No question Justin Timberlake is the man of the year, but oh how the women of pop music proved its their world again at the American Music Awards.
Debonair at every turn, Timberlake put on a great performance and said something funny each time he appeared. But it was Taylor Swift who won the night, taking home four awards, including top honor artist of the year for the third time. It was Rihanna who won the Icon Award — at age 25. And it was Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry who will again drive the morning’s water-cooler conversation with their continuing awards show brinksmanship.
Not to worry, though, JT, we’ll still include you our five moments to remember. But first, Miley:
— Miley’s kitty: What was that exactly? We can describe it, no problem: Cyrus performed her hit “Wrecking Ball” as a duet of sorts with a giant, lip-syncing CGI kitten that floated through space projected on a screen behind her. But no way can we explain it. Playfully absurdist, it was a moment Salvador Dali would be proud of. And like all of these performances so far, it became delightfully self-referential when the cat finished the song by winking and sticking its tongue out — Cyrus’ trademark move.
— Mr. President: After imitating a sex act last weekend on “Saturday Night Live,” it was hard to imagine how Lady Gaga and R. Kelly might approach their performance of “Do What U Want” on Sunday night. They went high concept, casting Kelly as the president and Gaga as a Marilyn Monroe-like figure. Throughout the course of the song, Gaga dances on President Kelly’s desk as he gazes up at her, their relationship is outed on Instagram and Kelly storms out when a reporter starts questioning him about the affair.
— The question: — As usual, comedian Sarah Silverman got right to the heart of the uncomfortable subject in the room — white folks winning awards that usually go to black performers. She noted the nominees for favorite soul/R&B album were Timberlake, Robin Thicke and Rihanna: “One, a white kid from the Mickey Mouse Club, one the son of the dad from ‘Growing Pains,’ and the other a strong, soulful Caribbean woman of color. I don’t know who will win, but I do know who should find this most ironic if she loses.”
Timberlake, also the favorite soul-R&B male artist, won: “Thank you, Sarah. Growing up in Memphis, Tenn., I can honestly say that’s the first time I’ve ever been racially profiled by a white woman.”
— Channeling Celia: You’re left wondering after the show how long Jennifer Lopez prepared for her Celia Cruz tribute. Lopez was sexy and dazzling, leading a troupe of two dozen dancers through complex routines without missing a step in salute to the Salsa legend. She changed outfits on stage twice, finishing with a shimmering silver singlet and wining triumphantly at the crowd as her dancers sprawled about her at the end of the tribute.
— Hi, mom: Monica Fenty, Rihanna’s mom, hi-jacked the show when she came on stage to present her daughter with the AMA’s first Icon Award. The singer put her arm around her mother as she spoke, and told stories about growing up in Barbados after accepting the award. “Right now I cannot believe at 25 years old that I’m holding an Icon Award,” Rihanna said. “That is weird to even say out loud.”
Follow AP Music Writer Chris Talbott: http://twitter.com/Chris_Talbott.
IF ONLY Tattle could be this adept at predicting the stock market.
Yesterday’s final item, dealing with the Las Vegas marriage of Francesca Eastwood (Clint's daughter) and Jordan Feldstein (Jonah Hill's brother) ended with “Tattle will be surprised if this one lasts a year.”
Well … make that a week.
TMZ.com reports that 20-year-old Francesca is reportedly looking to get the marriage annulled.
Francesca and music manager Jordan, 35, who looks a little like Jonah before he lost all the weight, reportedly had a booze-fueled “wild night in Vegas,” which ended up at a chapel with an Elvis impersonator, according to Us Weekly.
Francesca, however, says that she doesn’t drink, a denial, which, if true, makes her decision-making even more questionable.
It’s not like Tattle to be cynical when it comes to the ways of celebrities and celebrity wannabes, but this is starting to smell like a publicity stunt - and one that’s a bit less work than not-so-secretly releasing a sex tape.
Dozens of top stars have donated songs to an album aimed at raising funds for disaster relief in the Philippines.
Songs by The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Beyonce, U2 and Bruno Mars are among the 39 donated to “Songs for the Philippines,” released yesterday on iTunes.
