Tonight’s George Clooney-organized, multi-network Hope For Haiti Now telethon was a subdued, classy affair, thankfully free of any awkward “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” moments. In all, the two-hour telecast included 19 musical performances, most of which were terrific. I could name two female artists who were a bit out of their league, but since they were singing for charity, I won’t. Instead, I’ll run down what were, in my humble opinion, the 10 best numbers of the night. (You can download them all, by the way, on iTunes.)
10. Justin Timberlake and Matt Morris I confess I’d never heard of Matt Morris before. But after his and Timberlake’s sensitive, almost half-tempo duet performance of Leonard Cohen’s oft-covered “Hallelujah,” I’m a convert. READ FULL STORY »
I generally don’t get into telethons. I mean, if I’m going to give, I’m just going to give—I don’t need a cheesy Regis Philbin or whoever trying to cajole me into donating dollars while Howie Mandel demonstrates how many different ways he can wash his hands and Goldie Hawn revives a forgettable sketch from Laugh-In.
In case you were wondering, those already slated to perform tonight at 8 p.m. on nearly ever network include Christina Aguilera, Taylor Swift, Stevie Wonder, Justin Timberlake, Mary J., J-Hud, and Bruce Springsteen. Pretty A-list, clearly.
But what about you, PopWatchers? Does the prospect of Beyoncé and Madonna on screen entice you to tune in tonight? Will it entice you to give more money — or just enjoy the performances without forking over any dough? Were there other artists that immediately made tonight’s telethon a must watch/must give?
I love a diva. So when I saw that Fuse was doing a special titled Top 20 Divas earlier this evening at 6 p.m., I immediately set my DVR to record. Truly, I had no idea what I was getting into: Would this be a video countdown with commentary? A VH1-style special that features talking heads—and sometimes the divas themselves—discussing what makes these Top 20 divas so damned special? A mix of the two?
Well, come to find out, it was just literally 20 videos from divas. But, honestly, it was one of the weirdest countdowns I’ve ever seen. To start with, let’s take a look at the show’s Top 20:
If I could turn back time, I would have begged Cher to grace the big screen at some point in the past decade (sorry, I'm not counting the Farrelly Brothers atrocity that was 2003's Stuck on You). But you know what? Maybe it was worth the wait. The news today that Cher is set to star alongside Christina Aguilera in the musical Burlesque — and voice a giraffe in Happy Madison's live-action comedy, The Zookeeper — has me thinking that the spectacle-obsessed actress may have found the perfect vehicle for her big return. Think about it: There's singing! Costumes I can only imagine will make Bob Mackie look tame! And, one assumes, plenty of hair flips to boot!
How pumped are you, PopWatchers? And start preparing: You only have until 2011 to find the perfect wig to accompany your first Burlesque viewing!
Christina Aguilera’s making her silver-screen debut in a musical called Burlesque, about a small-town girl who makes good, somehow, by working at a Cabaret-like L.A. performance venue. It was written with her in mind, and that makes sense — I simply cannot imagine a better first-movie vehicle for Christina’s big voice and retro-sexy vibe. It’s a crime that she hasn’t graced a musical earlier, in fact, but points for holding out for the right project, as opposed to jumping into the first cheesy teen movie available the minute she became famous. And is it me, or is this basically a slightly-classier version of Coyote Ugly? More to the point: Does that make it more awesome or less? (My head says "less," but my heart says "more.")
What do you think, PopWatchers? Will Burlesque be a hit or a mess? Does Christina belong on the big screen?
A diva putting out a Christmas album is about as standard as Santa wearing a red suit. But, truly, the efforts of our favorite Melisma Queens are such a mixed bag. For uninspired efforts, look no further than Ashanti’s 2003 disc Ashanti’s Christmas or Jessica Simpson’s 2004 Rejoyce: The Christmas Album. (I’ll leave it to you PopWatch readers to decide if those two should even be termed as "divas.")
The best diva holiday disc for years (and you best not question this assertion!) was unequivocally Mariah Carey’s 1994 gem Merry Christmas, which is highlighted by jazzy jam "All I Want for Christmas is You." But this year I’m going to challenge that given by suggesting that maybe Christina Aguilera’s "Christmas Time"—from her 2000 album My Kind of Christmas—could be better than Mariah’s perennial fave. It’s both dramatic and a holiday trifle. Watch live-in-concert versions of both here and then sound off about your favorite in the comments below.
Three new videos from three popular divas. Ch-ch-check ‘em out, then click through past the jump to our poll questions about which clip (and which song) you like best.
Christina Aguilera, "Keeps Getting Better" Concept: Blonde, hoodie-wearing Xtina directs her bewigged alter-egos as they strut through a series of low-budget green-screen landscapes. Plusses: Dancing "plasma blobs" should be required in every video forever; floral minidress sequence reminiscent of Estée Lauder ad featuring Madonna’s "Love Profusion"; kinda digging the funky mini robot, too. Minuses: Dime-store hairpieces hardly appropriate for A-list recording artist; catwoman ensemble looks like rejected uniform for underground wrestling competitor; how many more motorcycle/convertible video montages must a nation of music lovers endure before fresh concepts are embraced by major-label artists? Accompanying song: Hellaciously hot dance track has been in constant rotation on my iPod for several weeks now.
Mariah Carey, "I Stay in Love" Concept: Vegas showgirl’s longing for and jealousy over her fit, fabulous ex-beau reaches boiling point, results in vehicular explosion. Plusses: Gorgeous cinematography, hot boots, and let’s be honest, Mariah’s bod looks totally smokin’, even if her entire wardrobe should be donated to a charity benefiting teenage strumpets and/or truck-stop hookers. Also: That Wentworth Miller 2.0 ain’t hard on the eyes, either. Minuses: Murky plotting and many burning questions: How come Mariah’s showgirl moves are so lethargic? Why does Mariah drive to the middle of the desert to explode the car, then leave herself stranded? How come the one-time happy couple’s bed is also located in the middle of the desert? Plus, there’s that played-out "diva driving with the top down" device again! Accompanying song: A slower, less addictive variation on "We Belong Together"
Hilary Duff, "Reach Out" Concept: One-time Disney star attempts to reinvent self as adult sex-symbol by cavorting in seedy mansion setting with scantily clad, disembodied man-meat. Plusses: Can’t think of anything good to say about the video, but at least the track features an insanely catchy sample of "Personal Jesus." Minuses: Sadly, that Depeche Mode sample is brutalized and left lifeless by the side of the road by the end of "Reach Out." As for the video clip, where to start? The gray, fetid-looking grapes and other assorted foodstuffs that serve as the backdrop to Duff’s bacchanal? The way the fingerprinty mirror makes my heart and soul cry out for a big bottle of Windex and a roll of paper towels? The attempts to pay fashion tributes to Madonna’s "Like a Virgin" wedding dress and any of ex-boyfriend Joel Madden’s unfortunate hats? Or, as my colleague Shirley Halperin disgustedly points out, the general American apparel-ness of the whole sordid video? Accompanying song: Gah!