Gosh, I had been worried that everything was going to be all nutty-twiggy-hugs-and-kisses on "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" after all those bonding exercises and Zennis games in Arizona. I mean, if Teresa and Jacqueline can actually become friends again without one of them suffering a serious head injury first, you have to think hellishly hot weather and trust exercises really can work miracles. But good news! Simmering resentments are surfacing this week, so we can expect Melissa and Teresa to go back to screaming and yelling at one another any minute. What a relief!
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Come, ye, to the great altar of dance. Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams and Chic's Nile Rodgers hold their liturgy to funk and disco in the new music video for "Lose Yourself to Dance," the new single off of "Random Access Memories." They found a collection of followers who dance as rag-tag and fevered (and, sometimes, as badly) as you do for their worship. The eras of fashion co-mingle. Rumps look the same shaking now as they did in the days of yore.
Britney Spears’ new single, “Work Bitch,” dropped 24 hours earlier than expected, leaving reviewers scrambling on Sunday night. Now that the dust has settled a little, we’ve collected a sampling of the reviews and they are definitely mixed. We’ve sorted them into Good, So-So and Bad (if not downright ugly). After a few listens, I fall in the so-so camp. Good for Spears for saluting her dance following, but it feels like she’s a guest on her own single to me (although HitFix editor Gregory Ellwood is much fonder of it than I am). Plus, Spears has tweeted about how this album is so personal, so maybe my expectations were for something totally different. However, by now, we all know not to judge an album by its first single since that’s often thrown out just to get the conversation started, and Brit Brit certainly did that.
IDOLATOR: Spears sets high, rap-informed standards for those who dare to reckon with her glittering, Vegas-informed reality: “You want a Bugatti? You want a Maserati? You better work, bitch.” (She should call Ace Hood sometime.) And as the propulsive club banger gains steam to skittering, lawn-sprinkler synths, the pop diva dares to sing, “Go call the police! Go call the governor!” with traces of a British accent. Early critics were right — that part of “Work Bitch” really is the best, albeit just one of several great quotable lines here.
DIRECTLYRICS.COM: Is "Work Bitch" the new motivational anthem of our generation?. Hell yeah! Whether you're depressed at home, on your way to work, at the gym, or letting yourself go in a club, Britney Spears' new single is the perfect the song for you. It will get you pumped up right away...The track is trance, pop, spacey, fist-pumping, massive, loud, infectious, catchy, and I could keep going with the adjectives. Britney's trademark singing, and the return of her British accent, complete the amazingness of "Work Bitch".
HOLLYWOOD LIFE: Brit is back sounding amazing with her new hit song, ‘Work B**ch,’ and we are so obsessed already. Honestly, we haven’t loved a song of hers this much since ‘Circus!’ Nice come back, girl!It is safe to say that this isn’t the Britney we’re used to hearing. Coming in fierce with a dance club beat that almost feels like an alarm, Britney does more commanding than singing, as she repeatedly tells someone that they “better work, bi**h.” It’s sort of like a more adult way of saying, “Come and get it.”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY:The will.i.am-produced song — which clocks in at a robust (for Britney) four-plus minutes — is tailor-made for the dance floor. Spears lets listeners know that, whatever they want in life, whether it be a Bugatti, a Maserati, or a hot body: “You better work, bitch.”
ROLLING STONE: The pounding dance track, which features mostly spoken lyrics, serves as a testament to the fine things a strong work ethic can bring about. "You want a hot body, you want a Bugatti, you want a Maserati?" Spears asks. "You better work, bitch."
POP JUSTICE: It recalls the attitude of ‘Blackout’, but in a song crafted for a post-EDM pop landscape. This record wouldn’t sound like it does if EDM hadn’t happened, but at the same time it’s a Britney track first and foremost. The most exciting bit is the middle eight which goes all epic and spacey with some proper hands-in-the-lasers lyrics.
