The first thing you should know about Kanye West's manic episode on tonight's Jimmy Kimmel Live is that he had some shit in the left corner of his mouth for a large portion of it. That was very distracting, and made everything he said that much harder to take seriously.
Last week, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga released the first singles of their respective upcoming albums, Prism and (my fingers groan a little bit louder with old age every time I type this) ARTPOP. The ensuing battle to the top of the charts was like a taste test between a Saltine and a Saltine piled with sprinkles, truffle oil, caviar, gold flakes, Madonna's post-True Blue eyebrow pluckings, and lead paint chips from the walls of Andy Warhol's Factory. Both songs are meta-noise — Perry's reggae-lite "Roar" is about working up the nerve to cause a ruckus ("I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me ROAR"), while Gaga's aggressively ugly "Applause" is about having the nerve to declare how life-affirming ruckus directed at you can be ("I live for the applause, applause, applause"). If you play "Roar" and "Applause" simultaneously on stereos facing each other, the songs solve each other while opening up a black hole of infinite vacuousness.
In 2011, America's most cherished treasures, acTORS James Franco and Anne Hathaway, hosted the Oscars. They didn't do a great job, but everyone's since moved on. We don't spend too much time psychoanalyzing the relationship of Anne Hathaway and James Franco, two people who don't seem to know each other that well.
The musical equivalent of the Hatfields and McCoys burying the hatchet (or Itchy and Scratchy burying the butcher knife) occurred Saturday night when Oasis' Noel Gallagher joined Blur's Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon onstage at London's Royal Albert Hall for the Teenage Cancer Trust benefit show. Rock legend Paul Weller (of the Jam, among things) and poet Michael Horovitz also shared the stage. They played Blur's 1999 single "Tender," one of the happiest sad songs ever written.
"Boston," a cramped Hollywood crime movie set populated primarily by the lesser Wahlbergs, is engaged in a gleeful back-and-forth exchange of japes with a national media outlet, calling to mind the beaming smile of a developmentally disabled child who has just been allowed to win a game of tag with a grown man.
Last night's American Idol should have included footage of the infamous Mariah Carey/Nicki Minaj feud, which TMZ broke the news on in October, getting us (well, me, at least) all excited in the process. Instead of hearing Mariah call Nicki a "bitch" in earnest and Nicki yelp, "Off with your head, off with your head," in HD, we got what led up to the ranting and exasperation: a disagreement about pigeonholing a singer who'd auditioned as "country." Nicki ended up storming off, and during the next round of auditions, both parties seemed to be walking on eggshells around each other.
Last night, Fox screened about an hour's worth of footage of the first two episodes of the upcoming season of American Idol (premiering Wednesday) to fans and contest winners in movie theaters around the country. It was as weird as it sounds, but thoroughly entertaining. Immediately, it was clear that pitting classic diva (Mariah Carey) against nu-diva (Nicki Minaj) is every bit the genius casting that it seemed to be when it was announced last year. And what's more, Nicki Minaj has emerged as the favorite in this now-legendary, inevitable feud. Minaj wins in the category of what matters most: entertainment value. She is by far the most magnetic persona on the judging panel.
Non-Senator Rick Santorum has announced his intention to combat the Senate confirmation of Chuck Hagel for Defense secretary. There's a lot to that sentence, so let me re-state: Rick Santorum, who as a regular, non-elected citizen has no more power than you or me or Bobby McGee, is going to attempt to hold up Chuck Hagel's nomination as Secretary of Defense. Because Congress needs help to be inert and unproductive.
This week, Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti released what would have been the final album from industrial music's parents Throbbing Gristle were it actually allowed to be called a Throbbing Gristle album. Desertshore/The Final Report features one disc of covers of the 1970 album by Velvet Underground collaborator Nico (that'd be Desertshore) and one of new, original material. It does not, however, include any contributions from former TG frontman (/people) Genesis P-Orridge, who left the group (or was forced out, depending on who's telling the story) in 2010. This is a point of contention — its release caused a Twitter spat between Carter and P-Orridge. P-Orridge called for its boycott; Chris and Cosi pressed on, regardless. If this double album, which features their last work with Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson (who died in 2010), counts as revenge, then it's a bizarre piece of revenge fit for Throbbing Gristle: an arid take on a cult album by Nico that features on vocals the likes of porn's Sasha Grey, Enter the Void director Gaspar Noé and Antony Hegarty. I bet if P-Orridge weren't so close to it, s/he would appreciate it.
How were you occupying yourself in this trying time? Could you eat? Sleep? Did white wine even taste sweet anymore? Whether you were Team Hoda and Kathie Lee or Team Chelsea, you can finally unclench your butt cheeks and relax.