You're probably watching the Grammys to see Rihanna strut around in a sequined bustier or Mumford & Sons strum along in their flannel shirts — and fans of one don't necessarily know who the heck the other is. So don't sound like a jerk who hates fun (or fun.) by yelling, "Who the hell is that? I don't even know who that person is!" when some band you don't recognizecomes on stage; I'm here to tell you who is who and why you should care. You're welcome.
Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert
Who They Are: Dierks Bentley is a sort of hot blond guy who has won a bunch of CMA awards but has never won a Grammy. Miranda Lambert is a sort of hot blonde lady who was first on the reality show Nashville Star but now has become an actual a Nashville star. She has an album called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend that is somehow not about Taylor Swift. She is married to Blake Shelton, a revolving chair salesman who works on NBC's The Voice. Bentley and Lambert are currently on tour together, so their joint performance is something of a commecial.
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The Black Keys
Who They Are: After years of working the indie circuit harder than Lindsay Lohan works her assistants, the Black Keys produced a breakthrough album in 2010 and won three Grammys. The two core members, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney, look like they're from Brooklyn, but they're really from Akron. Go figure. Their 2011 album El Camino was also a big smash thanks to the band's hard-driving but easily accessible sound.
Who Is She: You might remember her from winning the first season of American Idol or from, you know, the 7 quadrillion hits she has had since then, like "Since U Been Gone," "My Life Would Suck Without You," and "Stronger." She sang "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" at Obama's inauguration last month and definitely did not lip sync.
Who They Are: One hit wonder or the next big thing? Who knows. We're going to have to figure that out once we get "We Are Young" out of our heads — it's been lodged somewhere near our cerebellum for like a year, ever since hearing it in every single bar in the whole universe. But FunPeriod will not be singing it at the Grammys (hello, that's what a one-hit wonder does). Maybe they should do a duet with Carly Rae Jepson. Haha. Just kidding. Oh and Lena Dunham dates fun.'s guitarist.
Elton John and Ed Sheeran
Who They Are: If I have to tell you who Elton John is, I'm going to get Benny and the Jetts to come crocodile rock your ass and they will not be feeling the love tonight. Hell no. John has been a huge champion of Sheeran, another British singer/songwriter who has been getting tons of attention lately. He did a song with Taylor Swift and is opening for her on her current tour. He wrote a bunch of songs for teen dreams One Direction. He is a ginger and does charity work to get hookers off the street, so he's gotta be kinda cool.
Who He Is: This 22-year-old dream machine is like the Justin Bieber of the torch and twang set. This is his first album and he's had a few hits and is up for the Milli Vanilli Best New Artist Grammy. He likes planes and is from Louisiana. If there is a teenage girl in your home, there will be lots of screeching when he comes on stage. You have been warned.
Who They Are: You know how all the hip music these days sounds like a bunch of guys wearing faux-vintage work clothes sitting in a Cracker Barrel churning out tunes on washboards like it's Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas or something? Well, that's The Lumineers. They have a cello. They might win Best New Artist and then everyone in American will be like, "Huh?" and the folks at The Jim Henson Company will get that otter muppet out of storage and that will be the end of it all.
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Maroon 5 and Alicia Keys
Genre: Rock and Piano
Who They Are: Maroon 5 is fronted by Adam Levine, the reanimated ghost of Mick Jagger who recently attempted to break into acting, as they say, by appearking on American Horror Story. Alicia Keys is from a concrete jungle where dreams are made of and no one teaches grammer. She was in cinematic classics The Secret Life of Bees and Smokin' Aces. Do these people even make music? Why are they at the Grammys?
Bruno Mars, Rihanna, and Sting
Genre: Crazy, Pop, and Things Your Mom Listens to While Drinking Wine
Who They Are: OK, this is sort of like having a bacon and banana burrito. These things just do not seem to go together at all, which is either totally stupid or totally genius. We'll have to see. Bruno Mars sings that "Just the Way You Are" song you've heard in the CVS and on Glee, Rihanna is the best pop diva next to Beyoncé (even though she dates the loathesome Chris Brown), and Sting used to be in a band called The Police which sang the most popular song of all time but now just has tantric sex and sings songs that sound like glasses of chablis.
Miguel and Wiz Khalifa
Genre: R&B, Hip-Hop
Who They Are: Miguel, a difficult name to have in the Google age, is an R&B singer whose first album was a bit of a sleeper hit but whose recent eclectic croony album is doing much better. Wiz Khalifa is a rapper. You've probably heard his song "Black and Yellow" but attributed it to Kanye West instead. They're going to be performing together on Miguel's single "Adorned," which is below.
