November 4th, 2009
07:10 PM ET

Rihanna and Chris Brown's dueling interviews and albums

It's a publicity flurry.

Rihanna's two-part interview with "Good Morning America"'s Diane Sawyer airs Thursday and Friday. There's the December cover of Glamour magazine featuring Rihanna, recognizing her as one of their "Women of the Year." Every day it seems another Rihanna video is released, and don't forget her new album "Rated R" is due in stores November 23rd. Until now, she's been silent about the night she was left bruised and battered by then-boyfriend Chris Brown.

Tomorrow, we'll hear from Rihanna. She'll perhaps shed some light on the evening. We may learn what precipitated the blowout that ended in a smackdown. But there are two sides to every story. Rihanna's side has been dramatically illustrated by the leaked evidence photo of her swollen eyelids, bruised face and busted lips.  Chris' side includes a botched Larry King appearance, a fleeting shot of him serving his community service wearing an orange jumpsuit, and his Twitter posting with a link to a music video (made by fans) of he and Rihanna in ostensibly happier times. The video is set to Lee Carr's "The Way We Used to Be" and accompanied by Brown's apology "SORRY YALL. JUST HAD TO POST IT," with a follow-up tweet "FOR THE FELLAS: showing emotion doesn't make u weak... BEING HONEST MAKES U STRONG."

If being honest makes you strong, then perhaps we're about to see a much stronger Chris Brown. Friday at 6pm ET, his side of the story will play out in an interview with MTV's Sway. According to an MTV press release, Brown will address "the questions people have been asking."  In the 30-minute interview, the one-time R&B darling "opens up about the aftermath of his assault" and his sentence that includes anger management and community labor. Why now? Is he looking for the last word after Rihanna's two-day ABC sitdown? Could it be he also has an album to sell? Not yet, but his third album is on the way: "Graffitti" is slated to hit stores December 8th.

In the end, we have two people, two well-timed interviews, two albums to sell, and two sides of the story... with no happy ending in sight.

November 4th, 2009
06:02 PM ET

Stars turn out for the Soul Train Awards

Celebrities packed the red carpet at the 2009 Soul Train Awards at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta on Tuesday evening.

In attendance were stars from the past, present and future.

Hosted by Academy Award nominated actors Taraji P. Henson Terrence Howard, this year's show honored the careers and musical influences of Chaka Khan, Charlie Wilson, L.A. Reid, and Kenny"Baby Face" Edmonds.

Singer Charlie Wilson made a courageous appearance on the red carpet after recently recovering from early-stage prostate cancer. He encouraged fans to “get tested and learn your status.”

Beyonce, Maxwell and gospel group Mary Mary all won awards but were no shows at the event.

Famed crooners Boyz II Men were down to just two members after Shawn Stockman contracted the H1n1 virus. Were told it left the group scrambling to find replacement since the group was slated to perform.

Lisa Wu Hartwell of the "Real Housewives of Atlanta" shared some advance scoop on Thursday’s reunion show, dishing that the final episode will include more drama and she is a possible target.

Twitter was also in the house with celebrities like Claudia Jordan, Latoya Luckett, and Ginuwine all admitting to being just a little addicted to the micro-blogging site.

The 2009 Soul Train Music Awards is slated to air at 9 p.m. November 29 on BET.

November 4th, 2009
01:30 PM ET

Your pop culture cheat sheet

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

The cut "Bruno" scene featuring LaToya Jackson will be part of the movie's upcoming DVD, People reports. It was removed from the film at the last minute due to Michael Jackson's death, which occurred days before the movie's release. In the 90-second scene, Sacha Baron Cohen interviews LaToya in character as Bruno.

Tuesday night's highly-anticipated premiere of "V" paid off in the ratings for ABC, according to The Hollywood Reporter. It was the highest-rated premiere for a new scripted show so far this season.

James Franco will not only appear in several episodes of "General Hospital," he also plans to guest star on "30 Rock," according to

Variety reports that Sigourney Weaver and John C. Reilly have joined a cast which includes "The Hangover's" Ed Helms and Anne Heche for the comedy "Cedar Rapids." Weaver will play Helms' former seventh-grade teacher in the movie, which has already begun shooting.

Now on DVD: action blockbuster "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra," Denzel Washington and John Travolta in "The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3," Bush stage spoof "You're Welcome, America" starring Will Ferrell, teen comedy "I Love You, Beth Cooper," family fare "Aliens in the Attic," documentary "Food, Inc.," Hitchcock classic "North by Northwest: 50th Anniversary Edition," plus TV sets "Star Wars The Clone Wars: The Complete Season One," "G.I. Joe: Season 1.2" and "Ruby-Spears Superman."

November 4th, 2009
12:14 PM ET

Rihanna: Woman of the Year?

Glamour magazine  has just revealed it is naming  Rihanna a “Woman of the Year.” She is being honored alongside the likes of Euna Lee and Laura Ling, Michelle Obama and Maya Angelou.

Glamour says  it is giving Rihanna this award because, in  Glamour's  November issue, Rihanna talks openly for the first time about domestic violence. Rihanna tells Glamour, “Domestic violence is a great big secret. I want to give as much insight as I can to young women… to help speak for them.” As is a sad fact by now, Rihanna was brutally beaten by ex-boyfriend, Chris Brown in February, right before the Grammy Awards.

