British-Irish boyband One Direction have seen off competition from Justin Bieber to win a special prize from MTV.
The Story Of My Life hitmakers have been crowned the network's Hottest Summer Superstar of 2014 for the second consecutive year after gaining more than 56 million votes from fans. They trumped fellow pop star Bieber, who landed in second place with 47 million.
One Direction star Louis Tomlinson says of the award, "We are absolutely over the moon and we realise that obviously we couldn't do this without you so thank you so much for all your votes - you guys are the best fans in the world."
The top five includes Lana Del Rey at three, followed by Lady Gaga at four and boyband 5 Seconds Of Summer in fifth.
Justin Timberlake, Imagine Dragons Robin Thicke and Jennifer Lopez were among the big winners at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards on Sunday (18May14), each taking home top honours. The SexyBack hitmaker, who is currently on his world tour, emerged victorious in a total of seven categories, including Top Artist, Top Male Artist and Top Radio Songs Artist, while he also claimed the title for Top Billboard 200 Album for The 20/20 Experience.
Imagine Dragons and Robin Thicke were also multiple winners on the night, while Lorde had double the reason to celebrate as she was named Top New Artist and her hit Royals earned her the Top Rock Song prize. It was also a big night for Jennifer Lopez, who opened the Las Vegas ceremony by joining Pitbull and Claudia Leitte to perform their official 2014 FIFA World Cup soccer anthem, We Are One (Ole Ola).
She returned to the stage almost three hours later to close the show with her new song First Love as she was feted with the Icon Award by pal Ricky Martin and rapper Iggy Azalea, while video tributes from the likes of Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Cameron Diaz, Britney Spears, Rihanna and Mary J. Blige were shown on a big screen. She grew emotional as she gave thanks to her friends, family and key colleagues and she wrapped up her acceptance speech by addressing all the youngsters watching the awards on TV, telling them, "Have faith, think big, dream big and know that anything is possible. You never know where you might end up. Thank you, I love you."
Other show highlights included Ricky Martin's energetic Vida and Lorde's first TV rendition of her new single Tennis Court. There was also a pre-taped Birthday surprise from Katy Perry, who recorded a segment from her recent gig in Newcastle, England, where she plucked a real birthday girl from the audience and serenaded her onstage, for the awards show, while footage from Miley Cyrus' concert in Manchester, England last week (14May14), when she sang a cover of the Beatles' Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds with the Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd, also aired.
The main list of winners at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards, presented by rapper Ludacris, is as follows:
Top Artist - Justin Timberlake
Top New Artist - Lorde
Top Male Artist - Justin Timberlake
Top Female Artist - Katy Perry
Top Duo/Group - Imagine Dragons
Top Touring Artist - Bon Jovi
Top Billboard 200 Artist - Justin Timberlake
Top Billboard 200 Album - Justin Timberlake, The 20/20 Experience
Top Hot 100 Artist - Imagine Dragons
Top Hot 100 Song - Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell Williams, Blurred Lines
Top Radio Songs Artist - Justin Timberlake
Top Radio Song - Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell Williams, Blurred Lines
Top Digital Songs Artist - Katy Perry
Top Digital Song - Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell Williams, Blurred Lines
Top Social Artist - Justin Bieber
Top Streaming Artist - Miley Cyrus
Top Streaming Song (Audio) - Imagine Dragons, Radioactive
Top Streaming Song (Video) - Miley Cyrus, Wrecking Ball
Top Christian Artist - Chris Tomlin
Top Christian Song - Matthew West, Hello, My Name Is
Top Christian Album - Alan Jackson, Precious Memories Volume II
Top Country Artist - Luke Bryan
Top Country Song - Florida Georgia Line featuring Nelly, Cruise
Top Country Album - Luke Bryan, Crash My Party
Top Dance/Electronic Album - Daft Punk, Random Access Memories
Top Latin Artist - Marc Anthony
Top Latin Song - Marc Anthony, Vivir Mi Vida
Top Latin Album - Marc Anthony, 3.0
Top R&B Artist - Justin Timberlake
Top R&B Song - Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell Williams, Blurred Lines
Top R&B Album - Justin Timberlake, The 20/20 Experience
Top Rap Artist - Eminem
Top Rap Song - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Ray Dalton, Can't Hold Us
Top Rap Album - Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP 2
Top Rock Artist - Imagine Dragons
Top Rock Song - Lorde, Royals
Top Rock Album - Imagine Dragons,
Night Visions Milestone Award - Carrie Underwood
Icon Award - Jennifer Lopez.