The artists, record companies and music publishers have agreed to donate all proceeds. The money will go to the Philippines Red Cross.
The compilation album has a little of everything, from the disturbing images of a live version of Eminem's “Stan” to the calming effect of The Beatles' “Let It Be.”
* Alicia Keys visited a Philippine Air Force base yesterday to bring cheer to hundreds of evacuees from eastern provinces wracked by Typhoon Haiyan.
Keys distributed crayons and coloring books to children at the Villamor Air Base grandstand, where evacuees from eastern Leyte and Samar provinces arrive via C-130 planes.
Social Welfare Department officer Jane Abello says that Keys stayed for about half an hour to chat with evacuees. She was in Manila last night for a concert at the seaside MOA Arena.
* Congrats to Kelly Rowland.
Us Weekly says that she’s engaged to marry her manager, Tim Witherspoon.
* Israeli-born movie producer Arnon Milchan (“Pretty Woman,” “Fight Club” and “L.A. Confidential”) has finally admitted that for years he served as an Israeli spy.
In an interview aired yesterday on Israel’s Channel 2, Milchan detailed a series of clandestine affairs in which he was involved and particularly how he helped purchase technologies that Israel allegedly needed to operate nuclear bombs.
"I did it for my country, and I’m proud of it," said Milchan, who ran a successful fertilizer company in Israel before making it big in Hollywood.
* Katie Couric is leaving ABC News and joining Yahoo to anchor an expansion of the company’s video-news coverage.
Couric is the latest high-profile hire for Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer as she brings in well-known journalists in an effort to create compelling content that will attract more people to the company’s online services. In the past month, Yahoo has also lured away technology columnist David Pogue and political reporter Matt Bai from The New York Times.
* Michelle Knight, one of three young women held captive for years by Ariel Castro in a Cleveland house, has a book deal.
Knight’s memoir is scheduled to come out next spring, publisher Weinstein Books announced yesterday. The book is currently untitled and will be co-written by Michelle Burford, who worked on Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas' memoir.
The other two women, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, are planning their own book, collaborating with a pair of Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporters.
* Correction: Last week we reported that Adam Levine was the first Jew to be named People's “Sexiest Man Alive.”
A reader informed us that, technically, the first was Harrison Ford, whose mother was Jewish.
* CNN reports that tickets for the Monty Python reunion performance at London’s O2 Arena on July 1 went on sale yesterday and sold out in 43 seconds. With that type of demand, the Pythons quickly added four more shows. For the five surviving members of the comedy troupe, it will be their first show onstage together since 1980.
* The London Mirror says that Angelina Jolie is plunking down $20 million for a gift for Brad Pitt's upcoming 50th birthday. Is she buying him a newspaper? Nope.
She’s allegedly buying Petra Island, 50 miles and a 15-minute helicopter ride from Manhattan, with two properties on it designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
* Rick Santorum's first foray into movie production hit theaters with a bit of a whimper.
"The Christmas Candle," from EchoLight Studios, where Santorum is CEO, played in 392 theaters this past weekend and took in a little under $850,000.
By comparison, “The Hunger Games” sequel opened in ten times the number of theaters and did nearly 200 times the business, grossing nearly $160 million.
It’s so much easier to criticize Hollywood than make a movie people want to see. Drat that free market.
* ”Family Guy” fans have taken to change.org after creator Seth MacFarlane killed off family dog, Brian Griffin.
They’re signing petitions urging MacFarlane to bring the dog back.
Seriously people, couldn’t you come up with a petition to address a real problem, like bringing Det. Munch back to “Law & Order: SVU”?
- Daily News wire services contributed to this report
I have a big week coming up — scans, infusion, and a meeting with the colorectal surgeon to see what to do about this colostomy. Sponsor links:
www.kerneli.org/tree/ga-tree-trimming/tree-service-in-marietta-ga/ . (OK, maybe not for the first time…) I also had a back MRI thrown in there because, hey, what’s one more test, right? (One more loud, four-hour-long test!) Thankfully it came back negative for any trace of cancerous activity in my back and spine. I’m glad the doctors are being cautious, but lower back pain isn’t exactly a rare occurrence in middle age men with portly little toddlers (and Tommy is a 27 lb. bowling ball of energy who wants to be held quite a bit). I attribute the back pain to more activity, and muscle immobility, over the last year.
