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Sam Smith

Who are the leading Grammy contenders for Best New Artist?

Eligibility closes the end of September

The Grammy Awards may not be until next February, but the eligibility period is nearing a close. As always, Best New Artist is one of the most coveted and hotly contended races. To be eligible, artists must have released an album between Oct. 1, 2013 and Sept. 30, 2014, but not have released more than three albums in their career. Additionally, this should be the year where they broke through in a significant way.

Some years, it’s easy to come up with way more than five strong candidates, but not this year. There have been a lot of new artists who have made an impression, but not that many that have been more than one-hit wonders so far… Nominations will be announced in December.

Our predictions for leading contenders for Best New Artist:

Sam Smith: Word of a new British crooner started to spread several months ago, then we heard him on Disclosure’s “Latch.” Then he appeared on “Saturday Night Live” and it was clear that there was a new star in the making via songs like “Stay With Me” and “I’m Not The Only One.” He’s the closest there is to a shoo-in this year for a best new artist nomination.

Iggy Azalea: Between “Fancy,” “Black Widow,” and her feature on Ariana Grande’s “Problem,” she’s on pop radio pretty much 24/7. She’s a very likely nominee, but she’s not a sure thing given that some folks still have a little trouble wrapping their head around an Australian rapper who sounds like she’s from Atlanta.

Five Seconds of Summer: Their mentors One Direction never received a best new artist nomination (in one of the more shocking omissions in recent years), so it’s possible that these lads won’t either since the Grammys run hot and cold on recognizing boy bands.

Ariana Grande: She would seem to be a sure bet, but you could argue that she should have been nominated when her first album, “Yours Truly,” hit No. 1 last year, as that would mark her breakthrough.

Disclosure: UK electronic duo, the Lawrence Brothers, were nominated for best dance/electronica album for the 2014 Grammy Awards. However, a rule change a few years ago means acts that have been nominated, but have not won a Grammy, can still be eligible for best new artist. This is definitely the year the group broke out into the mainstream, so their nomination is very possible.

MAGIC!: So far, they’re a one trick pony—although “Rude” was a pretty big trick. They will be aided by the fact that lead singer, Nasri, has written hits for other artists, so that gives him more credibility.

Charli XCX: After her success as featured artist on Icona Pop’s “I Love It,” and Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy,” the British singer is breaking out on her own with “Boom Clap,” her first top 10 hit as a solo artist.

YG: “My Krazy Life,” YG’s debut solo album, was very well received by critics and fans and spawned a number of hits, including  “Who You Love,” featuring Drake.

Fifth Harmony: Reality show contestants, if they aren’t named Kelly or Carrie or Fantasia, seldom get nominated for Grammys, but in a relatively light year, this girl group from The X Factor may stand a chance to round out the field.

Schoolboy Q: Quincey Matthew Hanley, aka Schoolboy Q,  took his Interscope debut to the top in February. The question here will be if his previous mix tapes are counted as previous releases. If so, he may not be eligible.

Other contenders:

Dan + Shay
Nico & Vinz
A Great Big World
Rita Ora
Tove Lo

Who deserves a nomination?

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<p>Red of &quot;Utopia&quot;</p>

Red of "Utopia"

Credit: FOX

TV Ratings: 'Talent' leads NBC while 'Utopia' becomes Dystopia for FOX Tuesday

CBS' 'Fashion Rocks' special tanks

Fast National ratings for Tuesday, September 9, 2014.

"America's Got Talent" led NBC to easy Tuesday wins in all measures, with "Big Brother" performing well in its new temporary time period.

Tuesday's big story, though, was probably the dismal premiere for FOX's "Utopia," which got a reasonable sampling after football on Sunday night, but plummeted to essentially untenable levels in its first airing in what was supposed to be its home for an entire year.

Fortunately, FOX has nearly two weeks to reconceive its lineup.

Also doing dismal numbers on Tuesday was CBS' two-hour "Fashion Rocks" special, though fortunately CBS doesn't need to worry about airing this one again.

On to the numbers...

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Chris Pratt will host 'SNL's' season premiere, followed by 'SNL' alum Sarah Silverman
Credit: NBC

Chris Pratt will host 'SNL's' season premiere, followed by 'SNL' alum Sarah Silverman

Chris Pratt will host "SNL's" season premiere, followed by "SNL" alum Sarah Silverman
Ariana Grande will serve as the first musical guest of Season 40. Maroon 5 will join Silverman, who served as a "Saturday Night Live" cast member in the 1993-94 season.

