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Rihanna, Chris Brown, Bruno Mars slated for 'Today' summer concerts

'American Idol' winner set for June 2

Meredith Viera is leaving and Matt Lauer may be a question mark after 2012, but NBC “Today’s” summer concert series remains a sure thing.

The morning show will kick off the Toyota Concert Series with Rihanna on May 27. Among the other artists who will be stretching their vocal chords before breakfast Kenny Chesney, Zac Brown Band, Train, Lenny Kravitz and Bruno Mars. Interestingly, all the coaches on NBC’s new hit reality singing show “The Voice” are slated to perform except for Christina Aguilera.

The schedule so far:

May 27: Rihanna
June 2: “American Idol” winner and runner-up
June 3: New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys
June 10: The Script
June 17: Kenny Chesney
June 24: Bruno Mars
July 1: Pitbull with T-Pain and Ne-Yo
July 8: Blake Shelton
July 15: Chris Brown
July 22: Cee Lo Green
July 29: Journey
Aug. 5: Maroon 5
Aug. 12: Zac Brown Band
Aug. 19: Enrique Igesias
Aug. 26: Train
Sept. 2: Lenny Kravitz

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<p>Nicki Minaj</p>

Nicki Minaj

Watch: Nicki Minaj has black-lit sex appeal in 'Super Bass'

Is she primed for the Britney tour?

"Super Bass," one of the tracks from the deluxe version of Nicki Minaj's "Pink Friday," sort of encapsulates one of the major issues with the rapper, in that she and her team are trying to establish her hard as a pop singer too. It's a problem, to these ears, but for Minaj it may be a solution -- to bring her to large-scale superstardom, fit for, say, a Britney Spears tour.

The video to the track, released today, features Harajuku Barbie in various eye-popping accoutrement including thigh-high lace-up Docs, push up bras and unbuttoned jorts, sexy bathing suits and writhing on an ice-sculpture motorcycle (cool, but ow!). Sometimes she dallies around a crew of men, sometimes she vying for them. It's a lot of the same moves you'll see in rap vids that make mere sex objects out of women, but then Minaj throws in a few power moves to playfully remind you who's boss. It's kind of a mess. The black-lit portion is pretty cool-looking, though, thanks Crazy Eyes.

Her raps are a little redundant, nothing new to see here, which is why it was bonus material and not the core crop. But then there's the Hook, that ever-required Hook that is now lodged into my summer-lusting mind. It's a fit replacement for "Moment 4 Life," thank goodness.

Nicki's Brit stint starts in June, all dates here.

[Video after the jump...]

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<p>Tina Fey in the &quot;30 Rock&quot;&nbsp;season finale.</p>

Tina Fey in the "30 Rock" season finale.

Credit: NBC

'30 Rock' - 'Respawn': How I spent my summer vacation

The fifth season comes to a bumpy end

A quick review of the "30 Rock" season finale coming up just as soon as I cancel the sitter for tonight...

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<p>Will Ferrell's final &quot;The Office&quot;&nbsp;wasn't a very good one.</p>

Will Ferrell's final "The Office" wasn't a very good one.

Credit: NBC

'The Office' - 'The Inner Circle': The rise and fall of Deangelo Vickers

Will Ferrell goes out on a very low note

A review of last night's "The Office" coming up just as soon as I summarize the plot of my series of young adult novels...

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<p>&nbsp;Steven R. McQueen and Kat Graham of 'The Vampire diaries'</p>

 Steven R. McQueen and Kat Graham of 'The Vampire diaries'

Credit: The CW

Recap: 'The Vampire Diaries' - 'The Sun Also Rises'

Klaus puts his ritual into action – and the Gilbert family pays the price

So, Klaus is the bad guy, Elijah is now a good guy, Elena has vampire blood in her system but she’s not a vampire yet, Damon seems to have a werewolf bite (and we know how THAT tends to turn out) and Elena and Jenna are at the ritual site and are looking at a whole lotta hurt. Oh, and Jules and Jenna are, it seems, the new sacrificial lambs (well, wolf and maybe-soon-to-be-vampire) for Klaus’ plan to become the ultimate hybrid werepire or vampwolf and Caroline and Matt are about to be eaten by a wolfy version of Tyler. I’m exhausted and the show hasn’t even started yet!

[Full recap of Thursday's (May 5) "Vampire Diaries" after the break...]
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<p>Kat Dennings let just a hint of her inner nerd slip out when talking about her work in 'Thor'</p>

Kat Dennings let just a hint of her inner nerd slip out when talking about her work in 'Thor'

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Kat Dennings and Jamie Alexander discuss different sides of 'Thor'

Two very different actresses both shine in the new Marvel movie

Two lovely ladies.  Two very different actors.  Two absolutely different Realms.

Kat Dennings plays Darcy in "Thor," a political science major who ends up helping out Jane Foster, played by Natalie Portman, in her research into some strange energy storms in the desert.  Jamie Alexander, on the other hand, plays Sif, an Asgardian warrior who grew up with Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and who is one of his very best friends.

The two really couldn't be less alike.  Alexander is a strikingly pretty woman up close, but there's something substantial about her, something that suggests she could easily kick your ass up between your ears if she decided to do so.  Dennings, on the other hand, has this wonderful eccentric energy about her.  I don't find her threatening in the least, but she is a wonderful comic presence.  Each of them adds something invaluable to "Thor," and we sat down with both of them to discuss their work in the big Marvel movie.

