Michelle Lee
  • Kill the All-Stars: How to Fix 'Celebrity Apprentice' and 'DWTS' 
    By: Michelle Lee Oct 12, 2012
    I used to love a good all-stars edition. Back in the heyday of The Real World/Road Rules Challenge (not the make-out fest it's become today—I blame you, Trishelle), it was fun to watch past favorites compete in challenges that had nothing to do with the navel-gazing they did on their original shows.  Likewise, I ate up every second of Top Chef All-Stars, which mashed together every amazing contestant—good or bad—while weeding out the boring ones.  Throwing past seasons' spicy leftovers into a room and having them duke it out against each other used to feel exciting. But now it just feels, well, reheated.   Case in point: the cast of Celebrity Apprentice All-Stars was announced this morning and I'm sadly underwhelmed. Sure, they have a couple fan favorites like Bret Michaels as well as oddballs like Latoya Jackson, Lisa Rinna and Gary Busey. But Lil' Jon? Brande Roderick? Trace Adkins? Come on, Trump: Where's the shocker? It's all just another reason why the all-stars format—without some new element of surprise—needs to be put out to pasture.  Take Dancing With the Stars All-Stars. Now in its 15th season, it's admirable that the show tried to mix things up with all-stars. But by pairing most of them with their past partners, it stripped much of the excitement and surprise away. Yes, some people still want to yell at their TV screens when Bristol Palin makes it through another week. But haven't we been there, done that? Why not pair Palin with outspoken shirt-hater Maksim and see the fireworks explode? It looks like I'm not the only one who's feeling lukewarm. Ratings for the premiere of DWTS were down from the past two seasons. Don't get me wrong, Dancing With the Stars still pulls in enviable numbers. But it's a missed opportunity to create something cool and new.  For the upcoming season of Celebrity Apprentice, I hope they take a cue from another reality competition, So You Think You Can Dance, and throw the audience some genuine curveballs. Instead of bringing back old-timers and having them compete in the same exact format, SYTYCD smartly paired its all-stars with new contestants. Viewers still got their dose of fan favorites like now-movie-star Twitch and now-Lady-Gaga dancer Mark Kanemura. But it felt fresh and exciting thanks to a crop of brand new faces. And no, Latoya and Lisa Rinna, Botox doesn't count.  [PHOTO CREDIT: Virginia Sherwood/NBC] Follow Michelle on Twitter @HWMichelleLee More: Aubrey O'Day Talks 'Celebrity Apprentice': 'I'm Just Great at Making Television. Period.' 'Dancing' Backstage With Louis Van Amstel: The Pressure is On Thanks to Sabrina's 'Iron Will' Catching Up With 'SYTYCD' Alums: Where Are They Now?
  • 8 Things More Offensive Than Victoria's Secret's Sexy Little Geisha
    By: Michelle Lee Sep 27, 2012
    Earlier this week, Victoria's Secret bowed to backlash and yanked their Sexy Little Geisha lingerie from its Web site.  The lady-blogs went nuts on the $98 get-up: "Considering the complicated history of geishas, repurposing the ‘look’ for a major corporation to sell as role-playing lingerie seems a bit tasteless," said Jessica Wakeman of The Frisky. Some groups charged that the sheer teddy and all of its silly accoutrements perpetuated the stereotype of Asian women as nothing more than a Western sexual fantasy.  I'm normally pretty sensitive to this type of thing but I can't help but wonder: Did VS really cross the line?  Lingerie companies are in the business of sexifying everything. Just look at the classic French maid outfit and just about every women's Halloween costume (last year I saw a sexy Mrs. Potatohead).  And believe me, I get it. French women haven't suffered the same objectification as Japanese women have historically. (And Mrs. Potatohead sure isn't complaining.) Everyone has a different boiling point when it comes to racial sensitivity and maybe mine is just higher than it should be. Or maybe it's that being part of a group that's being portrayed as sexy hasn't ticked me off enough to start writing hate mail.  