Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Entertainers of the Year: #1

Last year I bestowed the honor to the multitalented Tina Fey, and this year, the honor goes to... TAYLOR SWIFT!

Goodness gracious, who had a better year this year than Taylor?? She solidified herself as a bona fide star, transcending above the country music genre and outselling pretty much every artist in every category this year (who is not named Michael Jackson). After supporting other artists on their tours in previous years, her first solo tour sold out in minutes (and I know this firsthand cause I was not able to get tickets for her show... SAD) :( She became the youngest artist ever to win Country Music Association's Entertainer of the Year. On top of winning AMAs, Grammys, and every other award throughout the year. She proved to be charming and funny, hosting the best episode of Saturday Night Live this season. And of course, who can forget the infamous Kanye-gate, which could have been a complete disaster had it not been for the complete grace and class this 20 year old displayed throughout the whole thing. Not to mention, her album, Fearless, is pretty darn good, people.

So... there you have it, my pick for Entertainer of the Year (she is also Billboard's pick, as well as AP's pick). As a fan, I'm looking forward to 2010 for her, as she is currently writing new songs for a new record due out sometime later this year, and being up for numerous Grammys coming up in February. Rock on, Taylor Swift!


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 Entertainers of the Year: #3 and # 2!

#3) Jay-Z and Lady Gaga (tie)
Two artists who are completely different from each other (in every possible way), one a musical legend practically, and one who burst onto the scene in the year, dominated the charts in 09.

Jay-Z released his 11th studio album, The Blueprint 3, in September, and was met with favor from critics and fans alike. It became his 11th album to reach #1 on the Billboard charts, surpassing Elvis Presley's previous record with the most #1 albums. It also is the second best selling hip hop album of all time. The album has spawned hit after hit, but most notably, produced what is now NYC's unofficial anthem: Empire State of Mind. The Jay-Z train does not seem to be slowing into the New Year, he is embarking on a nationwide tour for the album, which will go well into 2010 (I'll be at the March show in Jersey, hollla!).

Lady Gaga is probably one of the most talked about artist of the year, and not only for her music. She pretty much became a cultural phenomenon, with all of her crazy outfits, even crazier performances, and, let's face it, catchy songs. In the annual Google zeitgeist, the Haus of Gaga was the most searched image of the year. Though her debut album came out in the summer of 08, but it seems like 09 is when she really caught on fire, with the string of hits-- Poker Face, Paparazzi, Bad Romance. I'm slightly scared of her, but I do kinda enjoy her antics. She's also embarking on a concert tour for her recently released album The Fame Monster, so there is no way we won't be seeing more of her in 2010.

#2) Michael Jackson
What can be said about Michael Jackson that hasn't already been covered a billion times in the past six months since his untimely passing in June? The world lost a true pop cultural icon, but ironically he ended up entertaining us even when he is no longer with us. His death brought upon hours and hours of coverage, surrounding his mysterious life and death, but more importantly, reminded us all of the impact he has had on the pop culture landscape. Reissues of his albums and singles sold through the roof, people lined up to pay tribute, millions tuned into his funeral coverage. And This is It, a concert film made from the footage of his This is It tour rehearsals was released in October, doing well at the box office. The man in the mirror might be gone, but in his passing Michael Jackson proved that he is a true legacy that spans generational gaps.


Monday, December 28, 2009

2009 Entertainers of the Year: #5 and #4!

Last year, I created a list of my top 5 entertainers of 2008, and this year, I'm doing the same for the year 2009. I know we only have 4 more days left before the year's end, so before the week's end, I will post the 5 entertainers who have made their mark in pop culture. Last year's #5 went to Robert Downey Jr., and this year it is...

