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<p>Alicia Keys</p>

Alicia Keys

Credit: Charles Sykes/AP

Music Power Rankings: Alicia Keys, Rihanna and Justin Bieber

Tamar Braxton also makes the cut, thanks to Lady Gaga

1. The Grammy nominations: While there is no sure frontrunner like Adele was last year, Dec. 5’s nominations showed a wide breadth of potential mega winners on Feb. 10 as Mumford & Sons, Kanye West, the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, fun., Jay-Z and Frank Ocean all receive six nominations.

2. Alicia Keys: She is truly a “Girl On Fire,” as her album’s No. 1 debut on the Billboard 200 this week ties her for the most consecutive No. 1 albums by solo artists.  She joins DMX, R. Kelly, Kanye West and Luther Vandross.

3. DMX: Speaking of DMX, the rapper delivers an impromptu version of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” during a radio station visit and instantly creates a new classic. What?

4. Rihanna:
Her domination of the pop charts isn’t enough: now the star has set her sights on TV: She will appear in “Styled To Rock,” a new Style Network series featuring 12 designers handpicked by Ri-Ri. Move over “Project Runway.”

5. Tamar Braxton:
The power of Lady Gaga is undeniable. She tweets about “Love & War,” Braxton’s new single (yes, Tamar, not Toni) and the single goes straight to No. 1 on iTunes. It’s no coincidence, however: Braxton is married to Vincent Herbert, the music exec who signed a 20-year old Lady Gaga.

6. Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta: T
he pair’s stultifyingly so-bad-it’s-good video for Christmas-themed “I Think You Might Like It” shows why you can really never go back home again.  Rizzo was smart enough to stay away.

7. Justin Bieber:
The teen heart throb gets the wrong kind of attention after his manager tells the Grammys they “blew it” by not nominating Bieber. Man up: You don’t see Lionel Richie crying that he didn’t get nominated for “Tuskegee,”  and he sold more than Bieber.

8. Metallica: The band streams its full back catalog on Spotify, ending any lingering rift between Napster’s co-founder/Spotify investor Sean Parker, whom the band sued in 2000. The true winner? Metallica fans.

9. Superstorm Sandy Benefit:
The Rolling Stones are the latest superstars  added to 12/12/12’s Madison Square Garden benefit, joining Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Bon Jovi, The Who, Kanye West, and several more. You don’t have to wait for the show to donate to the Robin Hood Foundation, which will disperse the funds to communities still reeling from the storm’s devastation. Go here.

10. Led Zeppelin: The world’s greatest rock band puts on tuxes and cleans up real nice as President Obama shows them a whole lotta love at the Kennedy Center Honors.



 

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<p>Robert De Niro poses on the red carpet before receiving the Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Santa Barbara, CA Saturday night.</p>

Robert De Niro poses on the red carpet before receiving the Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Santa Barbara, CA Saturday night.

Credit: AP Photo/Richard Shotwell

Robert De Niro turns the spotlight back on Kirk Douglas at Santa Barbara salute

96-year-old legend receives an original manuscript of 'Raging Bull' from De Niro and Scorsese

SANTA BARBARA - The Santa Barbara International Film Festival presented the 7th Annual Kirk Douglas Award for Film Excellence Saturday night to Robert De Niro.  Douglas, who turned a spry 96-years-old on Sunday, was on hand as were De Niro's "Silver Lining Playbook" cohorts Bradley Cooper and director David O. Russell.  Previous honorees include Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Quentin Tarantino, Ed Harris, John Travolta and Kirk Douglas himself.

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Jason Sudeikis and Jamie Foxx.

Jason Sudeikis and Jamie Foxx.

Credit: SNL

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' – Jamie Foxx and Ne-Yo

The "Django Unchained" star graces the "SNL" stage.

After a three-week break, “Saturday Night Live” is back with host Jamie Foxx. He’s here promoting his upcoming film “Django Unchained,” which pretty much makes me what to refer to him as “Djamie” throughout tonight’s recap. (In both cases, the “D” is silent.) Foxx initially shot to stardom through small-screen sketch comedy “In Living Color”, so it will hopefully be fun to see him in Studio 8H tonight. Along for the ride will be musical guest Ne-Yo, who has been all over television this week. He appeared on both “The Voice” as well as CBS’s Grammys Nomination special, so I’m super stoked to hear the “Let Me Love You” trifecta tonight.

 
I know better than to have high or low hopes based on host alone at this point. So let’s let the episode unfold and see what happens. As always, I’ll be recapping each sketch in order as they unfold. As always, you will read those grades, shake your fist to the heavens, and then attempt to place an objective grade upon a subjective medium. It’s all I want for Christmas, really. (Well, that and for you to subscribe to my weekly “SNL” podcast that I host every week with The Huffington Post’s Mike Ryan. I’d like that as well, please.)
 
