Pioneering country guitarist Velma Smith has died at the age of 87. The musician passed away on Thursday (31Jul14) in Madison, Tennessee.
Smith began performing on a local Kentucky radio station with her sister Mildred at the age of 12 and later went on to play with the likes of Ernest Tubb, Carl Smith and Roy Acuff.
However, it wasn't until the late 1950s that her career really took off as she became the first female rhythm guitar player to perform on records cut in Nashville, Tennessee.
She worked with artists such as Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, Waylon Jennings and Ray Price and her song credits include Hank Locklin's Please Help Me, I'm Falling in 1960 and Skeeter Davis' The End of the World in 1962.
She was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame in Nashville in January (14) as part of the Class of 2014, which also featured Peter Frampton, Buddy Guy and Randy Bachman from Bachman Turner Overdrive.
Smith was married to Price's pal, fiddle player-turned-producer James 'Hal' Smith, from 1948 until his death in 2008.
"Any good actress wants to be Viola Davis when she grows up... I'm trying to get there." Oscar winner Octavia Spencer is full of praise for her The Help co-star, who she reunites with in new James Brown biopic Get On Up.
The cast of the Harry Potter films reunited in Florida on Wednesday (18Jun14) to unveil a new theme park attraction inspired by the wizard series. Helena Bonham Carter and Tom Felton, who played villains Draco Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange in the franchise, were among the stars who came together at the VIP preview of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley at the Universal Orlando park.
Matthew Lewis, James and Oliver Phelps, Robbie Coltrane and Warwick Davis were among the other castmembers who turned out for the event, which marks the upcoming launch of the theme park attraction on 8 July (14).
Felton said, "It's great seeing everyone again. We've all been catching up - I love it."
Leading actors Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson did not attend the event. The final film in the eight-part series was released in 2011.
ABC Television Network
So, even though my Dancing with the Stars rankings were completely wrong, I may have been the only person to correctly rank Candace Cameron Bure above James Maslow. So ha!
Yes, in Monday's finale (part 1), after a rollicking martial arts-inspired free dance (and a real-live kiss during his tango with Peta – which somehow couldn't even compete with Meryl and Maks almost-kiss) James was sent home. Candace looked quite candidly shocked, as did pretty much everyone else in that studio audience. But, as Tom Bergeron would remind us, "That's live TV!" And hey, at least he got to encore his freestyle dance in last night's episode.
Speaking of which, I always forget that the second part of the finale is less a new episode and more a sort of homage to the rest of the season. A good deal of the episode is spent on retrospectives, bringing back old dancers and stars, video packages, and live musical performances, most of which was delightful – anyone could benefit from a repeat viewing of Charlie White's Dick van Dyke-approved jazz dance to "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," in my opinion. Plus, Maks "joked" that he was going to "ravage" Meryl and nickname both of their "mean, Russian children" "Bear" during one of the video packages. So there was that. Now, the musical numbers were a bit on the spotty side – ranging in quality down from Iggy Azalea's earpiece malfunction, to Christina Perri's pitch-y take on "Human," to the multitasking Cody Simpson and Amber Riley, and finally, up to Ariana Grande's pristine vocals on "Problem."
At long last, it came down to elimination time: which was a delightful brand of awkward, as the three remaining pairs watched selected video clips of themselves from as Christina Perri wailed away at her piano for a good two minute plus. Then, when that was over to the relief of the poor dancers/stars, the drumroll was so long that Candace dropped her poker face and grinned like a good sportsman. She was right – she did end up coming in third place.
And I have to admit, once it finally came down to Meryl/Maks vs. Amy/Derek, my heart was actually pounding a bit – because somewhere in the last 10 weeks I became a huge Meryl/Maks fan. Which was surprising, because I usually like underdogs, and Meryl had the clear advantage as a gold medal-holding ice dancer, while Amy had a lot more difficulties in uncharted territory as the first double-amputee on the show. But on the dancer side? Derek's kind of a DWTS juggernaut – rooting for him is kind of like rooting for the Yankees. And to counter Derek's five wins, much has been made of the fact that in 13 seasons, Maks has never taken the trophy once. Plus, Meryl's admission that she wanted to win more for Maks' sake than her own rang true, and that sort of sincerity is what's always made their relationship compelling to viewers.
