Jeezy has decided to name this song "Benihana" as an homage to the fantastic circus of a restaurant chain. The song is chock-full of food references from all three rappers, and the hook contains both Paula Deen and Greg Maddox references. So yes, listen to this. Loudly.
Spring Breakers was aggressively not for me. But without the experience — the money wasted on a ticket, the creepy-dude feeling I incurred while watching alone, the loneliness of having no one to vent my Franco-hate to — I couldn't have fully appreciated Fall Breakers, an astonishing parody from a sketch-comedy collective called Lady Products. Sweaters, pumpkin guts, flannels, and women making it rain leaves, with all the Skrillex intact.
American Idol was in crisis. Coming off its worst-rated season ever, in which the once-world-beating Nielsen juggernaut was brought to its knees by snowballing audience apathy, the continuing fragmentation of prime-time TV, and novelty-slinging upstarts in spinning chairs offering a marginally fresher take on Idol’s long-stale formula, Fox was finally ready to make some changes. Major changes. Paradigm-shifting, paddles-to-the-stalled-heart-of-a-dying-behemoth changes. Changes that would redefine the very future of televised singing competitions, so that future generations could continue to gather around the holo-stage in their hover-condos and enjoy the off-key warblings of single iMoms just trying to feed their cyborg-toddlers! And so it … fired a couple of executives. Let half of its judges go. Kicked around the idea of decommissioning The Dawg, before ultimately letting him hang around backstage as a mentor, because apparently he just kept showing up for work, eyes welling with the still-fresh memories of his emotional death montage.
Changes. Big changes. Franchise-saving changes.
And then it brought back pretty hug machine Keith Urban, because country music's teddy bear union is ruthless and insatiable.
Hey, the BET Awards were last night! Were you too busy working through a DVR backlog chock-full of Cash Cab and House Hunters International to notice? Don't you worry for a minute: Blaze through a few of these choice cuts below, and you won't be embarrassed when everyone at the country club's squash courts later tonight can't stop talking about how cool R. Kelly's hat was.
Heads up: NSFW videos and websites are occasionally linked to throughout this post, so watch who’s watching your monitor.
Robin Thicke’s "Blurred Lines" and Miley Cyrus’s “We Can’t Stop” have quickly become two of 2013’s most watched and argued over music videos. Thicke’s finds him and the song’s costars Pharrell Williams and T.I. goofing off in suits as they are out-charismaed by a trio of female models in just underwear, shoes, and a series of unflattering props. Cyrus’s “We Can’t Stop” evokes the tail end of a house party where anything goes, where the former Disney star wrestles in the remnants of a broken piñata filled with blunts, smacks butts in the kitchen, and dry-humps a bed in the guest room.
Both of the clips were directed by music video veteran Diane Martel, who got her start in the early 1990s specializing in work for grimy New York rap acts like Method Man and Onyx. At the same time, she began a long collaborative relationship with Mariah Carey, handling eight of her videos that decade. Now Martel has more than 100 entries in her videography and has directed plenty of stars and the up-and-comers in pop, hip-hop, soul, and rock.
Though Martel’s output has been consistent and occasionally brilliant, until lately nothing has been able to get peoples’ tongues wagging like “Blurred Lines” and “We Can’t Stop.” They come at a time when labels simultaneously consider music videos increasingly inconsequential and commission a parade of unrated clips stacked with nudity and gross-out images. While traveling in Europe, Martel answered questions via e-mail about these two videos and why artists are willing to take risks with her.
Just hours before the finale of what was widely believed to be the worst season in American Idol history, 12-cycle veteran Randy Jackson quietly gathered his belongings, whispered a despairing triple-Yo to his slumbering colleagues, and stole away in the last available lifeboat, watching as the Karaoke Titanic he was leaving behind continued its quickening descent to the bottom of the prime-time ocean. A captain might need to go down with his ship, but a dawg gets out while the getting is good.
Randy's now joined by the ghosts of Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj, who perished in that wreck, but yesterday issued tweets from beyond the watery grave confirming what we've already known for weeks: They will not be returning as Idol judges. First, Carey, via a retweet of her publicists, because do you think The Queen issues her edicts in 140 characters? Don't be an idiot:
In 1865, a druggist from Waterloo, New York, named Henry C. Wells proposed a day to commemorate the massive loss of life in the Civil War. By the next year, with the support of General John B. Murray, the very first Memorial Day was held; by last century, Memorial Day had become a day to honor all members of the armed services who lost their lives in combat. But you were planning on commemorating the occasion by dragging a beach chair up to your friend's neighbor's roof and drinking Corona Lights all day, weren't you? Well, look, that's all fine and good. But maybe we can take this opportunity to remember some stuff, too. For example, here's Kendrick Lamar's crew Black Hippy giving Rocko's radio hit yet another makeover. The original featured the Rick Ross verse, in which he alluded to providing women with Molly without her consent, got him in hot water and dropped by Reebok. On the Hippy version, it's Schoolboy Q addressing the situation: "Molly in her drink ... but she asked me for it." Talk about learning from others' mistakes! See, remembering stuff is fun.
