Tag Archives: USHER

Cole Porter said it with music, but with all the attention he’s getting, is Justin Bieber ‘just one of those things”?

His new CD My World 2.0 debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 albums chart this week, making him the youngest male artist to hit #1 on Billboard since a 13-year-old Stevie Wonder in 1963.

To borrow a lyrical phrase from legendary songwriter Cole Porter, is Justin Bieber just ‘too hot not to cool down?’

The 16-year-old bubblegum popster from Stratford Ontario has been actively pursuing fame since he posted his homemade music videos on YouTube when he was 13.  As Internet success

BIEBER: YouTube baby

stories go, he’s no Susan Boyle – but he did attract the attention of, and subsequent offers of management from, both Usher and Justin Timberlake.  As you probably know (unless you’ve been in a convent,) he signed with Usher, who has become not only his mentor and shrewd in-house guru but has also appeared with him in music videos and on key TV talk shows (e,g., Ellen.) Usher, as if you didn’t know, is one smart, talented and uncommonly classy guy. Professionally, at least, young Justin is in very good company.

Bieber is the first artist to have seven songs from a debut album make it on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart and his new sizzling hot CD is his  first studio album. His first tour as a headliner, coming up this summer,includes gigs at the Air Canada center in Toronto on Aug. 21, the John Labatt Center

USHER: Atlanta mentor

in London, Ont. on Aug. 22, and Scotiabank Place in Kanata, Ont. on  Aug. 24. And as if those rooms aren’t large enough he’s already set to play Madison Square Garden on August 31.

His fans in Newfoundland will get to glimpse him even sooner. When CTV telecasts the 2010 Juno Awards from St. John’s on April 18, Bieber will share the spotlight with Billy Talent, Blue Rodeo, Classified, Drake, Great Lake Swimmer, Johnny Reid, K’Naan, Metric and another Madison Square Garden veteran, still new-ish old pro Michael Bublé.

Justin lives in Atlanta now – Usher’s home base – and is admittedly having the time of his

BUBLE: with Justin at Junos

life. He loves performing, he loves his fans, he loves making music.  It took Michael Bublé 10 years to get booked at Madison Square Garden, but 10 years from now he’ll still be playing the big rooms. Ten years from now Justin Bieber will be 26, his teen glory days far behind him. When full-bloom BieberMania ends – as it most certainly will — let’s hope Usher can help Bieber sidestep the showbiz traps and pitfalls that have crushed so many other meteoric shooting-star careers.

In the meantime, I won’t be one bit surprised if readership of this blog spikes today — not because I’m writing about Justin Bieber, but just because I mentioned his name.

Yes, folks, he really is that hot.

NEAL: New York honours (photo: David Shankbone)

TONY’S FIRST LADY: Do you know who won the very first Tony Award? Give up?  It was screen siren Patricia Neal for her performance as Regina Hubbard in Lillian Hellman‘s Another Part of the Forest in 1946.  Which is only one reason that the Peccadillo Theater Company will present An Evening with Patricia Neal at the Players Club in Manhattan on April 12. Neal, a director’s actor whose distinguished screen stints include The Fountainhead, A Face In The Crowd and Hud, will be presented with PTC’s Legends of the American Theater award, one more highlight in a long and illustrious career.

Happy long weekend. And remember, we all need to be in the light now and then. So don’t forget to soak up some sunshine!