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Nicki MInaj

Nicki Minaj announces release date for 'The Pinkprint'; Ellen takes on 'Anaconda'

Can the talk show host move it like Minaj?

Nicki Minaj will unleash her third studio album, “The Pinkprint,” on Nov. 24.

The “Anaconda” rapper announced the release date for the album, which is a play on Jay Z’s “The Blueprint” album title, via Twitter Tuesday night.

The album release comes 2 1/2 years after Minaj’s last full studio album, 2012’s “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded.”

Minaj is all over the Billboard Hot 100 right now with “The Pinkprint’s” second single,“Anaconda,” at No. 3 and Jessie J’s “Bang Bang,” featuring Minaj and Ariana Grande, at No. 4.  She's also on Usher's new single, "She Came To Give It To You."  "The Pinkprint's" first single, “Pills n Potions,” peaked at No. 20 on Billboard’s Hot 100.

Minaj joins a list of other superstars releasing albums in the fourth quarter, including Taylor Swift on Oct. 27;  Foo Fighters, Nov. 11; One Direction Nov. 17, and Garth Brooks the week after (possibly also on Nov. 24).

And, in case you missed it, Ellen Degeneres provided her booty-poppin' version of "Anaconda" on her talk show on Tuesday (9). Minaj appears on the show today.




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Iggy Azalea

Iggy Azalea and Demi Lovato to headline first Vevo Certified SuperFanFest

Here's how you can see if if you can't be there

Iggy Azalea and Demi Lovato will headline Vevo’s inaugural Certified SuperFanFest concert, slated for Oct. 8 at Santa Monica, Calif.’s Barker Hangar.

Just as YouTube started its own awards ceremony last year, video streaming outlet Vevo, is following with its own live event.

An artist is “certified” on Vevo when his or her music videos reach 100 million views on the platform’s online, TV and mobile apps. Both Azalea and Lovato have attained that level for a combined five times and will be presented their awards by selected fans at the concert. Among videos certified by Lovato are “Heart Attack,” “Let It Go,” “Give Your Heart A Break” and “Skyscraper.” For Azalea, her 100 million-viewed vids include “Fancy” and Ariana Grande’s “Problem,” on which she is featured.

Fans can go to here to register to win tickets.

Since Vevo began its Certified Awards, more than 325 by more than 100 artists have reached the benchmark.

The concert will begin airing on Vevo on Oct. 16.

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Alex Trebek’s mustache is making a 'Jeopardy!' comeback
Credit: Sony TV

Alex Trebek’s mustache is making a 'Jeopardy!' comeback

Alex Trebek’s mustache is making a “Jeopardy!” comeback
Trebek’s distinctive mustache hasn’t been seen since 2001. It’ll return for the new season kicking off on Monday.

Report: A doctor in Joan Rivers’ entourage performed a surprise biopsy on her
The NY Daily News reports that such a procedure shouldn’t have been performed outside a hospital. The biopsy, a source tells the Daily News, "caused Rivers' vocal chords to seize — a condition doctors call a laryngospasm — cutting off her air supply.” PLUS: Firefighters arrived at the clinic within six minutes.

Rumor: “SNL’s” 40th season will kick off with Bill Murray followed by Sarah Silverman and Chris Pratt
Although nothing is official, those three names surfaced yesterday on several NBC affiliates.

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<p>Franka Potente as Eleanor Nacht in &quot;The Bridge.&quot;</p>

Franka Potente as Eleanor Nacht in "The Bridge."

Credit: FX

How ‘The Bridge’ rebuilt itself into the best show you’re not watching

Some frank talk from producer Elwood Reid about the bumps of season 1 and the highs of season 2

In this Golden Glut of TV drama, it's hard for any new drama to break through and find an audience, because there are so many options out there (not to mention easy access to most of the great dramas of the previous 50 years). It's harder still for a show that has an audience and loses it to get those people back, no matter how good it becomes.

Case in point: FX's "The Bridge," the current belt-holder for Best Show You're Not Watching.

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Victoria on Big Brother 16

Recap: 'Big Brother' Tuesday - Andy Herren's Final 5 Notes

We make our judgments about the Final 5 with Andy Herren.

