“Happy” remains atop the Billboard Hot 100 for a ninth week, making Pharrell Williams one of only six solo male artists to spend a cumulative half year at No. 1, according to Billboard.
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This week's "Ask Drew" covered some ground, which is exactly how we want to do it. You guys hit the video team with a ton of questions, and every single one got read by someone.
I was worried that after the first episode, this was going to turn into some sort of oddball game of "Truth Or Dare" each time. I should have trusted the awesome video team here, though. They selected the questions, and I saw them for the first time as we began recording the episode.
You gave us some great valuable feedback last time, and we've made some small adjustments to the format and the staging this time. No more sealed envelopes. We let things run a little longer.
Avril Lavigne has been all over the press the past two days for all the wrong reasons. Her tone-deaf video for new single, “Hello Kitty,” is already a leading contender for worst video of the year… so bad that YouTube yanked it (although it is still up on Lavigne’s website; you can watch it here while you chuck cupcakes and roll around in your underwear.
The nearly unlistenable EDM track is meant for Hello Kitty aficionados only (Lavigne, herself, being one), and the video features Lavigne awkwardly lip-syncing through the song backed by robot-like, expressionless Asian women. Didn’t she learn from Gwen Stefani’s Harajuku Girls experience that even if you mean their inclusion as an homage (perhaps in this case, to Lavigne’s massive Asian following), it’s going to backfire?
The truth is that Lavigne has been on a bit of a downward slope even before “Hello Kitty.” She’s a global superstar, having sold more than 35 million albums and having won eight Juno Awards, but she’s struggled at radio lately. Her last top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 was “Girlfriend” in 2007, which went all the way to No. 1. So far, the highest a single from current album has risen is No. 20 for first single, “Here’s To Never Growing Up.”
Here are five steps she needs to take to get her career back on track:
1. Decide if she wants to make music anymore. On her latest self-titled album, it feels like Lavigne is calling it in from some very remote location. First single, “Here’s To Never Growing Up,” which recalled her brat punk past, wasn’t a good fit for anyone over 21. “Rock n Roll” was better, but it felt empty instead of fun, and it peaked at No. 91. The best track, “Let Me Go,” a lovely ballad with her husband, Chad Kroeger, didn’t get the attention it deserved, and current single, “Hello Kitty,” is a misfire in every way. The album felt like it was made by someone with one foot out the door.
2. Stop being in her own videos: It’s not just the “Hello Kitty” video that is horrific. (And if you want to read a piece that really doesn’t pull any punches about the clip, check this one out). Lavigne has never seemed comfortable in her videos. That’s OK, some artists just aren’t. In fact, most of the time, she looks distinctly unhappy to be there and like she can’t wait for it to be over. The exception seem to be the ballads, such as the video for “Wish You Were Here,” from 2011’s “Goodbye Lullaby” album or the aforementioned “Let Me Go” clip. But some of her other clips are cringeworthy in that her reluctance is palpable.
3. Figure out who she is as an artist and what she wants to say: When she first burst on the scene in 2002, through songs like “Complicated,” “Sk8ter Boi” and “I’m With You,” we instantly understood who she was: a snot-nosed teenage kid with both attitude and heart. She was a toasty marshmallow: crusty on the outside, but soft on the inside. Over the years, she’s thrown us, veering in different directions and taking long breaks. She needs to find a producer who can take her vision and where she is now — as a married, 29-year old— and capture that instead of leaving her and us dangling and a little confused, like the last few albums have done.
4. Sell herself on the road: Lavigne hits the concert trail this summer with the Backstreet Boys. It seems like an odd pairing to me: the only thing they have in common is that they were having hits at approximately the same time. Regardless, it’s Lavigne’s opportunity to show her fans and BSB’s fans that she still wants to be in the game, that getting before an audience and performing these songs that many of them grew up on is enjoyable to her and that she lives to be on that stage and wants to keep doing it.
5. Find a way to communicate more effectively: Lavigne now has a perception problem. I interviewed her a few months ago and she was lovely and friendly. I was struck by the difference in my perception of her as a somewhat remote artist versus the warmth she displayed in the interview, especially when she talked about her fans and what they mean to her and how much she loves being on stage. Somehow, the fact that she may actually enjoy what she does has gotten lost. She needs to find a way, either through more interviews, TV appearances, some other method, to get that across.
Here's the thing: whatever the next "Star Trek" film is, it needs to be special since it will be released (most likely) during the 50th anniversary of the original series first making its television premiere.
I'm not a Trekkie who believes that the series has to be done one particular way or it's wrong, but I think it's an important overall property for the studio, and I would like to see it treated with a certain degree of respect. I am an unabashed fan of the 2009 film, and the more I've seen it, the more convinced I am that it's pretty close to a perfect way to kick off a brand-new version of a very familiar property. They nod to the original series in a nice way, they reinvent familiar characters, and they made something that had a new flavor that was all its own.
