Well, we made it to 2019. Can you believe it? However you spent the countdown, I hope you had more fun than Chrissy Teigen getting hit in the face with an umbrella (still love you, Leslie!) and Andy Cohen listening to Anderson Cooper describe his mother’s affairs with Marlon Brando.
God bless this wacky, weird world.
- United Airlines: Don’t @ me. I continue to fly United when it’s got the lowest prices and best itineraries for my destinations (hello, nonstop SFO → MCO). After the Kenya snafu, I was able to use my credit toward a holiday flight home, and the service was top-notch on both routes. Flying is often frustrating, but United’s customer service is still among the best I’ve experienced.
- Whole30: I’ve drunk the Kool-Aid. Well, not really since I can’t have sugar for the next 30 days. This clean-eating phenomenon has an annual resurgence each January, and I’ve joined the bandwagon to reset my palate and mindset. The biggest struggle so far is not reaching for sweets, but I know I need this to get back on track. Let me know if you’re interested in joining my low-key accountabili-buddy group!
- This Candle: The real winner from the four White Elephant parties I attended this holiday season? None other than a Saint Kanye candle. I enjoy most of his music and agree he’s better off without a Twitter account, but every time this catches my eye from my desk I gain a little smirk. I won’t actually be lighting it, so hopefully I don’t summon any more crazy.
- “Stronger” – Kanye West: There are many variations of “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” but I’m obviously inspired by the candle so this one wins. Through all of 2018’s ups and downs, faith and humility helped me along. It doesn’t hurt that this is one of my fave workout songs, but I also recommend when you’re having a shitty shit day and need a reminder of your superpowers.
- “Ghostbusters: Answer the Call”: I can’t remember a movie that had me laughing for nearly the entire time, but this reboot has four fantastic leading ladies, a bunch of throwback references and some awesome eye candy. That’s what I call a winning combo.
- A Visit Back East: It’s only been six months since I was last in Florida, but so much has changed in that time and I can’t wait to get there this weekend. If I spend the entire time squishing my niece’s cheeks and watching “Zootopia” with my other niece, then I think I’ll be just fine.
- “The Night Of”: I did not need another show to watch. Really, I didn’t. But a co-worker and another friend each told me how much I needed to see this one, and I caved. I’m glad I did… the premiere left me breathless from start to finish, and I can’t wait to see how the rest of this miniseries unfolds.
- “This Is What You Came For” – Calvin Harris f. Rihanna: I honestly could not care less about the drama surrounding Taylor’s songwriting contributions (or not) to this song. And I really, really didn’t want to like it, because, Rihanna. But damn, it’s an earworm. And despite my distaste for most EDM, this one really gets me pumped.
Returning host LL Cool J tucked his ears into a Kangol hat and shared a handful of awful puns to bring music superstars together tonight.
His personal stories were long-winded and confusing, though not quite on par with Jodie Foster’s now infamous Emmy speech.
The red carpet coverage was entertaining, but can we all back off from pushing the social media stuff? Hashtag: It’s overkill.
The Fashions: Some snoozes, some surprises
- Finally dressing her age, Taylor Swift’s flowing gown was stunning. And that’s the only nice thing I’ll say about her tonight.
- Jennifer Lopez clearly missed the restricted dress-code memo (and later joked about it). Honey, your cooch is loose. Oh also? You’re FORTY-THREE.
- Usually adventurous Beyonce donned a bland pantsuit, but she’s Queen B and looked gorgeous anyway. Former DC3 band mate Kelly Rowland wowed in my fave dress of the night.
- Katy Perry said she channeled Priscilla Presley, and I think The King himself would be pleased with her tribute. Va-va-voooom — but where were notoriously wacky Lady Gaga and Nicki Manaj?
- Katy’s BFF Rihanna looked far more glamorous than I’ve seen her in a while, and first-timer Carly Rae Jepsen slinked and sparkled in a gorgeous gown.
- No idea what Adele was thinking, but I’ll allow post-pregnancy brain as her excuse.
The Performances: Where actors prove their relevance for attending
- Taylor Swift opened with that awful never, ever song — in a surprising departure from her sickly sweet scenery. Still no rhythm, Tay Tay. Like, ever.
- Sir Elton John and Ed Sheeran collaborated to perform a dazzling rendition of the latter’s hit single “The A Team.”
- Neil Patrick Harris included Barney Stinson trademark “legendary” in his introduction of fun. for their sweet ballad, “Carry On.”
- Quintessential douche John Mayer stood with icon Bonnie Raitt. They announced Miranda Lambert and tour mate Dierks Bentley’s too-loud dual duets. Say that five times fast!
