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Grammy TV audience edges up as female-packed show gets warm reviews

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Grammy TV audience edges up as female-packed show gets warm reviews

61st Grammy Awards – Show – Los Angeles, California, U.S., February 10, 2019 – Ricky Martin and Camila Cabello perform. Picture taken February 10, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The U.S. television audience for Sunday’s Grammy Awards show on CBS rose slightly, to 19.9 million viewers, Nielsen ratings data showed on Monday.

That was just ahead of the 19.8 million television viewers who tuned in last year for the highest honors in the U.S. music industry.

Sunday’s 3-1/2-hour show, hosted by R&B singer Alicia Keys, saw country singer Kacey Musgraves take home the album of the year Grammy for “Golden Hour,” as well as a breakthrough for rap music and a strong showing by women.

Many millions more watched part of the show, CBS said, or interacted on social media. Citing social media analytics platform Netbase, CBS said the show was the most social TV event in the past two years, with more social impressions on the day of the event than the Super Bowl last week.

Despite the absence of many stars, including rapper Childish Gambino whose searing “This is America” won both record and song of the year, most reviewers found the Grammys telecast an improvement on previous years.

Entertainment Weekly called it a “high energy show” while Slate.com said much of the show was “more enjoyable, if often oddball, and most of the award picks less infuriating than usual.”

Some of the most-talked-about moments came from Lady Gaga, who took home two Grammys, and a Motown medley performed by Jennifer Lopez.

Hollywood trade publication Variety said Gaga’s glam rock version of her “A Star is Born” ballad “Shallow” was “one of the evening’s few duds.” But Entertainment Weekly liked what it called her “ravenous new version” of the song.

Many viewers on social media attacked the choice of Lopez, who has Puerto Rican heritage, as the singer of Motown hits originally made famous by African-American artists in the 1960s and 1970s.

Reporting by Jill Serjeant and Lisa Richwine; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Leslie Adler

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Recap: ‘Game of Thrones,’ Season 8, Episode 2 – Winterfell prepares for an epic battle

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Recap: 'Game of Thrones,' Season 8, Episode 2 – Winterfell prepares for an epic battle

In the follow-up to the highly anticipated premiere of the last season of “Game of Thrones,” we rejoin the families in Winterfell as they prepare to combat the Night King and his army of the dead.

[Spoiler Alert: The remainder of this article will discuss Season 8, Episode 1 of “Game of Thrones”]

The second episode opens on a tense scene between Daenerys and Jamie Lanniester, as Khaleesi seethes with rage while confronting the man who murdered her father, lovingly known as the Mad King. After a lengthy debate about his trustworthiness, which was supplemented by a powerful character defense by Breanne of Tarth, it is eventually determined that Jamie should be allowed to stay and fight in Winterfell. It then thrusts Jamie into awkward conversations with various individuals at the castle who he’s wronged throughout the last decade, as it’s noted that he’s caused a lot of pain for many who have decided, for the most part, to let bygones be bygones as they attempt to fight for their lives against the undead.

RECAP: GAME OF THRONES, SEASON 8 EPISODE 1: A REUNION IN WINTERFELL

The episode as a whole feels like a filler piece – grappling between the dramatic escalations that took place last week, and will take place again next week during what’s certain to be an epic battle.

Throughout the hour-long episode, we see the majority of the show’s main characters coping in their own ways with what they see as almost certain death.

It’s evident at this point that Cersei is certainly not fulfilling her promise to bring her troops to Winterfell to fight for the living, which has angered Daenerys to the point that she begins to doubt Tyrion’s intelligence as the hand of the queen.

It’s also drummed up drama between Daenerys and Sansa, who, given her complicated history with Cersei, knew it wasn’t wise to ever take her for her word. Daenerys approaches Sansa and extends an olive branch, and the two actually appear to quash their differences for a moment. That is, until, Sansa raises the question of what will happen to the north should Daenerys take the iron throne. Sansa makes it abundantly clear that she doesn’t intend to give up her home to another ruler again, and fans know that Daenerys doesn’t take kindly to those threatening her authority.