THE GUARDIAN: As with last year's collaboration with will.i.am, "Scream & Shout," "Work Bitch" feels slightly like a cluster of phrases and bits of melody hunting for a song to attach themselves to, although the overall result is much more appealing. Over a thundering electronic riff and a relentless jackhammer beat, Britney lists various things you'll need to work quite hard in order to achieve: "You wanna live fancy, live in a big mansion, party in France? You better work bitch". It's a sweary motivational anthem from an over-zealous life coach basically, with Britney challenging the listener to get the law involved ("go call the po-lice, go call the guv-a-nah"), but aware that they probably won't be able to help ("I am the guv-a-nah"). It's a pretty relentless onslaught that reflects pop's current love for chucking in everything up to and including the kitchen sink, but there's enough of Britney's personality – the myriad vocal tics, the ridiculous middle-eight breakdown bit – to make sure she hasn't been fully obliterated by will.i.am's production sledgehammer.
UNDER THE GUN: The pop icon who kickstarted the a new wave of solo female acts at the end of the 1990s is doing whatever she can to keep her career alive with a trendy, albeit completely forgettable single that leaves a lot to be desired.Hitting the net Sunday (9/15), the long-awaited return of the girl who did it again is nothing more than a derivative, EDM-eccentric track that carries almost no unique qualities whatsoever when stacked against everything at radio right now. It’s slick, dance floor ready music meant for clubs that will sell to diehard fans and people trying to keep their workout playlists current while preparing to battle winter weight gain.
SLANT: Co-written and produced by will.i.am, the song finds the singer vamping in the same faux-continental accent she dubiously employed on the pair's recent Top 5 hit "Scream & Shout"—or is it just a ghastly attempt at British? "Work Bitch" follows the current EDM model of painfully aggressive, treble-heavy beats, harsh synths, and tuneless hooks, but makes even "Scream & Shout" sound like a melodic feast. At its best, that song plays like an homage to dance music's recent past, with nods to Underworld's "Born Slippy" and even Spears's own "Gimme More"; "Work Bitch," on the other hand, seems to aspire to classic bitch-queen anthems, but Spears's repeated instructions to "work, work, work" (to reach, if the cover art is any indication, the desired Nomi Malone levels of success) feel mechanical and forced.
Every year, during the busy submissions stage for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, France's selection is among the most curiously anticipated -- if only because they annually have such a surfeit of plausible contenders. This year, there was particular intrigue surrounding their choice -- since the film that would otherwise have been the likeliest pick, Abdellatif Kechiche's Palme d'Or winner "Blue is the Warmest Color," was ineligible.
"SNL" makes it official: 6 new cast members
Beck Bennett, John Milhiser, Kyle Mooney, Mike O'Brien, Noel Wells and Brooks Wheelan will be featured players this fall.
"Breaking Bad" delivered its greatest episode with "Ozymandias"
In last night's episode, says Tim Goodman, "it was like every moment contained a line or an action that you couldn’t believe was playing out-- partly because we’ve all been waiting for them to unfold, pretty much since the show began but most definitely, and with authority, in this final season. This, with two episodes to go, felt like the biggest reveal in all five seasons -- the writers flipping almost all the cards over, playing their hands, ending the suspense (and yet, most people were still probably barely breathing or stuck to the ceiling)." PLUS: "Conan" welcomes "Breaking Bad" creator and cast the day after Emmys, "Ozymandias" director Rian Johnson tried to avoid learning the ending, Were those Walt's pants?, this episode yanked our hearts into our throats, one of the most emotionally destructive yet dramatically satisfying hours of TV, "Breaking Bad" props sell out for a New Mexico charity, how Jesse's scene was shot, it was a parade of your worst nightmares, Was that Heisenberg or Walter White?, and this one of the best yet most sickening episodes of this great show.
Tristan Wilds changes his name to "Mack Wilds"
The "90210" and "The Wire" alum is rebranding himself ahead of the release of his new album. "Mack has a whole stronger meaning," he says. "It's a name that my grandmother gave me."
Elisabeth Hasselbeck makes her "Fox & Friends" debut
Elisabeth was quickly greeted by "View" friend Sherri Shepherd, who made a surprise appearance this morning.