- Is Johnny Depp homeless now? He sure looks it. Mumford & Sons strummed and sung an electric “I Will Wait” to shift our focus away from Depp’s derelict designs.
- Beyonce and Ellen DeGeneres paired up perfectly to introduce OMG JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE. His “Suit and Tie” world premiere was simply fantastical, even better in, you guessed it: black and white. Jay Z joined in because he can and we loved him for it.
- Maroon 5 led with “Daylight” before Alicia Keys brought it home with “Girl on Fire.” Adam Levine is better speaking, not singing. Alicia’s crooning (and drumming!) saved my ears yet again.
- Rihanna and Mickey Echo belted “Stay” to a silenced crowd. Finally, a Ri Ri song I don’t hate!
- 1 Broke Girl Kat Dennings announced The Black Keys, performing alongside Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Doctor John. Hipster magic was made and they lived happily ever after.
- Kelly Clarkson paid homage to Patti Page and Bonnie Tyler with respective renditions of “The Tennessee Waltz” and “A Natural Woman.” Get it, girl.
- The much-anticipated Bob Marley tribute kicked off with Bruno Mars and his lovable backup dancers, followed by powerhouse performers Sting, Rihanna and Damian and Ziggy Marley. Shout-out to everyone singing along, especially NPH and that one white guy with his arms crossed.
- The Lumineers nailed “Ho Hey” before introducing Jack White. The former was an entertaining escape; the latter was reminiscent of old jams to The White Stripes. Even Nicole Kidman said it was awesome.
- Newcomer Hunter Hayes warbled through “Wanted,” but I’m told that’s how it should sound. Carrie Underwood appeared with “Blown Away.” Yet another example of sound techs needing to check before they wreck!
- An acoustic and bilingual “Your Song” by Latin GRAMMY winner Juanes was soft and sweet before introducing Frank Ocean for “Forrest Gump.” Lieutenant Dan, ICE CREAM?!
- LL Cool J teamed up with Travis Barker and others to close the show. “WHADDUP” felt out of place, but I always enjoy a “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” nod.
The Winners: 3.5 hours of coverage, and only 11 televised gramaphones
- Spicy songsters Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull presented Best Pop Solo Performance to Adele for her live version of “Set Fire to the Rain.” In a 15ish-second speech, she held the award awkwardly and called J. Lo her good luck charm. Adorbs all around.
- Hot-this-moment Miguel and Wiz Khalifa worked the crowd in patterned suits before presenting Best Country Solo Performance to American (Idol) sweetheart Carrie Underwood for “Blown Away.” Her heartfelt speech was also short and sweet.
- Country’s favorite couple (right, guys?) Tim McGraw and Faith Hill awarded fun. with coveted Song of the Year honor for “We Are Young,” as performed with Janelle Monae. Many thanks were given to their fellow musicians, with Jay Z shouting back “You’re welcome!” Classic HOVA.
- Proud presenters Kelly Rowland and Nas announced first-ever Best Urban Contemporary Album winner Frank Ocean for Channel Orange. You mad, Chris Brown?
- Producer of the Year Dan Auerbach was announced by Pauly Perrette and my future first husband, Dave Grohl. They then honored Auerbach’s band mates, The Black Keys, with Best Rock Performance for “Lonely Boy.”
- Kaley Cuoco shouted alongside American Idol judge Keith Urban to present first AI winner Kelly Clarkson with Best Pop Vocal Album. She rambled and ran around like a crazy person. Perfection.
- Carly Rae Jepsen and Ne-Yo presented Jay Z, Kanye West, Frank Ocean and The Dream with Best Rap Song Collaboration. Mr. West was absent, but Jay Z killed again.
- Best Country Album went to The Zac Brown Band for Uncaged, and their thanks to the fans brought roars from the crowd.
- Eyelash line creator Katy Perry joked and presented Best New Artist to fun., who should definitely change that period to an exclamation point (NPH)! Their pee jokes were great too.
- The man, the legend, the symbol, the cane: Prince! He handed over the GRAMMY for Record of the Year to Gotye and Kimbra for “Somebody That I Used to Know.” No surprise there.
- 2012’s GRAMMY cleaner-upper, Adele, presented Album of the Year to Mumford & Sons for “Babel.” Their flirtation with the crowd (and Adele) was both humble and humorous.
Before its In Memoriam segment, The GRAMMY Foundation announced a brand-new category, set to begin in 2014: The Music Educator Award.
And speaking of education, the touching Sandy Hook tribute brought a wealth of performers together — and the crowd to its feet.
Did you watch? How do you think it compared to last year’s event?
I’m blessed with a sometimes-functioning DVR, so I typically don’t have to watch commercials. Aside from the Super Bowl, I don’t see the point in sitting through them.