Dennings is as funny in person as she is onscreen, and she actually taught me a word as we were preparing to talk.  She complimented me on my "aubergine" tie, and while I've seen the word, I didn't know what color it referred to.  We chatted for a moment before the cameras rolled about her film "Daydream Nation," which is getting a split-second theatrical release but which has already been sent to reviewers on Blu-ray.

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<p>It's amazing how little Jodie Foster has changed over the years, and how eager she is to discuss her new film 'The Beaver'</p>

It's amazing how little Jodie Foster has changed over the years, and how eager she is to discuss her new film 'The Beaver'

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Jodie Foster discusses bringing 'The Beaver' to life

The great actor-director talks about both sides of her craft

Jodie Foster is one of those people who has been part of mainstream entertainment as long as I've been paying attention to it, and who always seemed close enough to me in age that I could use her as a sort of milestone for my own life.

As an actor, I think she can be undervalued, despite the Oscars, and I miss her when she doesn't work for a while.  As a filmmaker, she has a remarkably small resume, but I think she's proven that she likes unconventional material, and that she brings a considerable intelligence to the choices she makes.

Thankfully, "The Beaver" offers up Foster as both actor and director, scratching both itches at once, and I think it represents a real triumph for her.  Of course, thanks to our tabloid society, most of the conversations about the film seem to focus on Mel Gibson, his public meltdown, and his possible career rehab that the film might represent.  But for me, what made "The Beaver" compelling from the moment it came together was the notion of Foster behind the camera again.

Sure enough, the film is a quiet marvel of tasteful choices.  Just consider the way Foster shoots both Gibson and the puppet as characters instead of treating one as a prop.  And also consider the careful handling of depression in the movie.  Where one director could easily take this same script and play it as farce, Foster keeps it firmly grounded in real human pain.  

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<p>Amy Poehler and the &quot;Parks and Recreation gang are horrified by the actions of guest star Parker Posey.</p>

Amy Poehler and the "Parks and Recreation gang are horrified by the actions of guest star Parker Posey.

Credit: NBC

'Parks and Recreation' - 'Eagleton': A tale of two cities

Parker Posey stops by as Leslie's frenemy from the next town over

A review of tonight's "Parks and Recreation" coming up just as soon as I have a question about your inflatable saxophones...

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<p>Annie (Alison Brie)&nbsp;led the pack on the new &quot;Community&quot;&nbsp;paintball episode.</p>

Annie (Alison Brie) led the pack on the new "Community" paintball episode.

Credit: NBC

'Community' - 'A Fistful of Paintballs': The good, the bad and the Pierce

Alison Brie and guest star Josh Holloway help carry the "Modern Warfare" sequel

It's paintball time again on "Community," this time with a spaghetti Western flavor and a sprinkling of Sawyer, and I've got a review coming up just as soon as I stop trying to fluster you with my handsomeness...

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<p>Scotty McCreery of 'American Idol'</p>

Scotty McCreery of 'American Idol'

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Results - Down to the Final 4

Jennifer Lopez, Pitbull and Lady Antebellum perform before the elimination

Time for another "American Idol" Thursday (May 5) featuring two minutes of results and 58 minutes of commercials and live performances. 

Are you feeling the excitement? Full results after the break...

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<p>&nbsp;Lady Gaga's 'Judas' video</p>

 Lady Gaga's 'Judas' video

Watch: Lady Gaga's video for 'Judas'

Turns out Jesus is not her homeboy

Every girl wants the bad boy. Even Lady Gaga. If it means dumping the King of Kings for him, even better.

In her new video for “Judas,” Lady Gaga transforms the 12 disciples into a motorcycle gang—— Heaven’s Angels, maybe? Regardless, it’s a brilliant idea.  She’s Jesus’s Old Lady, but she’s got it bad for Judas, played by Norman Reedus, who gets in bar brawls, gropes women and seems adverse to washing his hair. As she sings in “Judas,” “Jesus is my virtue/Judas is the demon I cling to.” 

Her longing is so great she has to break out in dance and rock some “Thriller”-type/Michael Jackson moves. While Jesus is off healing people and performing other miracles, she’s declaring her love for Judas for all to hear. Her love has even reduced her to making that stupid little two-handed heart symbol that Taylor Swift made famous.

The video should come with a warning tag: “based very loosely on a true story,” since she takes so many liberties with the story of Jesus, Judas and Mary Magdalene, including sharing a bath with J + J and writhing orgiastically while Judas pours water on her clothed bum. Of course, if one is looking to Lady Gaga for Biblical accuracy, there’s a much bigger problem brewing there, umkay?

[More after the jump...]

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<p>I could describe her mutant power to you, but the site would instantly be 'over 21 only,' and we don't want that, now do we?</p>

I could describe her mutant power to you, but the site would instantly be 'over 21 only,' and we don't want that, now do we?

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Three new 'X-Men First Class' trailers offer close looks at characters

Beast, Mystique, Havok, and Banshee all get a moment in the sun

Isn't this the way it's supposed to work?

I think these days, people have this expectation that the moment a studio starts marketing a movie, they're going to throw all the best stuff at the audience right away in a take-no-prisoners approach to getting butts in theater seats.

Personally, I've always been a fan of the slow burn, the gradual reveal as we get closer to a movie, while still trying to hold things back, and so far, I'd say "X-Men: First Class" has been doing everything right in terms of the trailers they've cut.

Now, over at, there are three new character trailers that do a nice job of re-introducing us to characters we've met in other films as well as characters that have never appeared in an "X-Men" movie before.

My first reaction is that the film looks better with each new clip, and part of that is because we're getting a look at the way Matthew Vaughn approaches shooting this world and these people, and there's a keen intelligence to his take on things.

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