Divergent is now in theaters, and not doing too shabby a job at the box office either. Fans of the book series and Shailene Woodley fans have flocked to screens in large numbers to catch the film. But if you haven't read the novels or heard too much about them, you may be unsure as to whether or not you'd be into the storyline. Well, there's at least one group of people who definitely have a reason to check out the flick: Gladiators. ABC's Scandal has a host of superfans the world over and if you're one them, we have a few reasons you're going to want to check out Divergent.
Politics as Usual
Scandal fans love the political drama that drives much of the show's plot. Dirty politicians, philandering presidents, stolen elections, and super-secret CIA factions called B6-13 all exist in America the beautiful. In Divergent, society appears to be functioning well with very specific plans in place. But it soon becomes clear that all kinds of problems are brewing underneath it all. Those in charge are often the very folks who can't be trusted and it will take the work of some very dedicated rebels (think: Gladiators) to change the game.
Strong Women Abound
Olivia Pope, Mellie Grant, Abby Whelan — so many of the most compelling characters on Scandal are women, and we have more of that to look forward to in Divergent. With Shailene Woodley as Tris, Zoe Kravitz as Christina, and Kate Winslet as Jeanine we can expect to meet another group of complex, confident women.
Duh, Tony Goldwyn
I mean, need we say more? President Fitzgerald Grant A.K.A. Tony Goldwyn will be playing the father of Tris, and even though he won't be rocking his presidential gear, we can assume that he'll still be looking pretty handsome.
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Statements by Kenan Thompson and Jay Pharaoh ushered in public outcries against the lack of black women on Saturday Night Live. The series made some swift changes and brought Kerry Washington to host, then added Sasheer Zamata to the cast. And yet, the show is still lacking in people of color and LGBTQ cast members and opts for stereotypes over cultural commentary. For a series based on finding the humor in contemporary culture and politics, the show is vastly unrepresentative of America.
To respond to the scandal, Kerry Washington hosted an episode and played Michelle Obama, Oprah, and Beyonce in one sketch. However, the sketch was more cocky and mocking than apologetic. Washington went on to play the stereotypical roles of a gum-chewing assistant with an attitude, a bawdy dating show contestant, and a confused Miss Uganda in a sketch (below) that crossed a lot of lines and had nothing to say.
The characters in the sketch were Miss Universe contestants who represented “fringe countries” like Bolivia, Moldova, and Uganda. Washington walked around aimlessly asking questions in a convincing African accent. But what did the sketch have to say other than to mock people from underdeveloped nations?
Since she joined the cast this season, the lion's share of Zamata's roles have involved dancing in music videos. She is relegated to dancing in the background in sketches like "Resolution Revolution," "28 Reasons," and "Before They Were Stars," and is little more than a Lil Kim lookalike in "What's Poppin'." The sketch below has a lot to say about race and Black History Month, but doesn't offer Zamata any lines or material.
Saturday Night Live isn't much closer at all to embracing "diversity." Finally deeming themselves able to do a Scandal sketch with an Olivia Pope, they further exemplify their monochromatic lineup with the questionable choice of having a white actor play Huck, a character portrayed by Latino actor Guillermo Diaz.
While the Scandal sketch falls admittedly in a gray area of the issue, a separate sketch from the same episode is outright racist. Cecily Strong starred in "Jewelry Party" as a Venezuelan bride who doesn’t realize her husband is part of the Men’s Rights Movement and a character of questionable morality. With no Latino cast members, and the majority of its Latino characters taking this form (igorant or unintelligent), Saturday Night Live is painting a terribly negative image of the group. See for yourself:
As SNL's ratings slip, we have to wonder if Americans are getting tired of laughing at jokes that shoot for uninspired, ignorant jabs. The show is long overdue for a return to sketches that lampoon popular culture and politics, not just shoot for easy stereotypes.
Nnamdi Asomugha. A name millions of us never would have heard of, had it not been for his marriage to the incomparable Kerry Washington. But for those of us who are die-hard fans of the Scandal star, Asomugha has proved to be a suitable fit for our Kerry. Hard-working, handsome, and well-known and respected for his charitable disposition, he has certainly earned himself a new set of fans who typically aren't tuning in to Monday Night Football. Seriously, he's just the sweetest.
But alas, he's officially retired now, and he'll be ending his career with the Oakland Raiders. And we have a few ideas for how he might pass the time ... and yes. Most of them revolve around Kerry Washington, because she is everything.
