Last night was the 2013 American Music Awards, which means that all anyone is going to be able to talk about this morning is Miley Cyrus. For her performance of "Wrecking Ball," Cyrus decided to change things up a bit and skipped all of the twerking and outrageous antics in favor of giving a simpler, more emotional performance and ensuring that everyone just focused on her voice and the giant, floating cat behind her. That's right, Cyrus turned her latest single into a duet with a massive, animated cat who cried diamonds during the song's emotional climax. We're not sure where the inspiration for the performance came from, although it's probably some combination of all of the cat videos on YouTube and Kanye West's recent "Bound 2" video, but what we're really impressed with is the fact that even though she put in the least amount of effort when it came to staging last night, her weird, singing cat managed to make it the most talked about performance of the night.
Considering the 2013 AMAs included Lady Gaga arriving on a horse made up of people, Katy Perry building an elaborately-choreographed replica of a Japanese garden, and Justin Timberlake recruiting all of the Tennessee Kids to throw a boozy party onstage, it seems odd that Cyrus should be the most memorable part of the awards show. But Cyrus simply tapped into the most powerful PR resource in the world: the Internet. Let's face it, there's absolutely nothing that the Internet loves more than cats. Sure, seeing R. Kelly perform is always entertaining, and everyone is excited for the TLC comeback, but when it comes to cats, there's simply no competition.
It's the laziest and yet smartest move that Cyrus as made in the past year. Likely worn down from the combination of promoting "Wrecking Ball" and her recent 21st birthday, when it came time to plan her AMAs performance, the singer was probably too tired to come up with anything too elaborate. But she knew that people were expecting something that would top her infamous VMAs performance and her recent EMAs stunt, so she had to come up with something that would hold people's attention, and yet still allow her to fit a nap into her schedule. "Let's just throw a giant cat up there and call it a day. People love cats. Make it cry diamonds or something, that'll be weird," she said to her management team, and then ran off to dye her eyebrows. And so, simply by hitting the right mix of bizarre and adorable, Cyrus managed to still make the headlines without actually trying.
In fact, when you think about it, the Internet probably inspired most of Cyrus' recent performances. "Blurred Lines" became the biggest hit of the summer thanks, in part, to its video going viral, so Cyrus simply took all of the buzz surrounding it to a new, weird level. There's nothing gossip sites love more than tween stars behaving badly, and nothing embodies that whole "wacky and out-of-control" vibe better than Cyrus smoking a joint onstage. If her next performance involves a screaming goat and tons of '90s nostalgia, then there will genuinely be no stopping the buzz that surrounds her. (Feel free to use that idea, Miley, no credit necessary.)
So, Gaga, Katy, Justin, and anyone else who might have another big performance coming up, skip the rehearsals and the pyrotechnics and just stick a cat in the background. People will talk about you for weeks. Check out the video of Cyrus and her feline friend, below, for inspiration.
Take that. In case there were any lingering bad feelings or accusations of fraud surrounding her last big performance, Beyoncé kicked off a press conference regarding Sunday's Super Bowl halftime show by belting "The Star-Spangled Banner." Live. A cappella. With no backing track. As the room full of journalists broke into applause (scattered with cries of "We love you B!") Beyoncé stepped up to the microphone and asked, "Any questions?" Bam.
But, of course, there were questions. Plenty of them. And most of them focused on the details of the inauguration rather than her upcoming show. In regards to Lip-SyncGate 2013, Bey said, "I am a perfectionist, and one thing about me — I practice until my feet bleed. And I did not have time to rehearse with the orchestra, it was a live television show and a very very important emotional show for me, one of my proudest moments. And due to the weather, due to the delay, due to no proper soundcheck, I did not feel comfortable taking a risk. It was about the president and the inauguration and I wanted to make him and my country proud, so I decided to sing along with my prerecorded track. Which is very common in the music industry. And I'm very proud of my performance.”
She then went on to clarify, "I always sing live. The inauguration was unfortunately a time when I could not rehearse with the orchestra. So it was always the plan … Typically they have you sing a prerecorded track because anything can go wrong. So I did sing along with a prerecorded track." And for those of you who are still confused: "Yes," her vocal chords did make sound that day. Was this the majority of what we heard? Probably not.
Beyoncé promises that this will not be the case come Sunday, however. "I will absolutely be singing live. I am well rehearsed and I will absolutely be singing live. This is what I was born to do," she said.
And so, on to the next rumor! Will Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland of Destiny's Child be joining Beyoncé on the hallowed halftime stage? "It's great to be around them professionally and personally," Beyoncé said in lieu of an answer. "I can't give too much away but every little second matters … I have so many songs and trying to condense my career into 12 minutes is not easy because all of my songs are like my children."
Beyoncé then responded to a question about when she will be setting out on tour with, "I would say... soon. And I may have an announcement after the performance and the fans should just stay tuned to see." Hint, hint! StubHub ticket scalpers are already salivating.
Oh, and in case you're wondering. Beyoncé's toothbrush is multicolored. "It's blue and white. Blue and white, I think. Blue and yellow maybe?" You can thank the reporter from Denmark for that one.