Superstar couple Beyonce and Jay Z are set for a big night at the 2014 BET Awards with four nominations apiece. The Crazy in Love hitmakers will compete against each other in the Best Collaboration category, in which Beyonce's song Drunk in Love, which features her husband, will battle Jay Z and Justin Timberlake's Holy Grail. Drake and Majid Jordan's Hold On (We're Going Home), Robin Thicke, T.I. and Pharrell Williams' Blurred Lines, YG's My Hitta collaboration with Jeezy and Rich Homie Quan and I Luv This by August Alsina and Trinidad Jame$ are also up for the prize.
Meanwhile, rivals Jay Z and Drake will go toe to toe in the Best Male Hip Hop Artist category, alongside Future, J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar, while Beyonce will battle Janelle Monae, Jhene Aiko, K. Michelle, Rihanna and Tamar Braxton for the Best Female R&B/Pop Artist title. Jay Z and Beyonce will also vie for the coveted Video of the Year award with the videos for Drunk in Love and Partition, respectively. Pharrell Williams' Happy, Chris Brown's Fine China and Drake's Worst Behavior are also nominated.
In the movie categories, Angela Bassett, Gabrielle Union, Kerry Washington, Lupita Nyong'o and Oprah Winfrey will fight for the Best Actress prize, and Chiwetel Ejiofor, Forest Whitaker, Idris Elba, Kevin Hart and Michael B. Jordan are up for the Best Actor trophy. The Best Movie nominees are: 12 Years a Slave, The Best Man Holiday, Fruitvale Station, Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain and Lee Daniels' The Butler.
The 2014 BET Awards will be handed out at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on 29 June (14).
The full list of nominees are:
Best Female R&B/Pop Artist: Beyonce, Janelle Monae, Jhene Aiko, K. Michelle, Rihanna, Tamar Braxton
Best Male R&B/Pop Artist: August Alsina, Chris Brown, John Legend, Justin Timberlake, Pharrell Williams
Best Group A$AP Mob Daft Punk Macklemore & Ryan Lewis TGT Young Money
Best Collaboration August Alsina featuring Trinidad Jame$ - I Luv This Beyonce featuring Jay Z - Drunk in Love Drake featuring Majid Jordan - Hold On (We're Going Home) Jay Z featuring Justin Timberlake - Holy Grail Robin Thicke featuring T.I. & Pharell Williams - Blurred Lines YG featuring Jeezy & Rich Homie Quan - My Hitta
Best Male Hip Hop Artist Drake Future J. Cole Jay Z Kendrick Lamar
Best Female Hip Hop Artist Angel Haze Charli Baltimore Eve Iggy Azalea Nicki Minaj Video of the Year Beyonce - Partition Beyonce featuring Jay Z - Drunk in Love Chris Brown - Fine China Drake - Worst Behavior Pharrell Williams - Happy
Video Director of the Year Benny Boom Chris Brown Colin Tiley Director X Hype Williams
Best New Artist Ariana Grande August Alsina Mack Wilds Rich Homie Quan ScHoolboy Q
Best Gospel Artist Donnie McClurkin Erica Campbell Hezekiah Walker Tamela Mann Tye Tribbett
Best Actress Angela Bassett Gabrielle Union Kerry Washington Lupita Nyong'o Oprah Winfrey
Best Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor Forest Whitaker Idris Elba Kevin Hart Michael B. Jordan
YoungStars Award Gabrielle Douglas Jacob Latimore Jaden Smith KeKe Palmer Zendaya
Best Movie 12 Years a Slave The Best Man Holiday Fruitvale Station Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain Lee Daniels' The Butler
Subway Sportswoman of the Year Brittney Griner Lolo Jones Serena Williams Skylar Diggins Venus Williams
Subway Sportsman of the Year Blake Griffin Carmelo Anthony Floyd Mayweather Jr. Kevin Durant LeBron James
Centric Award Aloe Blacc - The Man Jennifer Hudson featuring T.I. - I Can't Describe (The Way I Feel)" Jhene Aiko - The Worst LiV Warfield - Why Do You Lie? Wale featuring Sam Dew - LoveHate Thing
Best International Act: Africa Davido (Nigeria) Diamond Platnumz (Tanzania) Mafikizolo (South Africa) Sarkodie (Ghana) Tiwa Savage (Nigeria) Toofan (Togo)
Best International Act: UK Dizzee Rascal Ghetts Krept & Konan Laura Mvula Rita Ora Tinie Tempah
Lorde and Imagine Dragons look set to dominate the 2014 Billboard Music Awards after landing 12 nominations each. The Royals hitmaker will compete for the title of Top Female Artist alongside Beyonce, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry and Rihanna, and she is also aiming to take home trophies for Top Rock Artist and Top Radio Songs Artist.