What it all boils down to, my friends, is: Was anyone really going to buy this outfit anyway? The obi, hair chopsticks, the little flowery codpiece, the fan?!  So, come on, everyone, let's just let Victoria's Secret have their geisha. After all, pop culture has given us way more reasons over the years to get our panties in a bunch.  8 Things Pop Culture Gave Us That Are More Offensive Than Victoria's Secret's Sexy Little Geisha 1. Nute Gunray in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom MenaceGeorge Lucas and company caught a lot of flack for racial stereotypes in this much-maligned blockbuster. One of the worst? Bad guy Nute, complete with really bad Asian accent.  2. This Guy on 2 Broke GirlsThe New Yorker called the show "so racist it's it is less offensive than baffling."  3. Ashton Kutcher in Brownface for PopchipsThe company ultimately pulled this ad starring the Two and a Half Men actor, portraying fictional Bollywood actor "Raj."  4. William Hung's Meteoric RiseDon't even get me started.  5 & 6: "Everybody Wang Chung Tonight" and "I'm Turning Japanese" The '80s were a weird time. Sure, Wang Chung was his name but god, I hated that song. And if you haven't heard by now, "I'm Turning Japanese" was a song about masturbation — get it? He's saying his eyes got all "Japanese" because he was masturbating. Ugh.  7.  Multipass' See Asia Like Asians Do Ad Ukrainian travel agency Multipass thought it would be a cool idea to promote Asian travel with this outdoor poster campaign, which encourages people to view the poster by pulling their eyes back. Yes, this really happened. In 2012.  8. This Halloween costume [Photo credits: Victoria's Secret, 20th Century Fox, CBS, Popchips, Wenn, Asia Travel, iParty] Follow Michelle on Twitter @HWMichelleLee More: Ashton Kutcher Criticized for Racist 'Brownface’ Ad Kate Middleton Sues French Magazine Over Topless Photos Get To Know Your Victoria's Secret Angels
  • Pokemon Inspires Army to Create Frightening Seizure-Inducing Gun 
    By: Michelle Lee Sep 26, 2012
    For decades, the world of entertainment has inspired real-life technological advances: the flip phone, the waterbed (thank 1940s sci fi writer Robert Heinlein), and one day, we'll undoubtedly have a Star Trek-inspired Transporter machine.  And, now comes word of a terrifying new invention based on...Pokemon? Wired got its hands on a 1998 declassified document that explains how the Army was secretly plotting to create a new seizure-inducing ray gun inspired by a Pokemon episode. If you recall, in 1997 about 700 viewers suffered epileptic symptoms while watching an episode of the Japanese cartoon due to rapid, flashing lights (called a photic-induced seizure).  The proposed weapon, the report explained, would operate under the same principle: seizures would be induced by electric stimulus triggered through the optic nerve. And, in theory, "100% of the population” would be susceptible to the effects — from distances of "up to hundreds of meters."  An Army spokesperson denied that any such weapon had been made (what do you expect!) and it doesn't appear as though the plans have ever materialized. But there's still a remote possibility we'll see something like this in the future.  And just wait till the Jackass guys get their hands on that thing.  [Photo credit: Cartoon Network] More: Pokemon writer Shudo dies SpongeBob Goes 'Jackass' With Johnny Knoxville — EXCLUSIVE PIC 'Kung Fu Panda' Gets a Threequel (Of Course)
  • Dear Justin Bieber, Consumer Reports Totally Hates Your Stupid Car
    By: Michelle Lee Sep 26, 2012