Finally, Finally Make A Public Appearance With His Wife
Seriously. As good as these paparazzi are, they have yet to get a photo of Asomugha with Washington! With awards season fast-approaching, we're ready for these two to really, really make it official and pop up on the red carpet together.
Continue His Work With Charitable Organizations
His two charities -- Asomugha College Tour for Scholars program and the Orphans and Widows In Need Foundation -- have helped a lot of people and saved many lives here in America and in Nigeria, where both of his parents were born.
Be The Stay-At-Home Dad Of Our Dreams
Have you ever seen the movie Little Children? Yeah. There's nothing more attractive than a stay-at-home Dad, and since Washington and Asomugha are expecting their first child together, we'd love to see him strap on the BABYBJÖRN carrier and get it poppin'.
Make A Guest Appearance On Scandal ... Maybe ... Please?
Okay, we're reaching with this one but how awesome would this be?! He could totally play a new client for Olivia Pope & Associates, or he could just be some hottie extra working in the White House. We're not picky. But this should totally happen.
Pop singer Miley Cyrus, reality TV star Kim Kardashian, and British royal baby Prince George Of Cambridge have been named on Barbara Walters' list of 2013's 10 Most Fascinating People. Cyrus has been included in the veteran broadcaster's annual countdown along with Kardashian and her fiance, rapper Kanye West, as well as actress Jennifer Lawrence.
Walters' list also includes the cast of reality TV show Duck Dynasty, Catholic leader Pope Francis, and Britain's Prince George of Cambridge, the infant son of Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, who was born in July (13).
The number one person of note will be revealed during Walters' annual TV special, which airs in America on 18 December (13).
Last year's (12) list included actor/director Ben Affleck, pop stars One Direction, and British writer E.L. James, the author of steamy hit novel Fifty Shades of Grey.
New York City, America’s biggest metropolis, has been the setting of numerous TV shows. It’s “The City that Never Sleeps,” making it an endless source for all sorts of storylines for shows like Sex and the City, Friends, and Law & Order. As compelling or hilarious as some of our favorite shows set in New York are, few of them ever get the details right. Here are a just a few of the repeat violations viewers will find in shows set in the Big Apple.
Big ApartmentsAnyone south of being a millionaire knows those sprawling apartments seen in shows like Seinfeld and How I Met Your Mother know not only that these apartments are beyond what anyone earning a living wage can afford, they basically don’t exist. Even the bohemian apartments found in HBO’s Girls is still larger than your average Brooklyn apartment.
Lack of DiversityIn general, television poorly represents the diversity found in America, but it pales to the egregious misrepresentation of New York. Less than half of the New York population is white, but numerous TV shows display groups of five or six white people hanging out in a cafe or bar. On the flipside, shows that represent the City’s racial diversity on focus on that specific demographic, like The Cosby Show.
People Don’t WorkNot only do the characters on TV have impossibly huge apartments, they can somehow afford it without actually working (Rachel can afford to split a Greenwich Village apartment on a coffee shop waitress’s salary? HA!) In a city where the proverbial “rat race” is more than real, people spend more than a third of their day working. That also doesn’t even factor into the daily grind of fighting other people in the streets and in the subway. Which also lead right into...
People Take Taxis EverywhereOn average, nearly 5 million people take the New York City Subway. On TV, a cab ride is how everyone gets from point A to point B, even to places like Bushwick. It is a bit ironic, since some of the most interesting people and things in New York are found underground. And remarkably, taxis never come across Midtown traffic or the countless jaywalking pedestrians. That is, of course, unless the plot warrants it.
People Tawk Wit a New Yawk AccentWalking around the streets of New York, you’ll hardly find a person who speaks with the classic New York accent you hear on television. Perhaps, you’ll come across a hot dog vendor with that accent, who is probably exaggerating it for the tourists. Only the New York City wannabes from New Jersey regularly “tawk” with that accent.
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This week has been a sh**ty one. There's no other way to say it. Our country has seen more loss and experienced more tears this week than it has in a long time. Between the tragic Boston Marathon bombings and the West, Tex. fertilizer plant explosion, the death toll has piled up.
But in the middle of all this terror, America has come together to fight against the pain that others are trying to inflict on us. With thoughts and prayers echoed around the country — and world — America will forever remember the victims of this week's tragic events.
Check out 10 touching tweets from this sad week.