Imagine Dragons will fight it out with Florida Georgia Line, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, One Direction and OneRepublic for Top Duo/Group, and they also landed nods for Top Rock Album and Top Hot 100 Song.
Justin Timberlake follows with 11 nominations including Top Male Artist, Top R&B Artist and Top Artist.
In addition, Luke Bryan, Drake, Eminem, Bruno Mars and Timberlake will compete for Top Male Artist, and Bastille, Capital Cities, Ariana Grande, Lorde and Passenger will vie for Top New Artist.
Top Artist nominees include Miley Cyrus, Bruno Mars, Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake and Imagine Dragons, while John Legend, Luke Bryan, OneRepublic, Ellie Goulding, Carrie Underwood and Imagine Dragons are the six Milestone Award finalists.
The winners will be announced during a ceremony in Las Vegas on 18 May (14).
Pop star Rihanna looks set to dominate the inaugural iHeartRadio Music Awards after scoring seven nominations. The Umbrella star landed the most nods ahead of the prizegiving in Los Angeles, with a mention in the category for Artist Of The Year and doubling up for Best Song - her Eminem duet The Monster will compete against Stay, her track with Mikky Ekko.
Rihanna also scored a double mention for the same songs in the Best Collaboration category, as well as Hip Hop/R&B Song of the Year for Pour It Up and Best Fan Army.
Other major nominees include fellow pop star Justin Timberlake, who landed five mentions, going up against Rihanna for Artist of the Year along with Imagine Dragons, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and Maroon 5. His track Mirrors will also compete for the Song of the Year honour, while his two tracks with Jay Z - Suit & Tie and Holy Grail - will compete for Best Collaboration.
The iHeartRadio Awards will air in the U.S. live from L.A.'s Shrine Auditorium on 1 May (14).
Actress Sandra Bullock and pop superstar Justin Timberlake were the toast of the 2014 People Choice Awards after each taking home a handful of top honours. The Hollywood beauty claimed the first three prizes of Wednesday's (08Jan14) ceremony as she picked up the title for Favorite Movie Actress and was handed trophies for Favorite Comedic and Dramatic Movie Actress, too.
Her space disaster film, Gravity, was also named Favorite Dramatic Movie and her onscreen work with George Clooney landed her the Favorite Movie Duo award.
Timberlake was a triple threat at the Los Angeles ceremony, claiming Favorite Male Artist, R&B Artist and Favorite Album for The 20/20 Experience.
Robert Downey, Jr. was another big winner - he walked away as the Favorite Action Movie Star, while his superhero blockbuster Iron Man 3 was named Favorite Movie and Favorite Action Movie.
Newlywed Kaley Cuoco was given another couple of reasons to celebrate - she was handed the Favorite Comedic TV Actress honour for The Big Bang Theory, while the sitcom was also the winner of the Favorite Network TV Comedy category.
As she accepted her acting accolade, Cuoco, who wed tennis player Ryan Sweeting on New Year's Eve (31Dec13), gave a special shout out to her new husband, saying, "This is the second best thing that happened to me all year; the first was marrying you baby! I love you."
Meanwhile, Jennifer Hudson fought back tears as she was hailed the Favorite Humanitarian for her work with the Julian D. King Gift Foundation, the children's organisation she founded in 2008 to help underprivileged kids following the murder of her seven-year-old nephew.
She stepped onstage with her sister Julia to accept the award and paid tribute to her late mother and brother, who were also killed in the family tragedy, telling the crowd: "We wanna dedicate this to our mother, who taught us... that without family, you have nothing, and our brother, who was the most giving."