Mumford & Sons
Who They Are: No, this is not where you get your car repaired. Mumford & Sons is a band with a mandolin that sounds like it's from the deepest darkest mountains of Missouri (but they're really from England). Or maybe they sound more like the language of Zooey Deschanel's dreams. They lost six Grammys in 2011 and 2012 and they are nominated for as many this year for their second album Babel, which everyone you probably know already owns. Where have you been?!
Who He Is: A member of the buzzy (and crazy) hip-hop collective Odd Future, Frank Ocean ghost wrote songs for a bunch of artist (like Justin Bieber) before launching his own album. Right before it dropped, he came out of the closet on his website and was launched into at torrent of media coverage. All the critics love his album even though his songs have fewer hooks than a desolated brothel. He has since been punched in the face by Chris Brown. He's up for six Grammys, including Best New Artist.
Who She Is: Taylor Swift is America's premiere author of blind items masquerading as songs. She's a young pop-country princess who writes her own music (commendable) mostly about her failed love life (not so commendable) with a string of famous boyfriends that includes Jake Gyllenhaal, Taylor Lautner, and one of the Kennedy clan. At the time, she bought a summer home across the street from the Kennedys so she could be close to them. Yeah, she's a little bit nuts, but the kids love her.
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Who He Is: He brought sexy back. Then got a movie career.
Who She Is: After Kelly Clarkson, she is the second American Idol winner on this list (and one of only four female winners on the show). She is now a gigantic superstar and if you haven't heard of her, you need to go to Wal-Mart more often (please pick me up some place mats). She might even be bigger than Clarkson for songs like "Inside Your Heaven." She has been nominated for five Grammys and never won one.
Who He Is: Jack White has been in more rock bands than apples have been in pies. He started with the White Stripes and moved on to The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather. He also has released solo albums and produced records for everyone from Beck and Bob Dylan to Insane Klown Posse and Loretta Lynn. He is nominated for a Grammy for Most Going On in the Whole World.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
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Well, kids, Pamela Anderson is gone, leaving behind a trail of bronzing gel, false eyelashes, and hairspray residue in her wake. This week, the competition heated up about as unevenly as the leftover pasta I had for dinner. The night was filled with glitter, innuendo, and a big-band cover of Radiohead’s “Creep.” Yeah, that happened. Sufficiently confused? Read on for more weirdness.
Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani
Did I die and go to the Rydell High dance-off? Based on Melissa and Tony’s dance, I’m pretty sure that’s what happened. Melissa is clearly the best dancer at St. Bernadette’s. The only thing missing was the hand jive.
Carrie Ann: 8
Bristol Palin & Mark Ballas
“This song’s like… me,” says Bristol Palin of Gretchen Wilson’s “Redneck Woman,” the song she danced to tonight. In case there was any doubt before, I can now confirm: Bristol Palin is the Honey Boo Boo of this competition.
Carrie Ann: 6
Helio Castroneves & Chelsie Hightower
Bruno referred to Helio Castroneves as “a delicious treat,” but I’m pretty sure he was talking about Helio’s pink suit jacket. Enough about him, though — let’s talk about his daughter, who got more screen time than any actual dancer in this competition. And for good reason: She’s the cutest toddler in the world. And she cheered her dad on from the sidelines. Awww.
Carrie Ann: 8
Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff
Last week, Carrie Ann told Apolo he got “3000 times sexier”… well, that was before she saw his fedora. It took all of his sexy points from last week and threw them right out the window. Apolo, you have the coolest male hair on DWTS this season. Don’t cover it up.
Carrie Ann: 8.5
Sabrina Bryan & Louis Van Amstel
When Bruno calls you Ginger Rogers, you know you’re good. Sabrina Bryan is a rockstar – and an adorable one. When Carrie Ann told her how great she was, she literally jumped up and down like an overexcited. Carrie Ann: 9
Bruno: 8.5 Kirstie Alley & Maks Chmerkovskiy
Ugh, Kirstie. During rehearsals, she had to wear rubber bands tied around her knees to train her to keep her legs together, a move she referred to as “Fifty Shades of Maks.” Ew. Her costume dragged out the torture even more: I get that her wig is meant to look like a classy ‘20s flapper, but the final result was vaguely reminiscent of a tan, slightly tipsy Marilyn Manson at a Great Depression-themed party.
Carrie Ann: 7
Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke
Emmitt Smith says he’s been hit over 4,000 times, which evidently made his head crooked. I guess last week we were all too distracted by the hip rolls. More importantly, though, he wore a leopard print bowtie and cummerbund combo, so I don’t understand why they didn’t just give him the Mirror Ball trophy and send everyone else packing.