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<p>This can't end well.</p>

This can't end well.

Credit: Universal Pictures

Tom Cruise fights humans and aliens alike in the first trailer for science-fiction epic 'Oblivion'

Looks like Will Smith's got some 'After Earth' competition next year

I may not have cared much for "TRON: Legacy," but my problems were primarily with the script.  Joseph Kosinski's work as a director was meticulous and often quite beautiful, and I walked away curious to see what he could do with a different (and better) screenplay.

Maybe "Oblivion" is that screenplay.  I certainly hope so after seeing the first trailer for the film.  I always root for big-budget original science fiction, and I would love for this to be a smart action film that uses its impressive backdrop as a way to tell a story that really means something, a film that is more than just empty calories.  The reason I fell in love with science-fiction in the first place is because of the way it can tell universal stories about who we are and where we're going and how we relate to each other and the world around us, but one step removed, which often makes even the most difficult message more palatable.  It helps that two of the credited writers on the film are Michael Arndt, who is of course currently hard at work on "Star Wars: Episode VII," and Oscar-winner William Monahan.  Not too shabby.

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"The Voice"

 "The Voice"

Credit: NBC

Reality TV Roundup: 'Project Runway' goes green, 'Survivor' gets muddy and more

It's been a busy week, so get all your reality news here, now

Welcome to Reality TV Roundup -- a quick look at some of the reality TV-centric stories that have recently popped up across the fine, old Interwebs. Click away, my couch potato friends. But before you do...

SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! One more time: SPOILER ALERT. If you watch any competition shows, the latest elimination for each show is probably revealed in the text below. The hope is that, if you missed this week's program and would rather clear out your DVR than watch the episode, you can get a quick hit here. But don't come crying to me if you find out something you didn't want to know. You've been warned. Also note: lots of non-competition reality info lurks below, too. 

COMPETITION REALITY SHOWS 
 
PROJECT RUNWAY 
It's the eco challenge, which results in some pretty awful "Project Runay" stuff. This shouldn't have been that hard, designers! Next week, you have to make something with Christmas decorations! Man up!
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"Downton Abbey"

 "Downton Abbey"

Credit: PBS

The stars of 'Downton Abbey' talk season 4, sex and cardigans

Rob James-Collier, Hugh Bonneville and Joanne Froggatt hint at what's next

In the United States, fans of "Downton Abbey" must comfort themselves with, say, proper afternoon tea and the knowledge that season three of the show will begin airing Jan. 6. The bad news? Lucky Brits are already well into the season, and spoilers are already trickling onto the web to taunt us. But on Friday, "Downton" stars Hugh Bonneville (Lord Grantham), Rob James-Collier (Thomas Barrow), Joanne Froggatt (Anna Smith) and Leslie Nicol (Mrs. Patmore) were joined by the show's executive producer Gareth Neame and "Masterpiece" executive producer Rebecca Eaton for a excerpt screening and Q&A for fans and journalists in Los Angeles. As restrained as the show can sometimes be, the stars were as modern -- and often funny -- as their characters are not.

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<p>Oscar-shortlisted documentary &quot;The Imposter&quot; is among the leading nominees for the British Independent Film Awards.</p>

Oscar-shortlisted documentary "The Imposter" is among the leading nominees for the British Independent Film Awards.

Credit: Indomina Releasing

Previewing the British Independent Film Awards

What will win, and what should, at tomorrow's ceremony

While the US precursor circuit is getting into the swing of things, tomorrow marks the first major date of the British awards calendar: the British Independent Film Awards. Ostensibly the UK's answer to the Independent Spirit Awards (though they don't define "independence" by quite the same criteria), it's a ceremony that has grown in prominence in recent years, representing a larger sample of the local film industry than the slavishly Oscar-minded BAFTA Awards. That said, the BIFAs have given nascent awards juggernauts like "The King's Speech" and "Slumdog Millionaire" their first big trophy hauls of the season.

Nobody will be looking the BIFAs for any Oscar cues this year. After last year's awards reflected a banner year for British film -- "We Need to Talk About Kevin," "Shame," "Tyrannosaur," "Weekend" and "Senna" -- were among the big winners, this year's lineup of nominees, while studded with high-level work, doesn't boast quite the same lustre.

