There are plenty of families that celebrate Christmas, but nobody does it quite like the Kardashians. In addition to their annual cards, the brood pulls out all the stops when it comes to their Christmas Eve bashes. Last year, John Legend, Babyface, and David Foster serenaded the guests with a few songs on the piano, and in 2015, Jennifer Lopez, Drake, and Toni Braxton all stepped out for the soirée. And not to mention, matriarch Kris Jenner always makes sure to send each one of her family members a giant gingerbread house every year.
Image Source: Getty / Kevin Mazur
This week, the Recording Academy announced the nominees for the 2018 Grammy Awards. With so much good music in the past year, it came as no surprise that the competition was as fierce as the categories were packed. And while those who did receive nods absolutely earned their keep, many artists were left out of crucial categories, and others were left off the list altogether. Suffice it to say, many fans are not pleased. And sure, there are many artists who deserved more, but nothing left me more disappointed than the Academy’s failure to recognize Kesha’s 2017 album, Rainbow, in the album of the year category.
Granted, Kesha wasn’t completely snubbed by the Grammys this year. The singer received a best pop performance nomination for «Praying,» and Rainbow was nominated for best pop vocal album, but it’s not enough. I wanted more! From concept to execution to cultural relevance, Rainbow is, unequivocally, one of the most powerful art pieces to come out in 2017.
Before we talk about the specifics of the album itself, I think it’s important to examine Kesha’s journey. In just the past three years, the artist battled an eating disorder in rehab, and came out the other side. She then became embroiled in a harrowing legal battle after accusing Dr. Luke of sexual abuse. She’s since dropped the lawsuit, but has continued to speak out about depression and to surround herself with support.
In July, Kesha dropped «Praying,» her first single in four years. The song and accompanying music video were clearly a sign of rebirth for the pop star. First a weak, motionless body in a world of black and white, we watched as Kesha picked herself back up and found a way to channel her pain, trauma, and sadness into a new world of color, celebration, and triumph. Kesha wasn’t destroyed by everything she had gone through. She was galvanized, newly invigorated, and sharing her art.
In August, Kesha released Rainbow. She has a song-writing credit on all but two songs. She has a sole writing credit on two of the album’s most important and visceral tracks: «Bastards» and «Rainbow.» Thank god the album at least received a nomination for vocals, because none of Kesha’s other music has quite demonstrated the power of her singing voice the way this album does.
«Don’t let the bastards get you down.»
Let me f*cking tell you about Rainbow. Kesha is stark-naked on the cover, a truly incredible show of strength coming from someone who struggles with eating disorders, body shame, and body dysmorphia. «Don’t let the bastards get you down,» she sings in the first song, presenting the «f*ck you, I’m going to do me» thesis of Rainbow. She continues, ticking up the energy to «Let ‘Em Talk» and «Woman,» two more empowering tracks that will inspire anyone to throw the haters to the ground and walk right over them. There are songs that clearly speak directly to Kesha’s experience as a survivor — most obviously «Rainbow,» «Learn to Let Go,» «Hymn,» and «Praying» — and her struggle to forgive her greatest enemies and fight her biggest demons. There are even some surefire bops, like the genius trio of «Hunt You Down,» «Boogie Feet,» and «Boots.»
Kesha could have written a revenge album. She could have twisted her pain into anger and spite. She could have spit fire and gone all Kill Bill on every person who had ever wronged her. But she didn’t. She turned her pain, heartbreak, and sadness into beautiful art.
Rainbow swells most magnificently with the title track, which is the obvious heart of the album. There’s something inexplicably powerful about «Rainbow.» Sure, it’s the lyrics, and the emotion, and the strings. But there’s something straight-up magical that happens when Kesha cobbles all of these ordinary aspects together. There’s no other way to explain it as you watch this person — someone who has every reason to be filled with hate and despair — truly come to life and come into herself as a songwriter, an artist, and an empowered, badass woman.
As we near the end of 2017, we’re steeped in a strange new world where men are being called out for the horrifying sexual behavior they’ve exhibited toward women, specifically in the entertainment industry. Before dozens of victims broke their silence about personal experiences with Hollywood figures like Harvey Weinstein or the «me too» hashtag flooded your social media feeds, Kesha spoke out and stood her ground when no one believed her. It’s not just that Rainbow is an incredible piece of art that Kesha brought to life with stunning panache and poise. It’s that this album is, in a sense, emblematic of a woman’s journey in 2017. Of holding others accountable. Of turning bad into good. Of releasing pain and honoring trauma.
I wish the Grammy Awards had seized the opportunity to recognize that.
After Geraldo Rivera defended Matt Lauer and got shit for talking about how the world of news is “flirty,” Bette Midler reminded him and everyone else about the time she accused him of drugging and groping her. Geraldo has responded with a not-really apology.
