With all the press this week about SNL casting, it seemed like the big reveal would be that the new black female cast member is John Goodman. Instead SNL did not let headlines dictate the show, and opted for a more classic holiday episode. Hosting with musical guest Kings of Leon, Goodman proved that 13 times on the show is definitely the charm. The show took off with the help of Kenan Thompson, first as the criticized interpreter at Nelson Mandela's funeral, then bringing it home with Goodman in the the soulful song "All I Want for Christmas is Booty." The memorable monologue foreshadowed the kind of episode that is SNL's forte: festive and really funny.
The momentum at the start was maintained throughout the show with strong sketches and cameo appearances from Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro. They joined Goodman as the "3 Wise Guys," a biblical sketch about a journey to see Baby Jesus from Long Island and New Jersey. With strong writing ("I hear the kid might not be his!") and a combination of characters that we could happily watch for hours, this piece was an instant holiday hit.
Weekend Update more than held up to the rest of this week's killer episode. The topical segment addressed this week's Santa controversy with Megyn Kelly's inappropriate references to a white Christmas. Thompson took this on as Santa saying, "Here's a secret for you. I'm black as hell." The laughs keep coming with a reprisal of Bobby Moynihan favorite Drunk Uncle, and just when his performance seems like it can't get better, Goodman joins in as Drunker Uncle. Their belligerent rendition of the Billy Ocean '80s classic "Get out of my glass, and into my mouth," was enjoyable enough to stomach yet another reminder that Seth Meyers will be leaving soon.
While this is not the last new episode before Christmas, SNL took this week to produce a show heavy on the holiday content. With the exception of the cold open, only two other sketches did not reference Christmas. One of the funniest of these had Goodman playing a 23-year-old woman, claiming she was fired for being too sexy. The sketch was anchored by Thompson's performance as a flirty judge and Taran Killam's deadpan delivery as a lawyer, but Goodman in drag stole the show. The simple and silly piece utilized Goodman's physical comedy and his overall gift of not taking himself too seriously.
Amid rumors of her leaving the cast, Nasim Pedrad returned as Shallon, a character that seems to be part kid, part hype-man with the sole purpose of frustrating adults. The sketch worked with support of Thompson, Moynihan and Aidy Bryant, but did not capitalize on Goodman's presence the way the rest of the episode did. Cast favorite Kate McKinnon returned at the end for one of the most bizzare yet funny make-out sessions ever seen covered in whipped cream. These moments helped to add variety and absurdity to this otherwise timeless episode of SNL that should go down in holiday history. John Goodman is the host equivalent of a Christmas miracle.
Focus Features via Everett Collection
After experimenting with a batch of newcomers like Josh Hutcherson and Lady Gaga, Saturday Night Live is returning to a mill of tried and true favorites to round out the rest of the year.
Actor and Achorman 2 star Paul Rudd is set to host the December 7 episode with musical guest One Direction. This will be Rudd's third time hosting SNL. His last hosting gig was in 2010 when he appeared alongside musical guest Paul McCartney. Next, actor John Goodman will be returning as host on the December 14 episode. Goodman will make his return after a long hiatus from hosting duty. The actor has hosted SNL a lofty 12 times, but hasn't appeared on the sketch show since 2001. Goodman's musical guest will be the rockers Kings of Leon.
Finally, the December 21 Christmas episode will feature host Jimmy Fallon and musical guest Justin Timberlake. Fallon, a former member of the SNL cast, is the current host of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and is slated to take over Tonight Show duties from Jay Leno in February. This will mark Timberlake's fifth appearance as a musical guest on the program.
Rockers Kings Of Leon were bathed in sunshine at a special gig in Sydney, Australia on Tuesday (19Nov13) after previously calling off the show due to bad weather. The Sex on Fire hitmakers were due to perform a one-off outdoor concert on Sydney Harbour's famous Goat Island, but the gig was cancelled due to safety fears as heavy rain and high winds battered the city.
The musicians returned to the special location a day later to perform the rescheduled gig, and they made the most of the sunshine following a drastic change in the weather.