1. Alec Baldwin: "The bravery and effectiveness of police is a blessing. Their presence is welcome, in times like these. Yet it highlights something."
The bravery and effectiveness of police is a blessing.Their presence is welcome, in times likethese. Yet it highlights something.
— ABFoundation (@ABFalecbaldwin) April 19, 2013
2. Paula Pell: "Everyone who isn't in Boston or West Tx right now needs to say a big deep prayer for safety and healing to whomever or whatever you look to."
Everyone who isn't in Boston or West Tx right now needs to say a big deep prayer for safety and healing to whomever or whatever you look to.
— Paula Pell (@perlapell) April 19, 2013
3. Julia Louis-Dreyfus: "My thoughts and prayers for the people in Boston. Please donate if you can, http://RedCrossBlood.org/MA"
My thoughts and prayers for the people in Boston.Please donate if you can, RedCrossBlood.org/MA
— Julia Louis-Dreyfus (@OfficialJLD) April 15, 2013
4. Barack Obama: "'We may be momentarily knocked off our feet, but we will pick ourselves up. We will keep going. We will finish the race.' —President Obama"
“We may be momentarily knocked off our feet, but we will pick ourselves up. We will keep going. We will finish the race.” —President Obama
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) April 18, 2013
5. Redbook magazine: "Everyone in Boston and the surrounding area, please stay safe. Our thoughts are with you."
Everyone in Boston and the surrounding area, please stay safe. Our thoughts are with you.
— REDBOOK (@redbookmag) April 19, 2013
6. Pope Francis: "Please join me in praying for the victims of the explosion in Texas and their families."
Please join me in praying for the victims of the explosion in Texas and their families.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) April 18, 2013
7. Tim McGraw: "The courage and compassion of our first responders and bystanders who selflessly jumped in to help inspires us all."
The courage and compassion of our first responders and bystanders who selflessly jumped in to help inspires us all.
— Tim McGraw (@TheTimMcGraw) April 16, 2013
8. Texas Rangers: "Our thoughts are with our fellow Texans in the city of West tonight as they recover from tonight's explosion. #TexasLove #WestTx"
Our thoughts are with our fellow Texans in the city of West tonight as they recover from tonight's explosion. #TexasLove #WestTx
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) April 18, 2013
9. Kevin Jonas: "West Texas you are in our prayers. This has been a tough week and we will keep praying"
West Texas you are in our prayers.This has been a tough week and we will keep praying
— kevin jonas (@kevinjonas) April 18, 2013
10. Eva Longoria: "Keeping the people of West, Texas in my thoughts and prayers. http://bit.ly/1011arp"
Keeping the people of West, Texas in my thoughts and prayers. bit.ly/1011arp
— Eva Longoria (@EvaLongoria) April 18, 2013
Follow Lindsey on Twitter @LDiMat.
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And away we go: the start of yet another season of Showtime’s The Borgias. Another wild ride through Never-Never Land.
This newest round of episodes opened on Sunday night with us viewers in agonies of suspense (or so the producers have been hoping) because of how season two closed. When we left him last year, the evil Rodrigo Borgia, who bears a startling resemblance to Jeremy Irons in drag and has been living in the Vatican under the name Pope Alexander VI, was on the verge of shuffling off his mortal coil. Not because, in the manner of J. R. Ewing, he had been shot. No, the successes of the past must not be copied too closely, and Alexander is after all a Borgia, which means that this is the fifteenth century and small arms have not yet been invented. The pope’s medical difficulties stem from his having swallowed some poisoned wine. The outlook is scary indeed (or so the producers hope).
But wait! In the nick of time Alexander’s daughter Lucrezia, who we now learn has been studying the occult when not engaged in her noble crusades to reform the international church and bring justice and mercy to the poor of Rome, comes forward with a remedy unknown to the physicians of her (or for that matter any other) time. Like a younger and distractingly luscious version of MacBeth’s witches, she sets up a kind of Renaissance-era Weber barbecue pit in the papal bedchamber. And, almost as quickly as you can say Holy Smoke, brews up a concoction that soon has the old boy back on his feet and plotting new kinds of skullduggery.
