleans song since the news became official last week. Coming back from injury, his ranking had fallen as far as No. 5, but he is now back at the top of the  Emirates ATP Rankings for the third time in his career, having also taken the title in 2008 and 2010. No player has ever regained the year end No. 1 ranking after a three year absence form the spot. Given all the obstacles in his way, this achievement is truly astonishing, and for me personally, truly inspiring.

You're still the one that makes me strong
Still the one I want to take along
We're still having fun, and you're still No. 1

Nadal completes this season with a remarkable 75-7 match record from 17 tournaments he entered. He reached the final in FOURTEEN of those tournaments and achieved a 10-4 record in those finals. His tournament wins include two Grand Slam tournament titles and five ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles. He achieved this goal having gained NO ranking points in 2 of this year's 4 Grand Slam tournaments (He didn't play the Aussie Open and he lost first round in Wimby. So there are points still to pick up next year!)

Do we wish he'd have beaten Novak in the year end tournament final claiming that unique trophy for the first time ever? OF COURSE. But seriously, if you can't be happy with this successful of a year, following what had happened the year before, you have serious mental problems. Celebrate the victories and look forward to 2014!! With both Novak and Rafa healthy and at the top of their games the rivalry should continue to be riveting. They went 3-3 in their 6 match-ups this year. Nadal won their Grand Slam matches, but Novak got three big titles as well. It's amazing to think how the musical chairs of the top 6 players shifted around this year considering how things have ended up. To illustrate how Rafa and Novak have once again separated themselves from the pack, Nadal ends the year with 13,030 points, Novak has 12,110 points and then in 3rd place David Ferrer (!!) has... 5,800 points. So that's... quite a gap. I can't wait to see what happens next. Since Nadal has no points to defend in Australia in January and Novak has champion points to defend, the rankings should not change through the first few months of 2014. Nadal still has a slight career edge on Novak. I hope it's more wins for Rafa!

So enjoy your extremely short off-season, Rafa! It will seem like no time at all. Before he gets some well-earned R&R in Mallorca eating his shrimp and pasta and chocolate chip cookies, he travels to the British Virgin Islands for a charity event with Richard Branson and then hits an exhibition tour of South America with Novak in Chile and Argentina. In the blink of an eye, Nadal will then open his 2014 season in Doha, at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open (which actually starts in 2013, but I guess it ENDS in 2014 so people aren't too fussy about it) and then I'll be off to see him in Melbourne for the Australian Open!! I can't wait. There is so much to be excited about in the 2014. I expect epic battles and tons of entertainment, and hopefully Rafa will continue to break records to our astonishment and delight. VAMOS!!!!!!

You are still the one that makes me shout
Still the one that I dream about
We're still having fun, and you're still No. 1...

Monday, September 23, 2013

Noel & Me: A Musical Journey

(always providing comfort, on stage and off.)

Last week, a great mentor of mine, and one to countless other artists who grew up on Long Island, passed away unexpectedly due to heart failure. Noel S. Ruiz had an impact on so many lives and shared so much love with everyone around him. For a man with such incredible influence and impact on the young people in his shows, he was never controlling of us. He was a great listener, teacher and guide. He was someone who treated people of all ages with respect and care. I can't really measure the impact of this man on my life. If you want to get an overview of who he was and how much he contributed to the community, please click the link here to get a nice glimpse into what Noel was all about.

What follows here is a personal recollection of the artistic journey we took together from the time when I was in kindergarten through my first year of college. I feel like I should preface all this by stating that there are many people that knew Noel better as a day-to-day person than I did. There are people I grew up with who spent much more time with him in their adult years and got to understand him better and can probably tell you better stories about him as a result. I moved to the city after college, and never really went back and never really developed a strong adult understanding of Noel. In my mind he looms as NOEL, a force of nature and the font of artistry who sits atop the pedestal in my mind (wearing a gold lamé Herod costume, naturally), than just Noel, the man who worked really hard to make his impossible dream possible and had a lot of love to share.

Still, as I have reflected over the lessons I've learned and the gifts I've received from Noel throughout my childhood, I felt moved to write about our relationship and our time together. I am almost overwhelmed with gratitude that I was able to grow up and play in his artistic sandbox with so many lifelong friends. What my life's journey would be like without him, I cannot imagine. I like to make people mix CD's, so as I go along, I'm dedicating a song from each show to him  as a little soundtrack to our lives. I'm not sure anyone is ever going to read all of this, but it felt right to express it. Off we go. This is the story of Noel and me.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

SYTYCD 10: Results FINALE - Everybody Had Matching Towels!

Well, here we are Dance Fans, it's time to wrap this mother up. 2 contempos, 1 hip hopper and 1 tappa tappa tappa remain. Two titles hang in the balance. We'll find out who won in about two hours time, but before that we get to celebrate all the awesomeness that was Season 10.

Cat kicks things off by reintroducing the top 20 (in their original pairings! since we have two original couples left! Although Malece is without Jade who is still injured.) all the way through to the top 4 who are then announced individually. She directs our attention to the Final Judge's Table which this week is comprised of tWitch, Adam Shankman, and Paula Abdul along with our resident judge's Mary, and Nigel. Everyone is dress in their very best finale outfits to mark the special occasion. Each judge will pick a favorite routine for an encore, Cat will pick a favorite, each finalist will pick a favorite and there will be several old and new group numbers. Don't forget the audience vote (HAHAHA!) routine as well. And plenty of montages from across the season. I feel compelled to note that I don't consider these "filler" segments. The montages buy the dancers a little breathing/costume changing times in between partner dances or group numbers and this year especially the padding seems justified.

I wonder what routines will be selected for encores this year. There are so many great ones to choose from starting with Meet the Top 20 week all they way through to the performance finale. I would like to see Travis's Brothers Dance and Amy and All-Star Alex's Bollywood. Also something from Comfort, because she has been an amazing All-Star all season. Encore routines can be a mixed bag. The best routines either have a hard time recapturing the moment, or soar beyond the original once they are free from the pressures of competition. We'll have to see how everything shakes out tonight.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

RAFA-RIPPED OPEN: Final - Nadal d. Djokovic. Our Hero = OUR CHAMPION!!

(King of the Hard Courts!!)

Guys. It really happened. Rafa ripped open the entire field of competitors in his path and now he is the 2013 US Open Champion!!

This championship match was so insane, with both players being stretched to their limits over the three hour plus match time. Ultimately, Rafa won the night over World No. 1 and current-biggest-rival Novak Djokovic with a  6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory. Rafa maintains a perfect 22-0 record on hard courts this season. This also marks his 13th major title (out of 18 finals played). He is now only one major title behind Sampras on the all-time list. It seems clear if he stays healthy he'll pass that number. He's currently four back of Federer.I think that 5 more major titles seems like an awful lot. But Rafa's still only 27 and shows no signs of losing dominance at the French, so it's not impossible. It's Rafa. So you gotta give him a fighting chance. :)