Billie Piper joins Showtime's "Penny Dreadful"
The former "Doctor Who" star joins a Victorian drama with a star-studded cast that includes Josh Hartnett, Eva Green and Timothy Dalton.
Ron Swanson takes on London
Watch another preview of "Parks and Rec" in England.
Anti-NBC stickers surface in Hollywood
Who's responsible for denigrating the Peacock?
Paula Deen cries "tears of joy" at her first post-scandal public appearance
The former Food Network star received a standing ovation at the Metro Cooking & Entertaining show in Houston on Saturday.
"Rizzoli & Isles" boss exits
Showrunner Janet Tamaro, who developed the series, is leaving after four seasons.
"The Office" supplies are for sale on eBay
Iconic props from the NBC comedy are being auctioned off.
Emmy winner Bob Newhart plans "Big Bang" return
"There's a script I'll be doing in October, and I'm pretty sure I play Professor Proton in that," Newhart said last night after winning his first-ever Emmy.
"House of Cards" wins its first two Emmys
The Netflix drama beat out its TV counterparts in two Creative Arts Emmy categories.
Netflix uses piracy to pick which programs to buy
For instance, Netflix found that Dutch viewers liked to illegally download "Prison Break." So the Fox series was added to the Dutch Netflix lineup.
"The Newsroom" ends Season 2 with a "bummer" of a finale
Aaron Sorkin almost redeemed himself this season, until that disaster of a finale. PLUS: Comparing election night reality vs. "The Newsroom," well, that was godawful, and it sort of felt like a series finale.
We don’t know if Miley Cyrus couldn’t stand for the spotlight to shift off of her for a minute or if she decided to smartly take advantage of the wave of publicity Britney Spears received after new single, “Work Bitch,” leaked yesterday, but Cyrus struck while the Spears iron was hot. On Sunday night, she tweeted the cover for their duet, “SMS (Bangerz),” which is also the title track of Cyrus’s new album, out Oct. 4.
Here are five observations from the cover:
1. Both Spears and Cyrus are capable of posing with clothes on. Yes, Spears in in a mini dress and Cyrus is in a very short trench coat, but otherwise, both ladies are completely covered up... so much so, they could almost wear these outfits to church without melting the minute they approached the altar...as long as they didn't bend over.
2. Miley can pose without sticking out her tongue, though she clearly has to be doing something else with her mouth: in this case, pensively biting a nail
3. Miley may or may not be shooting us the bird. Check out the position of her middle finger on her left hand by he mouth. If so, it’s the subtlest gesture she’s ever made.
4. On the other hand, literally, Spears seems to be missing digits or is the victim of some bad photo shopping. She and Cyrus have both formed a circle with their thumb and index fingers, with Cyrus’s by her mouth and Spears forming a Junior Birdman monocle over her right eye, but try to find Spears’ other fingers on right hand other than her pinky (and possibly her fourth finger). It will start to weird you out if you look for too long.
5. The “SMS (Bangerz)” cover follows the same ‘Miami Vice”/‘80s pastel vibe of the album cover, and, in fact, features Cyrus in the same pose (just flipped) and with the same trees in the background. She’s working a theme or they really didn’t want to do different photo shoots.
What do you think of the "SMS (Bangerz)" cover?
We at Hitfix are big fans of singer/songwriter Eric Hutchinson. In fact, his 2012 top 10 hit, “Watching You Watch Him,” was our No. 5 single of 2012.
So we’re very excited to announce that Hutchinson is releasing a new live album, “Almost Solo In NYC,” today and, even better, it is free to the first 1 million fans. Take that Jay Z and Samsung.
Fans get a free download of "Almost Solo in NYC" by sharing it. Go to www.erichutchinson.com and click on the Pay with a Tweet button to unlock the free download.
“I couldn't sleep after the first show on The Almost Solo Tour, it was such a buzz doing the songs stripped and just hanging out with the audience. I wanted to do this forever. Just the audience and the music. So, I recorded a live album on the tour,” says Hutchinson. “I love the idea of giving this album away for free as a thank you to all the amazing people who have supported me through the years.”