    First, the good news: Justin Bieber's $107,000 Fisker Karma looks pretty cool (if you're into that kind of thing). The bad news: Everything else about it is crap. Or so says that bastion of product reviews, Consumer Reports, which named the car the Worst Luxury Sedan on the market.  In fact, the fancy hybrid sports car is so bad, explains CR, that it actually broke down while they were reviewing it (check out the embarrassing video below).  Other flaws in the Karma that the mag cited could cause the 18-year-old pop star some major problems:       * Insufficient seating space (no room for Selena and her puppy)      * Poor visibility (can't see paparazzi chasing)      * Complicated dash controls (where's that volume knob?!)      * Long recharging times (can't rush out for a frappuccino)      * Minimal storage (bags of new skinny jeans have to go home with assistant) And the blunt CR reviewer certainly didn't pull any punches when it came to that infamous price tag: "Most Karmas are going to be bought by the rich and famous. That’s good, because they can afford another car to drive if their Fisker’s in the shop." [Photo: Wenn] More:  Justin Bieber & Selena Gomez Rent a Helicopter: 10 Craziest Celebrity Dates  TV Tidbits: Justin Bieber Visits Springfield, Chloe Sevigny to 'Portlandia' Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, and Chad Ochocinco Get Inked — PICS
  • Googling Emma Watson Nude Pics May Give You a Virus
    By: Michelle Lee Sep 10, 2012
    A warning to pervs looking for fake nudes, upskirts and side-boob pics of Hermione Granger: Searching for Emma Watson could crash your computer.  Internet security company McAfee just named the 22-year-old Harry Potter actress the year's 'most dangerous' celebrity to search for online, knocking supermodel and Project Runway host Heidi Klum from the dubious top spot.  Crafty cybercriminals are using Watson's name to trick unsuspecting users into downloading malicious software or to steal their personal information.  In fact, when searching for her online, there's a 12 percent chance of getting infected with dangerous malware.  And it'll take more than a Banishing Charm ("Depulso!") to expunge that sucker.  Here's how the rest of the top 10 rounds out (notice the obvious absence of men on the list):  1. Emma Watson  2. Jessica Biel  3. Eva Mendes  4. Selena Gomez  5. Halle Berry  6. Megan Fox  7. Shakira  8. Cameron Diaz  9. Salma Hayek  10. Sofia Vergara  Also, if you Harry Potter aficionados, fashion lovers, and Perks of Being a Wallflower fans are wondering, searching for anything related to Watson is risky, not just the nudes.  But you're not fooling anyone. We know what you're looking for.  [Photo credits: Wenn and NBC] Follow Michelle on Twitter @HWMichelleLee More: 'Perks of Being a Wallflower': Hermione, Percy Jackson and Kevin Walk into a Poster Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and More Assemble for 'Perks of Being a Wallflower' Image David Yates Eyes Emma Watson for 'Your Voice Inside My Head' From Our Partners:Kristen Stewart Opens Up Post-Cheating Scandal(Celebuzz) Scissors-Wielding Intruder Arrested at Miley Cyrus' House(Celebuzz)
  • Real Asteroid Hurdles Toward Earth: Hollywood Says We're Screwed
    By: Michelle Lee Sep 08, 2012
    Earlier today, I read a headline on an astrophysics site (hey, can't a girl have diverse interests?) that NASA is soliciting students to help name a potentially dangerous asteroid that's headed straight for Earth. Students just have to suggest a name that's 16 characters or less and explain why it would be perfect. Awww, adorable.  But what the writer glossed over was: there's a potentially dangerous asteroid that's headed straight for Earth.  Sure, we've been through comet- and asteroid-panic before and impact wouldn't be expected for another 170 years. So maybe that's why no one is freaking out just yet.  But where would Hollywood put our chances of survival? Based on the most recent asteroid movies, there'd be some pretty nasty collateral damage if not total annihilation. Here's a breakdown:  Asteroid (1997 TV movie) Asteroid Name: Helios and Eros Destroyed: Dallas, Texas.  Outcome: Jet fighters try to destroy the asteroid but only break it into pieces. The planet is saved but not without destruction.  Deep Impact (1998)Asteroid Name: Wolf and Biederman. Destroyed: Impact in Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.Outcome: Suicide mission saves Earth (or at least half of it).  Armageddon (1998) Asteroid Name: Nicknamed Dottie.  Destroyed: Shanghai. Outcome: Suicide mission saves Earth (and Ben Affleck).  