In case you didn’t see it, here’s the clip from a 1991 interview with Barbara Walters where Bette called out Geraldo:
Tomorrow is my birthday. I feel like this video was a gift from the universe to me. Geraldo may have apologized for his tweets supporting Matt Lauer, but he has yet to apologize for this. #MeToo pic.twitter.com/TkcolFWfA2
— Bette Midler (@BetteMidler) November 30, 2017
Sigh, that video made me wistful for those pre-HD days when Barbara sent her interns down to Duane-Reade to buy Vaseline to use on every last camera lens to give her the look of a doe-eyed newscaster no older than…50? In all seriousness, the accusation is pretty horrific. Back in the 70s, Geraldo apparently interviewed Bette. She claims he and a producer shoved poppers under her nose and pushed her into the bathroom where they groped her away from the rest of the film crew. Bette’s accusation comes on the heels of Matt Lauer’s and Charlie Rose’s dramatic fall from news grace, and Geraldo has come forward to apologize – for embarrassing her and for that aptly named memoir of his called “Exposing Myself.” Naturally, he took the “we’ll just agree to disagree” route. He tweeted out his side:
27 years ago I wrote a tawdry book depicting consensual events in 1973-45 years ago-I’ve deeply regretted its distasteful & disrespectful tone & have refrained from speaking about it-I’m embarrassed & profoundly sorry to those mentioned-I have & again apologize to anyone offended
— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) December 1, 2017
Although I recall the time @BetteMidler has alluded to much differently than she, that does not change the fact that she has a right to speak out & demand an apology from me, for in the very least, publically embarrassing her all those years ago. Bette, I apologize.
— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) December 1, 2017
I’m sure this is hard for all of us to comprehend, as Geraldo’s shirtless photos on Twitter blows everyone’s pants off at first site, but maybe that’s been his whole strategy the whole time? Geraldo has already defended Matt Lauer and even popped up hanging out with other ick fest Bill O’Reilly, so there is a hint of “Birds of a feather…” to this scheme, but we’ll see if more accusers come forward. If that bushy villain mustache of his is any sign, I’m sure Judge Jeanine Pirro is already imagining moving into his office at the Fox News Death Star.
After NBC announced yesterday morning that they had canned Matt Lauer for allegedly being the creep we all sorta knew he was, Ann Curry was asked about the situation. Ann is still “processing” it all.
People was pre-scheduled to interview Ann for her PBS docuseries, We’ll Meet Again. Pre-scheduled or not, good timing is good timing. They asked Ann about Matt Lauer’s newly-fresh firing, which makes sense because she used to co-host Today with him and he’s been accused of playing a big part in her departure from the show. I was kind of hoping Ann would respond by cackling a loud laugh. Instead, she kept it tasteful. Ann refused to talk specifically about Matt Lauer, but she commended all the women who have come forward with their terrifying tales of working under a powerful slimeball.
“The women’s movement got us into the workplace, but it didn’t make us safe once we got there. And the battle lines are now clear. We need to move this revolution forward and make our workplaces safe. Corporate America is quite clearly failing to do so, and unless it does something to change that, we need to keep doing more ourselves.
I admire the women who have been willing to speak up both anonymously and on the record. Those women need to keep their jobs, and all women need to be able to work, to be able to thrive, without fear. This kind of behavior exists across industries, and it is so long overdue for it to stop. This is a moment when we all need to be a beacon of light for those women, for all women, and for ourselves.”
But is she cackling in private? Just a little bit? Maybe not. A source tells UsWeekly that Ann isn’t twirling around her office while singing “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year.”
“Everything has been insane for Ann today. Everyone has been very supportive of her though and offering kind words. She has been very diplomatic when responding to people and isn’t relishing in it as people might think she should be. She has been getting so many phone calls that people can’t even get through.”
Ann Curry’s phone sounds busy. I hope she’s got a good outgoing voicemail message to inform everyone why she’s unavailable at the moment and to answer the number one question they might have. I might suggest something like this:
“Hi, you’ve reached Ann Curry. I can’t come to the phone right now because I’m busy working, unlike some unemployed assholes who will remain nameless. For those wondering, no, I take no joy in Matt’s firing. Zero. None at all. Is my sarcasm registering over this thing? Eh, I’m sure you’re getting it – please leave a message!”
Warning: spoilers for The Walking Dead ahead.
Father Gabriel opens The Walking Dead‘s «The Big Scary U» episode Sunday night with a prayer: «You’ve given me redemption,» he prays, «and it’s that redemption that makes me no longer fear death.»
Sounds like a harbinger. Is it?
There’s definitely a big reveal involving Father Gabriel at the end of the episode, but it’s more complicated and uncertain than the opening scene implies. POPSUGAR spoke to Father Gabriel himself — actor Seth Gilliam — to get some insight on the episode.
