Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj, One Direction, Ariana Grande, Coldplay and Iggy Azalea were among the high-profile stars who took to the stage in Las Vegas over the weekend (19-21Sep14) for the iHeartRadio Music Festival. Some of the biggest names in the music industry graced the stage in Sin City for the two-day event, which kicked off on Friday (19Sep14) with acts including Swift, Minaj, Grande and Coldplay.
Coldplay's set was overshadowed by the appearance of actress Jennifer Lawrence at the gig, fuelling rumours she is dating frontman Chris Martin, while other acts included pregnant singer Alicia Keys, who made a surprise turn on stage to perform her new single We Are Here.
Black Eyed Peas star will.i.am also made a surprise appearance onstage with DJ Steve Aoki.
Usher rounded out Friday night by bringing out Chris Brown for a rendition of his single New Flame, and the Yeah! star baffled the crowd by setting his sneakers on fire. The flaming shoes were dealt with by a stagehand who doused them with a fire extinguisher.
Iggy Azalea, 5 Seconds of Summer, Magic!, One Direction, Lorde and Paramore all took to the stage on Saturday (20Sep14) to close the festival. Calvin Harris brought out British pop star John Newman during his Saturday set, while Ed Sheeran performed with rapper Macklemore.
DJ Calvin Harris has scored his fifth number one single on the U.K. music charts with Blame. The track, featuring English singer John Newman, has beaten Lilly Wood & Robin Schulz's Prayer in C to the top of the charts.
Harris' previous number one singles include I'm Not Alone, Sweet Nothing, Under Control and Summer.
He also featured on two other top songs; Dizzee Rascal's Dance Wiv Me and Rihanna's We Found Love.
Rounding out the top five are Sam Smith's I'm Not the Only One, Taylor Swift's Shake It Off and Iggy Azalea and Rita Ora's Black Widow.
Meanwhile on the albums chart, Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant has scored this week's (ends14Sep14) highest new entry with Lullaby And The Ceaseless Roar.
Plant's 10th solo album debuted at number two behind Smith's In The Lonely Hour.
Ed Sheeran's X, Royal Blood's self-titled Mercury Music Prize-favoured eponymous album and George Ezra's Wanted On Voyage sound out the new top five.
British pop star Ella Eyre is dating rising singer/songwriter Saint Raymond. The If I Go hitmaker met him at the BRIT Awards in London in February (14) and they began dating after he invited her to one of his shows.
Eyre tells Britain's The Sun newspaper, "I got a message from him the next day (after the BRIT Awards) asking me to one of his shows, but I had no idea how he got my number. We got chatting and he told me we had been partying until 8am. I was like 'You've either made a terrible impression or I was that far gone (drunk)'... We see each other all the time, but it was incredibly difficult to begin with."
The singer, who previously dated fellow pop star John Newman, adds, "You want to shut out your ex-boyfriend but you can't because his face is on a billboard around every corner."
20th Century Fox Film via Everett Collection
Movie legend Lauren Bacall has died after suffering a stroke at her home in Manhattan, New York. The 89-year-old star of classic films The Mirror Has Two Faces, How to Marry a Millionaire and Key Largo was married to two other big screen greats, Humphrey Bogart and Jason Robards, and she famously romanced Frank Sinatra. Bacall first emerged as a leading lady opposite Bogart in 1944's To Have and Have Not and enjoyed success onstage as well as on the big screen. She scored Tony Awards for her Broadway shows Applause and Woman of the Year, and Golden Globe and Oscar nominations for her role in 1996's The Mirror Has Two Faces. She received an honorary Academy Award in 2009. Her autobiography, By Myself, won a National Book Award in 1980. Born Betty Joan Perske in New York, Bacall's mother was a Romanian immigrant and her father was a New Jersey salesman. After studying at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, she landed a handful of small off-Broadway productions while making waves as a young model. Rumour has it that the wife of moviemaker Howard Hawks was so taken by the one-time Miss Greenwich Village's beauty when she appeared on the cover of style bible Harper's Bazaar, she suggested her husband should screen test her. That meeting led to her breakthrough as Marie Browning in To Have and Have Not, which became the first of many projects that teamed her up with Bogart. The 'Bogie-Bacall' romance is still considered one of Hollywood's greatest love stories. The stars wed in 1945 and were inseparable until the actor's death in 1957. She also appeared in Bright Leaf, opposite Gary Cooper, and teamed up with fellow big screen pin-ups Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable in 1953's How to Marry a Millionaire. Her leading men also included Henry Fonda and Tony Curtis (Sex & the Single Girl), Paul Newman (Harper), John Wayne (The Shootist) and Jack Lemmon and James Garner (My Fellow Americans). Bacall's voice was used in 2012 Oscar-nominated animated movie Ernest & Celestine and she was reportedly filming crime drama Trouble Is My Business at the time of her death on Tuesday morning (12Aug14).
British singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor wept with pride while watching her young brother perform at the 2014 Glastonbury Festival. The Murder On The Dance Floor hitmaker performed on the Avalon Stage on Friday (27Jun14) and managed to see her brother Jack play drums for British singer John Newman on the same day.
Ellis-Bextor admits she was in tears during his performance, telling Britain's Sunday Mirror, "My brother is eight years younger and plays drums for John Newman. My mum used to cry when I played which I thought was silly, but tears were streaming down my face. It was embarrassing."
Britain's Glastonbury Festival has been marred by a second death just hours before the first official performances kicked off on Friday (27Jun14). A 67-year-woman died of natural causes at the event shortly after the gates opened at the site in Somerset, England on Wednesday (25Jun14), and a male reveller was later admitted to hospital in critical condition after suffering an allergic reaction to the drug ketamine.
The 26-year-old man died in hospital on Friday morning (27Jun14), shortly before the festival got into full swing with performances from acts including the Kaiser Chiefs, John Newman and Blondie.
A statement from local police reads, "A man has died following a suspected reaction to ketamine. The man was taken ill overnight on Wednesday into Thursday and was taken to the Bristol Royal Infirmary. Unfortunately he died earlier today (Friday)... His death is not considered suspicious. At this stage we believe this was an individual reaction to ketamine and was not from a bad batch of the drug."
The festival, which runs until Sunday (29Jun14), is also set to feature performances from Arcade Fire, Metallica, Kasabian, Lily Allen, Ed Sheeran and Jack White.
Paramount Pictures via Everett Collection
The Godfather has been named Hollywood's top movie of all-time following an extensive survey of Tinseltown's top studio bosses, Oscar winners and players.
The 1972 crime drama has beaten out The Wizard of Oz and Citizen Kane to top the new Hollywood Reporter list, while The Shawshank Redemption and Pulp Fiction round out the top five.
MGM via Everett Collection
Casablanca, The Godfather: Part II, E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Schindler's List make the top 10.
Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan, directors Gary Ross, John Singleton and Michael Bay, Disney boss Alan Horn, producer Frank Marshall and top agent Robert Newman were among those who took part in the survey.
Actress Piper Perabo has become a voice for refugees around the world thanks to her latest role with the International Rescue Committee. The Coyote Ugly star has been named an IRC Voice for the World's Most Vulnerable, and joins celebrities like Rashida Jones, John Legend and Morena Baccarin among the organisation's celebrity supporters.
As part of her new role, Perabo will raise awareness of "the needs of refugees and people who have been displaced by conflict, religious persecution or political oppression around the world".
She says, "I have tremendous admiration for the work the IRC does both in the United States and around the world. Whether it's assisting refugees who have been forced to flee the Syrian conflict or guiding refugee youth through the New York public school system, their work is important, impactful and transforms lives. I am excited and honoured to join the IRC's team."
Perabo first learned about the IRC from a relative who serves as a caseworker for the organisation's refugee resettlement program in Boise, Idaho.
The IRC was founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein. Since then, the organisation has enjoyed the support of many high profile artists, including Don Cheadle, George Clooney, Paul McCartney and Paul Newman.
Coldplay star Chris Martin became an honorary member of Kings Of Leon on Sunday (25May14) when he joined the U.S. rockers onstage at Radio 1's Big Weekend festival in Glasgow, Scotland. The Yellow singer was all smiles as he teamed up with Kings of Leon frontman Caleb Followill for part of the group's opening set, just hours after his band had closed out Saturday night (24Jun14) at the festival.
The impressive weekend line-up also included appearances by One Direction, Calvin Harris, Lily Allen, Paolo Nutini, Katy Perry, The Vamps, Rita Ora and John Newman, who was thrilled to be a part of the big event.
Speaking backstage, the singer said, "It's crazy, Kings Of Leon have just come onstage... and One Direction yesterday at 1pm - it's opening up strong straight away. To be given a main stage opportunity the first year I've done it solo is incredible and I've kind of got to make the most out of it.
"I've played Glasgow and I've got a weird curse about travelling to Glasgow where my bus breaks down or we're always late or something, but we always manage to get here, and every time we do get here you know it's always an incredible gig, so thank you to Glasgow."
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Over the almost 50 years of Saturday Night Live, there have been plenty of seasons that were good (more than most casual observers would like to admit) and bad (some spectacularly so). There was, though, only one 1984: quite possibly the strangest season in the history of the show.
With Eddie Murphy completely gone to pursue his superstar movie career and the second most recognizable cast member, Joe Piscopo, having worn out his welcome after the 1983 - '84 season, executive producer Dick Ebersol was left without a star. The remaining cast members, including a young Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jim Belushi, had never quite fit in with the show and were largely dissatisfied with the way that they had been treated. Many people figured that Murphy leaving would finally signal the death knell for SNL.