Exciting stuff. Or so the producers hope; you can judge that for yourself. Interesting stuff in any case – interesting and amusing, especially where factual accuracy is concerned. Because in the whole colorful history of the Borgias, nothing of the kind ever happened. Nobody ever poisoned Pope Alexander, and so far as we know nobody ever tried to poison him. There is no reason — perhaps it is advisable to repeat with emphasis that there is absolutely no reason — to suspect Lucrezia of ever trying to poison or otherwise harm, much less murder, a single living soul. Do check it out, please. It’s not that hard. The truth about these matters is available in every respectable biography of Alexander, Lucrezia or Cesare Borgia published in the past hundred years.
The question of how and where The Borgias diverges from the historical record is unusually challenging, and not just because writer-producer Neil Jordan twists the facts. Creators of costume dramas have always played fast and loose with the facts and always will; you’d have to be a newcomer to Planet Earth to be shocked or even surprised. At the end of season two, Jordan had Cesare torturing Friar Savonarola of Florence. And admitting to his dear old dad the pontiff that he was himself responsible for the murder of his brother Juan. None of this ever happened, either, but so what? Though in fact Cesare probably never laid eyes on Savonarola, and certainly never had him tortured and had nothing to do with his ending up burnt at the stake, and though you’d be hard-pressed to find a historian who thinks Cesare even probably guilty of having Juan killed, again so what? Such fiddling with the truth is standard operating procedure — it’s how showbiz works. Anybody who complains had better be prepared to be laughed at as a dessicated old pedant.
No, what has set The Borgias apart from the start is that Jordan — clever lad that he is — is less inclined to merely tweak the facts, or even grossly distort them, than to send them back to the library basement and replace them wholesale with the products of his own imagination. He’s truly in a class by himself in this regard, and in a way quite admirable; Shakespeare’s history plays, by comparison, read like the work of an obsessively scrupulous scholar. Take the business of Lucrezia becoming an ecclesiastical reformer and a kind of pioneer social worker; it would be no more ludicrous to show her taking up hammer and chisel and carving Michelangelo’s David. Ditto for the scenes in which she and the pope’s mistresses, no less, undertake to purge the Church of its corruptions (could anything be sillier?)
Ditto for the scene where Cesare disembowels Lucrezia’s first husband...and the bit where Lucrezia rides forth to intercept the king of France and save Rome from destruction...and Juan’s failed seige of Caterina Sforza’s castle....
Et cetera almost infinitum. There are way too many examples to be listed here. What they have in common is that none of them ever happened, period.
Which is not to say that Jordan is not a great showman, or that, on his own terms, he is doing a single thing wrong. He’s on record as saying that accuracy is not his bag; his thing is entertainment. He’s said also that “history is for the textbooks.” Anyone interested in the true story of the Borgias would be wise to take him at his word.
G. J. Meyer is a former Woodrow Wilson Fellow with an M.A. in English literature from the University of Minnesota, a onetime journalist, and holder of Harvard University’s Neiman Fellowship in Journalism. He has taught at colleges and universities in Des Moines, St. Louis, and New York. His books include A World Undone: The Story of the Great War, Executive Blues, and The Memphis Murders, winner of an Edgar Award for nonfiction from the Mystery Writers of America. In 2011 he published The Tudors: The Complete Story of England's Most Notorious Dynasty. His most recent Book, The Borgias: The hidden history is on sale Now and can be Purchased at Amazon. He lives in Goring-on-Thames, England.
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Showtime's 2013 “will be about momentum and growth,” announced the network’s president of entertainment, David Nevins, at the Television Critics Association winter press tour. Thanks to watercooler shows like Homeland and Dexter, the premium cable network ended 2012 with an all-time high of more than 22 million subscribers. Nevins revealed that Showtime is the only pay-for-programming cable network to show consistent growth, mainly due to its “cutting edge, topical, and entertaining programming.” That shouldn't change as we head into 2013: Here's what Nevins had to say about the return dates and details of all your favorite shows.
The Big C: hereafter: The final chapter will conclude with a four-part limited event season beginning Monday, April 29 (10 p.m.). Golden Globe award-winning and Emmy-nominated actress Laura Linney will reprise her role as cancer-battler Cathy Jamison. Showrunner Jenny Bicks says that the series’ end will be a rewarding one. “I would say that the final scenes of the series will be nostalgic for viewers of the show,” she said.
The Borgias: Showtime’s Jeremy Irons-starring period piece about Pope Alexander will return for its third season on Sunday, April 14 (10 p.m.).
Californication: Season six premieres Sunday, Jan. 13 (10:30 p.m.).