Follow Abbey Stone on Twitter @abbeystone
[Photo Credit: Christopher Polk/Getty Images]
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Beneath the glossy sheen of Zac Efron there exists the makings of quite a fine actor glimpses of which were seen in both the blockbuster comedy 17 Again and the indie drama Me and Orson Welles. His transition out of the Disney-fied teen-dream world and into more adult-oriented projects is a gradual uneasy one as is evidenced by his latest film the metaphysical drama Charlie St. Cloud which finds him perched squarely in between the two camps. Efron it appears is in that awkward stage.
In Charlie St. Cloud Efron plays the title character a carefree college-bound sailing star whose bright future is torpedoed when an awful auto wreck takes the life of his beloved kid brother Sam (Charlie Tahan). Charlie at the wheel of the car at the time of the crash briefly dies himself only to be wrested from a flatline by a particularly stubborn and spiritual EMT (Ray Liotta).
Years later Charlie’s body has made a full recovery but his mind remains plagued by some nasty after-effects of the tragedy. He’s given up sailing ditched his college plans gotten a job at a cemetery and taken up the habit of holding regular conversations with dead people — specifically his brother Sam with whom he meets daily in a forest clearing to play catch. Usually such mental deterioration coincides fairly closely with physical deterioration which is why you don’t encounter a lot of well-groomed paranoid schizophrenics on skid row. But Charlie has kept up with his workout and grooming regimens earning a reputation among the residents of his sleepy Pacific Northwest town as a sort of beautiful nutcase.
Unable to escape his all-consuming grief Charlie seems doomed to retreat further into isolation and despair until salvation arrives wrapped in a cardigan: Tess (Amanda Crew) a feisty pro sailor and no stranger to tragedy herself can see beyond Charlie’s unhinged persona to the sensitive troubled and irresistibly hot man that lies beneath. As their relationship deepens Charlie is increasingly torn between his imaginary friends and his real-life love.
It’s a noble aim giving tweens questions deeper than just “Edward or Jacob?” to contemplate and Charlie St. Cloud’s principal message “life is for living ” is a worthwhile one. But director Burr Steers having learned from the success of 17 Again clearly knows where his bread is buttered and so he takes care to sate the demands of Efron’s screeching fanbase by stocking the film with ample glowing shots of his star lovingly lit and clad invariably in a light blue solid color shirt and emoting against a picturesque coastal landscape. (Lest you think I'm exaggerating check out this studio-supplied promo clip featuring an interview with a shirtless Efron.) The awkward mix of existential drama and Abercrombie & Fitch commercial combined with a healthy dose of loopy Sixth Sense-esque supernatural shenanigans tossed in toward the end makes for an experience only the most fawning of Efron’s fans could enjoy.
We meet the two very unlikely sisters while each are having sex. Rose Feller (Toni Collette) is a successful lawyer who is sleeping with her boss and thinking of ways it can improve her career. Maggie Feller (Cameron Diaz) is a party girl and at her 10-year high school reunion--after trying to have a fling in a bathroom stall--she ends up puking instead. Inevitably Maggie gets kicked out of her dad and stepmother's house and winds up on the doorstep of her sister. The Feller girls were close once when they were young girls especially after their mentally unstable mother died. But now their grown-up personalities clash rather dramatically. And when Maggie seriously crosses the line by seducing Rose's new boyfriend the straw is broken. Forced out Maggie stumbles upon some birthday cards from a long-lost grandmother and decides to go hit her up for cash. Turns out Grandma Ella (Shirley MacLaine) lives in a senior citizen's community in Florida that gets its humor from Golden Girls re-runs. Maggie may ingratiate herself within this new environment but isn't any more redeemed by reconnecting with Ella. She still acts like a petulant child. But rather than throwing her out Ella along with the gang of old folk forces Maggie to take some responsibility.
Collette (The Sixth Sense) is fantastic as the frumpy pudgy Philadelphia lawyer who gives up everything so she can walk dogs and lead a simpler life. But she's done this many times before--and honestly is so much better than Muriel's Wedding. Diaz (my personal favorite Charlie's Angel) doesn't need to stretch too far to play a conniving ditz with a heart. This is her There's Something About Mary role albeit a tad more screwed-up with a sister and lost grandma. So that leaves MacLaine as the saving grace for any worthwhile acting in this movie. Despite the obvious shuffleboard clichés--and the occasional leers at Diaz by the old guys around the pool--when the old folk are around the film gets lively and tolerable believe it or not. MacLaine leads the way with the quips and barbs but in a more subtle way than we are used to from this usually eccentric actress. The supporting cast of cranky cronies have some great moments especially veteran actor Norman Lloyd as the blind professor who teaches Maggie a thing or two about manners trust and family.