Righting a Wrong
Instead of trying to develop another young talent like Murphy, Ebersol turned to more established comedians, including one who had almost been part of the original SNL cast. By 1984, Billy Crystal was already a well known entertainer after his stint on the sitcom Soap and his numerous talk show appearances where he imitated celebrities like boxer Mohammed Ali, but in 1974 Crystal had been cut from the original Not Ready for Prime Time Players on the eve of the show's debut. Why that happened depends largely on who tells the story, but whatever the case, when Chevy Chase, Gilda Radner, John Belushi, and Dan Aykroyd rocketed to fame, Crystal wasn’t with them. Nor was he offered the spot that went to Bill Murray when Chase left after the first season. Ten years later, Crystal was finally being given the chance to right what he considered a wrong.
The Rest of the Gang
Along with Crystal, Ebersol brought in Martin Short, who had already been a cast member of Canada's SCTV (which launched the careers of John Candy, Rick Moranis, and Catherine O'Hara), as well as Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer, fresh off their success in This Is Spinal Tap. Rich Hall, who had been part of an ensemble HBO comedy show called Not Necessarily the News, and Pamela Stephenson, who had been on the British precursor (Not the Nine O'clock News) of Hall's HBO show rounded out the new cast members. It was an odd turn of events considering that Crystal hosted SNL twice the season before he joined the cast, while Guest and Shearer had made a guest appearance as part of Spinal Tap.
Crystal, Short, and Guest wasted little time putting their stamp on the creative vacuum that they walked into. Ebersol was by all accounts a very good network executive, but he was not a comedian and didn’t come from a creative background. By the season opener, Crystal was already doing his Fernando Lamas impression ("You look mah-velous!") and Short had brought his Ed Grimley character with him from SCTV. By the third show, Crystal and Guest had worked up a breakout routine with their characters Willie and Frankie, who would continuously one-up each other with pain-inducing practices ("I hate it when that happens"). The show never missed a chance to exploit the new popular sketches — a hallmark of the Ebersol era — with Crystal doing his Fernando so frequently that the character almost deserved a separate credit in the opening theme.
More than any season before or since, the show relied on pre-taped segments, with Guest, Shearer, and Short preferring to work that way. While it went against the grain of SNL, some of the short films, particularly Shearer and Short playing aspiring male synchronized swimmers and Guest and Crystal portraying aged Negro League baseball stars were as good as anything that the show had produced.
Perhaps the best remembered episode of the season is the one hosted by wrestler Hulk Hogan and Mr. T to promote the first Wrestlemania. In the most famous segment, the pair appears with Crystal on his "Fernando Hideaway" sketch and can't keep a straight face. While Murphy returned to host and the Beatles' Ringo Starr took a turn, the other hosts included figures like Jesse Jackson, Howard Cosell, and Bob Uecker. The first show of the season didn't even have a host.
Additionally, there was little continuity with the show's fake news segment — called "Saturday Night News" instead of "Weekend Update" — with the show's host sometimes doing the anchoring and real newscaster Edwin Newman sitting in once before Guest finally took over midway through the season.
In stark contrast to the hosts, the seasons musical guests were a who's who of mid-80s pop, with acts like The Thompson Twins, Billy Ocean, Bryan Adams, and super-groups The Honey Drippers (featuring Robert Plant), and Power Station (featuring Robert Palmer) all making appearances.
When an industry-wide writers' strike halted production in early March 1985, the show didn’t return from the forced hiatus. The abbreviated season ended after just 17 episodes. NBC was unhappy with spiraling production costs and Ebersol was unhappy with his creative staff. Shearer had quit the show in January citing creative differences ("I was creative and they were different," he said later). Short and Guest didn't want to keep doing a live show. Louis-Dreyfus and Belushi (along with fellow holdover Mary Gross) had been used so little throughout the season that they wanted out. Crystal, enjoying the biggest success of his career, was seemingly the only one who wanted it to continue.
Ebersol demanded a retooling, wanting to change the format to a completely taped show and with possibly a fixed rotation of guest hosts (his ideas for the rotation included Piscopo and David Letterman). Instead, NBC briefly canceled the show. After rethinking things, the network's executives decided that they would agree to give SNL another chance… if its original creator, Lorne Michaels, would take back over.
Then and Now
Eventually, Michaels agreed to return to the show and retained none of the cast or writers from the previous season. Taking a page from Ebersol's book, Michaels tried to use established actors like Randy Quaid and Anthony Michael Hall (along with Robert Downey Jr. and Joan Cusack) to re-launch the show… which very nearly did lead to the show being canceled permanently. It wasn't until the following season when Michaels entrusted SNL to virtual unknowns like Dana Carvey, Phil Hartman, Victoria Jackson, Jon Lovitz, Jan Hooks, and Dennis Miller that the show started the run that finally established it as the institution it has become.
The goodwill that the show had gained from Crystal, Short and Guest's lone season helped carry it through Michaels' disastrous first season back. Thirty years later, the 1984 - '85 season remains an oddly alluring anomaly in the long comedic history of SNL.