October 15th, 2009
01:18 PM ET

Garth's big news: well, that was quick

Well, the cat's out of the bag - and his name is Garth Brooks.  In the world's worst-kept secret, the country music superstar announced this morning he's officially coming out of retirement.  The 47-year-old entertainer - who famously slipped away from recording and touring nine years ago - made the proclamation at the Opry House in Nashville before whisking 40 members of the media to the airport.  They'd been told earlier to pack a small carry-on and meet at a surprise location.  Right now, those journalists are on board a private jet winging their way to Sin City.

I just arrived in Las Vegas to meet up with them for Phase 2 of Operation Comeback: a press conference at the Wynn Encore Hotel.  Kind of bummed they jumped the gun with the announcement - thought they were going to wait for everyone to convene in Vegas before divulging the big news.  Oh well.

Knowing Garth's penchant for drama, maybe there's another surprise up his sleeve.  CNN.com/Live will be carrying the presser as it goes down at 4pm EDT/1pm PDT.

October 15th, 2009
12:53 PM ET

Your pop culture cheat sheet

Here's what's happening in the world of entertainment today:

Penelope Cruz and Liza Minnelli

People reports that we're learning more details about the upcoming "Sex and the City" movie sequel. Penelope Cruz and Liza Minnelli are among the celebrities set to make cameos in the film.

Fox's animation block has been successful for a number of years, and it's looking to expand: Variety reports that an untitled show starring the voice of Jonah Hill, and another show based on the graphic novel series "The Bradleys" will soon join the ranks of "The Simpsons" and "Family Guy." This follows the success of spinoff "The Cleveland Show," which was recently picked up through 2011, according to The Los Angeles Times.

After yesterday's news on Matthew Perry's comedy being picked up by ABC, another "Friend" alum has big news: David Schwimmer will direct the dark drama "Trust," to star Clive Owen and Catherine Keener, according to Variety. The story centers around the damage inflicted on a family by an online sexual predator.

The Hollywood Reporter says that movie theater operators are angry at Paramount Pictures for scheduling the DVD releases of "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" and "The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard" for next month, less than three months after they were first released on the big screen. National Association of Theatre Owners President John Fithian calls their actions "highly objectionable," according to the paper.

They paid tribute to Patrick Swayze earlier in the season and now "Dancing with the Stars" plans a routine in memory of Michael Jackson on Tuesday, according to People.

The Los Angeles Times reports that producer Daniel Melnick died Tuesday at the age of 77. Melnick was best known for the classic movies "Network," "Kramer vs. Kramer," "All That Jazz," and the series "Get Smart."

October 15th, 2009
11:50 AM ET

Major musical announcement: tease #1

Heads up, music fans!  Look for a big surprise announcement today.

We'll reveal all in due time... just keep checking this blog and cnn.com/showbiz for details, and leave your guesses in the comments.  Think of it as a musical scavenger hunt!

October 15th, 2009
08:33 AM ET

Top 20 takes form in 'Dance'

As the Las Vegas callbacks continued last night on "So You Think You Can Dance," we said goodbye to a few more favorites from the auditions. At the same time, other dancers emerged with even more talent than one could tell judging from their original auditions.

shankman

Russell Ferguson continues to have a great shot at the top 20. Nigel Lythgoe couldn't believe what he was seeing when Russell nailed Laurieann's steps. He double-checked to be sure, and Russell told him that he has had no formal training. This guy could definitely be the next (season four winner) Joshua. Russell has since sailed through into the final group prior to picking the top 20.

We spent a lot of time last night with contemporary dancer Molly Gray, who fought through a foot injury and was determined to keep going in the competition. She barely made it through some "dumb" (to quote Mia Michaels) group choreography, but despite Nigel's criticism that she is an immature dancer, she seems top 20-bound.

Meanwhile, season five hopeful Pauline Marta was back and seemed destined to make it through this year, when she was sidelined by yet another injury. I'm not sure how she has a chance of making it through on crutches, but stranger things have happened.

Another face from the past broke out as the callbacks continued: Kevin "K'Bez" Hunte, who was extremely close to making the top 20 in the third season, performed some of Mia's choreography, and she kept repeating, "I cannot get over his technique" as she watched him.

For over-the-top reactions from the judges, however, Adam Shankman had them all beat (Mary Murphy was strangely subdued, by the way). When contemporary dancer Billy Bell took the stage for his final solo in Vegas. Adam broke down into tears and was a complete mess while watching his soaring routine. The rest of the judges agreed, so he is probably the safest bet for the top 20 (second safest would be Ellenore Scott, whose quirky ballet routine charmed last week).

The tears continued throughout the new touchy-feely Mia's contemporary routine (funny, the tears over Mia usually take place at the end of the season), and B-boy Legacy, another I've been pulling for lately, got very emotional after he took his turn at performing it. Thankfully, the judges said he has grown as a dancer, and he will go through to vie for the top 20.

Also improving - in fact, the most improved according to Nigel - is Ashleigh DiLello, who finally emerged from her husband Ryan's shadow after performing a Tyce Diorio Broadway routine. When Ryan took his turn, however, it was once again clear that he would be a better fit for the top 20.

This time, next week the top 20 will be revealed. Personally, I was overjoyed to see that tap-dancer Bianca, who we only saw a few glimpses of last night, was still in the running. Who would you like to see there?

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