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<p>Lady Gaga</p>

Lady Gaga

Credit: NBC

Why I'm not buying Lady Gaga's apology

Here's what's really bothering me about her blame game

Was Lady Gaga right to apologize to her fans? Yes, but maybe she didn’t apologize for the right thing. I’ve been thinking about that since I posted yesterday about the missive Momma Monster wrote to her fans on LittleMonster.com.

You can read the message in its entirety here, but she started by blaming others for the delay in her “Do What U Want” video with R. Kelly and then spreads to broader blame for “Artpop’s” disappointing performance so far. She ended by apologizing for how “Artpop” has rolled out and asked for a second chance from her fans as she plans a relaunch.

Lady Gaga is an artist I like and that I admire. The fact that she took this extraordinary measure on her fan site isn’t that surprising. Lady Gaga and her most ardent fans have a very close, co-dependent relationship. She seems almost to not exist outside of their sight; she is a reflection of their adoration for her. Part of that is because she is an artist who has come to prominence in the age of social media and can communicate directly with her fans, but it is also due to canny promotion on her part to make her fans feel like they are family members.


Here’s are a few things that struck me as off base about the apology:


*How did she not realize the train had derailed until now? The first half of the message she is passing the buck to those she feel betrayed her. This is an artist who from her first burst of fame has made it clear that she is a proud control freak; she oversees everything and nothing happens without her approval.  There are plenty of artists who were swindled by their team, but they didn't keep their eye on the ball like Lady Gaga claims she does. Artists like Lady Gaga and Garth Brooks have teams around them that help facilitate the artist's vision and enhance it because these artists know 100% what they want and they have their fingerprints on every decision made about their career. Yes, she says she, understandably, focused on recovering from her hip surgery last February, but when interviewed previously about her recovery, she talked about what a creative time it was for her, not the “hands-off the wheel” she describes  in the apology. “I had six months to beef up my brain and my body. I got to put a giant white or black sheet of paint over my whole canvas and I got to review ‘Artpop’ again,” she told USA Today last August after the November release of “Artpop” was announced.” “I was given the time to really be creative because it's a gazing process, it really is. I have to gaze into the work for long periods of time for it to be good.”

*How was her label, as she claims, unaware of the issues with the “Do What U Want” video and other problems? Unless she’s working under something far different from the normal arrangement, Interscope is bankrolling such things as radio promotion, marketing, and music videos (in the traditional structure, the label fronts the money and then recoups a percentage from album sales). Even if she is now simply licensing her music and videos to the label and paying for everything upfront herself, the label is still a resource for her and her decision to exclude them was a mistake.

*Finally, here’s what’s really bothering me. Maybe the problem with “Artpop” isn’t everything that came after its release or the fault of her now ex-team. Maybe it’s something that Lady Gaga doesn’t dare mention in her apology: Maybe it’s the music and the fact that the album just isn’t good enough.  That seems to be something she can't conceive of as an issue as spreads the blame around to others and then promises to right her ship.

The album received mixed reviews and nothing that Lady Gaga has done to promote it, including a network special on Thanksgiving night with the Muppets, has done much to move the needle (when the Muppets can't help you, then you really are in trouble). “Applause” did well, but “Do What U Want” has stalled at No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100. Maybe flashing her backside on the cover art wasn’t the best message.

The album, to many reviewers, including me, felt too insular and delivered from the rarified air of fame, and, therefore, much less relatable that her previous efforts. Only so many of us can imagine—or care— what hanging with Donatella Versace is like. There are some strong songs on the album, especially “Dope” and “Gypsy,” that could lift the album back up, so, hopefully, they can provide a strong second half.

It’s nice that Lady Gaga apologized and I don’t doubt her sincerity and the depth of her anguish over what has happened to her latest labor of love, but maybe when she’s looking at who to blame, she needs to look in the mirror.

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<p>A scene from &quot;Philomena.&quot;</p>

A scene from "Philomena."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Predicting tomorrow's BAFTA nominations

'12 Years a Slave' will dominate, but what about 'Philomena?'

Bright and early tomorrow morning -- or just as you're about to go to bed, depending on where you are -- the British Academy of Film & Television Arts will announce their annual film nominations. And predicting those has got slightly less easy in the last two years, since BAFTA brass revised their voting system and ditched those telltale pre-nomination longlists. 

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'Honey Boo Boo' family injured in car accident


"Honey Boo Boo" family injured in car accident
According to TMZ, a truck crashed into the family's car, leaving Honey Boo with a headache, Mama June with back injuries, Sugar Bear with a contusion on his back and Pumpkin with chest bruises.