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<p>Tommy&nbsp;Lee Jones in &quot;Lincoln&quot;</p>

Tommy Lee Jones in "Lincoln"

Credit: Touchstone Pictures

'Zero Dark Thirty,' 'Lincoln' win big with Boston Online Film Critics Association

And a consideration of how much is too much

Last night the winners of the first-ever Boston Online Film Critics Association Awards landed via press release, and I left it for a moment. I'm weighing the pros and cons of posting every single one of these things this year because it begins to be a giant, unvetted clutter of opinion. Who are these folks and why did they decide to form their own group rather than let the Boston Society of Film Critics speak for the area and/or push for membership therein?

I imagine the latter has happened -- I don't know these guys and I'm not passing judgment -- and all politics are local. And I don't say this next thing by way of insult to them (or even as a comparative statement because it's not), but if a bunch of people with Live Journals in Los Angeles up and decide there needs to be an LA Online group, do we just pass their picks along with the rest? Is the job just providing safe passage or should some curation be in order? I don't know, but find the Boston online crowd's winners below, in any case.

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<p>&quot;Searching for Sugar Man&quot;</p>

"Searching for Sugar Man"

Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

'Searching for Sugar Man' tops 2012 IDA Awards

A big feather in the Oscar frontrunner's cap

Perceived Oscar frontrunner "Searching for Sugar Man" took top honors at the International Documentary Association Awards this evening. The portrait of long-"lost" recording artist Rodriguez also won Best Music. "How to Survive a Plague" director David France won an award for emerging talent while last year's Oscar winner for Best Documentary Short, "Saving Face," won in the shorts category. Check out a full list of winners below.

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<p>Carter's torch is snuffed on &quot;Survivor: Philippines&quot;</p>

Carter's torch is snuffed on "Survivor: Philippines"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Carter Williams talks 'Survivor: Philippines'

The latest booted contestant discusses playing with heart versus head
We've reached a "Survivor" Final 5 full of big personalities, including likable perpetual target Malcolm, analytical Denise, conscience-driven former child star Lisa, accident-prone returning favorite Skupin and hissable villain Abi.
 
And then there was Carter Williams. To be polite, we'll call Carter "enigmatic." On one hand virtually incapable of stringing together enough sentences for talking head segments and rarely at the center of strategic negotiations, Carter began to emerge as a threat in recent weeks due to his strong challenge play and his apparent friendship with all remaining contestants.
 
On Wednesday (December 5) night's "Survivor: Philippines," the rest of the Top 5 decided that Carter was such a threat that getting rid of him was worth spending additional days in the wilderness with Abi. This came despite Carter's attempts to convince his competition that they should want to go to the end against the best players, not Abi.
 
In his exit interview, Carter discusses his regrets in the game, his decision to lay back and not take a leadership role and his hypothetical path to victory had he remained in the game.
 
Click through...
 
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<p>Taylor Swift</p>

Taylor Swift

Credit: Chris Pizzello/AP

Taylor Swift's 'Red' is poised to return to the top of the Billboard 200

Only two titles debut in the Top 10 as holiday slow down continues

Taylor Swift’s “Red” returns to the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 after a several-week hiatus.

The set by the superstar is set to sell between 155,000 and 165,000 copies, giving it a good lead over Wiz Khalifa’s “O.N.I.F.C.,” which will likely debut at No. 2 if the rapper can hold off a charge from Rod Stewart’s “Merry Christmas Baby.” Both are projected to move between 135,000 and 145,000 units, according to Hits Daily Double.

In addition to Khalifa, the only other debut in the Top 10 will come from Ke$ha, whose “Warrior” will likely bow at No. 6 with sales of up to 90,000 copies.

Holiday titles continue to dominate the Top 10: Michael Buble’s “Christmas” is No. 4,  Blake Shelton’s “Cheers, It’s Christmas” is No. 7 and Lady Antebellum’s “On This Winter’s Night” is No. 8.

As far as the rest of the Top 10, One Direction’s “Take Me Home” will be at No. 5, this week’s No. 1, Alicia Keys’ “Girl On Fire,” will slide to No. 9 and “American Idol’s” Phillip Phillips’ “Word From The Side Of The Moon” is No. 10.

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<p>Melissa George in &quot;Hunted.&quot;</p>

Melissa George in "Hunted."

Credit: Cinemax

'Hunted' creator Frank Spotnitz on the series finale and the future of Sam Hunter

'Hunted' won't continue, but the character will
Cinemax just aired what is technically the “Hunted” series finale, as the BBC declined to renew the series, which they were producing in partnership with the American cable channel.
 
But though the series, and some of its characters, may be done with, Cinemax and “Hunted” creator Frank Spotnitz intend to move forward with the character of Sam Hunter, the private spy played by Melissa George, and certain aspects of her origin story that were introduced over these eight episodes. I emailed Spotnitz a few questions about the finale, and about what the new show (whatever it’s called) might include.
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