The Backstreet Boys, Sheryl Crow and Janelle Monae helped U.S. President Barack Obama and his family celebrate the holidays on Sunday (15Dec13) by performing at a festive concert hosted by Hugh Jackman. The I Want It That Way boyband kicked off the annual Christmas in Washington gig in Washington, D.C. with a medley of their own holiday songs and renditions of Christmas Time and It's Christmas Time Again, while Anna Kendrick and Train frontman Pat Monahan also featured as part of the event line-up.
All of the stars then came together for the finale with a performance of Angels We Have Heard On High and soul star Monae later took to her Twitter.com blog to share her excitement over the big gig, writing, "Just performed for Christmas in Washington with The First Family. What an honor."
The event will be broadcast on America's TNT network later this week (20Dec13).
Miley Cyrus was forced to cancel her appearance at a festive concert in Boston, Massachusetts on Saturday (14Dec13) after a major snow storm grounded flights across America's East Coast. The Wrecking Ball hitmaker had no choice but to scrap a performance on the Boston leg of the Jingle Ball concert after becoming stranded at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey.
Taking to Twitter.com to share her frustration, she wrote, "As much as I've thoroughly enjoyed the Teterboro Airport I would REALLY love to be playing jingleball Boston.
"Mechanical issues + bad weather = stuck in NYC (sic) and can't get to Boston for #KISS108JingleBall..."
Other acts on the Jingle Ball bill, including Selena Gomez, Robin Thicke and Flo Rida, were able to make it to Boston's TD Garden to entertain fans for the holidays.
Cyndi Lauper's third annual charity concert in New York got off to a painful start on Saturday (07Dec13) when singer Pink battled through sound problems as she kicked off the fundraiser. The So What hitmaker decided to pay tribute to the veteran pop star by performing an acoustic version of Lauper's classic Time After Time at the Beacon Theatre bash, but the set was marred by loud feedback noise.
The issues prompted Pink to plead with audio technicians, "Stop, please make it stop, it's making my head angry."
The problems were quickly fixed, allowing fans to enjoy an early Christmas celebration, with Swedish rockers The Hives teaming up with Lauper for a rendition of Christmas Duel, while she returned to the stage for four more collaborations, including a cover of John Lennon's Imagine with Josh Groban, and festive favourite Home for the Holidays with Nelly Furtado, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The quirky singer closed the Cyndi Lauper & Friends: Home for the Holidays show by spreading a little more seasonal cheer with Feels Like Christmas, and her own hits Girls Just Want to Have Fun and True Colors.
The concert, which also featured appearances from Susan Sarandon and Rosie O'Donnell, was held to benefit homeless youths in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
Pink wasn't the only singer to suffer sound problems over the weekend - Selena Gomez stormed off stage after severe microphone difficulties disrupted her performance at the Jingle Ball concert in Los Angeles on Friday night (06Dec13).
Singer Kelly Rowland is throwing her support behind organisers at The Salvation Army by urging the American public to donate to the Red Kettle campaign on National Giving Day in America on Tuesday (03Dec13). The Motivation hitmaker reveals she is a big fan of the campaign, which was created to raise funds for underprivileged families.
She tells U.S. breakfast show Today, "We have to stop and pay attention because the red kettle is not just about just the holidays... I've gotten a chance to see it first hand and going to visit with kids (sic), playing with them and seeing what they actually do in the community is so much fun. Providing meals, after school programmes, I mean it's so much and I appreciate The Salvation Army so much myself for even looking after me as a kid."
Bosses for the organisation are also pushing awareness by hosting a concert in Los Angeles this weekend (06-07Dec13) featuring many famous musical acts.
She continues, "If you're in the L.A. area you have to be at the Universal City Walk. It's going to be amazing. Austin Mahone and Emblem3... are performing. It will be streamed live on The Salvation Army's Tumblr page."
Pop sensation Ariana Grande is giving fans a few early Christmas treats this year (13) - she'll be releasing a new festive tune every Monday between 19 November (13) and 25 December (13). The actress and singer will offer up her cover of WHAM!'s Last Christmas on week one and there will be other tracks for fans to download throughout the run-up to the holidays.
She took to Twitter.com on Wednesday (06Nov13) to announce her Christmas campaign, explaining, "I'm releasing new music for Christmas! New song every week as a countdown to the holidays starting Nov19. Beyond excited to share them w/ U (with you)!"
The Baby I singer will be just as busy as Santa Claus this holiday season - she will perform at New York's Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, while she will also hit the stage on the inaugural Jingle Ball concert tour. Grande is also nominated for Best New Artist at the 2013 American Music Awards, and will appear at the ceremony on 24 November (13).