No matter what way you slice it, we're down to five distinct characters on "Big Brother 16": the clear frontrunner, the clear frontrunner's gay understudy, the hapless beefcake, the even more hapless beefcake, and a perfect sliver of God named Victoria. That's what we've got. As the final week of "Big Brother" rolls by, it's clear it's going to take a miracle for a major turnaround in the game to occur. Who's capable of such a feat? Anyone? 

To help us analyze everyone's game this week, we've again enlisted the help of our friend Andy Herren, the winner of "Big Brother 15." Join us as we grade everyone in the house and basically just start applauding when Derrick's name comes up.



Victoria the Star

Andy Herren: I really want to live in Victoria’s version of reality. In Victoria’s mind, she has played a brilliant social game alongside Derrick, dubbing herself the Batman to Derrick’s Robin. To this I exclaim, “Thank goodness for Victoria!” Say what you will about everyone’s favorite nobody, but her delusions of grandeur, random bouts of crippling illness, and fantastic diary room sessions (funniest DRs of the season) have made her someone I find myself consistently glad to still see in the house. Remember when she made the biggest move of the season by cutting up Zach’s iconic pink hat and then gloating about it in her goodbye message to him? BRILLIANT. What about when she managed to be the only shoulder in which floundering Nicole could cry on, even though she had no interest in Nicole whatsoever? SENSATIONAL. Victoria is turning into the breakout star of "Big Brother 16," and by “breakout star” I mean “most glorious joke in the show’s history.” I imagine Victoria going into the Diary Room at some point soon and exclaiming, “I vote to evict Hayden!” to which the producers are like, “Victoria, Hayden hasn’t been in the house for a month,” to which Victoria replies, “There is a unicorn that lives in my room and it told me to vote out Hayden and I only listen to this unicorn and Derrick, and Derrick hasn’t talked to me in three days.”

HitFix: It used to be fun for me to revel in the vacant Build-A-Bear glow of Victoria's big eyes, but I think her charms have peaked. This week we watched her sit in the diary room, call Derrick "the Robin" to her Batman, and "brag" about how strong a social game she's played all season. I don't know. It all sounded a little force-fed to me, like the producers are seizing on Twitter's ironic love for Victoria and forcing her to play into it. I'm not saying she isn't truly delusional, but is there any way she could possibly believe she's played a strong game? Any time she participates in a challenge, she announces she's "over it" within 90 seconds. Any time she converses with another houseguest, she doesn't even consider bringing up gameplay. She thinks tearing up Zach's (borrowed) hat was a brilliant strategic move. You can pretend like Victoria's been an endless pile of classic moments, but she hasn't been. She's mostly been terribly dull, and for some reason it's become entertaining to pretend she's given us anything except nervous confessionals about being a confident "princess." Victoria, you were fun while you lasted, but I'm not actually sure you ever lasted.

Frankie the Obstacle

Andy Herren: Derrick is the clear favorite to win "Big Brother 16," but he has one sparkly, attention-starved obstacle in his path: Pop sensation Ariana Grande’s great grandmother Frankie Grande. Frankie has proven himself to be a competition monster throughout the course of the season, and if he can win his way into the final two, my hat goes off to him. With that being said, Frankie’s only path to the end is through competition wins, as no other players want to be sitting next to him come finale night. Yes, Frankie’s crippling obsession with always being the center of attention is maddening, but you have to hand it to him: He knows how to play Big Brother, and he has definitely been playing all summer. A Frankie victory would also be neat because it would mark two years in a row in which smart gay men have been able to take home the $500,000. Frankie is nowhere near as brilliant as last year’s adorable winner, but he is definitely a strategist. For a show that tends to cast doomed gay guys (I love Lawon, but come on…), it is refreshing to see a sneaky gay who will do whatever it takes to win.

HitFix: To deny Frankie his props for a game well played is ridiculous. If anything, he's been the most strategic gamer of the season. He pairs an understated sense of competitiveness with a very charismatic social technique. Though he has a mixed reputation among diehard fans of the show, I guarantee their number one problem with Frankie is that his obnoxious antics successfully endear the other houseguests. People hate how much Frankie isn't a joke, even as he marches through the game in infantile shorts and a haircut that looks more and more like a demented birthday cake every day. You know why Team America succeeded in its mind-numbing task this week? Because Frankie committed to a terrific charade that forced his competition to pay attention. Yes, Derrick was a good actor too, but it was Frankie's delirium that riled up Victoria, bedeviled Cody, and forced Caleb to seem concerned (and therefore kind of human!). I wish Frankie had the guts to replace Victoria on the block with Derrick, but even a gifted strategist like Frankie is somehow no match for Derrick's plans.