But baseball season is here, and I’m watching a lot of live games — succumbing to the awfulness that is advertising 101. Here are the worst five I’ve seen lately:
5. Toast to the Douchebags
Solid marketing plan, Bud Light Platinum: Repurpose an already-stale product into a fresh bottle and put Kanye — King of the Douchebags — West’s “Runaway (Toast to the Douchebags)” as the backup track. I’ll drink to that.
4. Kit Kat Krunching Kraziness
My co-workers all know how much I loathe the sound of someone eating. The guy next to me managed to crunch his way through lasagna last week, and I nearly had a stroke. Enter this commercial … and a full-on lobotomy for one.
3. Kids’ Voices Are … Cute?
Set aside the fact that Subway constantly smells like baked turds. My ovaries shrink every time I hear a child speak, and this ad makes use of it with no explanation whatsoever. Children are best when silent — I’m looking at you, Kidz Bop.
2. Sarah McLachlan Somehow Makes Puppies Depressing
I’m an animal lover and have a much better chance of becoming a crazy dog lady than I do of becoming a mother. So why is it that Miss McLachlan has to overlay slow-motion pictures of abused animals and make me cry every damn time her commersh comes on? Save it for Lilith Fair, you wench.
1. Virgin Discusses Richard Branson’s Sexcapades
There’s no rhyme or reason to ever announce that a 61-year-old man is “here to service you.” Let’s not forget that he looks like he hasn’t showered or shaved since the ’80s. Gag me with a spoon.
Instead of being a complete stormy rain cloud of negativity, here’s one of my favorite ads of all time (NSFW-ish). Thanks to copyranter for the incredible find.
Which commercials make you cringe? Any I left out — let me know in the comments section below!
I was going to post about something entirely different today, but then the 54th GRAMMY Awards happened.
LL Cool J served as host, and he opened the ceremony with a beautiful prayer to honor the late Whitney Houston. The evening’s breakdown is as follows:
The Fashions: Another awards show, another competition for weirdest outfit between …
- Lady Gaga – We barely heard about her this year, but she still managed to carry a scepter, throw a fishing net over herself and call it a style.
- Nicki Minaj – Not as outlandish as I expected, Miss Minaj only had a few ensembles, the worst of which was her cape and accompanying priest.
- Katy Perry – Does the woman ever mix up the monochrome? She was all about baby blue, and it wasn’t really working.
The Performances: Much-anticipated and mostly memorable, this year’s performers were …
- Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band opened, without so much as a crotch shot. (Anyone else still haunted by that?)
- Bruno Mars brought the funk with a shout-out to Whitney that was reminiscent of his VMA tribute to Amy.
- Chris Brown still looks and sounds like a 16-year-old, but his dance moves are getting more interesting. Full disclosure: I kept waiting for him to fall from his Aggro Crag tower.
- Reba looked timeless as she introduced Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson for “Don’t You Wanna Stay?” Their mics were uneven, and Kelly’s stylist seriously needs to be fired.
- The Foo Fighters performed “Walk” outside the Staples Center, and Dave Grohl still has my heart. ‘Nuff said.
- Rihanna and Coldplay are generally two of my least favorite popular music performers, so I can’t be unbiased here. My ears didn’t bleed, which was new.
- Hey, Ryan Seacrest: Thanks for the puns, champ. Maroon 5 began with “Little Surfer Girl” — just when I thought Adam Levine’s voice couldn’t get any worse. Foster the People’s “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” was spot-on. And for their 50th anniversary, The Beach Boys put out “Good Vibrations,” while everyone in the audience looked really, really white singing and dancing along (even future hubby John Legend).
- Stevie Wonder forever remains a baller. Speaking to Whitney, playing the harmonica, singing a little … oh, and he introduced Sir Paul McCartney’s sleepy performance of “My Valentine.”
- The Civil Wars gave a stellar acoustic opening for Taylor Swift, who still hasn’t learned to dance. I’d tell you what she sang, but they all sound the same to me.
- Always-gorgeous Kate Beckinsale partnered with LL to introduce always-offbeat Katy Perry, proving once again that her songs are all slow as shit but layered over upbeat tracks.
- Gwyneth Paltrow welcomed Adele back to the stage — and “Rolling in the Deep” never sounded so good.
- Taylor Swift looked even more dowdy introducing a medley of Glen Campbell songs (does she even know who he is?). The Band Perry, Blake Shelton and the rhinestone cowboy himself came together for a toe-tapping trifecta. Campbell got a little lost at the end, making him all the more endearing.
- Following the In Memoriam tributes, Jennifer Hudson brought the crowd to its feet with an emotional “I Will Always Love You.”
