Kelly Clarkson stunned her manager and father-in-law when she told him she wanted to stage a star-studded Christmas charity concert in just 85 days. Reba McEntire's husband Narvel Blackstock, who oversees the singer's career, thought Clarkson was talking about a bash next year (15) when she first approached him with her plans for the Miracle on Broadway event, which took place in Nashville, Tennessee on Saturday night (20Dec14).
The Since U Been Gone star tells People.com, "We were working on the new album and I was driving home from the studio and stuck in that awful traffic. I was thinking about how last Christmas I was pregnant and didn't get to do a Christmas show, so I thought about doing a little show, then I thought no, a big show, and by the time I got home I was thinking a really big show at Bridgestone (Arena)."
She announced her ambitious plans to her manager the following night over dinner: "He said, 'Oh, that's a great idea for next year'. And I said, 'No, no, this year! This Christmas!'"
She asked mother-in-law Reba to sign on, adding, "I figured she would say yes because otherwise it would be very awkward at Christmas dinner."
As well as McEntire, Clarkson persuaded Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Ronnie Dunn, Kacey Musgraves, Meghan Trainor and Paramore‘s Hayley Williams to join her for the first Miracle on Broadway, which raised over $400,000 (GBP267,000) for Tennessee-area charities.
Highlights of the night included Clarkson's rendition of Silent Night with McEntire and Yearwood and her Baby It’s Cold Outside duet with Dunn.
Taylor Swift has become the first woman in history to replace herself at the top of the U.S. pop charts.
The singer's new song Blank Space has rocketed to the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100, toppling her Shake It Off track, which has spent four non-consecutive weeks at the top of the countdown. Blank Space becomes Swift's third number one.
Shake It Off falls to three on the new chart, behind another long-standing number one, Meghan Trainor's All About That Bass, which holds firm at two.
Maroon 5's Animals and Tove Lo's Habits (Stay High) round out the new top five.
Meanwhile, Swift also spends another week atop the Billboard 200 album chart with 1989. The album's third weeks sales of 312,000 prevent the Foo Fighters from debuting at number one with their new album Sonic Highways.
Pink Floyd pick up their 10th top 10 album as The Endless River enters the countdown at three, while Garth Brooks' Man Against Machine and rapper Big K.R.I.T.'s Cadillactica round out the new top five.
Mum-to-be Carrie Underwood has Brad Paisley to thank for revealing the sex of her baby while co-hosting the 2014 CMA Awards on Wednesday night (05Nov14). The country stars took the stage as emcees of the annual prizegiving for the seventh consecutive time at Nashville, Tennessee's Bridgestone Arena, and Underwood proudly flaunted her growing baby bump during the duo's opening monologue.
Paisley encouraged his pal to tell him the sex of her first child, and she reluctantly whispered it to him, making him promise not to reveal her secret.
However, a few minutes later, Underwood jokingly asked Paisley if Garth Brooks, who was at the event to present the night's final award, would sign her baby, to which Paisley exclaimed, "We could name him Garth!", letting it slip that she and husband Mike Fisher are expecting a baby boy.
Paisley showed his remorse by saying, "Hashtag Brad blew it."
Meanwhile, two high-energy performances kicked off the 48th annual CMA Awards, with Kenny Chesney singing his hit American Kids, and Miranda Lambert teaming up with Meghan Trainor to sing her hit song All About That Bass.
Lambert returned to the stage as she scored the first win of the night for Single of the Year with her track Automatic, marking her first ever win in the category.
Prior to Wednesday's ceremony, Lambert was an early winner thanks to her duet with Keith Urban, We Were Us, which nabbed the Vocal Event of the Year.
Other early winners include Kacey Musgraves for Song of the Year for Follow Your Arrow and Brett Eldredge who won New Artist of the Year.
Singer Kelly Clarkson has recruited her mother-in-law Reba Mcentire and celebrity friends like Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood for a star-studded holiday benefit concert in Nashville, Tennessee. The Since U Been Gone hitmaker will headline a concert called Miracle on Broadway on 20 December (14) at the country music capital's Bridgestone Arena.