«Uh, he’s sick,» Gilliam said with a laugh when asked whether Father Gabriel was turning into a walker in that final scene. «That’s as far as I can go.»
Father Gabriel spends most of the episode with Negan, confined to a trailer that they retreat to after Rick & Co.’s attack on the Sanctuary a few episodes back. The trailer is surrounded on all sides by walkers, and Father Gabriel and Negan spend much of the episode in there trying to figure out whether the walkers or each other are the bigger danger.
«We were shooting in an actual trailer, so it was very tight quarters,» Gilliam said. «It also got exceedingly hot in there, and we were already wearing hot costumes.»
Gilliam said he enjoyed watching Jeffrey Dean Morgan turn on the bravura and become Negan: «The character is charming to begin with even though he’s a psychopath, and Jeff taps into that charm very seamlessly,» Gilliam said. «It’s a little unnerving, but the fun of acting is seeing people transform in front of your eyes. He can tell you a fart joke and 30 seconds later be threatening your life. It’s fun stuff.»
When the walkers are beginning to burrow into the trailer, Father Gabriel and Negan decide to make their escape by draping themselves in walker guts — a trick we’ve seen before on the series — to mask their scents and make them more or less invisible to the flesh-eating walkers. The walkers swarm them, there’s an in-episode cliffhanger where walkers are collapsing onto them, and it’s not entirely obvious whether Gabriel has been bitten.
Characters who have been bitten by walkers without getting killed in the process go through a flu-like sickness that can take minutes or hours before «turning» them into walkers. At the end of the episode, we see Gabriel on the floor of a cell at the Sanctuary looking like he’s just eaten a plate full of rotten shrimp.
If this is the end for Father Gabriel, we’ll almost certainly get to see him at least one more time. If he’s turning, he’s not turned yet.
Steve McQueen died at the age of 50 on Nov. 7, 1980, after suffering cardiac arrest. The Indiana native made a name for himself starring as the rugged antihero in classic 1960s films like Bullitt, The Great Escape, The Thomas Crown Affair, and The Magnificent Seven; he was dubbed «The King of Cool» thanks to his good looks — That sandy blond hair! Those piercing baby blues! — laid-back attitude, and penchant for doing his own stunts. We’re paying homage to Steve McQueen with a look back at his most memorable (and most handsome) photos over the years. Scroll through to see them all now.
War Dog: A Soldier’s Best Friend on HBO at 8:00pm ET. Special presentation. Oh hey, did you need to cry a bunch tonight? This should help you out.
Monday Night Football: Miami Dolphins at Carolina Panthers on ESPN at 8:15pm ET. Glad this isn’t happening in Miami since the Hard Rock Stadium is probably still smoking from the massive burn UM laid down on Notre Dame on Saturday night. It could have been worse, the Fighting Irish did get that one touchdown.
Man With a Plan on CBS at 8:30pm ET. Second season premiere. Matt LeBlanc as Mr. Mom returns for another triumphant season, because television shows never die on CBS. Just like their target audience.
Elizabeth Smart: Autobiography. Part #2 on A&E at 9:00pm ET.
AMC Visionaries: Robert Kirkman’s Secret History of Comics: The Truth About Wonder Woman on AMC at 10:00pm ET. Wasn’t there a whole movie about this over the summer that no one saw? Well now you can watch this instead. It features 100% fewer three-way sex scenes with Luke Evans, Rebecca Hall, and Bella Heathcote, but I’m sure there’s some upside.
We did it! We made it through the nostalgic 300th episode of Grey’s Anatomy, and we’re only a little bit of a mess. Naturally, there are more than a few callbacks to call out when it comes to this week, but we want to focus on the best of the best. At the end of the opening sequence, we’ve met the three trauma patients who represent «Izzie,» «George,» and «Cristina.» Just before we fade out of the scene, Meredith looks on, gobsmacked. Then, «Cosy in the Rocket» by Psapp fades in, and we get flashes of a familiar sight: the original opening title sequence for the show! Since the scene triggered such intense flashbacks, we thought we’d present the original intro in full.
Joe Keery has gained a huge following for his role on Stranger Things, but he’s also gained a lot attention for his luscious hair. Yes, really. When he’s not playing Steve on the hit Netflix series, the 25-year-old actor is giving us serious hair goals with his perfectly tousled ‘do. Seriously, if you haven’t thought about running your hands through his hair at least once, you’re lying to yourself. In appreciation of his locks (and his overall hotness in general), treat yourself to all the times Joe looked sexy with his hair pushed back.
Last night on Riverdale, there were big, terrible things happening to Betty. She’s become the obsession of someone claiming to the be the Black Hood, and this deep-voiced villain is steadily isolating her from her crew. By threatening to kill her in-hiding sinful sister, this creepy caller pushed Betty to brutally break off her friendship with Veronica, bust up Bughead, and go on a wild goose chase in the dark of night, when her Scoobies really could have used her. But the most awful thing in an episode—that included so much Betty drama and a violent hazing ritual—happened to queen bee Cheryl Blossom, who was nearly raped.