#5) The Glee cast.
No other tv show this season, new or returning, had as much buzz around it as the dramedy musical Glee. FOX took a chance on this one-of-a-kind show, and it paid off. While it is not a ratings juggernaut, it does average a healthy 8 million viewers a week, and the songs performed on the show are consistently in the top 25 iTunes songs chart. Sold out mall tours, the cast singing the National Anthem at the World Series, succeessful release of 2 soundtracks-- the show is heading strong into the new year, having been picked up for the rest of the season, no problem. Funny, smart, full of heart, and of course, those musical numbers! Such entertaining stuff. Though the show will not be returning until April 2010, we have plenty to tide us over (seriously, buy/download the soundtracks, STAT) as well as looking forward to the rest of the season when it does return (more musical numbers per episode! a Madonna-centric episode! surprise guest stars!). If the Glee phenomenon keeps going the way it has been, I would not be surprised to see them on this list again next year.

#4) Sandra Bullock
Like last year's #4 Britney Spears, Sandra Bullock had hell of a comeback this year. Ok, so she never really went away anywhere to have a comeback, but she basically solidified her place as a money-making leading lady with 2 big successful films this year. In the summer she starred in a romantic comedy called The Proposal, which surpassed everyone's expectations by bringing in over $300 million worldwide. Her latest effort, The Blind Side, is already on its way to raking over $200 million at the box office. Not only has she proven to be bankable, but she has just been nominated for 2 Golden Globes for each of the movies, and she's been steadily garnering Oscar buzz for the Blind Side. Not bad for an actress in her mid-40s, right? And a consistently working one at that! I personally really love her, so I'm super glad for all of the success she has had this year.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Holiday Movies!

I have a pretty extensive DVD collection, but I just recently realized that for the most part, I don't sit at home rewatching my DVDs over and over again (there is way too much new TV to be watched sitting in my DVR). Which I guess makes my DVD collection a giant waste of money, but whatever, I do like having my favorite movies around whenever I get the urge to rewatch.

The point of this seemingly pointless post is, I especially have a couple of go-to holiday movies that I have to watch around this week of Christmas, a personal Christmas tradition of mine. I bring this up cause I just rewatched Elf this past weekend and enjoyed it soooo much!! ("Smiling's my favorite!") I know most people go for the usual, Christmas Story (I've never seen it, actually)/Miracle on 34th St/It's a Wonderful Life, but I like to go for what I call the new holiday classics: Elf and Love Actually with a dash of The Holiday thrown in (I'm not a huge fan, but Jude Law is kinda beautiful in the movie).

What is everyone else's favorite Christmas movies??

And, here is my favorite cover of All I want For Christmas is You, courtesy of Love Actually.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Another Reason To Love Glee

Glee is on hiatus till April 10, 2010. Yup .. 4 months away.

But just in case you're scared of Glee withdrawal, there's been a bunch of survival guides for the next looong 4 months .. this little gem popped up on the interwebs - Mark Salling (who plays Noah "Puck" Puckerman) made a little music video tribute for his Glee family and it's soo disgustingly sweet that Sue Sylvester might start throwing up rainbows and unicorns.


Friday, December 11, 2009

One hit Wonders of the 2000s

Earlier this week, Billboard magazine listed their Top One-hit wonders of the 2000s. Some of the choices were a bit surprising to me because their criteria for picking an one hit wonder is more technical than mine. When I think of an one-hit wonder, I think of an artist who produced 1 good song, and then faded off the map for eternity (Jennifer Paige's Crush, anyone??). What Billboard defines as an one-hit wonder is a song that reached the top 10 of their Hot 100s chart, and then failed to produce a single that reached the top 25 after that (reaching top 25 is not an easy feat for anyone...). Perusing the list brought back so many musical memories: Dream (#10), Macy Gray (#22), Vanessa Carlton (#24), S Club 7 (#38), and my personal favorite, a post-Jessica Simpson breakup Nick Lachey (#28).

Here are the top 5 One-Hit Wonders of 2000s:

#5: D4L - Laffy Taffy
#4: MIMS - This is Why I'm Hot (Gee, I wonder why, it boasted such genius lyrics as, " I'm hot cause I'm fly/you ain't cause you're not.")
#3 Crazy Town - Butterfly
#2 Terror Squad - Lean Back
#1 Daniel Powter - Bad Day (I love this song, actually. And I like the video...)


Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Internet is .. Wow.

Have you ever tried explaining how the Internet works to someone who isn't .. err, tech-literate? To this day, I still have a hard time explaining to my parents why they can't play Gostop online because of slow connections, or why they can't just push the power button instead of properly shutting down - don't even get me started on email.

Anyway, here's a nifty infograph that tries to tackle the wonderful, world-wide cacophony that is called the Internet (click to enlarge):


Monday, December 7, 2009

I Tech You to School: Google will soon be giving you prostate exams

Ok... well maybe not anytime in the near future but judging by the way they're expanding, it just might happen.

Let me explain. I know I can speak for many people when I say that Google knows more about me than I do. They have every email I've ever sent/recieved in the last 7 years. They know my hobbies by looking at my google reader RSS subscriptions. I've made purchases through Google checkout. I now own a phone that has all my contacts, calendar appointments, and text messages which was made by Google. They have every single Gchat conversation I've had with people. And the thing is, they're only getting bigger! (there's a 'that's what she said' somewhere in there)

For example, they've just introduced a new service called "Favorite Places on Google". This new service is like a Zagat for not only restuarants but any business that has been Googled repeatedly on well... Google (damnit, when did Google become a verb?). These businesses will get a window sticker that states it's a "Favorite Places on Google" letting people know it's a hotspot. Not only that (here's the cool part), you'll be able to scan the barcode of that restaurant with your cell phone to get more info, coupons, and reviews, straight to your handset. Pretty genius if you ask me. It's almost as if real life is becoming more digital. This is just one of the many ways Google is extending their reach... and it's only a matter of time until Google will somehow find a way to give me my annual prostate exam... and the sad part is, I can't wait because you know it'll be free and better than 99% of what's out there already.


The First of Many Teasers: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Who's still going through New Moon mania?? (raises hand!!)

Well, now that New Moon finally came and conquered our hearts, it's time to look forward to .. other things. Any Harry Potter fans out there?? (raises hand!!)

Here's the first of perhaps many, many teasers for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, which is set to be released in November 19, 2010.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 Preview One


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Last Christmas

We are 3 days into December, which totally means that it is.. full on Christmas music season. I may be soul-less by revealing this, but I DO NOT LOVE Christmas music. There, I said it. Sorry people, I must have no heart. There are a handful of Christmas songs I do enjoy though, and one of those songs happen to be Last Christmas, originally sung by the 80s band Wham. It is probably one of the most covered songs ever, with everyone from the Backstreet Boys to Coldplay to Taylor Swift releasing their own versions. I talk about this because, there is a site called Last, that keeps track of all the different versions of the song that is released. So far, in the 4 years they've been running the site, we've got 395 versions and counting, all over the world.

And because my current obsession is Glee, here is the Glee cast's version of the song. LOVES IT!!


Google Zeitgeist 2009

Google Zeitgeist is what Google calls snapshots of search trends, and it's a really interesting look at what kind of things fascinate Americans enough to search for things in droves. Someone from Google was on the Today show this morning to talk about the Zeitgeist for 2009, though that has not been updated in the Google archives as of yet. Not surprisingly, Lady Gaga, Twitter, and swine flu were among the fastest rising searches this past year, with Lady Gaga being the fastest rising in Google images searches (Um, yeah cause she looks so different with every appearance, I don't think anyone knows what she really looks like).

Update: Google Zeitgeist 2009

Around this time of year, food happens to be a big search term, and Google found that comfort foods (like chili and meatloaf) were a trend. That reminded me of something I saw this past weekend that I thought was so cool: The New York Times posted a geographic breakdown of Thanksgiving food related searches on "Sweet potato casserole" was the most searched term nationwide, but it's interesting to see where the queries for different things come from. The breakdown raises a couple of questions, like if something isn't being searched for as much in one area, is it cause fewer people in that area are making the dish, or they already know how to make it? It's so interesting to scroll through.