Cyndi Lauper is teaming up with Pink, Josh Groban and Susan Sarandon for her third annual Home For The Holidays concert to benefit lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth. The initiative aims to reduce the homelessness rate in the LGBT youth community through the Forty To None project, an initiative seeking to "educate and engage the public and advocate within government and media...", to help the 40 per cent of homeless youths who identify as (LGBT).
The concert will take place on 7 December (13) at the Beacon Theatre in New York and 100 percent of the ticket sales will go to Forty To None.
A statement from Lauper, reads, "Home for the Holidays is once again going to be an amazing night of music and comedy in support of a cause close to my heart, homeless gay and transgender youth. I'm proud that we have built a show that not only sells out every year, but has become well-known for bringing together a stellar array of artists to help change the world through an evening of incredible performances."
Justin Bieber is helping fans count down to the highly-anticipated release of his next movie by unveiling a new song every week for the next 10 weeks. The pop superstar has announced that he will share his new single, Heartbreaker, at midnight on Sunday (06Oct13) to launch what he's dubbed "#MusicMondays".
Taking to Twitter.com, he writes, "Sunday Midnight heartbreaker MusicMondays 10weeks (sic).
"MusicMondays is about to begin - SO MUCH LOVE FOR THE FANS...you are always there for me and I will always be there for you. MUCH LOVE. thanks".
Bieber, who previously teased fans with a snippet of Heartbreaker in July (13), is set to release a follow-up to 2011's Never Say Never concert documentary movie in time for the Christmas (Dec13) holidays, although few details about the project, which documents the making of his Believe album, have been revealed to date.
Veteran singer Leonard Cohen has pulled out of two upcoming concerts due to religious reasons. The Hallelujah hitmaker is rescheduling gigs in Leeds, England and London on his upcoming U.K. arena tour as they coincide with two holidays in the Jewish faith.
Cohen, who is Jewish by birth, was due to play Leeds' First Direct Arena on 5 September (13), during the two-day Jewish New Year celebration Rosh Hashanah, but the concert has been moved to 7 September (13).
His gig in the British capital's O2 Arena was scheduled on the Jewish holy day of atonement Yom Kippur on 14 September (13), but the gig will now take place the following day.
A statement from promoters AEG reads, "We at AEG, and Leonard, apologise deeply for the inconvenience this will cause, and we hope and trust that the reasons for the changes will be understood."
Last night on the Real Coeds of Pantyraid Quad it was like the first week in your freshmen dorm. So many people were entering this strange new and glorious world and no one knew anything about anyone. What do you do in that situation? You play nice and try to make friends with everyone, even though you know that it's never going to work out in the real world. You just go to their room and hear about how mean their mother was and their bulimia problem sophmore year and you help find that giant Biology class that you're both taking, but deep down inside you think, "I want to strangle this bitch with a pair of pantyhose. I can't wait until I find my real friends." And she thinks the same thing too, and by the time you take your first midterm you are barely even nodding your heads at each other when you bump into each other at the cafeteria.
That is what last night was like with all these new Housewives running around. Let's get right to them, shall we, starting with the one I like the best.
I would like Carole Radziwill to be my best friend. There, I said it. She's pretty, smart, and bordering on inappropriate, just like her hot pants jump suit. Don't you just love how when she got sick of talking about her dead husband she railroaded the conversation with some comment about her tits? Carole, you are a wild and brilliant creature, a sixteen point white stag with antlers that branch out for decades, and I want to shoot you, stuff you, mount you on my wall, talk to you when I'm feeling lonely, and dress you up in festive costumes for holidays. The thing I love most about Carole was when everyone was talking about their kids and she was like, "Yawn! I'm going to get a drink." That and her visit to Glamour where the editor-in-chief was like "We want you to interview the Kardashians," and you could see the look in her eyes that said, "Oh flagnabbit. Really?!" The editor keeps talking about it and you can see Carole nodding her head going "$4 a word. $4 a word. $4 a word." I love Carole. I don't know how great of a Housewife she'll be (she's comes off a little quiet, reserved, and too over it to really get in the muck with these satanic salamanders) but I'll be happy when she gets fired. Then we can hang out just the two of us. I hate sharing.
Okay, now let's talk about Aviva Drescher, whose name is like a Spanish soap opera. ¡Que Viva! (Every time you read that, imagine a snap of castanets following it.) That is what I shall call her. So ¡Que Viva! only has one leg. That is her defining characteristic. She only has one leg. She lost it in a childhood accident that had something to do with manure. She was on a farm with her cousin and they woke up early and she stepped into a huge pile of troll manure (this is a magic farm) and her leg got stuck and a witch appeared. She said, "You have stepped into a giant heap of magical troll manure and you will only break free if you sell me your soul!" ¡Que Viva! just flashed this witch the middle finger, broke her leg off, and then hobbled back home to her little cottage where they affixed her with a new prosthetic leg. She actually has two. One she calls Amanda, that is her normal flat foot, and one that she named Julie that is her high heeled foot. When she walked into to the pedicurist the polisher and filer thought, "Oh, thank god, that one-footed lady is here. This is like half the work." But then ¡Que Viva! makes them paint both Amanda and Julie and then it's like three times the work. It's like the three-boobed lady from Total Recall except she has three feet. And the feet totally correspond to different moods. When she's at home and taking it easy she's an "Amanda" and when she wants to go out and be sassy and party, she is a "Julie." Wow, it's crowded in ¡Que Viva!'s mind.