Caleb the…?

Andy Herren: I’m not sure what Caleb’s role is in the Big Brother house. For much of the summer, he was the shocking misogynist; stalking Amber while the houseguests championed his behavior and shunned her for being uncomfortable. Then, once Amber was evicted, Caleb became the harmless buffoon, never really knowing what was going on yet showing slight moments of insight from here to there. Now, in the endgame, he has become the loyal knight, protecting his king (Derrick) and his queen (Frankie). I don’t think Caleb will win "Big Brother 16," but I could easily see him making the final two and receiving a few votes. For someone who really has no idea how to actually play "Big Brother" (he bases good game play almost entirely on competition wins), he has made it farther than I initially thought he would, and for that I give him credit. But has he made it this far on his own merits, or because the smarter players (Derrick and Frankie) know he is too stupid to see their devious master plans? I would argue a stronger case for the latter.

HitFix: We just saw Caleb's most inspired gameplay of the season. Did you miss it? Rewind. Check it out. Watch when he's standing around with Cody and slapping that mysterious button with comical karate moves. That's his "big" move. That has been the only time he's actively tried to affect the fate of the game. Caleb has been the essential pawn this game, a guy who congratulates himself for winning challenges while overlooking the real game at hand. I suppose we can applaud him for earning Frankie's trust, but the truth is it feels utterly random that he's still in the game. This is a man who has the confidence to call himself a near-gibberish nickname but no drive to unseat the house's true power players. It is a testament to Derrick's ingenuity that he's still here. I also think Amber called the authorities and they trapped Caleb in the house for her safety. 

Derrick the Winner

Andy Herren: By all regards, Derrick deserves to win "Big Brother 16." He has been a frustrating player, as he has had complete control over everyone and everything since the beginning of the season, and in doing so he has robbed the season of drama and controversy. Have we truly had any actual fights this season? No. What about shocking votes? Not even close. Thanks for that, Derrick. BUT with that being said, Derrick is playing the best game that suits Derrick, and I would argue that this game could be the best single game played in the history of "Big Brother." He has NEVER been a target, and he has influenced the vote to go his way EVERY WEEK. One argument that fans hurl at me when I claim that Derrick’s game may be the GOAT is that Derrick is playing with weak competition, and I find this laughable. Fans said the same thing to me last season as well, in a season that consisted of more huge fans of the show than ever (Judd, McCrae, Helen, Amanda, Spencer, myself). Let’s look at two case studies: Rachel Reilly and Dan Gheesling. In season 13, the season in which Rachel went from shrieking villain to comeback kid hero, she was up against arguably the weakest cast of newbies the show has ever seen, and there were blatant twists that worked in her favor. In Dan’s original season, he was competing against players like Renny and Jerry, who were each at least 150 years old, forcing competitions to be geared toward not allowing these geriatrics to kick the bucket at some point. Then, in season 14, Dan was given a pass for nearly a month in which he couldn’t be evicted, and he was also against players like Ashley, Chef Joe, and Jenn City, who I don’t think anyone would claim are powerhouses. Fans claim Rachel and Dan are some of the best players to ever play the game, and if they are at the top, Derrick deserves to be as well. In fact, he deserves to be above them. Let’s do this, Derrick.

HitFix: I have to second everything Andy just said. Derrick hasn't just played an exceptional game; he's duped a bunch of people who should honestly know better. With the exception of Frankie, Derrick is the only member of the house who is capable of looking a competitor in the eye, lying for 15 straight minutes, and earning that person's sympathy and confidence by the end of a single conversation. He is not afraid to ingratiate. He's not afraid to seem defeated. And he's not afraid to manipulate you in broad daylight. If Victoria has proven the virtues of playing the ultimate non-game, Derrick has proved the opposite: If you form a powerful alliance and rigidly organize that alliance's goals and machinations, you can remain in charge of the game from a stealthy, inconspicuous position. It's not exactly thrilling to watch Derrick operate, but he is nonetheless operating and fighting and sorting through his potential risks with the quiet precision of a mafia don. On top of it all, I appreciated the way he lied about the size of the rat's tail in the Team America challenge. Solid play-acting, sir. 