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Get ready for GLEE’s sophomore season, Justin in August, and a surprise from the fair maid Marion

THE POWER OF GLEE: First it conquered TV, then the music charts, and now it’s going legit — big time. Cast members from the hit FOX series Glee, led by Spring Awakening star

MICHELE: Glee girl

Lea Michele, have added yet another performance to their run at Radio City Music Hall, so they’ll now do five, count ’em, five shows in that 6,000-seat New York room on the weekend of May 28-30. In addition to Michele, who plays Rachel, the tour cast will include Cory Monteith (Finn), Amber Riley (Mercedes), Chris Colfer (Kurt), Kevin McHale (Artie), Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina), Mark Salling (Puck), Dianna Agron (Quinn), Naya Rivera (Santana), Heather Morris (Brittany), Harry Shum, Jr. (Mike), and Dijon Talton (Matt). And a third CD from the cast, this time featuring the music of Madonna, will be released on April 20, the same day the show’s Madonna-inspired episode is scheduled for telecast. And before you ask: The series’ second season starts Tuesday April 13 on Global.

NO BIZ LIKE SHOW BIZ: Prolific TV producer Laszlo Barna (The Bridge) tells Academy of Canadian Cinema breakfast club attendees what it takes to get a Canadian

BIEBER: T.O.-bound

production on a U.S. network this morning at the Academy’s T.O. office  …  teen sensation Justin Bieber is set to rock the ACC on Aug. 21. Will he arrive driving those new wheels Usher bought him for his birthday? … Broadway lion Victor Garber guests with Allan Hawco on Republic Of Doyle tonight on CBC …and ya gotta love music mogul David Geffen‘s off-the-cuff remarks when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last week in New York. “I had no musical talent, but after working in the mailroom of the William Morris Agency I knew how to bullshit, and that’s how I got to handle Laura Nyro, Joni Mitchell, Cher and all the others.”  Whatta charmer!

A DRAGON IN THE DESERT: “I’m in a place some call the ‘Sandbox.’ It’s Dirty. Dusty. Dangerous. Bomb infested. My mission is to boost morale but I am the one who is walking away inspired. I won’t be able to think the same about my life ever again. This trip is having a profound effect on me.”

The speaker? Dragons’ Den diva Arlene Dickinson, tweeting from Afghanistan.

REYNOLDS: light touch

FLICKERS: Crowd-pleaser Paul Giamatti will co-star with Amy Ryan in Tom McCarthy’s Win-Win … Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman, both masters of the light touch, will co-star in Universal’s body-switching comedy The Change-Up John Malkovich will reportedly start shooting Transformers 3 with Frances McDormand (now that’s off-the-wall casting!) before winging to T.O. for his Luminato gig in June …the latest film by Donna & Daniel Zuckerbrot, My Nuclear Neighbour, is now a Yorkton filmfest nominee. Neighbour premiered last month on CBC’s The Nature of Things … and the April 10 premiere of Maria Del Mar’s new flick, A Touch Of Grey, at the 10th annual ReelWorld filmfest is reportedly all sold out.

COTILLARD: closet comedienne?

SEE/HEAR: Young French import Marion Cotillard, seems to bring a special elegance to all her work, from her Oscar-winning turn as tortured chanteuse Edith Piaf to her portrait of Daniel Day Lewis’ betrayed wife in Nine. So what you are about to see is, I promise, a complete departure from the Marion we’ve seen on screen so far, but perhaps an indication of the secret Cotillard that lies within. It’s a fabulously funny send-up of so many commercials we’ve suffered through, and it comes, yet again, from Will Ferrell’s fertile Funny Or Die comedy site.  Click here, and enjoy!

TOMORROW:

Margaret Atwood, Shia Lebeouf, Jann Arden, Roger Ebert and more.

What you may not know about the two ‘overnight sensations’ who are making GLEE your favourite new show of the 2009-2010 television season

MORRISON:  as 'Mr Shuster'

MORRISON: as 'Mr Schuester'

LYNCH: as not-so-sweet Sue

LYNCH: as not-so-sweet Sue

It seemed like they came out of nowhere, this tall, lanky high school teacher and the razor-tongued athletic coach determined to be his nemesis. If they’d been major players (or even minor ones) on earlier TV shows, I’d obviously missed those series. And even after Glee made its auspicious and, yes, spectacular debut as a test pilot, no one ever said, “Oh you know him, he’s the guy from Law & Criminals: Baltimore.” Or anything even remotely like that. We saw him in action. Then we saw her in action. And then we went wow! — who are these people?