Drummer Nathan Followill wrote in a post on Twitter.com, "Now this is the Sydney weather I've been missing."
Other acts to have rocked the tiny Goat Island in the past include Foo Fighters and Green Day.
Rockers Kings Of Leon have criticised raunchy female pop stars such as Miley Cyrus and Rihanna for setting a bad example for young fans. Guitarist Matthew Followill is convinced the majority of modern pop music is "f**king awful" and he can't believe kids are allowed to watch such saucy videos and provocative performances from today's female stars.
He tells the Sydney Morning Herald, "Some pop shows I watch, it feels like the end of the world, it's f**king awful. It's not even music any more. You would never want your children to watch (shows like that) and I can't believe that younger kids, even teenagers are watching that stuff. It almost seems to be making the world a bad place."
His bandmate and cousin Jared Followill adds, "They make me cringe. I can't watch that stuff. Not even just because they're taking their clothes off, it's the whole thing, the dance moves, it's not good."
Cyrus has been a regular in the headlines in recent months over her racy antics, which have included a controversial performance with Robin Thicke at the recent MTV Video Music Awards and the release of her Wrecking Ball video, in which she appears naked apart from a pair of boots.
Rockers Kings Of Leon have been forced to scrap a Monday night (18Nov13) gig at Sydney Harbour in Australia due to deadly weather issues. The Use Somebody hitmakers teamed up with Australian TV network Channel V for the outdoor show, but they band has had to reschedule the gig due to high winds and heavy rain.
Kings Of Leon drummer Nathan Followill has taken to Twitter.com to alert fans to the concert change.
He writes, "Sadly due 2 weather & safety concerns 4 the fans & band, 2nites @channelv show has been postponed until tomorrow night. Come ready 2 party."
Boybands including One Direction, Jls and new supergroup Mcbusted led the way during Britain's Children In Need telethon on Friday night (15Nov13) by helping to raise cash on live TV. One Direction took to the stage to perform their hit track Best Song Ever, marking the third time they have appeared on the annual fundraiser, and bandmember Harry Styles revealed how much the organisation means to them, saying, "We grew up watching it... If you grew up watching something, it's so important, so we love getting involved."
His bandmate Liam Payne added, "We've watched Children In Need since we were children and we are so proud to be a part of it. The children the charity supports are a complete inspiration."
The pop stars later filmed appeals for donations on the set of popular U.K. soap opera Eastenders, while another boyband, JLS, performed a medley of their hits on the show's set.
New supergroup McBusted, made up of members of McFly and Busted, also performed, along with rapper Tinie Tempah, singer James Arthur and Ellie Goulding, who belted out the official Children in Need single How Long Will I Love You.
Singers Kylie Minogue, Sir Tom Jones, Cheryl Cole and actress Olivia Colman were also among the famous faces who filmed appeals featured during the show.
The telethon had raised in excess of $22.5 million (£15 million) to aid disadvantaged kids as WENN went to press.
Officials at the Children In Need organisation also hosted a star-studded concert in London earlier in the week (beg11Nov13) to raise money for the cause. The show was masterminded by Take That star Gary Barlow and featured acts including Kings of Leon and veteran crooner Barry Manilow.
"Happy 4th Anniversary to my beautiful wife @JessieBaylin Time flies when the love flows like wine." Romantic husband Nathan Followill remembers his wedding anniversary after landing in Australia for a string of Kings of Leon shows and appearances.
Kings Of Leon star Jared Followill had a terrifying brush with airport security guards in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) this week (beg11Nov13) when he was stopped in Dubai for carrying an electronic cigarette. The bassist, who touched down in the city on Wednesday (13Nov13) with his bandmates, was reportedly confronted by a security team at the airport over his electronic cigarette, which are banned in the country.
The star took to Twitter.com to tell fans about the incident, writing, "Just had the life scared out of me at security in Dubai. Apparently it's not just my bros (brothers) who think e-cigs (sic) are uncool. Almost locked up abroad."