Melancholia (2011)  Asteroid Name: Well, it's not technically an asteroid but the planet that's colliding with Earth is called Melancholia, hence the name of the movie.  Destroyed: Everything.  Outcome: Apocalypse cures Kirsten Dunst's depression.  Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012) Asteroid Name: Mathilde. Destroyed: Everything. Outcome: Steve Carell finds love with Keira Knightley. Oh, and then the world ends. Because both of those things could happen in reality.  [Photo credit: Paramount] More: In Movies, It's the End of the World as We Know It. Is That Fine? One on One: 'Melancholia' Star Kirsten Dunst Doomsday: Why the Mayans Might Be Right From Our Partners: Katie Holmes Makes First Public Appearance Since Tom Cruise Divorce (Celebuzz) Kristen Stewart Opens Up Post-Cheating Scandal (Celebuzz)
  • Coolest Pop Culture Google Doodles Ever 
    By: Michelle Lee Sep 08, 2012
    Unless you live under a rock, abruptly lost your Wi Fi connection or are my in-laws, you've seen the new Google Doodle, celebrating the 46th anniversary of Star Trek.  A clever, interactive little treat made up of four scenes gives a wink to a few famous moments in Star Trek history. Tribbles tumble out of a vent, starship doors slide open leading to another world, the Google letters sport the iconic hairdos of the original crew and the infamous doomed red shirt? Well, you'll just have to see it.  The Doodle, created by Google Doodler Ryan Germick, has gotten lots of attention. But it's only one of the creative pop culture Google Doodles we've seen in recent memory. After the first doodle was launched in 1998 to celebrate the Burning Man Festival, they've paid homage to everyone from John Lennon to Gumby.  Here, a rundown of our favorites:  Star Trek's 46th Anniversary: September 7, 2009 Popeye Creator E.C. Segar's Birthday: December 8, 2009   Julia Child's 100th Birthday: August 15, 2012 Michael Jackson's Birthday: August 29, 2009   Dr. Seuss' Birthday: March 2, 2009 40th Anniversary of Sesame Street: November 5, 2009 Pac-Man's 30th Anniversary: May 21, 2010 What characters or projects should Google celebrate next? Tell us in the comments section!   Follow Michelle on Twitter @HWMichelleLee [Photo credit: Google]   More:Google Glasses: Five Sci-Fi Movies to Prepare You For 2017's Eyewear Fashion Karl Urban Reveals Potential 'Star Trek 2' Villain? SpaceX: 'Star Trek' Star James Doohan's Ashes Head to Space   From Our Partners: Scissors-Wielding Intruder Arrested at Miley Cyrus' House (Celebuzz)   Kristen Stewart Opens Up Post-Cheating Scandal (Celebuzz)  
  • Is Paul Ryan Funnier Than Sarah Palin? John Oliver Votes
    By: Michelle Lee Sep 08, 2012
    Will late-night, SNL and the cable shows have just as much fun? The Peggy Hill bouffant, aww-shucks accent, that whole seeing Russia debacle — back in 2008, Sarah Palin became every comedian's dream. Late-night writers had found their next George W. Bush and they celebrated by spraying Palin comedy confetti all over the universe.  So the question still remains: Can the GOP's new Vice Presidential hopeful Paul Ryan hold a candle to the pit bull with lipstick when it comes to the funny stuff? The Daily Show writer/correspondent John Oliver says Mitt Romney's running mate just isn't as "instinctively" funny as Palin.  "[Palin] has a visceral, immediate impact," he tells Rolling Stone. "Our filing cabinet of Ayn Rand jokes was empty, so we need to fill that up for Paul Ryan. Ayn Rand is hysterical, obviously, so it shouldn't be too difficult." Although Oliver says he has no comedic preference when it comes to his POTUS pick, he admits it's easier to make fun of Republicans. "Yes, it is easier, but it's also less satisfying. Towards the end of the Bush years, there were times where it was like shooting fish in a barrel, because he was saying things that were almost palpably ludicrous. But it wasn't much fun writing jokes about that, because they often came from a point of complete despair." Late-night hosts and comedy writers have already had plenty of chuckles with the RNC (oh, Clint) and now the DNC. And whatever the outcome in November, one thing's for sure: we know who we'd vote for to play Paul Ryan on Saturday Night Live: Would Mr. Schue sing Rage Against the Machine? Follow Michelle on Twitter @HWMichelleLee [Photo Credits: Wenn, Fox] More: 10 Things You Don't Know About Paul Ryan Bristol Palin Considering Political Career. You Betcha. — VIDEO The Official Republican National Convention Drinking Game From Our Partners: Scissors-Wielding Intruder Arrested at Miley Cyrus' House (Celebuzz) Kristen Stewart Opens Up Post-Cheating Scandal (Celebuzz)