MORRISON: in South Pacific

MORRISON: in South Pacific

Apparently we were looking for answers in all the wrong places. We should have been looking to Broadway. Matthew Morrison, who plays Will Schuester, the Spanish teacher who decides to try to resuscitate the high school glee club, is an accomplished song and dance man who co-starred in the sensational still-running Lincoln Center revival of South Pacific, nightly revisiting such Rodgers & Hammerstein classics as I Have Dreamed and Carefully Taught.
And when he isn’t playing the beleaguered high school teacher in the runaway hit of this TV season, he’s working with his South Pacific director Bartlett Sher on developing a musical version of Pedro Almodovar’s Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.

LYNCH: with Streep in Julie & Julia

LYNCH: with Streep in Julie & Julia

(Who knew???)
We sure knew he could sing and dance, however — and stay in character — after we saw him ‘teach’ his irresistible Glee club misfits how to sell a song. (Still don’t know what I’m talking about? Just click here.)

As for the outrageously funny Jane Lynch — frankly, and i mean candidly: Where Have I Been? She’s been a popular recurring multi-episode player on such long-running hit series as Boston Legal, Criminal Minds, The ‘L’ Word and Two And A Half Men. Comedy

GLEE: tonight at 9 pm

GLEE: tonight at 9 pm

aficonados will tell you in a heartbeat that she performed all her own singing and guitar playing in A Mighty Wind, and that she made them scream with laughter when she appeared with Steve Carrell in his breakthrough film The 40 Year Old Virgin. (Morrison also has on-screen history with Carrell. He played the cop that wouldn’t get off his case in Dan In Real Life.) What many of her fans don’t realize, however, is that Lynch is currently on screen with Meryl Streep, playing the small but key role of Julia Child‘s sister in Julie & Julia. And that she opens off-Broadway with Tyne Daly tonight — yes, tonight — as part of the rotating all-female cast of the new Nora & Delia Ephron opus, Love, Loss And What I Wore. So she continues in very good company, on stage and screens.

MORRISON: Broadway baby

MORRISON: Broadway baby

LYNCH: TV veteran

LYNCH: TV veteran

So does Glee. Two weeks ago, barely into the run of the series, Glee cast recordings accounted for 10 spots on the iTunes list of top 200 downloaded songs and four places on the Billboard Hot 100 for the week. The top-selling Glee cast recordings included two mash-ups created for the series — one of Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life” and Usher’s “Confessions Part II,” and the other of Beyoncé’s “Halo” and “Walking on Sunshine,” by Katrina and the Waves. And more sales are in the offing. On Nov. 3 Columbia Records and 20th Century Fox Television will release Glee: The Music, Volume 1, the first in what is planned as a series of soundtrack albums. And last week the Fox series made more headlines when NBC reneged on its invitation to have the Glee cast perform during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which it broadcasts. So now the Glee cast will perform during the World Series, singing the national anthem in either Los Angeles or Philadelphia, depending on the outcome of the playoffs, during game three of the series, which is telecast by Fox.

Still wondering what all the fuss is about? To catch up with the pilot that started it all, just click here. To catch a new episode, tune in tonight at 9 pm to Fox or Global. And enjoy!

TOMORROW:

More star-studded news and views

from Vanessa Williams, Lily Tomlin and more.