Dexter: America’s favorite serial killer returns for his eighth and final season a bit earlier in the schedule this year: Dexter will premiere in the summer — Sunday, June 30 (9 PM) to be exact — and promises to have a “clear end-game.” But when pressed for more details, Nevins wouldn’t reveal any more teasers.
Episodes: The 30-minute comedy will return “fairly early in 2014.” Nevins said if if could he would air the show as soon as possible, but Showtime agreed to produce the show on the creators’ availability and as a result location has been split between London and Los Angeles.
Homeland: Season Three of the Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning drama series will premiere this fall on Sunday, Sept. 29 (9 p.m.).
House of Lies: Marty, Jeannie, and the rest of the gang are back to lie their way to the top on Sunday, Jan. 13 (10 p.m.). Fun fact: Don Cheadle's Oceans 11 costar Matt Damon will guest star as himself later this season when he asks the team to help him appear more charitable than George Clooney.
Inside Comedy: The second season of the critically acclaimed documentary series premieres Monday, Feb. 11 (11 p.m.). The ten half-hour episodes will feature David Steinberg and a line-up of comedy A-listers including Louis C.K., Steve Martin, Tina Fey, and Will Ferrell.
Masters of Sex: Audiences will be introduced to Showtime’s newest drama series starring Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan following Homeland on Sept. 29 (10 p.m.). Nevins said Masters of Sex is already earning “tremendous early buzz.”
Nurse Jackie: Fans of Edie Falco will see the Emmy award winner return to her drug addicted ways on Sunday April 14 (9 p.m.).
Penny Dreadful: With “incredibly exciting and original scripts,” Penny Dreadful is a psychosexual horror series created, written, and executive produced by three-time Oscar nominee John Logan (Hugo, The Aviator, Gladiator). The pre-production series will center on some of literature’s most famously terrifying characters – including Dr. Frankenstein and his creature, Dorian Gray, and iconic figures from the novel Dracula – together in Victorian London. Production will begin in London later this year.
Ray Donovan: Dexter’s final season will serve as the springboard for Ray Donovan, the highly anticipated new drama series. Nevins said that the show boasts “phenomenal” writing and an incredible cast, and debuts on June 30 (10 p.m.).
Shameless: Showtime’s third-highest-rated show will return to TV screens Sunday, Jan 13 (9 p.m.).
Web Therapy: Although no specific date has been set, Lisa Kudrow’s quirky comedy will return “this summer, roughly the same time it was on this last year,” Nevins says. He promises the new season will exceed its predecessors and there are “enormous guest stars” who are always eager to take part.
Follow Leanne on Twitter @LeanneAguilera
[Photo Credit: Showtime]
If aliens ever crash land on Earth, there's going to be a lot of things we are going to have a tough time explaining: the continued success of Adam Sandler, Crocs, and Black Friday mania. But none may seem more strange to our cruel intergalactic overlords than the Miss Universe pageants. Not only are we going to have to explain why we didn't let them compete in this bizarre tradition (Earthlings win the Miss Universe competition every year) but we're going to have to explain the competition all together. Heck, even mere mortals have a hard time wrapping their heads around this outdated practice.
But that doesn't mean that there aren't plenty of universal truths that we can all understand from the Miss Universe pageant. Here's what we learned from the 2012 competition, which aired on Wednesday night on NBC:
Miss Universe Contestants Only Do Things in Montage Form: They go to spas in Las Vegas, they do the "Gangham Style" dance, they eat at Buca di Beppo (hope you got the Pope room, ladies!), they hawk products in a way that slightly looks like a poorly made infomercial or late night phone sex commercial. Usually set to elevator music, the most beautiful women from around the globe (see, watching Animaniacs paid off) can do anything, so long as it's in a well edited montage.
Like Buddy the Elf, Smiling Is Their Favorite: For two hours, the women competing not only have to stand perfectly poised, half naked in high heels, but they have to do it while smiling. The entire time. Unblinking, void smiles that they must continue doing even when you lose. You have to smile while your dreams are dashed and you have to smile while someone like Scott Disick judges you.
The Swimsuit Competition Makes You Feel Terrible: You can tell yourself the Miss Universe is a sexist, archaic institution (because it is) that you are above (you are) but watching lithe, beautiful women in bikinis while you watch in your sweats in the wintertime will make even the most headstrong women feel bad. Not only about themselves, but about the fact that this is still a way women are judged in the year 2012.