Carrie Ann: 7.5
Drew Lachey & Anna Trebunskaya
Drew and Anna snag the award for worst costume of the night. First of all, Anna: Selena called. She wants her sequined bustier back. Like, now. And Drew, lose the eyeliner. You’re not Johnny Depp circa 2005 (But ooh, can Johnny Depp be on DWTS? Who do I need to pay to make that happen?).
Carrie Ann: 7.5
Joey Fatone & Kym Johnson
I have to be completely honest: I was so distracted by Joey’s music — a big-band version of Radiohead’s “Creep” — that I barely watched his dance. I guess it was appropriate, though — his Charlie Chaplin impression was, well, creepy. Based on the last two performances, I can only imagine (by which I mean dread) what’s to come next time.
Carrie Ann: 7.5
Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough
Meanwhile, back at Rydell High, my Grease metaphor continues as Shawn Johnson performs a dance that’s as wholesome as everyone’s favorite Hopelessly Devoted leading lady. Also, she cartwheeled down the stairs. Did you hear she was once in the Olympics?!
Carrie Ann: 8.5
Kelly Monaco & Valentin Chmerkovskiy
Kelly Monaco apparently missed out on her senior prom and wanted to relive the moment here. Too bad she didn’t leave a glass slipper behind on the steps: She was acting like Val was her real-life Prince Charming. I’m just impressed she didn’t trip over all that tulle.
Carrie Ann: 7.5
Gilles Marini & Peta Murgatroyd
The funny thing about Gilles’ hamstring injury is that I once had the same issue. Unfortunately, I didn’t get mine from dancing in a nationally televised competition, so I guess he wins this one. He dedicated his performance to his father, who passed away 17 years ago tonight, and his dad is definitely smiling down on him: once again, the last dance of the night was hands-down the best. Even if he did forget to wear his undershirt.
Carrie Ann: 8.5
Who’s heading home tonight?
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Richard Riddick (Vin Diesel) has a really bad rep and with good reason: Five years ago convicted killer Riddick escaped the galaxy's law enforcement during a botched interplanetary prison transfer and has been on the lam ever since. As The Chronicles of Riddick picks up our antagonist finds his relative freedom has been compromised when mercenaries out for the $1 million bounty on his head discover his location and hunt him down. Riddick escapes their clutches steals their ship and sets off for Planet Helion to find Imam (Keith David) the Muslim cleric he rescued in Pitch Black and the only person who could have squealed his location to authorities. But while Riddick's hunch about Imam are correct the cleric has a reason for luring the mammoth murderer out of hiding: Helion is falling to unholy armies of Necromongers--warriors who conquer by force in the vein of Star Trek's Borg. Of course Riddick doesn't give a damn about the Helions or their plight--until he gets wind that the Necromogers want to kill him because of an old prophecy that foresees their end at Riddick's hands. Like it or not Riddick is left with no other choice but to battle the Necromongers.
The character of Riddick is unquestionably what made Pitch Black one of the most sequel-worthy sci-fi films in years. And Riddick would not have been one of sci-fi's most intoxicating characters if it weren't for Diesel. Like his Dominic Toretto in the 2001 actioner The Fast and the Furious Riddick is a villain of few words but when he speaks his carefully chosen words have impact--even if the dialogue is at times overly theatrical. Riddick is the perfect antihero; a cold-blooded and indifferent being who somehow evokes more compassion than the film's so-called good guys. Joining Riddick are some recurring characters including David as Imam but Riddick benefits the most from the addition of some new characters particularly Colm Feore as Lord Marshal the Necromonger leader whose goal is to rid the universe of all human life. Feore channeling nuggets of Julius Caesar into his role makes for one of Riddick's most thrilling foes. Another prominent addition to the cast is Judi Dench who has a surprisingly small role as Aereon an Elemental captured by the Necromongers and used for her special powers including ESP.
Writer/director David Twohy took his horror pic Pitch Black which gained a cult following since it was released four years ago and managed to successfully turn it into an sci-fi actioner of epic proportions. Everything is grander here which is almost a given considering Twohy shot Pitch Black on a dime in Australia using colored filters. In Riddick the director distinguishes the film's different environments--the Necros' mothership Crematoria's cavernous prison and Helion--using warm to cool tones that are dazzling yet more subtle than its predecessor. The CGI effects get a little gamey at times but production designer Holger Gross' gargantuan sets are impressive and help craft Twohy's otherworldly vision into a plausible one. And although Twohy jumps genres from Pitch Black to its sequel his storyline evolves logically from the original premise. But while moviegoers unfamiliar with Pitch Black will be able to follow the story easily enough they may have a difficult time grasping what makes Riddick such a big deal; the film explains the legend but never fully captures its quintessence. This could hurt Riddick's chances to broaden its Pitch Black fan base.