  • Limp Bizkit: The Return of America's Most Hated Band
    By: Michelle Lee Aug 17, 2012
    Every decade, there is a band so maligned that they capture the collective hatred of an entire generation. In the '90s, that band was Limp Bizkit. In Spin's 2012 list of the 30 Most-Hated Bands, Limp Bizkit came in at No. 2, just behind Milli Vanilli, who didn't even sing their own songs. Today, there's still an "I Hate Limp Bizkit" Facebook page. And scads of fellow musicians have publicly bashed the band. Within a matter of years, they'd gone from selling out arenas to being the butt of the joke.  But then, earlier this year came word that Limp Bizkit had signed with man-of-the-moment Lil' Wayne's record label Cash Money Records. Could America's Most Hated Band really stage a comeback?  Well, if you take it from outspoken frontman Fred Durst, it really wouldn't be a comeback at all. Because they've always been there. We just weren't listening. In a new interview with Kerrang!, Durst explains that the band was simply "boycotting" America: "We don't play back home. We've boycotted America for many years now. I don't know, I just don't wanna go out like that. We just don’t know what’s going on in America. It's all about the new catchy thing and that's always changing. America is driven by record sales. It's the home of corporations. We're just Limp Bizkit, so we don't know how to do anything but Limp Bizkit." WHY'S EVERYONE HATE THEM, ANYWAY? Naturally, the musical landscape changed in the '90s and Nu Metal was simply not hot anymore. But it still doesn't explain why Limp Bizkit remains to be so hated while a band like Korn is not. So what gives?  Blame it on personality, selling out and the divide between rock credibility and pop.  During its time, Limp Bizkit was wildly popular: the band sold more than 35 million albums. And for better or worse, their frontman was ubiquitous. Durst was the precursor to John Mayer, the top-selling musician who became so blinded by fame and "the nookie" that his own personal spotlight began to eclipse the music. And then he moved his mosh pit a little too close to the pop flame.  During the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards, he performed the band's song "Livin' It Up" as a duet with Christina Aguilera. The spectacle prompted Filter frontman Richard Patrick to call Durst a "pop-lovin' piece of frozen dog s**t" and claimed that "Fred getting onstage with Christina Aguilera embarrassed us all." Two years later, he claimed he was in a relationship with another pop princess, Britney Spears, which she completely, and humiliatingly, denied. And in 2005, a Fred Durst sex tape was leaked. Soon, instead of playing for cheering arenas, he was being heckled and crowds were chanting "F**k Fred Durst." And instead of being Rock God Fred Durst, he'd somehow become a two-headed hybrid of Vanilla Ice and Paris Hilton.  But I'm going to say something unpopular here. Some of Limp Bizkit's music wasn't terrible. Their version of George Michael's "Faith" was pretty catchy at the time. And even though their Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water is quite possibly the worst-named album ever, it had some redeeming songs.  So, the question still remains: Can Limp Bizkit realistically make a comeback? The guys can certainly give it a good try. But they'll have to milk their relationship with Lil' Wayne for all its worth and come out with a slightly more mature style (a page from the Eminem playbook).  And someone please keep Fred Durst away from Selena Gomez.  [Photo: Wenn] Follow Michelle on Twitter @HWMichelleLee More: Adam Levine Loves AttentionGreen Day to Release a Trilogy of Albums Maroon 5: Five Meanest Reviews and Why Critics Hate Them
