• Taylor Swift could make Country Music Awards history tonight

    The Country Music Awards are on Wednesday, and if the nominations are any indication of who will win big, country-star-turned-pop-princess Taylor Swift will reign.

    The seven-time Grammy winner once again leads the pack with a whopping six CMA nominations. Kacey Musgraves also has six nominations and Miranda Lambert and her husband Blake Shelton have five each.

    Not only did Swift receive nominations for the categories of female vocalist of the year and album of the year, but she also received a nomination for entertainer of the year, the night’s most coveted award.

    As if that wasn’t a feat in itself, Swift is the only female to be nominated for entertainer of the year four times. Swift was nominated for entertainer of the year in 2009, 2011 and 2012. She won twice. 

    This year, Swift is nominated with fellow musicians Blake Shelton, George Strait, Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean.

    After winning her second entertainer of the year award in 2011, Swift joined Barbara Mandrell as the only other female artist in CMA history to win the award twice.

    For anyone who listens to the radio, Swift's success and nominations do not come as a shock. In her career, she has been nominated for 21 CMA awards and has won seven. 

    Swift’s unbelievable success is attributed to her millions of fans and Red, her newest album, which went multi-platinum. According to Forbes, each date of Swift's Red Tour sold out in minutes, helping her become the third highest earning celebrity on Forbes’ 2013 list of top earners under 30, raking in an estimated $55 million last year.

    No one can rock bright red lipstick and high-waisted shorts like Swift can. At the age of 23, Swift has taken a lot of criticism for her relationship-driven pop songs. But, in some ways, her accolades speak for themselves. 

  • These celebrities could have been stars on the field

    It seems like everyone’s heard the same old narrative. It comes around every time Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is promoting a new movie. Yes, we get it — The Rock used to be a college football star.

    Johnson was a defensive lineman for the University of Miami during its glory days in the early ’90s. But really, talking about The Rock’s athletic career is just beating a dead horse at this point. 

    There are some celebrities out there whose former athletic feats may surprise you. Many stars, who may not seem to have any athletic ability at all, actually used to be athletic superstars in high school and some even in college. Here’s some celebrities that may surprise you.

     

    George Clooney

    Before he was a movie star, Clooney had different aspirations for fame. He hoped to be a professional baseball player, and at only 16 he was invited to try out for the Cincinnati Reds.

    He didn’t make the team, but the fact that he got the invite shows that Clooney had some real talent. It’s interesting to imagine what would have happened had the Reds let Clooney on the team. What would the world have done without “Oceans 11”?

     

    Emma Watson

    While attending Brown University, Watson played not quidditch but field hockey. But she excelled far more in classes at Hogwarts than she did on the field, as she dropped out of Brown in 2011. If only she could have conjured up a magic spell to help herself out. 

     

    Tom Selleck

    Selleck and his infamous mustache earned a basketball scholarship at the University of Southern California his senior year after walking on to the team as a junior. While he wasn’t exactly the star player of the team, he did prove to be useful.

    During practice, Selleck, along with his practice squad, would learn the offense of their next opponent to scrimmage against USC’s starters. At many times, he would act the role of Kareem Abdul-Jabaar running the UCLA offense, probably the closest he got to being an NBA star. 

     

    Burt Reynolds

    Reynolds is the one celebrity who may have had the most raw talent. As a high school sophomore, Reynolds, a fullback, was named to the All-Southern First Team and received several scholarship offers, eventually deciding to attend Florida State University.

    At FSU, Reynolds shared a room with Lee Corso, longtime college football coach and now famous broadcaster for ESPN. He had aspirations for All-American status and a future in the pros, but an injury in his first game and a subsequent car accident soon after ended his career in the sport.

    Nevertheless, Reynolds obviously enjoyed an extremely successful acting career, and his football skills paid off for him in his 1974 film “The Longest Yard,” where he played embattled quarterback Paul Crewe in what is still arguably one of the most convincing athletic performances by an actor in movie history.

  • Lunchtime Links

    Here’s a collection of links from across the cultural spectrum to distract you during your lunch hour(s).

    You can finally use your electronic devices (provided they are in airplane mode) during take-off and landing on certain airlines.

    Another gem from the Internet comes in the form of Squidward Tentacles falling in slow motion to Celine Dion music.

    Did you ever notice a stranger taking a picture of you while you were making out? Because it was probably this guy.

  • Playlist of the week: week 8, Fun Fun Fun Fest edition

    In this special edition of the playlist of the week, I made a playlist of the best songs from artists on this year's Fun Fun Fun Fest lineup. Each track is supplemented with a short commentary, giving a reason for why you should check them out.

    Slayer – “Raining Blood”

    Headlining the Orange Stage is the legendary metal band Slayer. Slayer's performance will have the crowd going wild, and fans will be eagerly waiting for the surging power of “Raining Blood” to pierce their ears. The song is fast, heavy, mean and features one of the greatest riffs in all of heavy metal. Just don’t break any bones in the mosh pit.