Whatever doesn't deafen you makes you stronger: Grantland's Jay Caspian Kang, Mark Lisanti, and Emily Yoshida have returned, bowed but not broken, to tackle another season of American Idol. Their journey is now at an end, a winner has been crowned, the confetti has fallen — but the biggest questions of all are still on the horizon.
Did the correct person win?
Kang: Is this even a question? Kree seems like a nice girl and all, but she shouldn’t have even made the final 12. There are 1,500 ways to sing country — you don’t even really need functional vocal chords (R.I.P. Townes Van Zandt) — but what you can’t do is pout during happy songs and fart around when it’s time to connect with the audience. That’s what Kree did week after week and if she had won, I might have actually made good on my annual threat to never watch this show again. As it turned out, the right girl won and I’m excited to return next season with four all-new judges!
Whatever doesn't deafen you makes you stronger: Grantland's Jay Caspian Kang, Mark Lisanti, and Emily Yoshida have returned, bowed but not broken, to tackle another season of American Idol. With a potential top-to-bottom shakeup on the horizon, are these the last days of Idol as we know it?
Who gave the best performance of the night?
Kang: They all seemed nervous last night, didn’t they? Angie sounded shrill for the first time this season (although I suppose the strain of giving two hours of live performances, recording five Ford commercials, and doing whatever other silly crap they put the singers through might be catching up with the vocal cords) and Kree looked about as happy as my cat does when I pick her up and scream “Who’s a cutie? Who’s a cutie?” in her face. Candice kept up her boring march toward the finale, so I guess I would rate her “Somewhere” as the best performance of the night because it didn’t make me want to shove crayons up my nose.
I've never been in one of these meetings, but one has to assume this is how it goes down:
Idea Haver: OK, so here's my idea. This new song we have on our hands, it's great, but I want to make sure it gets big. You know, VIRAL. Like the Gangnam Styles. So here's what we're going to do:
PUT. HASHTAGS. EVERYWHERE.
And I mean everywhere. Tweets, commercials, T-shirts, music videos, song titles, album names, anything we can. If we do it, and completely overwhelm the public with this plan, we can't fail. Like the Gangnam Styles. OK, LET'S DO IT.
Whatever doesn't deafen you makes you stronger: Grantland's Jay Caspian Kang, Mark Lisanti, and Emily Yoshida have returned, bowed but not broken, to tackle another season of American Idol. Only four contestants remain. (Again.) But the end is in sight.
It must be asked: Is this the worst season of American Idol ever?
Kang: It sure feels like it! Which is strange, because there are two contestants with clear talent (Candice and Angie), a wackadoo judge (Nicki Minaj), and Mariah Carey (Mariah Carey) being weird. So why has this season, which started off so promisingly, slowed down to a death march? Here are three theories.
Whatever doesn't deafen you makes you stronger: Grantland's Jay Caspian Kang, Mark Lisanti, and Emily Yoshida have returned, bowed but not broken, to tackle another season of American Idol. They don't think they can make it, and with the judging panel in crisis, they may never have that recipe again.
Is there any way Angie doesn't win this? She got not one but two "In It to Win It"s from Randy Jackson last night.
Yoshida: Hey, Mark. While I won’t say that getting an “In It to Win It” from Randy is NOT a meaningful thing, I’d like to also point out that Randy whipped out a new catchphrase last night, and Angie was not at the receiving end of it. “Ten out of 10 out of 10.” Think about that for a second. No, really. Try to picture it in your mind.
In what is easily the most exciting development in an otherwise buzz-bereft cycle of American Idol since intergalactic chauffeur Nicki Minaj somehow managed to yawn a rainbow of magical butterflies during an underwhelming rendition of Adele's "Someone Like You," the Hollywood Reporter last night dropped a 10-megaton karaoke bombshell: The show's producers had concocted a bold but aborted plan to discard soporific diva Mariah Carey, in-season, and restore shiny judging goddess Jennifer Lopez to her rightful place on the panel. The shake-up scheme was quickly abandoned when Carey's lawyers threatened to rain hellfire down upon all who would dare threaten Mariah's contractual right to babble something positive toward the stage when awakened by a mild electrical shock from her Coca Cola cup, but THR's sources maintain that the search is already on for her eventual replacement, and, possibly, for the entire judging roster.
Whatever doesn't deafen you makes you stronger: Grantland's Jay Caspian Kang, Mark Lisanti, and Emily Yoshida have returned, bowed but not broken, to tackle another season of American Idol. This week: More positivity! And more Mariah!
Candice's "Lovesong": One of the greatest Idol performances of all time, or do people have short memories and just love to declare things the best ever?
Whatever doesn't deafen you makes you stronger: Grantland's Jay Caspian Kang, Mark Lisanti, and Emily Yoshida have returned, bowed but not broken, to tackle another season of American Idol. Only seven contestants remain. Things are getting real.
We’re down to the Top 7, and usually at this point there’s at least one or two contestants who are primarily rock singers. This season none of them are, and they decided to go ahead and do Rock Night anyway. Is Nigel Lythgoe even watching his own show anymore, or has he switched to The Voice like the rest of America?