I, along with many other women, have been waiting for the moment when Rihanna would publicly discuss her personal tragedy. Whether she likes it or not, she is a role model to the young women who buy her albums and emulate her style. Her silence for the last 8 months is a decision I respect – it is her business. But the fact is, that silence has sent a mixed message to her young female fans about domestic violence.

Rihanna should be commended for finally speaking out about domestic violence. I imagine it took a lot of courage for her to discuss such a personal tragedy so publicly. But that doesn’t qualify her to be honored in Glamour Magazine’s “Women of the Year” issue. Yes, it’s a good first step that Rihanna is finally ready to come forward and talk about her experience on that terrible night in February. Yes, Rihanna has every right to talk about this experience in her own due time and in her own way. We’re all ready to support her in this endeavor. But that doesn’t make Rihanna a prime candidate to be celebrated in Glamour Magazine with Maya Angelou and Michelle Obama.

Let’s see how Rihanna grows into this role and how she reaches out to these young women she speaks of. Let’s support her as she continues to speak out about domestic violence. But celebrating Rihanna simply because she has spoken out for the first time about this incident does not make her a “Woman of the Year.”

November 4th, 2009
10:43 AM ET

Star gets surprise on 'DWTS' elimination

“Iron Chef’s” Mark Dacascos and former Dallas Cowboy Michael Irvin didn’t look surprised to be in the bottom three on “Dancing with the Stars” Tuesday night.

Singer Aaron Carter, on the other hand, looked stunned.

Just the day before, he received two perfect scores for an energetic jive that got rave reviews from the judges. Carter, who has been struggling so far in the competition, seemed ecstatic.

Fast-forward to elimination night and the mood was quite different. The singer couldn’t seem to believe that he would either be cut right away or have to fight to stay in the show in a dance off.

Irvin was the first celebrity to be shown the door, which left Carter and Dacascos to battle it out for a spot in the competition.

Dacascos, who was pummeled by the judges on Monday for his samba, performed the cha cha for the dance off, which judge Len Goodman called “top notch.” (Judge Bruno Tonioli expressed his admiration by throwing in a “Hollywood Madam” Heidi Fleiss reference, which left the audience stunned for a moment.)

Carter did another great jive, which tipped the scales in his favor and meant he could stay in the competition - for now.

What did you think of the results?

Post by: ,
Filed under: Dancing With The Stars • television
November 4th, 2009
09:29 AM ET

'Dance' eliminates two tappers

It's officially a "So You Think You Can Dance" season now that we've been blown away by a few dances, and had a couple of emotional goodbyes to some early favorites on Tuesday night's show. Last week's injured Noelle was back but the judge's chair set aside for Paula Abdul, alas, remained empty as the top 18 took the stage.

Unfortunately for Noelle, her first performance with Russell didn't fit the bill. Their tennis-inspired hip-hop dance was just a mess, and it just goes to show you that not every routine involving a prop is a winner.

Also looking bad out there were Channing and Phillip, who admitted that they struggled through a samba with some of the most awkward lifts I've ever seen on the show.

I had high hopes for Victor and Bianca's "Color Purple"-inspired routine but they just didn't bring the passion that was required. By this point, it was pretty clear to see that two of these six dancers probably wouldn't be back.

But enough about the sub-par performances, because there was also plenty to cheer about last night: Jakob continues to blow everyone away, and his partner Ashleigh finally matched him in their Viennese waltz.

Fellow ballroom dancer Karen shined brightly as well, absolutely nailing a NASCAR-inspired hip-hop dance with partner Kevin. The judges heaped praise on her, and this week, at least, I agree with them.

So far, this show has batted 1,000 with Bollywood routines, and I have to agree with judge Mary Murphy that Nathan and Mollee brought a new energy to it. Mollee especially took it to the next level.

Legacy, however, brought it to the next dimension. He and Kathryn, whose contemporary routine about fear brought the house down, are quickly becoming my favorite couple. I have to agree with the judges that he is surprising us at every turn with his growth.

The excellent performances continued, as Peter and Pauline flawlessly inhabited characters trapped in a Van Gogh painting (a Wade Robson production, of course, which I definitely liked more than the judges), and Ellenore delivered an incredible Argentine tango with Ryan, despite the fact that her dress was caught in her heel during most of it.

As the judges made their picks for the bottom four, it was already clear that this would be tapper Phillip's swan song, and he gave an emotional goodbye speech, mentioning the fact that half of the dancers showed up at his father's funeral just days before, and even the unflappable Cat Deeley couldn't hold back the tears. It was less predictable, and a real shame to say farewell to another tapper on the same night: Bianca, who had one of the most infectious personalities of anyone in the top 20.

Next week, the audience finally gets to weigh in on who should stay and who should go. Do you agree that Bianca deserved another shot? Did Ashleigh, Mollee, Legacy and Karen wow you this week as well? Post a video iReport or comment below.

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Our daily cheat-sheet for breaking celebrity news, Hollywood buzz and your pop-culture obsessions.