Awards co-hosts Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs kicked off the show with a skit straight from the diner of their hit sitcom 2 Broke Girls, featuring guest appearances by The Vampire Diaries' Ian Somerhalder, The Crazy Ones' Sarah Michelle Gellar, Christina Aguilera, Ian Ziering, The Big Bang Theory co-stars Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch, and talk show host Arsenio Hall. Cuoco also made a cameo in the opening sketch, handing over the honour of presenting the prizegiving after joking that she was going to be busy on the night of the event.
Musical performances came from the likes of Brad Paisley and OneRepublic, and presenters included LL Cool J, Zac Efron, Heidi Klum, Jessica Alba and Malin Akerman.
The full list of winners is as follows:
Favorite Movie - Iron Man 3
Favorite Movie Actor - Johnny Depp
Favorite Movie Actress - Sandra Bullock
Favorite Movie Duo - Sandra Bullock and George Clooney (Gravity)
Favorite Action Movie - Iron Man 3
Favorite Action Movie Star - Robert Downey, Jr.
Favorite Comedic Movie - The Heat
Favorite Comedic Movie Actor - Adam Sandler
Favorite Comedic Movie Actress - Sandra Bullock
Favorite Dramatic Movie - Gravity
Favorite Dramatic Movie Actor - Leonardo DiCaprio
Favorite Dramatic Movie Actress - Sandra Bullock
Favorite Family Movie - Despicable Me 2
Favorite Horror Movie - Carrie
Favorite Thriller Movie - Now You See Me
Favorite Network TV Comedy - The Big Bang Theory
Favorite Comedic TV Actor - Chris Colfer (Glee)
Favorite Comedic TV Actress - Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory)
Favorite Network TV Drama - The Good Wife
Favorite Dramatic TV Actor - Josh Charles (The Good Wife)
Favorite Dramatic TV Actress - Stana Katic (Castle)
Favorite Actor in a New TV Series - Joseph Morgan (The Vampire Diaries)
Favorite Actress in a New TV Series - Sarah Michelle Gellar (The Crazy Ones)
Favorite TV Crime Drama - Castle
Favorite Competition TV Show - The Voice
Favorite Cable TV Comedy - Psych
Favorite Cable TV Drama - The Walking Dead
Favorite Premium Cable TV Show - Homeland
Favorite Cable TV Actress - Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars)
Favorite TV Anti-Hero - Andrew Lincoln (The Walking Dead)
Favorite TV Bromance - Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles and Misha Collins (Supernatural)
Favorite TV Gal Pals - Lea Michele and Naya Rivera (Glee)
Favorite On-screen Chemistry - Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries)
Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Show - Beauty and the Beast
Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actor - Ian Somerhalder
Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actress - Kristin Kreuk (Beauty and the Beast)
Favorite TV Movie/Miniseries - American Horror Story
Favorite Daytime TV Host - Ellen DeGeneres (The Ellen DeGeneres Show)
Favorite New Talk Show Host - Queen Latifah (The Queen Latifah Show)
Favorite Late Night Talk Show Host - Stephen Colbert (The Colbert Report)
Favorite Streaming Series - Orange Is the New Black
Favorite Series We Miss Most - Breaking Bad
Favorite New TV Comedy - Super Fun Night
Favorite New TV Drama - Reign
Favorite Male Artist - Justin Timberlake
Favorite Female Artist - Demi Lovato
Favorite Breakout Artist - Ariana Grande
Favorite Pop Artist - Britney Spears
Favorite Country Artist - Taylor Swift
Favorite Country Music Icon - Tim McGraw
Favorite Hip Hop Artist - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Favorite R&B Artist - Justin Timberlake
Favorite Band - One Direction
Favorite Alternative Band - Fall Out Boy
Favorite Song - Roar by Katy Perry
Favorite Album - Justin Timberlake (The 20/20 Experience)
Favorite Music Video - Roar by Katy Perry
Favorite Music Fan Following - Demi Lovato's Lovatics
Favourite Humanitarian - Jennifer Hudson.