Clarkson called on her superstar pals to serve as special guests for the evening, and it will be an eclectic mix with stars also including Ronnie Dunn, Kacey Musgraves, Paramore's Hayley Williams and pop sensation Meghan Trainor.
The stars will cover Christmas classics and also join Clarkson for tracks from her platinum-selling holiday album, Wrapped in Red.
Texas native Clarkson hopes the event will become an annual concert in her adopted Nashville.
A statement reads: "I love my adopted hometown of Nashville with all of my heart, and I am so honored to be able to give back to the community alongside some of my favorite artists and friends for my first annual Miracle on Broadway benefit concert.
"I thank all of the artists joining me, as well as the people of Nashville for making me feel so welcome over the last seven years.”
Proceeds from the event will benefit local organisations.
A kids’ movie without the cheeky jokes for adults is like a big juicy BLT without the B… or the T. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted may have a title that sounds like it was made up in a cartoon sequel laboratory but when it comes to serving up laughs just think of the film as a BLT with enough extra bacon to satisfy even the wildest of animals — or even a parent with a gaggle of tots in tow. Yes even with that whole "Afro Circus" nonsense.
It’s not often that we find exhaustively franchised films like the Madagascar set that still work after almost seven years. Despite being spun off into TV shows and Christmas specials in addition to its big screen adventures the series has not only maintained its momentum it has maintained the part we were pleasantly surprised by the first time around: great jokes.
In this third installment of the series – the trilogy-maker if you will – directing duo Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath add Conrad Vernon (director Monsters Vs. Aliens) to the helm as our trusty gang swings back into action. Alex the lion (Ben Stiller) Marty the zebra (Chris Rock) Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) are stuck in Africa after the hullaballoo of Madagascar 2 and they’ll do anything to get back to their beloved New York. Just a hop skip and a jump away in Monte Carlo the penguins are doing their usual greedy schtick but the zoo animals catch up with them just in time to catch the eye of the sinister animal control stickler Captain Dubois (Frances McDormand). And just like that the practically super human captain is chasing them through Monte Carlo and the rest of Europe in hopes of planting Alex’s perfectly coifed lion head on her wall of prized animals.
Luckily for pint-sized viewers Dubois’ terrifying presence is balanced out by her sheer inhuman strength uncanny guiles and Stretch Armstrong flexibility (ah the wonder of cartoons) as well as Alex’s escape plan: the New Yorkers run away with the European circus. While Dubois’ terrifying Doberman-like presence looms over the entire film a sense of levity (which is a word the kiddies might learn from Stiller’s eloquent lion) comes from the plan for salvation in which the circus animals and the zoo animals band together to revamp the circus and catch the eye of a big-time American agent. Sure the pacing throughout the first act is practically nonexistent running like a stampede through the jungle but by the time we're palling around under the big top the film finds its footing.
The visual splendor of the film (and man is there a champion size serving of it) the magnificent danger and suspense is enhanced to great effect by the addition of 3D technology – and not once is there a gratuitous beverage or desperate Crocodile Dundee knife waved in our faces to prove its worth. The caveat is that the soundtrack employs a certain infectious Katy Perry ditty at the height of the 3D spectacular so parents get ready to hear that on repeat until the leaves turn yellow.
But visual delights and adventurous zoo animals aside Madagascar 3’s real strength is in its script. With the addition of Noah Baumbach (Greenberg The Squid and the Whale) to the screenwriting team the script is infused with a heightened level of almost sarcastic gravitas – a welcome addition to the characteristically adult-friendly reference-heavy humor of the other Madagascar films. To bring the script to life Paramount enlisted three more than able actors: Vitaly the Siberian tiger (Bryan Cranston) Gia the Leopard (Jessica Chastain) and Stefano the Italian Sealion (Martin Short). With all three actors draped in European accents it might take viewers a minute to realize that the cantankerous tiger is one and the same as the man who plays an Albuquerque drug lord on Breaking Bad but that makes it that much sweeter to hear him utter slant-curse words like “Bolshevik” with his usual gusto.
Between the laughs the terror of McDormand’s Captain Dubois and the breathtaking virtual European tour the Zoosters’ accidental vacation is one worth taking. Madagascar 3 is by no means an insta-classic but it’s a perfectly suited for your Summer-at-the-movies oasis.