One of the Contestants Will Say Something That Reinforces Every Stereotype About Beauty Queens: For every beauty pageant competitor that is a smart, focused woman (this year alone, there was a woman who graduated at the top of her class) trying to squash the stereotypes that they are just Barbies being paraded around with no substance, there's one that swoops in and kills the whole thing for everyone. While Miss South Carolina set the standard during the Miss Teen USA pageant back in 2007, Miss Venezuela gave her a run for her money during the 2012 Miss Universe competition, with this gem of an answer when asked if she would create any new laws: "I think that any laws in constitution or in life are already made. I think that we should have a way to go in our or similar in our life…for instance, I am a surfer, and I think that the best wave that I can take is to wait for it so, do our only law that we can do."
The Announcers Will Go Overboard With Their Pronunciations: Brazil isn't Brazil during the Miss Universe pageant, it's Brraaaaazzzeeeeeeel!
The National Costumes is the Best Part: Imagine if Carnivale or a drag queen competition went overboard with their costumes, then you might just come close to the outfits that are worn by the contestants that represents, in excessive fashion (literally), their country. So why, oh why, did NBC choose not to air this gaudy, over-the-top, vaguely racist segment? Why?!
Co-Host Andy Cohen Is Actually The SNL Parody Of Himself: When Taran Killam did his hilarious impression of the Bravo host earlier this year, it had to be an exaggeration of his bubbly personality and utterly ridiculous existence on television, right? Wrong! Cohen, who co-hosted the evening with Giuliana Rancic, actually exclaims things like "Okay, this is fun!" and congratulates Miss China, winner of the National Costumes, "Mazel!"
We, As A People, Let Train Happen: It was bad enough that we let them be famous back in 2001, but we have given them a comeback. We're letting Pat Monahan and his actually insane lyrics back into the national consciousness and we let them perform on our bizarre televised rituals. We can't wash our hands of this, people of Earth.
Donald Trump Is A Goon: Is it ironic that we let someone who looks and behaves like he does run a beauty competition or just plain sad and frustrating?
If It's Held in America, C'mon, Of Course Miss USA Is Going to Win: Even though she was dressed in a velvet, sleeved gown and said the one thing she wouldn't do in her life again was pick on her siblings (despite the fact that she said she didn't regret it) Miss USA Olivia Culpo (pictured) won the Miss Universe pageant during a year it was held in America and when Miss Australia probably should have won, because of course. [Photo credit: Photo Credit: Julie Jacobson/AP Photo] More:
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Last night marked the season three finale of The Voice—pop-punk cutie Cassadee Pope, Minnesota soul man Nicholas David, and Scottish rocker Terry McDermott faced off for the top spot. Who was crowned the winner? Did the broadcast suddenly cut to black as the finalists performed “Don’t Stop Believin’?” Is Blake Shelton really Gossip Girl? Stay tuned.
Rihanna starts the show with “Diamonds,” her only hit I don’t actually like. It’s a solid performance, though she seems oddly sleepy, and more or less trails off at the end. Overall, I’d have rather watched two minutes of Rihanna reluctantly making awkward small talk with Carson Daly backstage.
Terry McDermott takes the stage for “Rock and Roll All Nite,” along with some familiar faces: Amanda Brown, Bryan Keith, and his Team Blake-mates Michaela Paige and Rudy Parris. KISS is near and dear to my heart—I drove on Kissena Boulevard (their supposed Queens thoroughfare namesake) today, y’all—and I enjoy this, but it’s nowhere near as campy as I’d like. The standout is the irrepressible Amanda, whose killer performance is almost poignant; she should have made it to the finals.
Nick accompanies Smokey Robinson on the R&B hero’s “Cruisin’.” I hate to throw shade at a legend, Smokey, but you look terrifying. I know plastic surgery can be addictive (and I guess you do appear a lot younger than 71?), but you look like a rejected Madame Tussauds version of yourself. Let this be your Ghost of Christmas Future moment, Bruce Jenner.
Next, Cassadee Pope joins The Killers for their “Here with Me.” I was a Killers mega-fan in high school, but man, this is disappointing (though I’m not gonna lie, you look good, Brandon Flowers). It’s boring, slow, and kind of warbly—if this is the big single, what’s the rest of the album like? But this works out well for Cassadee, who improbably proves to be the highlight of the song.