Frank Hoensch/GettyCelebrating ten years of manipulative sob stories, staged judge bickering and karaoke covers, the team behind The X-Factor UK released the series' first official compilation last week. While the track-list is largely a fair reflection of the show's output, it inevitably also contains its fair share of dross (two Lucy Spraggan entries, One Direction's dreary "Little Things," and Joe McElderry's pointless cover of "The Climb," just to name a few). Here are five under-rated singles which should have made the cut instead.Olly Murs – "Dear Darlin'"Forget the Maroon 5 rip-off ("Troublemaker") that opens up disc two. This string-soaked trip-hop ballad was the track which even those previously averse to his cheeky chappie charms were forced to admit was one of this summer's classiest hits.Matt Cardle – "Starlight"2010 winner Matt Cardle may have triumphed over One Direction. But the Gary Barlow-penned dirge of "Run For Your Life" then virtually sank his career before it had even begun. If the rousing, echo-laden indie-rock of "Starlight" had been released instead, things could have been very different.Leon Jackson – "Don't Call This Love"Arguably the most forgettable winner in The X-Factor's history, Leon Jackson appeared hopelessly out of his depth on the show itself but made a surprisingly convincing crooner on this lush and hugely under-rated Burt Bacharach-inspired slice of lounge-pop.Shayne Ward – "No U Hang Up"Lumbered with a series of dull MOR ballads following his 2005 win, Shayne Ward spectacularly failed to live up to all the 'UK’s answer to Justin Timberlake' expectations. However, this seductive R&B mid-tempo, a surprise U.K. No. 2 hit in 2007, briefly suggested that he was worthy of such a tag.Leona Lewis – "Collide"The 2006 winner's transatlantic number one, "Bleeding Love," and inspired cover version of Snow Patrol's "Run" are already on the compilation. But as the show's first global breakout star, she certainly merits a third inclusion. This understated foray into melancholic dance-pop, featuring a sample of Avicii long before he became one of the EDM scene's most prominent DJs, proved she could do more than just showy ballads.
Taylor Swift was the golden girl at the 2013 American Music Awards on Sunday (24Nov13) as she took home four top honours, including Artist of the Year. The I Knew You Were Trouble hitmaker, who wowed in a shimmering gold Julien Macdonald mini dress, earned Favorite Female Artist accolades in both the Pop/Rock and Country categories, while the blonde beauty also scored best album for Red in the latter genre.
Justin Timberlake enjoyed a stellar night too, claiming a trio of trophies, while British boyband One Direction celebrated their first ever AMAs for Favorite Band, Duo or Group - Pop/Rock and Favorite Album - Pop/Rock for their second release Take Me Home.
Rihanna was feted with the inaugural Icon Award in recognition of her massive global success and she received a standing ovation from the celebrity-packed audience at the Nokia Theater L.A. Live in Los Angeles.
Her mentor and Roc Nation label boss Jay Z paid tribute to his charge in a pre-taped video message, while Rihanna's mother, Monica Fenty, was on hand to play the proud parent as she presented the honour.
In her acceptance speech, Rihanna recalled terrorising her mum with her "annoying little man voice" as a child, before going on to express her gratitude to her devotees and her team, saying, "My fans, you have no idea. You keep me driven, you keep this thing special and right now I can't believe that at 25 years old I'm holding an Icon award, that is weird to even say out loud...
"I can't thank everybody but if you know me, you know that I love you and that I thank you and that I'm grateful. You all play such an important part and I'm only as good as my team so I love you guys so much, thank you."
Katy Perry kicked off the event by performing her new single Unconditionally dressed as a geisha in a set made to look like a Japanese cherry blossom garden, while One Direction, Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Arianna Grande and the surviving members of TLC also hit the stage, as did show host Pitbull, who teamed up with Timber collaborator Ke$ha.
Other performance highlights came from Jennifer Lopez, who dazzled in a special tribute to late Latin music icon Celia Cruz; Lady Gaga, who played a receptionist as she seduced R. Kelly as president for Do What U Want, and birthday girl Miley Cyrus, who donned a pink leotard adored with cats to close the show with a powerful and emotional rendition of Wrecking Ball.
The full list of winners for the 41st Annual American Music Awards, which are voted for by fans, is as follows:
Artist of the Year - Taylor Swift
New Artist of the Year - Arianna Grande
Single of the Year - Cruise, Florida Georgia Line featuring Nelly
Favorite Male Artist - Pop/Rock - Justin Timberlake
Favorite Female Artist - Pop/Rock - Taylor Swift
Favorite Band, Duo or Group - Pop/Rock - One Direction
Favorite Album - Pop/Rock - Take Me Home, One Direction
Favorite Male Artist - Country - Luke Bryan
Favorite Female Artist - Country - Taylor Swift
Favorite Band, Duo or Group - Country - Lady Antebellum
Favorite Album - Country - Red, Taylor Swift
Favorite Artist - Rap/Hip-Hop - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Favorite Album - Rap/Hip-Hop - The Heist, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Favorite Male Artist - Soul/R&B - Justin Timberlake
Favorite Female Artist - Soul/R&B - Rihanna
Favorite Album - Soul/R&B - The 20/20 Experience, Justin Timberlake
Favorite Artist - Alternative Rock - Imagine Dragons
Favorite Artist - Adult Contemporary - Maroon 5
Favorite Artist - Latin - Marc Anthony
Favorite Artist - Contemporary Inspirational - Matthew West
Favorite Artist - Electronic Dance Music (EDM) - Avicii
Top Soundtrack - Pitch Perfect
Icon Award - Rihanna.