NBC hires Nancy Kerrigan for Sochi Winter Olympics coverage
It was 20 years ago this week that the former figure skater was attacked.


Mindy Kaling: Elle cover made me feel "glamorous & cool"
Further responding to the controversy over her cover, Kaling says, "if anyone wants to see more of my body, go on thirteen dates with me."


"Twin Peaks" co-creator debunks rumor that new footage is being filmed

Mark Frost calls a casting call for a "Twin Peaks" promo "another strange baseless rumor."

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<p>Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson in &quot;True Detective.&quot;</p>

Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson in "True Detective."

Credit: HBO

'True Detective' creator on his gripping new HBO series

How did a novelist with only two screen credits get to create and run such an ambitious series?
Before creating the new HBO mystery series “True Detective,” Nic Pizzolatto’s only produced scripts were a pair of episodes from “The Killing” season 1. That is not a resume that will generally lead to a writer being given control of an expensive, ambitious series for pay cable’s gold standard, featuring a pair of movie stars in Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, in which he would write all eight episodes himself.
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<p>Harry Belafonte at the New York Mayor Inauguration on January 1.</p>

Harry Belafonte at the New York Mayor Inauguration on January 1.

Credit: AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

Harry Belafonte pays tribute to Steve McQueen's 'genius' at NYFCC Awards

86-year-old legend delivered a heartfelt speech praising '12 Years a Slave'

Last night's New York Film Critics' Circle awards dinner have already made industry headlines for the wrong reasons -- Armond White's regrettable outburst was already covered in this morning's roundup -- which has thus far obscured talk of the awards themselves. Which is doubly unfortunate, since it would appear that there were a number of valuable takeaways from that side of the evening -- and none more so than Harry Belafonte's eloquent address to Steve McQueen.

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Stan Lee to appear on 'Marvels Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'


Stan Lee to appear on "Marvels Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."
Lee is promising a "big role" in an upcoming episode.


Jimmy Fallon recalls his failed movie career, and Lorne Michaels giving him dating advice

Vanity Fair cover boy Fallon opens up about how Lorne Michaels saved him from his failed drunken movie star L.A. phase by offering him the "Late Night" hosting job.


Fire causes $100,000 worth of damage to Alex O'Loughlin's Hawaii home

"We heard a boom and his garage door blew off," a neighbor of the "Hawaii Five-0" star says of the fire, which was contained within 20 minutes.


Watch Ringo Starr's "Powerpuff Girls" cameo
He plays Fibonacci Sequins.


Louis CK releasing his 1998 film featuring cameos from Steve Carell, Conan, Amy Poehler, JB Smoove

The comedian told Jay Leno he raised money to make the black and white film with the help of pals Chris Rock, Jon Stewart and Denis Leary.


"MythBusters" getting a "Dangerous Toys" special
In a Discovery special, Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage will take a "kids' fort-battle game and blows it up with adult-sized concoctions."


"Bachelor" contestant shows up with a fake baby bump

"I know you have a daughter, and I know you want more children, and I was thinking maybe adding to it!" she told Juan Pablo. PLUS: A bachelorette went to 2nd base for the first time.


"Duck Dynasty" controversy has had no impact on advertisers
In fact, the price of advertising on the A&E show is going up.

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<p>Bradley&nbsp;Cooper&nbsp;(left)&nbsp;and David&nbsp;O. Russell on the set of &quot;American Hustle&quot;</p>

Bradley Cooper (left) and David O. Russell on the set of "American Hustle"

Credit: Sony Pictures

Alfonso Cuarón, David O. Russell, Martin Scorsese earn DGA nominations

The Coen brothers and Spike Jonze miss in the significant precursor

The nominees for the 66th annual Directors Guild of America (DGA) Awards were revealed today, narrowing the Oscar race considerably as the industry precursor has long been an indicator for which way the Academy might fall. So those who missed the cut this morning — the Coen brothers, Spike Jonze, Alexander Payne — will be facing a steep uphill climb after today.

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'The Bachelor' hits a 3-year high with Juan Pablo


"The Bachelor" hits a 3-year high with Juan Pablo
The premiere of Juan Pablo's season was up 17% over last year.


Elle defends controversial cover of Mindy Kaling
Of the four covers for the Women in TV issue, only Mindy Kaling is shown in close-up, with her body excluded, and in black and white. "Mindy looks sexy, beautiful and chic," says the magazine. PLUS: Kaling responds to "ya pervs."