- Remembering Don Cornelius, Soul Train legend, were Chris Brown, David Guetta and Lil’ Wayne in an LSD-induced dance-off. Bonus: The Foo Fighters rocked with “Rope” and a little help from DeadMau5.
- Drake introduced Nicki Minaj for her super-confusing mash-up, which went into a short film and “The Exorcism of Roman” — both were disturbing at best.
- Luckily, Sir Paul McCartney closed out the night with “Golden Slumbers” and redeemed the stage from Nicki’s head-scratching show.
The Winners: Only nine golden gramaphones were shown, those being …
- Presenters Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt began with “A Sunday Kind of Love“ by Etta James. Best Pop Solo Performance went to Adele for “Someone Like You,” and the crowd roared for the comeback queen’s victory.
- Fergie’s acting skills are still lacking, but she and Marc Anthony presented Best Rap Performance to Kanye West and new daddy Jay Z, who were not in attendance.
- Victor Cruz salsa danced his way into presenting Best Rock Performance with that girl from “NCIS” and fellow Giant Mario Manningham. Foo won for “Walk,” and Dave Grohl’s acceptance speech was wonderful — urging musicians to CREATE, instead of FABRICATE — no complaints here.
- Common and Taraji P. Henson presented Chris Brown’s “Fame” with the GRAMMY for Best R&B Album. As per usual, he opened his mouth and sounded like an idiot.
- NPH was suited up for Adele’s Song of the Year award, thanks to played-every-minute powerhouse “Rolling in the Deep.”
- Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley awarded Best Country Album to trio Lady Antebellum for “Own the Night.”
- Carrie Underwood sparkled alongside legend Tony Bennett, singing “It Had to Be You.” They then presented — a witty and admittedly uncomfortable — Bon Iver with the GRAMMY for Best New Artist.
- Lady Antebellum returned to the stage, awarding Record of the Year to clear favorite Adele for “Rolling in the Deep.” Her speech was a bit awkward, but you gotta love the way Brits say “fank you.”
- OG Diva Diana Ross received a standing O before presenting Album of the Year to Adele for “21.” Another standing O and a very emotional speech (with a “bit a snot”) later, the curtain fell.
And special props to Betty White, who won her first GRAMMY at just 90 years old.
I asked myself no less than 10 times why I was watching the awards, but I just couldn’t help myself. From tragedies to triumphs, it was one hell of a show.
No — here’s looking at you, kid.
Between this summer’s relentless rain and suffocating humidity, my face melts off daily and I’m in a piss-poor mood. What’s a girl to do? Stick head in freezer, sit in front of fan and crank up these tunes. Presenting Wittyburg’s Summer Playlist:
- Big Pimpin’, Jay Z. Let’s get this started with a bang and ri-i-i-i-i-ide.
- Cruel Summer, Ace of Base or Bananarama. I prefer the AoB version, but whichever tickles your pickle will be just fine.
- Margaritaville, Jimmy Buffett. Classic, classic, classic. Best enjoyed on the rocks with salt.
- Summertime, Kenny Chesney. Any song that mentions bare feet, bikinis and Yoo-hoo is a winner in my book.
- All of the Lights, Kanye West. From the sick thumping beat to Kanye’s classic way with words, this is my latest iPod fave for summer workouts.
- Boys of Summer, Don Henley or The Ataris. I love both versions and will happily raise a glass to these boiz.
- Summertime, Sublime. The livin’s easy in LBC (Long Beach County), and the boys of Sublime are just too cool.
- Tonight, Tonight, Hot Chelle Rae. I can’t get enough of this upbeat hook and melody. Currently obsessed!
- Summer Girl, Jessica Andrews. Her bumper sticker reads, “Drink till he’s cute.” Hello, life motto.
- Hot in Herre, Nelly. You can put a Band-Aid on my face anytime, Cornell Haynes, Jr.
- Summer Nights, Rascal Flatts. I may or not be biased with the Daytona reference … but it’s still a great tune.
- Summer of ’69, Bryan Adams. It’s the quintessential light-rock song that you know every (fifth) word to.
- American Honey, Lady Antebellum. Sickly sweet lyrics and a heavenly voice make it a go-to.
- Summer Girls, LFO. Those Lyte Funky Ones sure know how to drop a rhyme. Bonus points if you like ruby-red slippers and a bunch of trees; the great Larry Bird, jersey 33.
- Steal My Sunshine, Len. The video was filmed in Daytona (biased again), but the beat is more infectious than Herpes Simplex I.
- Blister in the Sun, Violent Femmes. Heard at every bar all summer long, you can’t argue with this classic. Now, what the lyrics are about … well, that’s debatable.
What songs keep your summer spirits up? Am I missing any that are must-haves when temperatures rise?