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<p>Alicia Keys in the &quot;Brand New Me&quot;&nbsp;music video.</p>

Alicia Keys in the "Brand New Me" music video.

Credit: RCA

Watch: Alicia Keys and her changing hairdo in 'Brand New Me' video

She's her own woman and don't you forget it

Alicia Keys has had enough of you telling her what to do.

In the video clip for “Brand New Me,” Keys, sporting a full, curly hair-do, as opposed to the sleek bob she’s been seen in recently, walks around a stage singing the song about finding herself and empowerment.

Her sense of self discovery is none too subtle. As she walks along some props, she sits down alongside a klieg light that turns on as she sings to it. Then she looks into a mirror at the Brand New Alicia. She pulls off the wig her handler has insisted she wear at the beginning of the video.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Besides, we all know what the new film will be about, right?&nbsp; Big robots and Bayhem, pure and simple.</p>

Besides, we all know what the new film will be about, right?  Big robots and Bayhem, pure and simple.

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Michael Bay responds to an alleged 'Transformers 4' script leak as Mark Wahlberg promises change

What direction will the director and the star push the franchise for the new film?

I'm not sure if any of you bothered reading the details about the allegedly leaked script for "Transformers 4" over the weekend, but I tried.  I say "tried" because about halfway through a summary of the supposed document, my brain crawled out of my head, horrified and furious, and attacked me to try and exact some revenge.

I am used to the idea that the "Transformers" mythology is completely incomprehensible, but even by the standards set by the totally deranged second film in the series, the synopsis that several people printed as real today is nonsense.  That reads as pure fan fiction, nerdy on a level that would make Michael Bay's skin crawl.  My guess, not knowing for sure what screenwriter Ehren Kruger and Bay are up to, is that they're going to try to reach out to an audience more akin to fans of the "Fast and Furious" franchise, leaving behind the wacky family stuff from the first three films.  He's working with Mark Wahlberg this time, who he just directed in "Pain and Gain," and simply by switching the focus from Shia LeBeouf to Wahlberg as the lead, he's clearly indicating that this is more of a traditional action movie approach.

But let's pretend we don't know any of that.  Bay says the script people are talking about has nothing to do with his film at all.  Here's his official statement:

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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 161

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 161

Dan and Alan talk 'Dexter' and 'Homeland' finales and the Baseball Hall of Fame

The

 
Happy Monday, Boys & Girls. It's time for the first of this week's two installments of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
 
Somehow this ended up being a long podcast. I'm not sure how that happened. But it should have many easily skippable segments. For example, you may not care about my thoughts on a slew of CW shows Alan doesn't watch. Skip that segment! Or you may not have seen last night's finales for "Homeland" & "Dexter." Skip that segment! And odds are REALLY good that you don't care about our journey through the 2012 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot, or why Alan's love affair with the Knicks has been rekindled! Skip that!
 
If you don't skip anything, this podcast is a robust 1:43, but I'm sure you can trim a lot from that.
 
And stay tuned later this week for our Best of 2012 Podcast.
 
Here's today's breakdown:
"1600 Penn" (00:01:10 - 00:14:20)
Dan's CW Roundup (00:14:25 - 00:30:35)
"Dexter" (00:30:55 - 00:45:10)
"Homeland" (00:45:10 - 01:17:00)
Sports Talk - Baseball Hall of Fame (01:17:30 - 01:36:15)
Sports Talk - Alan Loves the Knicks (01:36:20 - 01:43:10)

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.] 

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.

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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 161: '1600 Penn,' CW catch-up and 'Dexter' & 'Homeland' finales

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 161: '1600 Penn,' CW catch-up and 'Dexter' & 'Homeland' finales

Dan brings Alan up to speed on 'Gossip Girl,' 'Arrow' and company

The

Time for an almost absurdly long episode of the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, the first of two this week. We'll get to discussing our favorite shows of 2012 later in the week, but in the meantime, Dan and I reviewed NBC's "1600 Penn," Dan caught me up on recent developments on the CW, we talked about the Showtime finales and then did a long sports segment discussing both the Baseball Hall of Fame and my inability to walk away from a team.