  • The Lindsay Lohan-ization of Amanda Bynes & Why Child Stardom Still Sucks
    By: Michelle Lee Aug 17, 2012
    Amanda Bynes was always one of the '90s child stars who showed real promise. She wasn't the wholesome popular girl like Vanessa Hudgens or the cute little sister like Jamie Lynn Spears. She wasn't the made-for-marketing Olsen twins. She was genuinely funny, quirky and not afraid to do something a little weird and/or ugly (remember her sticking a tampon up her nose in She's the Man?). But, now the 26-year-old's erratic behavior, a series of puzzling car accidents, an arrest, and her shocking new appearance (see pic from Aug. 16 above) aren't making it easy to root for her.  What went wrong? Bynes started acting professionally at age 7 but seemed like she'd never fall into the kid actor curse. She was a straight-A student, who came from a stable family (her parents have been married for over 40 years). "I have really smart grounded parents who weren't nouveau riche," she said in 2007. "They really earned their money and they know the value of a dollar. They gave morals to me and I wouldn't want to do anything that would embarrass my parents." In comparison, the cards were always stacked against her fellow child star, Lindsay Lohan, also 26. After her parents' ugly divorce, she became the family's main breadwinner — and her manager mom Dina never reigned her in. And for years, dad Michael seemed more obsessed with making his own headlines than leading the way for her.  Five years ago, Bynes and Lohan were on divergent paths. Bynes had just come out as good-girl Penny Pingleton in the musical blockbuster Hairspray. Meanwhile, Lohan was already halfway to Crazy Town, clocking two DUI-related arrests that set off a s**tstorm of other legal problems.  But then, in a move worthy of Freaky Friday, Bynes began her own Lohan-ization. Suddenly, the girl who once said she hated drinking, was a regular on the party scene. And her bizarre Twitter ramblings about magic mushrooms, her sexual attractions and other minutiae had fans scratching their heads. Then in 2010 came her strange announcement that she was ending her acting career at the ripe old age of 24. “Being an actress isn’t as fun as it may seem,” she tweeted. “If I don’t love something, I stop doing it. I don’t love acting anymore, so I’ve stopped doing it.” Of course, she "un-retired" shortly after.  Reports of diva behavior and curious late-night photos followed. And by 2012, her transformation was complete. Bynes, like Lohan before her, was involved in a series of suspicious car accidents. On April 6, she was arrested for suspicion of DUI and accused of a hit-and-run. Then, just a month later, she was accused of two other hit-and-runs, on May 5 and May 27.  By now, the child star curse has been well-documented — a sad timeline punctuated with deaths (Dana Plato, Corey Haim), arrests (Eddie Furlong) and drug problems (Jodie Sweetin, Mackenzie Phillips).  Of course, compared to the '60s and '70s, the industry is more aware of the pitfalls now and has enacted regulations to protect young actors financially and to lighten their workload. But the element that Hollywood will never be able to control is more personal and emotional. What happens when you've peaked early? When your Pavlovian response is triggered by applause in your formative years, are you just destined to be a hot mess later in life?  Don't get me wrong, I'm not writing Amanda Bynes off for good. Drew Barrymore is living proof that you can go nuts for a while and turn it all around.  But it might take a lot for Amanda to return to the nice, sweet girl I rooted for. And a chauffeur.  [Photo credits: Wenn, Merino/INFphoto, LA County Sheriff] Follow Michelle on Twitter @HWMichelleLee More:Amanda Bynes Arrested for DUIAmanda Bynes 'At Fault' for Car AccidentAmanda Bynes Retires from Acting