GAME OF THRONES SEASON 8: WHAT PEOPLE ARE SEARCHING FOR

It is revealed about half way through the episode by the remaining members of the Nights Watch and Tormund Giantsbane that they have had to go around the Night King on their way to Winterfell, and that the undead will reach the castle by morning.

The remainder of the episode is filled with emotional moments as the characters express what the feel they must before the battle.

Milesandre and Grey Worm, undoubtedly the best love story of the series, discuss where they might spend the rest of their days together should they survive. As many anticipated after the first episode, Arya makes a move on Gendry, saying that she wants to know what it’s like to be with a man before she dies.

Tyrion predictably copes by sitting in front of a fire and drinking wine, eventually garnering a group of some of the show’s best characters to join him. After a discussion about how Breanne has never been knighted despite her impeccable service, Jamie knights her himself. We see a softer side to Breanna here, as she’s faced with reconciling the feelings she’s long had for Jamie that she’s never confronted.

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We end the episode in the tombs once again, as Jon stands in front of a statue of his mother, Lyanna Stark. Daenerys joins him, sensing him withdrawing from her as he obviously grapples with the realization that he is in love with her, but she is, in fact, his aunt.

When Jon reveals this to her, she’s rightfully shaken up, but more concerned about the fact that Jon now has more of a legitimate claim than her to the Iron Throne.

Tune in next week as we recap what is sure to be an eventful battle scene on the next episode of “Game of Thrones.”

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MTV contest winner reveals details of wild weekend with Van Halen in 1984

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MTV contest winner reveals details of wild weekend with Van Halen in 1984

In 1984, MTV gave contest winner Kurt Jefferis a chance to party all weekend with his heroes: the notoriously depraved band Van Halen.

The then-fledgling music-video channel flew Jefferis and a pal from Phoenixville, Pa., to Detroit, where they met up with the band at Cobo Hall. First things first, Jefferis told The Post, “a guy handed me a bottle of Jack Daniels. I took a sip and asked for more.” After being passed a joint, “I took a couple hits and a couple more swigs of Jack Daniels.”

During the show, Jefferis got smashed in the face with cake and showered in champagne by the band members, then he went backstage where there was a feast of lobster, filet mignon and cocaine.

“I did a couple lines. Then David [Lee Roth, the singer] said, ‘I think Kurt needs Tammy,’ ” Jefferis recalled.

The groupie “took off her clothes and started dancing naked. The two of us wound up together in the shower.”

After that, things got fuzzy. Unbeknownst to MTV, Jefferis had suffered brain trauma a couple of years earlier, as a result of falling 13 feet over a stairwell, and was not equipped to handle Van Halen-level partying.

Read more from the New York Post.

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Kanye West brings Sunday service to Coachella for Easter

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Kanye West brings Sunday service to Coachella for Easter

As promised, Kanye West brought his “Sunday Service” to Coachella on Easter morning, as dozens of musicians, singers and dancers performed a set of spiritual songs, covers and songs by the rapper himself — including a new one called “Water” — for an audience of thousands from a hilltop on the festival grounds in Indio, Calif. While he rapped briefly on a couple of songs, West was generally the ringleader of the service, as he has been on previous incarnations in California and Oregon since he began leading the service early in January.

To reach the site, Coachella attendees walked some distance from the festival’s parking section to a cordoned-off area of the campground. A full band — complete with harp — was set up on the plateaued top of a circular mound covered with freshly laid sod. A waist-high fence surrounded the hill, which had a sort of VIP area extending up another grassy hill behind the stage. Across the field, patrons could purchase food and beverages including orange juice, coffee and smoothies, plus chicken and waffles, breakfast tacos and burritos. Yet many more were interested in the “church clothes,” — a.k.a. merch — for sale, including sweatshirts for $165-$225, “Jesus Walks” socks for $50, $70 T-shirts reading “Trust God” on the front and “Sunday Service at the Mountain” on the back.