Mentally, I have felt more up and down the last few weeks. For someone who has focused on staying grounded and levelheaded, I had quite a few fluctuations in emotion the last month or so. There were the “fun” things, like the trip home for Pearl Jam, but also smaller, subtler things that gave me a bit of a boost.
I went jogging for the first time in a while the other day, a year after my lung surgery. Three miles, and while they were three SLOW miles, I was determined to finish and NOT stop for a break. It got me pretty pumped; I’m not a runner by any stretch, and seeing how far I came in the last year gave a huge sense of accomplishment. Heck, it’s the first time I ever got emotional during a workout. I got back home and immediately looked up local Tough Mudder and sprint triathalons coming up – and then nearly passed out from the run. I suppose I have a ways to go before I am ready to get back out there.
There were other things too – a marriage retreat at our church, a day-long seminar for charity boards, meeting friends for the Florida State-Miami game. I did a headstand at yoga — an “inversion” (sounds cooler, and more difficult that way). Even just playing with Josie and Tommy, there were a lot of positives, a great collection of memories made and moments seized.
So why have I not felt “good” all the time? One would think that the continued good news with my treatment, coupled with more activity and some pretty special events, this would be the time to bask in happiness 24/7. While I am not close to being out of the woods, there are many positives in life right now. So why, all of the sudden, have the down moments come nearly as much as the up ones?
I suppose part of it is medical – while I am more active than I have been since being diagnosed, it has definitely taken a toll. The uptick in activity has made my body ache a bit, and certainly left me feeling drained on several occasions. Jen and I talked about how different life has become, and how limited my participation and energy is. It has to be frustrating to her, to see me able to do things sometimes but not others and never really know which T.J. is going to show up.
But it’s not just that. I know me, and I know when I get “down” and how it feels. I see how my behavior changes. I get less patient and more irritable; my focus becomes me and not Jen or my children. I am sure there is a clinical diagnosis here somewhere, for something, but more importantly, I feel whatever “it” is. I have adjusted life out of necessity this past year, and selfishly, I want some of that old life back. Jen does, too — she even said it to me at the retreat session on Saturday. Life has become “T.J. vs. Cancer” for all of us, and seems to be measured in moments, with cancer being the omnipresent backdrop to everything.
I think about my cousin Alison, whom I barely knew (she was 5 when I went off to college) and has passed away at 23. She battled depression, and reflecting on her death and struggles she had fills me with the desire to be strong for others. At the same time, it makes looking in the mirror a little more difficult — feeling that life is passing by at a rapid pace and I am a bit paralyzed by my own body’s issues to steer the course I want. Feeling like I am losing the ability to dictate life and what I get out of it weighs on me, kind of makes for a heavy heart.
I also think about my grandmother, who passed away in her early 40s, and something my Uncle said to me — that he would have sacrificed a year or more of doing things with her, if it meant she would have been able to see him grow up. Maybe that is what this boils down to.
Paradoxically, I am doing too much and not enough. Our lives have been scheduled with events and activities, all to create those “moments”, but maybe the focus shouldn’t be on the items on the calendar, but all the time in between. There are sound arguments for those events and the natural high they bring, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of being out of sorts as a husband and a father — and I most definitely am out of sorts a bit right now.
Luckily, I get a reminder that life “is a one-way street” every three weeks, and a tangible measure of success every six weeks. This is a good time to push the reset button and re-start the things that bring happiness into my family’s life, and therefore into my own. The next eight weeks will have plenty of holiday “moment/memory” time, with calendar-filling appointments to complete. I will check back in after the ball drops on 2013 and see how we did making life (and not just life’s special moments) the focus of happiness and energy.
No reason to save the resolutions for New Year’s when I can start them today.
T.J. Sharpe shares his fight against Stage 4 Melanoma in the Patient #1 blog.