Cody the Cutie

Andy Herren: I had high hopes for Cody for much of the season. I thought he was brilliantly riding Derrick’s coattails, and in my heart I just KNEW that he would cut Derrick at a pivotal moment. He could still do this, but the likelihood is waning. If he in fact does cut Derrick, he will instantly become the best player of the season, but if he doesn’t, his claim to fame will be that he remained consistently adorable from June to September. His giggle is the type of giggle that makes koala bears self-immolate because they can’t compete with it. His coy smile is so f**king sweet and demure that it makes PEEPS weep. I don’t really know what else to say about Cody. I’m excited to give him a hug at the end of the season.

HitFix: I don't know why it's taken me this long to establish, but Cody is basically Shane from BB14. He's always been in a small huddle with the game's true power players, but he's never been mistaken for a real winner. And he seems really disturbed to realize he's the lowest-ranked member of the highest-ranking alliance in the game. But why, Cody? Why would you be surprised about that? Not to tout my cowriter's achievements, but this is why Andy Herren formed the Exterminators at a key juncture of the game last year. You have to be able to anticipate when the game will shift and you can become the most powerful player in a new alliance. For now, the only alliance member he can truly trust is Zac Efron, and it appears the DVD extras of "Neighbors" won't be enough to land him a top-two finish.

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'Gilmore Girls' is coming to Netflix
Credit: WB

'Gilmore Girls' is coming to Netflix

“Gilmore Girls” is coming to Netflix
All seven seasons of the WB and CW classic series starring Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel and a pre-fame Melissa McCarthy will be available for binge-watching, starting Oct. 1.

Ex-"Late Show" intern apologizes, drops class-action lawsuit against Letterman and CBS
Mallory Musallam wrote a “Dear Mr. Letterman” letter saying she was “approached by a beguiling legion of lawsuit-hungry attorneys who saw my Late Show internship on LinkedIn (which I had proudly displayed as a flagship of achievement.).” She adds that the lawyers "hastily coerced into a lawsuit masked in equivocal language and ambiguous pretenses.”

Liv Tyler is pregnant
“The Leftovers” star is expecting her 2nd child.

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<p>Charlie Hunnam of &quot;Sons of Anarchy&quot;</p>

Charlie Hunnam of "Sons of Anarchy"

Credit: FX

Recap: 'Sons of Anarchy' Final Season Premiere - 'Black Widow'

Jax grows dark in 'Sons' final season return

If you still haven’t watched Tuesday night’s "Sons of Anarchy" season premiere then go do some naked pushups, get your canned stew aligned and catch up immediately or you might be angrier than a dude in a wheelchair being dragged down the street when you’re spoiled by this review. 

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Benedict Cumberbatch says finding Alan Turing's voice wasn't easy in 'Imitation Game'

Benedict Cumberbatch says finding Alan Turing's voice wasn't easy in 'Imitation Game'

He was much more than an 'eccentric genius'

TORONTO — Get ready to hear a lot about Benedict Cumberbatch on the Oscar trail this season, as his performance as legendary computer science pioneer Alan Turing in Morten Tyldum's "The Imitation Game" joined an increasingly crowded Best Actor race when the film premiered in Telluride over the Labor Day weekend, and caught yet another stride with audiences at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.

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How 'Sons of Anarchy' will probably end
Credit: FX

How 'Sons of Anarchy' will probably end

How “Sons of Anarchy” will probably end
With the final season kicking off tonight, Vanity Fair thinks it has all the answers. Option 1: “The Musical-Montage Ending.” Option 2: “The Mega-Happy Ending.” Option 3: “The Hamlet Ending.” Option 4: “The Real Hamlet Ending.” And Option 5: “The Time-Jump Ending.” PLUS: Why did “SOA” miss out on greatness?, Charlie Hunnam has been “having some pangs of sadness and also kind of panic,” and Malcolm-Jamal Warner on playing the villain this season.

NBC developing a “Pub Quiz” sitcom
The bar trivia comedy will revolve around a group of 20-something friends who team up once a week to compete in their neighborhood pub quiz.

“Gotham” named the “most promising show of the fall”
The TV Critics Association also named “Black-ish” the most promising comedy of the new season. PLUS: Study finds only 5 new shows are getting most of the online buzz.

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