The service opened with a slightly eerie organ prelude, as West and the dozens-strong choir, glad in purple-beige robes, made their way toward the hill. Gradually they arrayed in a circle around it while more robe-clad singers and dancers arrayed atop the hill behind the stage.

After around 15 minutes of prelude, percussion kicked in and the band began playing jazz-fusion-flavored music reminiscent of Stevie Wonder’s and Roy Ayers’ early ‘70s albums. It was a large band, with at least five percussionists, a big horn section, a harpist as well as the dozens-strong choir, all of whom were wearing headset microphones.

After about 20 minutes the musicians stopped playing, except for a single guitarist keeping rhythm, as West took the stage alongside the percussionists, fist-bumping bandmembers along the way.

The music resumed, switching between the full band and organ prelude music, with a pair of vocalists scat-singing while more choir members filed onto the hill, occasionally saying “He is risen!”

The livestream occasionally pulled back to an aerial shot that showed how the performance area, with the cleared grass around it, resembled an eye. (Many commentators on social media also pointed out the setup’s similarity to the fictional world of the surreal 1990s children’s TV show “TeleTubbies”.)

After about 45 minutes the singing began in earnest, with the choirleader exhorting the singers as well as the crowd: “Come on, turn up a little volume on that praise! Can we hear that name one more time? He is Jesus!”

After a gospel vamp around the phrase “You’re the only power!,” the singer suddenly broke into the chant from West’s 2010 hit “Power,” clapping out the rhythm. That quickly morphed into “Higher,” and another that seemed to be a rearrangement of Otis Redding’ “Try a Little Tenderness” with a chorus of “Jesus won’t leave us,” then Stevie Wonder’s “As” and then a stirring take on Soul II Soul’s 1990 hit “Back to Life,” the chorus of which sounded stunning sung a capella by a gospel choir.

The music gradually segued into Teyana Taylor singing her West-produced “Never Would Have Made It,” which morphed into a take on West’s “Fade,” which itself interpolates Motown artists Rare Earth’s cover of the Temptations’ “(I Know) I’m Losing You.”

INDIO, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 20: Kanye West performs during 2019 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival on April 20, 2019 in Indio, California. (Photo by Timothy Norris/Getty Images for Coachella)

INDIO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 20: Kanye West performs during 2019 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival on April 20, 2019 in Indio, California. (Photo by Timothy Norris/Getty Images for Coachella)

The choirmaster continued to lead the choir through vamps on phrases like “We absorb the light” and “We have everything we need.” Dozens more dancers were arrayed around the hills surrounding the performance area, breaking out synchronized dance moves.

Through the performance, West — with his short-cropped hair dyed several shades of purple— was beaming and joining in, but not really performing until toward the end, when he sat down at a keyboard and chopped up some soulful vocal samples with beats while a choir member danced.

“Ye, we all want some of that brighter day!” the choirmaster shouted as the choir broke into Kirk Franklin’s song of the same name.

The group continued vamping on various phrases and snippets of songs — we even think we heard someone briefly say “Poopity scoop,” a reference to West’s jokey song “Lift Yourself” — until finally West picked up a mic and, with his voice hoarse, rapped on “All Falls Down,” with the choir joining him on the chorus.

He then announced a new song called “Water,” a low-key song with spiritually themed lyrics and a gentle rhythm revolving around the chorus “We are water,” closing with some verses from “Ultralight Beam.” After more extended vamping, the set ended with a long take on West’s 2004 song “Jesus Walks”; West picked up the mic and hoarsely rapped the song’s verses, finishing on his knees on the hilltop as cameras and applauding singers surrounded him.

Finally, he rose and smiled at the camera, pausing for several long moments before the band played a medley of gospel and soul covers and the dancers filed off of the hill.

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