    Television – “See No Evil”

    Also on the Orange Stage is the 1970s art-punk band Television, one of the older acts playing at this year's festival. Although they may be old, bands playing ahead of them like The Walkmen and MGMT wouldn’t exist without these punk rockers. Their debut album Marquee Moon is one of the best in all of rock music, and opening track “See No Evil” sounds just as fresh now as it did back then.

    Ice-T – “O.G. Original Gangster”

    Everyone’s favorite SVU star is playing on the rap-centric Blue Stage, and the "cop killer" will surely be laying down some of his greatest jams. His hit “O.G. Original Gangster” is an ironic listen at this point in his career, where fans are more used to him solving crimes or walking his dog on reality TV. You’ve got to love Ice-T, though.

    Gojira – “The Axe”

    Playing on the Black Stage is French technical death-metal group Gojira. It might be hard to determine what it's screaming about half the time, but the band has an eco-friendly, environmentalist angle to its songs. They are all vegans, which is perhaps the most un-metal thing a person can do. “The Axe” is an excellent track from their newest album, and has enough double-bass peddling to massage your ears for a week. Just don’t eat any meat while listening to it.

    Tenacious D – “The Ballad of Hollywood Jack and the Rage Cage”

    The D are currently the best comedic music group around, and are rightfully headlining the Yellow Stage. Jack Black and KG are incredible entertainers and their music is seriously good. Their most recent album Rize of the Fenix is perhaps their best work yet, and “The Ballad of Hollywood Jack and the Rage Cage” shows the duo’s sweeter side. The flute-centric musical interlude two-and-a-half minutes in would seem out of place on a normal comedy album, but The D are happy to show off their songwriting chops. Don’t miss this show.

    Active Child – “Hanging On”

    Active Child is the pseudonym for dream pop artist Pat Grossi, who is playing on the Orange Stage (to match his hair?). A talented choirboy with a harp, Grossi’s angelic voice is inseparable from the synths of his music. Even though he just released a new EP, 2011’s “Hanging On” is still his best song. It’s catchy, emotional and has a great atmosphere.  

    Del the Funky Homosapien/Deltron 3030 – “3030”

    Ending off the playlist is another act on the Blue Stage, Del the Funky Homosapien. Del’s iconic voice has graced many projects throughout his career, most notably with Gorrilaz, but little can match up with the amazing Deltron 3030. Their hip-hop-era debut about giant mechs fighting in the future is one of the best hip-hop concept albums of all time. Its opening track “3030” sets the mood perfectly with a dope beat and Del’s creamy smooth flow.

  • Classic television shows and movies to be remade for the small screen

    When it comes to television entertainment, everything that is old is new again.

    In the past months several old television shows have been selected for reboots — that means new characters, new plots and a new timeline are about to transform some of television’s classic shows for a new audience.

    One buzz worthy remake set for release is "Charmed." CBS recently announced plans to revamp the '90s show that followed a trio of witches as they battled evil monsters, warlocks and demons.  While people generally seem excited about this reboot, members of the original “Charmed” cast do not share the same feelings. Rose McGowan, who starred as Paige in the original series, tweeted:

     

    Another show set for reboot is “Murder, She Wrote.” In this crime show Oscar winner Octavia Spencer is stepping into the iconic shoes of Angela Lansbury. NBC has picked up the pilot episode.

    "Fame" is another title set to be remade. Despite the fact that it has already been made into a movie, twice, “American Idol” producer Nigel Lythgoe is bringing this story of performing-art students in New York to viewers at home.

    The Syfy channel is set to launch a new series centered around the 1995 time-traveling film "12 Monkeys" starring Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis. The movie showed a post-apocalyptic world that had been devastated by a virus presumed to have been released by a terrorist organization called the Army of the Twelve Monkeys. A 90-minute pilot will kick off the season. 

    The psycho himself, Patrick Bateman, is set to return in an FX sequel to the 2000 movie "American Psycho," based on the bestselling book by Bret Easton Ellis. The series will take place years after the events described in the novel and according to FX, Bateman will take on a protege and teach him the ropes to sadistic murders.

    Thanks to NBC and actor-turned-director, Ben Stiller, the iconic '90s comedy, "Reality Bites," about Generation X is getting turned into a TV series. "Reality Bites" was originally released in 1994 and starred Winona Ryder and Ethan Hawke.

    Superhero movies are among the most commonly rebooted. The CW is debuting the DC Comic superhero "The Flash." "Glee’s" Grant Gustin will don the red suit of the lightning-fast superhero

    Travel back to the 1930s with Bonnie and Clyde in a new mini-series. Set to air on Dec. 8, "Bonnie and Clyde" stars Emile Hirsch and Holliday Grainger as the infamous couple.  The mini-series is based on the 1967 Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway film and is scheduled to air on Lifetime, A&E and the History Channel.

    Rounding out the list of TV remakes  is none other than "The Wizard of Oz." We know what you’re thinking — been there, done that multiple times. Brace yourselves for five more reboots of "The Wizard of Oz" that are already in development. One of the most bizarre remakes is a CBS medical drama based on the original novel by L. Frank Baum, entitled "Dorothy."

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