Eminem led the winners at the 2013 Mtv Europe Music Awards in Amsterdam, Holland, on Sunday (10Nov13), taking home two awards and securing his lead as the artist with the most EMAs ever. The rapper won the Best Hip Hop prize and was awarded the the Global Icon trophy for his continued success over the last decade. He has now won 15 MTV EMAs - more than anyone else.
He also took to the stage to perform Berzerk and Rap God before Will Ferrell, dressed as his Anchorman character Ron Burgundy, presented him with his Global Icon accolade.
Justin Timberlake and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis had led nominations ahead of the ceremony, but Timberlake went home empty handed, while the hitmaking duo had to make do with the prize for Best New Act.
Miley Cyrus stole the spotlight during the ceremony - the former Hannah Montana star performed twice, opening the event with a rendition of her We Can't Stop hit accompanied by a leather-clad little person, who she groped and spanked. Miley then returned to the stage for an impassioned performance of Wrecking Ball, which won her the Best Video award.
Her pal Katy Perry scooped the award for Best Female and performed her new track Unconditionally, while and absent Justin Bieber was named Best Male for the second year in a row. He accepted his award via a video link from South America, where he is currently on tour.
Other performance highlights came from Kings Of Leon, The Killers, Icona Pop, Robin Thicke, Snoop Dogg, Katy Perry and Bruno Mars.
Will Ferrell's Ron Burgundy character appeared in a number of skits throughout the night, guiding the viewers around Amsterdam with a canal trip accompanied by Daft Punk lookalikes and making a confused visit to the city's famous red light district.
LMFAO star Redfoo hosted the evening and donned nine different costumes, including one which appeared to be edible.
The full list of winners is as follows:
Best Song: Bruno Mars - Locked Out Of Heaven
Best Female: Katy Perry
Best Male: Justin Bieber
Best Pop: Justin Bieber
Best New Act: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Best Live Act: Beyonce
Best Hip Hop: Eminem
Best Rock: Green Day
Best Electronic: Avicii
Best Alternative: Thirty Seconds To Mars
Best Video: MIley Cyrus - Wrecking Ball
Best Look: Harry Styles
Best World Stage: Linkin Park - Mexico 2012
Biggest Fans: Tokio Hotel
Best Push: Austin Mahone - April 2013
Best Worldwide Act: Chris Lee, China
The Who, the Pixies and actress Evan Rachel Wood have led tributes to rock legend Lou Reed, who died on Sunday (27Oct13), aged 71. The former Velvet Underground frontman passed away five months after a liver transplant and the rock world has been stunned by the tragic news.
A post on The Who's official Twitter.com page reads: "R.I.P. Lou Reed. Walk on the peaceful side", while Frank Black and his Pixies bandmates add, "R.I.P. LOU REED....A LEGEND."
Kings of Leon star Nathan Followill, British rocker Carl Barat, Justin Timberlake, Ryan Adams, Nile Rodgers, former My Chemical Romance star Gerard Way, The Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney and Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo also marked the sad news by taking to Twitter, while new mum Wood stated, "I am really bummed out today. Lost one of the greats."
Weezer also offered up their thoughts about Reed's passing, tweeting, "R.I.P Lou Reed - VU (Velvet Underground) was a big influence when weezer was being formed, and (producer) Ric Ocasek told us cool stories of his friendship with him."
Meanwhile, rock historian Martin Lewis, who has produced an upcoming DVD box-set of Amnesty International concerts that feature Lou Reed prominently, performing alongside Sting, Bono, Bryan Adams, Jackson Browne, Bruce Springsteen and others, tells WENN, "Lou Reed was an exceptional pioneering musician who inspired both his contemporaries and those who followed after him.
"He generously supported Amnesty International from the very start of the Human Rights Concerts series, performing at all six concerts on Amnesty's A Conspiracy Of Hope U.S. tour in June, 1986. He recently very graciously gave his blessing for the release of those historic performances as part of Amnesty's DVD box-set of the concerts.
"He was a remarkable musician and humanitarian. He will be greatly missed by everyone - including the human rights movement that he was passionate in supporting."