Ryan Seacrest: "Not a chance" will I ever quit "American Idol"
"I'm so used to getting up each year and doing that show," he says on "Today."


"Key & Peele's" Keegan-Michael Key is coming to "The Middle"
He'll guest as a charismatic preacher.


Peter Capaldi begins filming his "Doctor Who" stint
Check him out on set wearing Matt Smith's "Who" outfit. PLUS: Capaldi dislocated his thumb while filming BBC's "The Musketeers."


Alex Trebek raps a "Jeopardy!" category
Last night's episode featured a category of famous rap lyrics.


Sarah Michelle Gellar is "disappointed" on "Sesame Street"
Watch explain "disappointed" with Elmo.


Watch the "Parks and Rec" celebrate 100 episodes

Cast members talk about their favorite moments in a new promo. PLUS: Aubrey Plaza takes up the sax in new music video.

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<p>It's The Bachelor!</p>

It's The Bachelor!

Credit: ABC

TV Ratings: 'Bachelor' premiere leads ABC Monday while 'Castle' slips

Also, 'Almost Human' is steady and 'Hostages' does 'Hostages' numbers
Fast National ratings for Monday, January 6, 2014.
 
With the BCS Championship no doubt siphoning a large audience over to ESPN, ABC's counter-programming of the "Bachelor" premiere proved successful and drew Monday's biggest audiences in all key measures. 
 
While "The Bachelor" may have dominated the night and improved 17 percent over last January's premiere, it proved a less-than-"Dancing" lead-in for "Castle," which had some of its lowest numbers of the season despite the lack of a new "Blacklist" as competition.
 
There was still enough available audience for "Almost Human" to do solid numbers for FOX, while the two-hour "Hostages" finale did roughly the same low-but-consistent numbers "Hostages" did all fall.
 
On to the ratings...
 
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<p>Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson in &quot;True Detective.&quot;</p>

Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson in "True Detective."

Credit: HBO

Review: McConaughey & Harrelson amaze in HBO's 'True Detective'

New anthology mystery series gets outstanding use out of its two visitors from the movies
“I have literally no interest in serial killers,” novelist Nic Pizzolatto told me while discussing “True Detective,” the new HBO drama series he created that debuts Sunday night at 9.
 
This seems a funny thing to say, given that “True Detective” is the story of two Louisiana cops, played by Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, investigating a serial killer case that spans 17 years. Even with “Dexter” gone, TV is awash in serial killer melodrama — some of it great, like NBC’s “Hannibal,” some of it stupid and self-congratulatory like FOX’s “The Following” — and “True Detective” lets McConaughey stand around grisly crime scenes tossing out phrases like "meta psychotic" and "paraphilic love map,” sounding very much like other fictional profilers.
 
But the more you watch “True Detective” — or, rather, the longer you remain under its hypnotic spell — the easier it is to understand Pizzolatto’s point. This is a show about duality and hidden identities (the opening title sequence features an array of ordinary images laid over other much darker ones), and one that's ultimately much, much less interested in the serial killer than it is in the two men chasing him.
 
And those men, as written by Pizzolatto and played by McConaughey and Harrelson, are riveting.
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<p>Steve McQueen at the New York Film Critics' Circle Awards.</p>

Steve McQueen at the New York Film Critics' Circle Awards.

Credit: AP Photo/Evan Agostini

Roundup: Armond White jeers Steve McQueen at NYFCC Awards

Also: Liza Minnelli's Oscar promise to McConaughey

Another year, another Armond White controversy. The famously against-the-grain critic routinely gets people's backs up with his reviews, but he's also taken in recent years to making a nuisance of himself at the New York Film Critics' Circle Awards, denigrating his colleagues' choices in the presence of the winners themselves. Last night saw his ugliest display yet, as he disrupted Best Director winner Steve McQueen's speech by calling him "an embarrassing doorman and garbage man." McQueen classily ignored him; the NYFCC, of which White is a former chair, should not do the same. A critic's opinions are his to freely express in print; personal public abuse is another matter. [Variety]

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"The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

 "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

Credit: Bravo

'Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' recap: Can Brandi change?

Yolanda and Lisa defend Brandi, but should they?

While lots of things happen in this episode (Jamie Lee Curtis for the win!), all of them are overshadowed by the never-ending battle between Brandi and Joyce. After the pathetic ending to Lisa's dinner party debacle, I think the win is pretty clearly in Joyce's column. She may be many things, but I don't think Joyce is one to play the victim card, at least not the way Brandi did. 

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