Other than her bum leg, I kind of want to hate ¡Que Viva! (mostly because she sort of looks like a character from The Dark Crystal) but I can't just yet. I think I will grow to hate her. Maybe I won't. I don't know, I should keep an open mind. OH! I forgot this part about ¡Que Viva!'s leg. Countess LuAnn of Crackerjacks said of ¡Que Viva!, "She's so poised and graceful and charming, you'd never know she has a handicap." Excuse me, what? Because a person's body has everything to do with their poise, grace, and charm? Well, it's hard to be graceful if you're stumbling around on crutches but the rest? Double You Tee Eff, CJ. Double You Tee Eff. You better volunteer at the paralympics right now, or the angry letters are going to start.
Oh, and let's not forget about ¡Que Viva!'s ex husband Harry, who went out with both the Dowager Countess of Crackerjacks and Sonja Morgan. So ¡Que Viva! and LuAnn are out at lunch and they're talking about how Sonja and Harry have been friends for forever and ¡Que Viva! is like, "I wonder if they slept together?" Um, do you know Miss Sonja Morgan? I don't mean this as a diss at all (I'm sluttier than a sorority house after a Jonas Brothers concert) but Sonja for sure slept with him. That's like asking, "Hmm, I wonder if Jessica Simpson ate that cake I left on her counter?" "Do you think Kathie Lee Gifford finished that bottle of wine?" "Oh, I'm sure that Lindsay Lohan is just holding my coke and it's all going to be in the baggie when I get back." This is all just crazy talk. Sonja totally boffed him. She probably still does when she's lonely and they're the only two at the party and the kids are at their father's and the batteries are dead in her vibrator and oh what the hell, repeats never count.
Alright, now we need to talk about Heather. I hate Heather. Done. It's done. I think it's done at least. The hatred. I feel like it's cemented like a blood-filled mosquito in a burp of amber. Heather is the kind of girl who says "Holla!" even in her weekly introduction on the show. Heather is the kind of girl who says "somethin' somethin'." Heather is the kind of girl who says, "Oh Em Gee" with a complete lack of irony. That is Heather. If you don't get why that is awful, I hate you too and you probably say "cool beans" and think that is okay. But it doesn't end there. Heather owns a company called Yummie Tummie. Sorry, but "yummie" is one of the grossest words in the English language along with moist, potty, detergent, Palin-esque, and FUPA. "Yummie" is an awful horrible word and so is "Tummie" and you put them together and you expect grown women with money to spend to say it out loud when talking about it to their friends? Oh Yummie to the Tummie. And then it's spelled with an "ie." God, that is just tackie.
These are most of the silly reasons that I hate Heather. But it also has something to do with her fake smile. She's always smiling like she just answered a question in a beauty pageant. It's not a real smile, it's some sort of screwed up rictus that she just can't turn off. It's like her resting face is the same as The Joker's. And, I'm sorry, but Ramona and Mario are right (as much as I hate to say it) she is a total interrupter. Even if she's just saying, "Yeah, Yup, MMMhmmm, So Right." She's always punctuating the conversation with her own insertions. Ramona is an interrupter too and listening to them talk to each other about interrupting each other was a thing of beauty. It was like some sort of death fugue of noises, going back and forth, a call and response, a continuous symphony in stereo that would drive you insane or would give you so much pleasure that you will orgasm and orgasm until you die like the evil organ in Barbarella.
Here's some good news for all of you hipsters out there: IFC has renewed Portlandia for a third season. Though, since the show is now a bona fide hit, it may be time for hipsters to declare it passé.
IFC announced that the show, which stars Sleater/Kinney's Carrie Brownstein and Saturday Night Live's Fred Armisen, will return at its first-ever upfront presentation. The network also revealed plans for Out There, a new animated series, Comedy Bang Bang, a talk show based on comedian Scott Aukerman's podcasts, and a new installment of R.Kelly's Trapped In The Closet.
Portlandia has been a major success for IFC, scoring both a book deal and concert tour, and the network has a few treats planned for fans. This summer it will air the one-hour program Portlandia: The Brunch Special, followed by another half-hour comedy during the holidays — an ideal time for putting birds on things.
[Rolling Stone, Deadline]