Veronica’s bad girl past came back to haunt her when her old flirty friend Nick St. Clair (Graham Phillips) rolled into Riverdale. He oozed with an ominous entitlement as he mocked Archie as a «hayseed yokel» and urged all his goody-goodies to dabble in jingle jangle. Later, he tried to manipulate Veronica into sex by threatening her dear old daddy’s business plans. And then after an abrupt confession that he’s been struggling with addiction, nasty Nick promptly slipped a pill into Cheryl’s ginger ale then steered her stumbling, compromised body to his hotel room’s bed.
Thankfully, even when performing with Josie and the Pussycats, Veronica had one eye on her untrustworthy friend. With Cheryl lay passed out and helpless and Nick hovering over her disrobing, Veronica and the band raced through the Five Seasons, barged into his room, and used their stylish heels to stomp his smug face into the ground. Cheryl was saved from her would-be rapist, and her friends rallied around to be sure she was okay.
Once Nick had fled, Cheryl seethed that she wants to press charges, adding, «I want Nick to pay, to suffer, to burn in hell.» Now, the first bit about actually getting the police involved is very un-Riverdale. Even the most upstanding of this town with pep’s citizens prefers handling things on their own, even when it comes to their son being molested by his music teacher. And the Blossoms don’t have a great relationship with the police ever since it was discovered Clifford killed Jason, and then ducked questioning by seemingly committing suicide in the family maple syrup barn. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking, but I began to hope that Madelaine Petsch’s intensifying delivery implied Cheryl’s not really interested in justice by trial, but rather this fire starter has something darker and more ruthless in mind.
After the season premiere, a theory arose that maybe Cheryl Blossom is actually a witch. After all, she did have a semi-psychic «gypsy-blooded» grandmother. Her forehead kiss to Fred Andrews did precede his uptick in health, and her curious (and fabulous) costume notably included a red bit of flare right where Fred was shot. But no sooner did I begin to wish for Cheryl’s rise of witchy powers in a Dark Willow revenge arc—except better because casual Cheryl is already pretty damn dark—than a new revenge twist was introduced. And this one will test my my Black Hood theory.
I’d recommend re-reading last week’s recap, but in short: I believe the person writing/calling Betty is her mom, not actually the killer of Miss Grundy and shooter of Moose. Admittedly, my theory hit a seeming snag in «Chapter Eighteen: When a Stranger Calls» as this so-called Black Hood unearthed Alice Cooper’s Southside Serpent past. Plus, Betty was on the phone for about five seconds with the caller while her mom entered the room. Still, I remain confident I’m right. Alice might have an accomplice, or perhaps she finds her daughter predictable enough that she can use a recorder with her Scream-like voice manipulator.
But this caller’s histrionics are very Alice:
Betty: What do you want?
The Black Hood: The same as you: to set Riverdale on the righteous path again. To cleanse it of sinners. Isn’t that what you want?
Betty: Not by killing people.
The Black Hood: Only the ones who deserve it. Like your sister.
Who but the Coopers know where Polly fled to avoid the self-righteous shooter? And who knows the loyalty that Betty has for her sister, so deep it outstrips even that to her friends? But why would Alice push her daughter to publish her mugshot? I suspect to throw us off her scent. Besides, Alice’s Serpent past was destined to come out now that she’s declared war on the Southside. At least this way, she controls the narrative (if we assume she is the caller claiming to be the Black Hood). Besides, Alice doesn’t seem shamed when she enters the Lodge gala all Alice from the block, complete with her gold serpent choker.
— Riverdale (@CW_Riverdale) November 9, 2017
Mädchen Amick OWNS the runway.
But back to Betty. Because of the caller’s threats against her family, she could not rush to Cheryl’s side when Archie called declaring, «something bad happened.» But when her creepy caller demands a name for his kill list, Betty has only one on her mind: Nick St. Clair. Aside from a hell of a cliffhanger, Riverdale offered a pivotal moment here, Betty becomes potentially complicit in these crimes. If Nick St. Clair is the next to be attacked by The Black Hood, that could mean I’m way off and the calls are not coming from inside the Cooper clan. But if all of a sudden Alice has a scoop about the criminal behavior of a teen associate of the Lodges? Well, then she’d be showing her hand.
Blame it on the IRL headlines of late, but I’m rooting for Nick to suffer a comeuppance far greater than high heels to his pretty boy face. And frankly, with the promise of Sabrina in the air, I’m still pulling for Cheryl to go full-on Nancy (a la The Craft) and send that posh monster through a glass window.
For those keeping track, this article contains references to three Skeet Ulrich titles. I miss you, FP!