Miranda Lambert & Blake Shelton: Splitting up is not on the table for the country supercouple. Lambert says she's questioned whether her marriage to Shelton will last "a million" times. "Divorce is not an option," Lambert said. "I will fight to the death. I am a ninja." That seems like a weird thing to say about your relationship. In order to keep communication open, Lambert and Shelton "are allowed to snoop through each other's phones." Has she never heard of a burner? They never spend longer than two weeks away from each other. "We text a lot. Even if it's just sending a picture of the onion rings we're eating!" OK, that seems less weird. They bond at home, "hang out on the porch, drink beer and cook burgers." Lambert says "I think it's important as a married couple to be friends." This all feels strangely defensive. I'm rooting for Lambert (how could I not be?), so I hope things work out.
The high point of my relationship with Men in Black 3 came the first time I saw the trailer, and witnessed for myself the majesty of Josh Brolin playing a young K, the character originated by Tommy Lee Jones. Because, come on, that is killer casting, and (from what I saw in the trailer) Brolin nailed the impression. But then I never saw the movie, and the Brolin/Jones MIB3 casting was pretty much forgotten after the Gordon-Levitt/Willis young/old casting showcased in Looper a few months later.
But even if you, like me, missed MIB3 when it was in theaters, it might be worth catching on home video for its importance as a cultural artifact. You can scrutinize Will Smith's performance to see whether it's changed now that he's (allegedly) a Scientologist. You can make it a two-screen experience, looking up photos of Smith's infamous megatrailer while you determine whether Smith's offscreen comfort improved the film. But if the meta stuff doesn't do it for you, there are probably aliens.
For reasons still not entirely clear to them, Grantland editors Jay Caspian Kang, Mark Lisanti, and Emily Yoshida have decided to track the second season of The X Factor. Abandon all hope, ye who mistakenly inter-navigate to here.
The X Factor began its Thunderdome stage last night. 120 tweens, olds, and groups converged in Miami to see which 24 would make the semifinals. Britney made like 15 weird faces in the first three minutes, L.A. Reid brought back the “totally inappropriately timed head shake,” Demi put that great sea foam ponytail into a French Braid, and for the first time on the show, we actually saw some decent competition!
Why am I writing about the BET Awards? Because I love Televised Entertainment by Blacks (TEB), that's why. Also, they were awesome last night. Perfect, no. (The censor was drunk, I'm sure of it.) A few embarrassing moments, yes. (Someone needs to spank this kid. Oh, Beyoncé, you're on it? Cool.) But overall, awesome. Still super-proud to be black, 25 years and counting.
By my count, there were four main highlights. Let's talk about them right now.
The 2012 Billboard Music Awards aired last night. Many absurd things took place. "Empress of Soul" Gladys Knight presented Best Male Artist and screamed "Lil Wayne" for probably the first time in her life, Carly Rae Jepsen performed her sensation "Call Me Maybe" while donning an outfit from the dELiA*s spring seasonal catalog, and 75 percent of legendary rap group Goodie Mob were, again, presented as Cee Lo's Pips for both the song "Fight to Win" and a weirdly awesome MCA tribute, by way of "Fight for Your Right." Also, for those of you convinced of the Mayans' end-of-days predictions, Lil Wayne's The Carter IV won Top Rap Album, which is just a hard thing to hear and then to see in print the following day.
There was also a Whitney Houston tribute, which is my cue to stop talking about everything else.
The Bachelor Saga Continues: "As quickly as the snowcapped mountains faded in the distance, so did Flajnik's feelings for his betrothed. As Courtney Robertson's abhorrent behavior unfolded on TV, Ben began having issues with what he saw. Instead of talking to Courtney about it, he just started avoiding her. They haven't split, but he basically stopped talking to her. He buried his head in the sand." HEALTHY! "And then he turned his attention to other women." Back in San Francisco, Flajnik has been "cheating on Robertson" with "three different women." I mean, he did say he always wanted to have sex with a model, not that he wanted to grow old with one. "He's drinking and hitting on women, and pretty much acting like a single guy," hanging out at Bay Area dive bars "teeming with Bud Light cans, free popcorn, and adoring Flajnik fans wearing skimpy clothing." Ladies Love Cool Flajnik. After the bar it's All Star Donuts, where Ben picked up a dozen. "I'm well-versed in doughnutspeak," he supposedly said (what?). After taking one girl home, he was spotted with another the very next day. "Ben went on The Bachelor to gain fame, money, and exposure for his business. Why not complete the package by choosing a model named Courtney who is nothing more than arm candy? He has always been an egomaniac and narcissistic." Meanwhile Courtney is finding that turnabout is fair play.
Here is a fact you are already aware of: For the foreseeable future, the world is going to be inundated with Whitney Houston tributes. Objectively, this is neither a good thing nor a bad thing. Maybe you’re the kind of person that likes to pay homage in your own, private way, and finds gushingly emotional public responses contrived and uncouth? Maybe you’re the kind of person who thinks every Whitney fan alive should upload a video of themselves ugly-crying to YouTube? Who knows? You have to live your life your way.
Q: Thought of this after Michael Jackson's death: Which famous singer would have dominated American Idol the most had he/she started his/her career as a contestant on the show? I thought MJ around the "Off the Wall" era, but then realized he would not have been eligible because of his Jackson 5 fame. So who? Please don't tell me John Mayer, circa 2005.
-- Cliff, Portland, Ore.
SG: Come on, Cliff, 2005 Mayer would have rolled through that show every week, caused a national riot and had Paula whipping her ovaries at him. Anyone non-threatening with undeniable talent who can play guitar, play the piano or belt out tunes is going to succeed on Idol. Young Alicia Keys would have crushed Idol. Same for the dude from Maroon 5. Norah Jones would have done well. You get the idea. But there is one answer for your question and only one: Whitney Houston.
I’ve been wondering about Astro and whether or not he’s actually fourteen years old. He might have a fourteen-year old body, but consider the following scenario: the scientists at Fox stole DNA from both the dudes from Das EFX, Billy Danze and Jeru the Damaja, grew a hybrid brain in a jar, and implanted the resulting pulpy mush into the head of a very nice young man from Brooklyn. And then made that very nice young man rap about not doing his homework because he’s out pumping up the crowd at X Factor. It’s an impressive act, I guess, but it’s still too weird.
Whitney Houston is attached to a remake of the 1976 movie Sparkle, which would be her first role since 1996’s The Preacher’s Wife. Set in sixties Detroit, the flick will trace the trajectory of three sisters who go from singing in their church choir to girl-group stardom, and the damage the rise does to the family’s relationships. Jordin Sparks, in her cinematic debut, will play the group’s titular front woman. On the off chance Jordin’s musical commitments pull her away from the project, though, the producers have already booked a suitable backup: Spark’s fellow Idol winner, Taylor Hicks. Grade: B+ [Variety]
Highlander’s getting remade, with Spanish director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (best known around these parts for 28 Weeks Later) taking the reins. The original, from 1986, told the tale of an immortal swordsman from Scotland battling dudes to the death. Details of the new version are sparse, but our source on the inside has heavily hinted that this time the Highlander will be even more totally badass. Grade: B+ [HR]