The line-up: 

"1600 Penn" (00:01:10 - 00:14:20)
Dan's CW Roundup (00:14:25 - 00:30:35)
"Dexter" (00:30:55 - 00:45:10)
"Homeland" (00:45:10 - 01:17:00)
Sports Talk - Baseball Hall of Fame (01:17:30 - 01:36:15)
Sports Talk - Alan Loves the Knicks (01:36:20 - 01:43:10)
  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, download the MP3 file or stream it on Dan's blog.
 
And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.
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<p>The xx</p>

The xx

Listen: The xx cover Wham!'s 'Last Christmas'

Watch a documentary on the British troupe

This Christmas just got a little bit colder. The xx recorded a chilly take of Wham!'s mega-holiday hit "Last Christmas" for BBC 1, with all its vocalists taking turns.

Romy Madley Croft has always had a "ballpark" singing voice, where she doesn't always hit the ascribed note, but it's in the ballpark and it's ever on-base. It works here, a more sultry style than the matter-of-fact as the original had been. Would love to see their take on feathered hair.

Meanwhile, the xx continue to promote their latest album "Coexist" with latest single "Chained" and with a new short film series. The "Coexist Series" can be seen via YouTube, and features an intimate version of "Fiction." Check some of that out below.

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Madonna, Bruce Springsteen and Roger Waters ranks as 2012's top tours
Credit: AP Photo/Alexander Demianchuk, Pool

Madonna, Bruce Springsteen and Roger Waters ranks as 2012's top tours

Just how much did Madge rake in from the MDNA tour?

Madonna stirred up plenty of controversy on the MDNA tour by bearing arms and baring body parts in 2012, but it turns out she also brought in a ton of cold hard cash.

Her MDNA outing grossed $228.4 million to make it the top-grossing tour of 2012, according to Billboard. The tally come from 72 shows, all of which, according to Billboard, were sell out.

Coming in at No. 2 is Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band. They grossed $199.4 million, also from 72 shows.  Springsteen’s ticket price was considerably lower than Madge’s: His 72 shows drew 2.165 million people, compared with the Material Girl’s 1.63 million.

Rock relics continued to rule the top 10:  Roger Waters’ tour, also with 72 shows (we’re sensing a theme here) comes in at No. 3 with a gross of $186.5 million.

Proving that his legacy goes on and on even after his death,  “Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour by Cirque Du Soleil” claims the No. 4 slot with a tally of $147.3 million, based on 183 shows reporting.

Coldplay rounds out the top 5 with $147.2 million from 67 shows. That should tied them over nicely during the band’s recently announced hiatus.

One has to go to No. 6 to find an act that first started releasing music in this millennium. Lady Gaga’s 65 sell-outs register at No. 6 with a gross of $124.9 million.

That’s the end of the $100 million club. Coming in at No. 7 are Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw’s Brother of the Sun tour, which shone brightly enough to raise $96.4 million from only 23 shows (they were all stadiums).
Van Halen’s thwarted reunion tour ended with a slate of cancellations due to band burn-out (or any other reason you want to believe), but it still managed to gross $54.4 million from 46 shows to come in at No. 8.  Coming in at No. 9 is Jay-Z and Kanye West’s The Throne tour with $46.9 million from 31 shows. And rounding out the top 10 is Andre Rieu, the Dutch composer/violinist who is astonishingly popular throughout the world even though you’re probably never heard of him. He brought in $46.8 million from 99 shows.

To see the list of the Top 25 tours, ranked by Billboard, go here.
 

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<p>John Goodman and Alan Arkin in &quot;Argo.&quot;</p>

John Goodman and Alan Arkin in "Argo."

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

'Argo' tops with Southeastern Film Critics

Yet more honors for Daniel Day-Lewis and Jennifer Lawrence

The Southeastern Film Critics' Association have thrown their favorites in the mix, and there remains a pleasing lack of consensus between these groups in the Best Picture department. "Argo" notches up another win here, also taking wins for Best Director and Screenplay. Oscar favorites Daniel Day-Lewis and Jennifer Lawrence add to their already groaning trophy cabinets, while the most distinctive prize in the list is the Gene Wyatt Award for the film that "best embodies the spirit of the South." The handily-titled "Beasts of the Southern Wild" beat "Bernie" to the punch, though I wonder how many votes "The Paperboy" got. Full list of winners after the jump; check out everything else at The Circuit.