Meg Ryan will play the narrator on “How I Met Your Mother” spinoff
She’ll be the female Bob Saget on "How I Met Your Dad," playing the future Sally to Greta Gerwig's present Sally.
“Grey’s Anatomy’s” season finale will revolve around a possible terrorist attack
Check out images from the Season 10 finale. PLUS: Sandra Oh is cleaning out her trailer.
HBO is developing “Pharaoh” drama with Ridley Scott
The drama, from “Do Not Harm” creator David Schulner, will offer an alternate explanation for the ascent of the ancient Egyptian empire.
What was up with Stephen Colbert’s glasses on Letterman?
Colbert opted to go on “The Late Show” with thicker glasses.
Seth Meyers talks to “Fresh Air” about his uneven “Late Night” desk
Seth’s original desk was modified so you don’t see his feet. Says Meyers: "The thing I like about the desk is that the right-hand side of the desk that leans toward the guest is smaller than the left-hand side which leans away from it."
Sony trying to get “Community” renewed with a Troy-“Cast Away” spoof poster
Check out the latest installment in Sony’s “Six Seasons and a Movie” campaign.
VH1 cancels “Best Week Ever” for the 2nd time
The comedic commentary show was first canceled in 2010, then revived in 2012.
Bravo developing “All the Pretty Faces” with producer Jennifer Garner
The dramedy would revolve around two feuding families who come together in Half Moon Bay, CA.
Jerry Seinfeld to “Louie”: “Can you not curse?”
Watch Jerry give career advice in the latest “Louie” promo.
Jodie Foster marries her “L Word” girlfriend
Foster tied the knot with Alexandra Hedison, who played Dylan Moreland on Showtime’s “The L Word."
Comedy Central picks up "This Is Not Happening”
The comedy follows comics telling stories at a strip club called Cheetahs.
Happy Wednesday, Boys & Girls! It's time for another installment of the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
On Tuesday's Firewall & Iceberg Video Show, we reviewed "Black Box," "Bad Teacher" and talked about recent episodes of "Scandal," "Parenthood" and "Game of Thrones."
That meant that the podcast included some news -- Amazon/HBO made a pact -- and Dan's Reality Roundup, as well as discussion of the "Community" finale and season, plus our usual "Mad Men" talk, which devolved in VERY strange ways at the end.
Listener Mail: HBO/Amazon deal (00:1:10 - 00:8:50)
Listener Mail: Dan's Reality Roundup (00:08:55 - 00:21:00)
Listener Mail: Late-night homogeneity (00:21:00 - 00:25:45)
"Community" finale (00:25:50 - 00:39:05)
"Mad Men" (00:39:05 - 01:01:40)
As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. [Or you can always follow our RSS Feed or subscribe on IHeartRadio.]
And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.
Time for a new Firewall & Iceberg podcast, as Dan and I do our weekly "Mad Men" breakdown, discuss the latest season of "Community," and answer a bunch of mail, which includes an excuse for a new Dan's Reality Round-Up.
There's also now a complete archive of all the podcasts to date.
It's nearly that time of year. The hot months, when popcorn fare tear through the multiplex on the way to massive box office receipts. The result, for most, is a shortlist of must-sees throughout the next couple of months, lists typically dominated by franchise entries, anticipated sequels and high concept spectacle. But as always, there are a number of counter-programming options, if you will, gems — or potential gems — lurking beneath the radar.
Coldplay's new album, "Ghost Stories," is shaping up to be quite the stripped down, atmospheric set, given the three songs the band has unveiled.
Following "Midnight" and "Magic," the British band debuted "Oceans" on BBC 1. The song, anchored by a lonely, steady, synth note reminiscent of a submarine sonar, finds Chris Martin trying to resurrect a relationship, declaring he's "ready for the pain" as they prepare to meet in the rain. The song concludes with his singing, "You've got to find yourself alone in this world." Of course, now every song that band releases will be filtered through the prism of Martin's separation from Gwyneth Paltrow.
If there was one Cannes Competition entry you could absolutely set in stone before the announcement last week, it was Ken Loach's "Jimmy's Hall." The 77-year-old king of British social realism has been in Competition 11 times before, making him the most-tapped filmmaker in the festival's history. So there was no way Thierry Fremaux and his team weren't going to make it an even dozen with the film that Loach has stated will be his final narrative feature.
How did we ever move away from having seers around? They seem to be pretty darn handy, especially if you have people trudging into war (and that trend certainly hasn't gone away). In this exclusive clip, Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) has the ultimate reassurance for his son Bjorn about going into battle. The seer said he'll be fine!