Hutchinson recorded “Almost Solo in NYC” last fall at City Winery during his sold-out tour of intimate venues. Accompanied only by longtime band member/multi-instrumentalist Elliott Blaufuss, Hutchinson ran through a number of his most beloved tunes from his first two albums, including “Rock & Roll, “OK, It’s Alright With Me,” and, of course, “Watching You Watch Him,” as well as a new song, “Shine On Me,’ and a cover of Police’s “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic.”
The album also includes Hutchinson’s now famous between-song patter, including his tale of selling out to Red Lobster, “Watching You Eat Shrimp,” and his ode to annoying his New York neighbors as he wrote songs, “I’m A Foot Stomper.”
Hitfix is exclusively premiering the adorable and funny animated video for “Amsterdam/Shine On Me,” during which Hutchinson describes exactly what happened to him when he partook of a certain delight in the Dutch city, before launching into the new song.
To herald the release of “Almost Solo in NYC,” Hutchinson will play two gigs: Oct 3 at Nashville’s 3rd and Lindsley, and Oct. 9 at New York’s Rockwood Music Hall.
Almost Solo In New York City - Track Listing
1) Ok, It's Alright With Me
2) I'm a Foot Stomper *
3) Watching You Watch Him
4) Watching You Eat Shrimp *
5) Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
6) Emo in College *
7) Breakdown More
8) Outside Villanova
9) Amsterdam *
10) Shine On Me
11) Rock & Roll
*Spoken word tracks
At this time of year, it's important to remind you that writing advance reviews of TV shows is often as much fortune-telling as science. We are usually asked to analyze the merits of a new series based on a single episode, maybe two if we're lucky, for all the new network shows. (Cable channels work on schedules that often have entire seasons in the can before they air; I have access to six episodes of Showtime's upcoming, very promising, "Masters of Sex," for instance.) So we can look at the pilot episode and say what works and what doesn't, but there's also a lot of mysticism and guesswork involved: Will the writers sidestep the five obvious pitfalls laid out for them? Can this actor do more with their character than they show here? Is there any story to tell beyond this episode, or is it all downhill from here?
All of which is a roundabout way of saying that FOX's police comedy "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" is one of my favorite new shows of the fall as much for what's promised down the road as for what's actually delivered in the episode you can see tomorrow night at 8:30. As comedy pilots go, it's not an instant classic — though those are far more rare in comedy than drama(*) — but there are enough promising signs, both on-screen and off, to suggest it can get there in time.
Well, it's safe to say we can already strike one of this year's princess biopics from the list of Oscar contenders, with Oliver Hirschbiegel's "Diana," starring Naomi Watts, having been unveiled the week before last to across-the-board critical derision in the UK, where it opens on Friday. I have yet to see it myself, but have been assured even by more temperate colleagues that its chances of recovery are hovering around nil. I guess we now know why it skipped Toronto.
But can Watts' compatriot (and best pal) Nicole Kidman fare any better with her take on an iconic 20th-century royal?
The Toronto Film Festival always showers Oscar buzz on a critical and audience favorite, but I can't remember the last time a film was quite so aggressively elevated to frontrunner status as "12 Years a Slave" -- which had many rational critics and pundits going so far as to declare the Best Picture race over before it's begun. So just wait a minute, says Mark Harris: "It's a long road to the Oscars, and even if '12 Years a Slave' ends up crossing the finish line first, no movie makes it from September to February without hitting some speed bumps — other movies, backlash, op-ed page harrumphing, hype fatigue." "Argo" stealthily weathered those obstacles after emerging as the ordained frontrunner at Toronto last year; will "Slave" do the same? [Grantland]
Bob Newhart wins his 1st Emmy -- 51 years after his 1st nomination
A guest spot on "The Big Bang Theory" was responsible for Newhart's first Emmy Award. Newhart has been nominated for seven Emmys, the first for the original "The Bob Newhart Show" in 1962. PLUS: Read the complete list of Creative Arts Emmy winners, including Tim Gunn, Heidi Klum, Dan Bucatinsky, Melissa Leo and Carrie Preston.