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Ken gets a novel idea, Martha makes nice for Macy’s, and Jian makes CBC Radio history

Here’s some good news — Ken Finkleman is brushing off his Smith-Corona again. The creator of The Newsroom, Foolish Hearts and so many of my

FINKLEMAN: first novel

FINKLEMAN: first novel

favourite series has signed a deal with Harper Canada for his first novel, Noah’s Crime, about the murder of a literary rival by an unemployed TV writer. Ken’s literary agent Chris Bucci of Anne McDermid Associates describes the novel as “a darkly comic cross between Martin Amis’ The Information and Dostoyevsky’s Crime And Punishment.” Sounds like pure Finkleman to me. Hope he kept the movie rights for himself. Meanwhile, his legions of television aficionados can rest easy – Ken also has a new TV series in the works, this time for TMN … always-innovative superChef Jamie Kennedy has a new treat in store for Friday night diners at his Gardiner Museum oasis. He’s pairing some spectacular new dishes with spectacularly smooth Balvenie scotch

STEWART: dining out

STEWART: dining out

whiskey. Among the VIPs sampling both at a by-invitation-only soiree this week were Newfoundland scotch connoisseurs Rick Mercer, Seamus O’Regan and Gordon Pinsent … guess that verbal dust-up with Billy Bob whatzisname didn’t do him any harm, because my spies tell me Jian Ghomeshi’s daily show Q is currently earning the highest ratings of any show in the history of CBC Radio …  Kirstie Alley wonders when TV “got so degraded.” She remembers when Cheers and Seinfeld were ‘cutting edge.’ “Now the edge is a talentless tongue!”… and Martha Stewart reports from New York that the once-vibrant Plaza Hotel is coming back to life. “Great stores on lower level, lots of tourists,” she told her tweeple earlier this week. Martha tried out the hotel’s new Oak Room restaurant, recently redesigned by Annabelle Selldorf, and said her dinner was very good. “The desserts,” she added, “were extra good!” A devoted shopper herself, La Stewart spent yesterday shooting all-star commercials for Macy’s with Mariah Carey, Usher, Queen Latifah, Tommy Hilfiger and Donald Trump, to name more than a few.

GOING DIGITAL FOR A SONG: “Our patrons are passionate and loyal, and we wanted to make sure we delivered on their expectation and with every interaction they have with the COC.”

GHOMESHI: making history

GHOMESHI: making history

So says Alexander Neef, General Director of the Canadian Opera Company, which has now launched its new and improved website where visitors “can expect the same quality from our digital experience that we demonstrate with our productions in our beautiful opera house.” New features include a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the COC’s production of Madama Butterfly; an historical timeline highlighting company milestones with commemorative photos, posters, interviews and audio and video excerpts; COC podcasts featuring musical excerpts and video highlights of select operas and exclusive artist interviews; and a blog by Neef himself, who shares his thoughts on COC productions and artists and encourages visitors to ask questions. To see for yourself, click here.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: “You can’t get mad at weather because weather’s not about you. Apply that lesson to most other aspects of life.”

The speaker? National treasure Doug Coupland, sharing wise words on twitter.

NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS: They tried it last year for the first time and it was a hit.  So the Just For Laughs Comedy Conference (July 23 – 25) is back. For more info click here …  only in Canada, you say? Only in Montreal, we

RIVERS: salute to Ed

RIVERS: salute to Ed

say.  Just For Laughs veterans Mike Ward, Max Martin and Derek Seguin are “taking da henglish to da west hiland for Canada Day.” Yes, the fearless trio of comics are set to perform their acquired-tasteful French Comedy Bastards act on July 1 at Bourbon Street West … after 14 seasons with the National Ballet of Canada, resident Lighting Designer Christopher Dennis will join the Metropolitan Opera in New York City next month … 300 lay-offs at My Space, plus the collapse of Quebec’s top TV format company Distraction, reminds us that it’s still tough sledding out there … curious about the new story-based Captain Eyeliner podcasts produced and hosted by Nobu Adilman? To find out more, click here … and Joan Rivers paid tribute to Ed McMahon on The View yesterday. When Johnny Carson refused to speak to her after she left The Tonight Show to try her luck at Fox, and instructed everyone connected with his show not to speak to or fraternize with her, Ed McMahon would spot her in a restaurant and come over to say hello. “He was always, always a gentleman.”

Now that’s class.

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