Lions Gate via Everett Collection
When we last left our heroes, they had conquered all opponents in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, returned home to their newly refurbished living quarters in District 12, and fallen haplessly to the cannibalism of PTSD. And now we're back! Hitching our wagons once again to laconic Katniss Everdeen and her sweet-natured, just-for-the-camera boyfriend Peeta Mellark as they gear up for a second go at the Capitol's killing fields.
But hold your horses — there's a good hour and a half before we step back into the arena. However, the time spent with Katniss and Peeta before the announcement that they'll be competing again for the ceremonial Quarter Quell does not drag. In fact, it's got some of the film franchise's most interesting commentary about celebrity, reality television, and the media so far, well outweighing the merit of The Hunger Games' satire on the subject matter by having Katniss struggle with her responsibilities as Panem's idol. Does she abide by the command of status quo, delighting in the public's applause for her and keeping them complacently saturated with her smiles and curtsies? Or does Katniss hold three fingers high in opposition to the machine into which she has been thrown? It's a quarrel that the real Jennifer Lawrence would handle with a castigation of the media and a joke about sandwiches, or something... but her stakes are, admittedly, much lower. Harvey Weinstein isn't threatening to kill her secret boyfriend.
Through this chapter, Katniss also grapples with a more personal warfare: her devotion to Gale (despite her inability to commit to the idea of love) and her family, her complicated, moralistic affection for Peeta, her remorse over losing Rue, and her agonizing desire to flee the eye of the public and the Capitol. Oftentimes, Katniss' depression and guilty conscience transcends the bounds of sappy. Her soap opera scenes with a soot-covered Gale really push the limits, saved if only by the undeniable grace and charisma of star Lawrence at every step along the way of this film. So it's sappy, but never too sappy.
In fact, Catching Fire is a masterpiece of pushing limits as far as they'll extend before the point of diminishing returns. Director Francis Lawrence maintains an ambiance that lends to emotional investment but never imposes too much realism as to drip into territories of grit. All of Catching Fire lives in a dreamlike state, a stark contrast to Hunger Games' guttural, grimacing quality that robbed it of the life force Suzanne Collins pumped into her first novel.
Once we get to the thunderdome, our engines are effectively revved for the "fun part." Katniss, Peeta, and their array of allies and enemies traverse a nightmare course that seems perfectly suited for a videogame spin-off. At this point, we've spent just enough time with the secondary characters to grow a bit fond of them — deliberately obnoxious Finnick, jarringly provocative Johanna, offbeat geeks Beedee and Wiress — but not quite enough to dissolve the mystery surrounding any of them or their true intentions (which become more and more enigmatic as the film progresses). We only need adhere to Katniss and Peeta once tossed in the pit of doom that is the 75th Hunger Games arena, but finding real characters in the other tributes makes for a far more fun round of extreme manhunt.
But Catching Fire doesn't vie for anything particularly grand. It entertains and engages, having fun with and anchoring weight to its characters and circumstances, but stays within the expected confines of what a Hunger Games movie can be. It's a good one, but without shooting for succinctly interesting or surprising work with Katniss and her relationships or taking a stab at anything but the obvious in terms of sending up the militant tyrannical autocracy, it never even closes in on the possibility of being a great one.
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Jennifer Lopez will present a tribute to late Latin music legend Celia Cruz at the 2013 American Music Awards on 24 November (13). The singer will mark the 10th anniversary of the star's death at the ceremony, which will take place in Los Angeles.
Also newly added to the line-up for the show are Katy Perry, who will open the ceremony with a performance of her new single Unconditionally, and R&B stars TLC.
They will join Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, One Direction, Florida Georgia Line, Miley Cyrus and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis among the night's performers.
Pitbull will host the show and perform his new single Timber with Ke$ha.