After an utterly unnecessary visit from the “cast” (?) of The Biggest Loser, Mackenzie Bourg, Diego Val, Dez Duron, Cody Belew, and Julio Castillo return for “Stacy’s Mom.” It’s a lot of fun, though I’m not sure how the retro diner set and pretty waitresses fit in with the song’s narrative. The arrangement smartly gives each singer leave to apply his unique style to his individual lines. Also, I can’t tell if Mackenzie’s costumed as a nerd or if he’s just dressed in his normal clothes, but either way: precious.
We’re treated to a preview of next season—with Shakira and Usher pinch-hitting for Cee Lo and Xtina—that’s hokey but charming (the same could be said about The Voice in general). The four fight over the car radio in Blake’s beat-up pickup until they settle on (and sing along to) “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” the greatest song ever written.
In a beguiling cape-slash-jumpsuit, my galpal Kelly Clarkson—who knows a thing or two about winning televised singing competitions—performs “Catch My Breath” with Terry and Cassadee. A fan of the show, Kelly tells Carson that she watched the last episode at “my fiancé’s house,” then—surprised and excited by the sound of those words coming out her mouth—says them again. Turns out he only proposed a few days ago! D’awww.
Cassadee recruits the stylistically diverse trio of Melanie Martinez, De’Borah and Liz Davis for “It’s Time” by Imagine Dragons. This is one of the better ensemble performances I’ve seen on the show; their voices mesh beautifully. Also, it’s strange how Liz seems about ten years older than she actually is (25), while Melanie looks ten years younger.
After Smokey’s appearance, it’s a relief to see that Peter Frampton has aged like a human. Terry, clearly humbled in the presence of a classic rock icon, provides backing vocals on “Baby, I Love Your Way.”
But there’s more girl power to come, with Joselyn Rivera, Adriana Louise, Sylvia Yacoub—mah gurl, who I once assumed would reach the final three—Devyn DeLoera, and Loren Allred. These ladies bring it for The Emotions’ “Best of My Love,” complete with Supremes-style choreography (and Supremes-style attitude).
Pseudo-Santa “Saint Cee Lo Green” rolls up on a sleigh—with obligatory sexy elves in tow—to announce that each finalist has won a new car from Kia. Come on. The number of Kia commercials I’ve endured over the course of this season has got to entitle me to at least a third of a Sorento.
After another 13-hour commercial break, we’re back with Bruno Mars and a fine but forgettable “When I Was Your Man.”
Nicholas has invited Trevin Hunte, Dez and Amanda (girlfriend’s dance card is full tonight) back to perform Boyz II Men’s “End of the Road.” It’s nice to see how consistently supportive the Voice community is—even if you’re eliminated relatively early on, you’ve got a solid chance of landing more screentime (and possibly a record deal) later.
To her delight, Cassadee Pope has the chance to duet with her “hero” Avril Lavigne on “I’m With You.” My inner 14-year-old is excited to see Avril, though she seems standoffish, and looks a little like she could use a bath (doesn’t it look like all that heavy shadow has irritated her eyes?). But it’s a nice performance, and Cassadee’s jumping-up-and-down enthusiasm is endearing. By the way, Pope’s costume changes have never been more impressive. Her eyeliner’s been at least two different colors in the last half hour.
After the coaches perform Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” (where is mentor Billie Joe Armstrong when we need him most?), the three finalists join Carson onstage for the episode’s final moments.
My heart is racing. My dog has inexplicably started barking. This is about to get real.
Nick looks so nervous I’m concerned he might pass out. As Terry describes his desire to win in honor of his wife and child, the camera cuts to a shot of Nick’s family. Priceless.
Without further ado, Carson reveals the artist in third place: it’s Nicholas David. He’s long been my all-around favorite, and I have to admit I’m bummed. Nevertheless, this means victory is a lock for Team Blake.
Lo and behold, the winner of season three of The Voice is… CASSADEE POPE!
Cassadee may be the only person in America who didn’t see her victory coming. She’s sweetly speechless. But the season’s last few moments are strangely anti-climactic: someone tosses a mike into her hands and she sort of sings, but it’s not really audible, and then NBC abruptly cuts to the news. I guess they ran long? An early lesson in humility for our budding superstar.
Well, it’s been a long, crazy ride, guys. I’ll miss you all. Never change. 2SWEET 2B 4GOTTEN. Have a great summer! See you at the reunion.
Follow Molly on Twitter at @mollyfitz.
[Photo Credit: Tyler Golden/NBC]
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