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Yeah Yeah Yeahs to release new album in Spring 2013

Yeah Yeah Yeahs to release new album in Spring 2013

Wait's over: New songs in concert?

This Spring, the Yeah Yeah Yeah will be releasing their first album in four years, the follow-up to "It's Blitz!"

The band made the announcement via Twitter, posting an Instagram of a mysterious figure in neon colors.

“DNA upgrades, spontaneous evolution and NEW YEAH YEAH YEAHS RECORD ARRIVING SPRING 2013! finally," read the post.

DNA upgrades may mean the band members just got better at what they do. Or paid a scientist to allow them to glow in the dark. Spontaneous evolution may have to do with what collaborations or combinations happened in the studio, or that Karen O learned to fly, as humans always intended. No other details are known.

However, it IS known that the YYYs played a new song called "Despair" during a Hurricane Sandy benefit concert at a tiny venue in Brooklyn earlier this month.

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'Breaking Bad' tops HitFix's First Annual Television Critics' Poll

'Breaking Bad' tops HitFix's First Annual Television Critics' Poll

What did a blue ribbon panel of the nation's top TV critics pick as their 10 favorite shows of 2012?

On Friday, I picked my top 10 shows of 2012. Later in the week, Dan's video will be running, and I'll also have a post listing the 10 shows that just as easily could have made the cut as many of the shows on my list.

Today, though, it's time to bring in a wider array of voice, as we introduce HitFix's First Annual Television Critics' Poll, in which we assembled several dozen of the nation's top TV critics and reporters and asked them to rank their 10 favorite shows of the year. Simple weighted vote — the #1 show on anyone's list was worth 10 points, the #10 worth 1 point, etc. — and a way to get a broader critical consensus of the year in television, in the same way that there are always year-end polls of movie and music critics.

As the headline says, "Breaking Bad" was the convincing winner of the poll. It's an interesting collection of shows, some of which are in my top 10, most of which will be in my top 20, but showing a diverse array of the kinds of great comedy and drama (and, once you get past the top 10, movies, miniseries, reality, etc.) to be found on TV today.

So go look at the poll, which includes not only the top 10, but all the shows that got votes (and you can click on each show to see who voted for it, and at what spot), as well as complete ballots from all the participating writers. And, as always, we welcome your input. What does everybody else think of the final results?

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<p>&quot;Safety&nbsp;Not Guaranteed&quot;</p>

"Safety Not Guaranteed"

Credit: FilmDistrict

Indiana Film Journalists Association goes its own way, crowns 'Safety Not Guaranteed'

Bradley Cooper and Daniel Day-Lewis tie for Best Actor

Well if you were looking for someone, anyone, to just go the least bit against the grain, the Indiana Film Journalists Association is here to save the day. After announcing nominees last week, the group has handed Best Picture honors to Colin Trevorrow's "Safety Not Guaranteed," making it just one more film to win such honors in a year that is spreading the love quite a bit. Check out the full list of winners below and keep track of the season via The Circuit.

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<p>Miley Cyrus</p>

Miley Cyrus

Credit: AP Photo

Watch: Adam Lambert and Miley Cyrus pay tribute to Madonna and Billy Idol

Who belts the loudest on VH1 Divas?

Adam Lambert paid tribute to Madonna’s 30+ years of hitmaking at Sunday night’s VH1 “Divas,” with this odd cover of “Ray Of Light.”

Dressed in some kind of very strange hieroglyphic robe, or perhaps as a medieval knight,  Lambert starts off really shaky vocally, but then he rises to the occasion.  It’s an amped up version of Madonna’s take on the song.  We’re not sure about the squat thrusts.

[More after the jump...]

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"A Charlie Brown Christmas"

 "A Charlie Brown Christmas"

Credit: ABC

Holiday TV Countdown - all the seasonal programming you can stand until Jan. 1

Watch some sappy Christmas movies, we won't tell
There's a little more than a week left before Christmas, but that doesn't mean that all the holiday-themed programming has already aired. Au contraire, there's tons of this candy cane-coated stuff coming to a network near you. And if you don't already own "A Charlie Brown Christmas" on DVD, don't worry -- the cartoon classic airs Dec. 18. And guess what? Christmas programming airs right up until New Year's Eve on some channels. Grab your eggnog. It's going to be a long winter's tale. 
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