If this were Nora Ephron directing that would have been one thing but coming from Curtis Hanson the Oscar-winner who gave us L.A. Confidential it just doesn't mesh. Hanson can do quirky (Wonder Boys) he can do adventure (The River Wild) he can do hard-hittin' rap stories (8 Mile) and he can even do scary (Hand That Rocks the Cradle) but why in the world would he attempt a saccharine-soaked female family story that threatens to be a Crimes of the Heart tear-jerker? Screenwriter Susannah Grant who adapted In Her Shoes from Jennifer Weiner's popular bestseller of the same name also wrote Erin Brockovich and 28 Days. She understands strong female characters but there's still a major layer of sugar coating that Hanson can't scrape off. He doesn't tone anything down from Grant's script--not the overly cute dogs nor the embarrassing bridal shower nor the expected moments of guilt-tripping between the ladies. Instead he plods through the paint-by-number script and wraps it all up nicely into a crowd-pleasing film that is ultimately forgettable.
Top Story: "EW" Names Chris Rock Funniest Man in America
Comedian, actor and writer Chris Rock has been named the funniest man in America by Entertainment Weekly in the magazine's March 19 issue. Rock began performing in Manhattan comedy clubs as a teenager and by 1987 had made an early TV appearance on the HBO special Uptown Comedy Express--the same year the comedian made his feature film debut as a parking valet in Beverly Hills Cop II. But it was during his three-year stint on NBC's Saturday Night Live that people really took note. Rock, 39, is now on his Black Ambition Tour, which will culminate in his fourth HBO special set to air April 17. "Watching Rock in 2004--21 years into his comedy career--is like watching a great prize-fighter in peak condition," the magazine said. Also gracing the list of the 25 funniest Americans are Jon Stewart, Will Ferrell, Larry David, Dave Chappelle, Ellen DeGeneres, Bill Murray, Jim Carrey and Jack Black.
"Wardrobe Malfunction" Invades English Language
The Global Language Monitor, a group that analyzes and catalogues the latest trends in word usage and word choices, and their impact on culture, declared "wardrobe malfunction" as Hollywood's Top Word or Phrase for Impact on the English language. The phrase became famous after Justin Timberlake ripped off part of Janet Jackson's bustier during the Feb. 1 Super Bowl halftime show, revealing her right breast, later calling it a "wardrobe malfunction." Other words or phrases on the group's "HollyWord LingoList" include "Bootylicious," "extreme makeover," "Gigli" (as in "gigli bad"), "Give it up!" (replaces "please applaud for"), "Governator" (as in CAH-lee-FOR-nee-ah Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger), "snap" (from Freaky Friday, meaning very cool), and "Smiths" (to lack individuality, like the multi-duplicated agent Smith in The Matrix Reloaded).
Russell Crowe's Cinderella Man Gets Pushed Back
Universal Pictures has delayed the release of Russell Crowe's boxing drama Cinderella Man until Mar. 18, 2005, claiming it needs more time to mount a marketing campaign. The film was originally set for release on Dec. 17 of this year. Cinderella Man, which reunites Crowe with A Beautiful Mind director Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer, had been considered a potential Oscar contender in the 2004 race, but now it will have to take aim at the 2005 contest instead. "Certainly, the May release of Gladiator and our experiences with Erin Brockovich and last year with Seabiscuit prove that there is no dedicated season for high-caliber films," a studio representative told The Hollywood Reporter of the fact that the project will be released in March rather than the fourth quarter preferred by Oscar fodder.
Sex Outfits Sell Like Hot Pants
Hundreds of size "2" women lined up outside the New York consignment shop Ina on Thursday to fight for castoff clothes from the trend-setting HBO series Sex and the City, which ended last month after a six-season run. Most of the items available were purchased by the show's costumers but never used. The priciest item was a black sequined Chanel minidress priced at $5,000, while a pair of red silk hot pants went for a mere $70, Reuters reports. But Carrie's beloved Manolo Blahnik stilettos were nowhere to be seen: Many of the show's signature outfits have already been claimed by cast members, while other pieces were auctioned by the cable network for the actresses' favorite charities.
Judge in Jackson Case Keeps Audiotapes Secret
On Thursday, Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Rodney S. Melville kept sealed an audiotape that apparently contains defense interviews with Michael Jackson's accuser and his family, but allowed prosecutors to see videotapes he called "innocuous," The Associated Press reports. The judge said the audiotape, which is of an interview conducted early last year by an investigator for defense attorney Mark Geragos, could identify areas of defense strategy and should remain secret. Melville added, "the persons interviewed are equally available to the prosecution. Jackson pleaded innocent on Jan. 16 to seven counts of performing lewd or lascivious acts on a child under 14 and two counts of administering an intoxicating agent. He's free on $3 million bail.
R. Kelly's Sex Photos Inadmissible in Court
A Florida judge ruled yesterday that sex photos were illegally seized from the Florida home of R. Kelly and cannot be used as evidence in his child pornography trial, Reuters reports. Prosecutors in central Florida charged the R&B singer with 12 counts of possessing child pornography in January 2003, based on digital photos that Polk County deputies said showed him engaged in sex acts with a girl under the age of 18. Kelly, whose first name is Robert, has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which stem from a 26-minute videotape that allegedly depicted the singer in sex acts with a girl who police say was 14 at the time. Kelly has denied the charges and is out on bail awaiting trial.
Rodney Dangerfield Finally Gets Respect
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David Crosby Denounced Drug Use Prior to Arrest
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