With all that mind, their victory was truly a joy to behold (I delightfully noted that Meryl was up on Charlie's shoulders in mere seconds, while pretty much all of the rest of the cast had to band together to get Maks off the ground, so they could celebrate their new Mirror Ball Trophy in true DWTS form). Congrats, Meryl and Maks! Now, on to those mean Russian babies.
Olympic ice dancer Meryl Davis beat out competition from actress Candace Cameron Bure to be crowned queen of Dancing With The Stars during the finale on Tuesday night (20May14). Davis competed alongside Full House star Cameron Bure and actress-turned-Paralympian Amy Purdy during the final episode of the U.S. reality TV show in front of judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman, and Bruno Tonioli.
However, it was Davis who came out top alongside her professional partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy, who earned his first win in 14 seasons on the show.
After her triumph, Davis tweeted: "Thank you all for the incredible support... I'm completely overwhelmed. (Chmerkovskiy) and I have been so fortunate to share this journey w/ (with) you!"
Singer/actor James Maslow had been given the boot just shy of the finale during Monday's (19May14) episode.
Pop star Cody Simpson, who competed on the show, performed during the final along with rapper Iggy Azalea and singer Ariana Grande.
Singer/actor James Maslow is disappointed and relieved after fans voted him off U.S. reality show Dancing With The Stars on Monday (19May14) - because he was sick of living his life by the terms of an entertainment contract. The Big Time Rush star and his professional partner Peta Murgatroyd, who he once romanced, won over show judges and viewers with their tango and hip-hop freestyle dances, but were still cut from the show.
After the elimination, audience members booed, but Maslow admits he was not completely shocked.
He tells AccessHollywood.com, "I didn't expect to go home, but at the same time I'm not utterly shocked."
He adds, "As sad and partially frustrated as I am to not be able to compete - because we both really expected and wanted to be there... there's also a sense of relief and excitement that this is the first time in six years that I'm going to be free to go and do what I want to do, not on a contract."
Actress Candace Cameron Bure, Paralympian Amy Purdy and Olympic ice dancer Meryl Davis will vie for the show title on Tuesday (20May14).
Actress Candace Cameron-Bure's spot in the final of U.S. TV show Dancing With The Stars has been thrown into doubt after her professional partner Mark Ballas was injured during rehearsals. The pair was practising a routine for Monday night's (19May14) show when Ballas fell and popped his shoulder out of place during a complicated lift.
A spokesperson tells People.com, "Mark was seriously injured during camera blocking. His shoulder popped out during a lift and he was taken by ambulance to the hospital where he was treated and released. It's unclear whether or not he'll be able to perform on Monday's show." Reports suggest Ballas has been advised not to perform on the live episode, but insists he wants to take to the floor.
He reached out to fans on Sunday (18May14) on Twitter.com, writing, "Hey y'all. I'm doing alright, thanks for the love." One of the final four stars - Cameron-Bure, James Maslow, Meryl Davis, and Amy Purdy - will be eliminated on Monday, ahead of Tuesday night's (20May14) finale.
ABC Television Network
At this point in the Dancing with the Stars competition, everyone has the dancing skills to win: each remaining pair has scored high since Episode 1. As such, there's no real "dark horse" in this bunch – so when it comes down to it, it's going to be a tight race. As such, without further ado, here's how we'd rank the semi-finalists:
5. James Maslow/Peta Murgatroyd
Like the rest of the bunch, James is an adept dancer. His so-called chemistry with Peta might give him an edge, but they have considerably less sizzle than competitors Meryl and Maks. There's also the fact that he's routinely labeled as the "eye candy" of the show, but is that enough to take home the trophy?
Secret weapon: Shirtlessness
4. Candace Cameron-Bure
Candace might be the closest thing to a dark horse champion that the competition has at this point: she started the season off with excellent scores, then faltered after a bout with anxiety. Anyway, she's now the sort of "comeback kid" – plus, her close connection with her family makes her more accessible and easy to root for.
Secret weapon: Her relatability
3. Charlie White/Sharna Burgess
Some argued that Charlie's recent gold medal as an ice dancer was an unfair advantage (Olympic athletes have tended to do especially well in past seasons). Sure, Charlie's got discipline and talent to spare, but his golden ticket may lie with his charisma: he has a certain effervescence that might just make up the difference between runner-up and champion.
Secret weapon:The "aww!" factor
2. Meryl Davis/Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Like Charlie, Meryl's also got some extra experience with dance (as noted in the premiere, her spins are off the charts), but it might just be her chemistry with Maks that wins the day. Yes, on a show that runneth over with fauxmance, her relationship with Maks looks almost – dare I say it – genuine.
Secret weapon: The "aww!" factor, but in a different way
1. Amy Purdy/Derek Hough
This duo has everything it needs to win: flawless dancing, an athletic background (another Olympian!), and perhaps most importantly, an inspirational backstory. And let's forget that Derek's won the Mirror Ball Trophy five times, more times than any other pro on the show...
Secret weapon: She's inspirational times a thousand
Who do you think's got what it takes? Let us know in the comments!
Members of heavy metal band Korn have paid tribute to their former tour guitarist Shane Gibson following his death this week (beg13Apr14). Gibson passed away at an Alabama hospital on Tuesday (15Apr14) aged 35 after suffering complications relating to a blood clotting disorder.
The musician acted as the band's tour guitarist for three years from 2007 and also played in frontman Jonathan Davis' sideproject group The SFAs.
Members of Korn have now paid tribute in a statement which reads, "Our thoughts and prayers go out to Shane Gibson's friends, fans and family following the passing of our dear friend. Shane Gibson was Korn's touring guitarist from 2007 to 2010 and a member of Jonathan Davis' solo band, The SFAs. He will be greatly missed."
The band's full-time guitarist, Brian 'Head' Welch, also offered his own tribute, praising Gibson for helping out following his departure in 2005.
He says, "I've never had the pleasure of meeting Shane, but I'm honoured he was able to fill my spot after I left Korn. He was an amazing guitarist. Hopefully we can jam together in the next life. RIP brother."
His bandmate James 'Munky' Shaffer adds, "Shane Gibson, you were an amazing guitar player and an amazing person. Your kindness and talent will be missed. I'm very fortunate to have known you."
In 2010, Gibson formed avant-garde metal group stOrk, which is due to release a second album this month (Apr14).
Ah, fauxmance: one of the mainstays of scripted reality TV. It's a conceit that's always had a huge presence on Dancing with the Stars – after all, if our dancers and stars can get tongues wagging, it helps viewership and the voting. But is it really the right avenue for the show to be traveling? The forced flirtation can get uncomfortable at times, and this season's milking our speculation for all it is worth with not one, not two, but three potential fauxmances:
* First, we've got James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd – legend has it, they went out on a date before the show started, yet he never called (ouch). Nowadays, they talk a lot about their good chemistry, and tease us with the tidbit that they might give it another try once the mirrorball trophy is safe in their hands.
* Next, we've got Cody Simpson and Witney Carson. He has a girlfriend, yet much hullabaloo was made when he deemed her moves "distracting."
* And last, but not least, we've got Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy, who can't seem to stop singing each other's praises. And after a particularly steamy number a couple of weeks ago, Erin Andrews presented them with a rather intimate-looking screen grab, causing Davis to go scarlet and get all giggly.
Even in the most recent episode, where everyone switched partners, the mixed-up pairs didn't get away scot free. Maslow jokingly tweeted at Charlie White not to get too comfortable with Murgatroyd, prompting host Erin Andrews to question their relationship status – then as Davis made the "Chmer-swap-skiy" from Maks to Val, more than a little playful banter about "incestuous adultery" ensued.
The fauxmances might be a fun way to stir speculation and recruit voters, but is it really something the show needs? It's true that DWTS really comes down to the relationships between partners, but the non-romantic (and perhaps more genuine) feelings are just as, if not more, compelling. Last season's Emma Slater and Bill Engvall's father-daughter relationship got more followers than Brant Daugherty and Peta Murgatroyd's flirtatious banter, after all.
What do you think?