This week’s pop culture headlines varied from the latest albums on sale, ranging from Kanye to the Killers, to the anticipated upcoming release of the much-hyped film “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.”
No fewer than four big-name superstar artists signed on as judges and mentors for reality competition shows this week. “American Idol” debuted its new lineup only hours before the judges’ first day on the job. “The Immortal Dawg” Randy Jackson joins the previously announced Mariah Carey along with two new additions: country heartthrob Keith Urban and pop-rap whirlwind Nicki Minaj, who promises to add fresh genre perspective and youthfulness to an aging franchise. Meanwhile, NBC announced that Usher and Shakira will fill the gap left by Cee Lo Green and Christina Aguilera on the spring installment of “The Voice.”
Sept. 18 was a banner day for album releases. Summer sensation Carly Rae Jepsen attempts to distance herself from “Call Me Maybe” with “Kiss,” and P!nk’s first studio album in four years, “The Truth About Love,” features duets with Eminem and Nate Ruess. For stadium rock fans, The Killers’ “Battle Born” should satisfy cravings for huge guitars and shout-along choruses, while lovers of indie rock can spin Grizzly Bear’s stellar fourth album, “Shields.” Finally, the new compilation from Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music rap crew wins the award for most star power, with contributions from R. Kelly, John Legend, Big Sean, 2 Chainz, Pusha T and multiple others on the “Cruel Summer” release.
The Perks of Being a Movie
Most films adapted from literary works risk tainting or subverting the vision of the original work, but the new film “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” avoids that stigma. Stephen Chbosky, the author himself, wrote the screenplay and directed this critically acclaimed adaptation of his bestselling teen angst novel, which follows troubled teenager Charlie (Logan Lerman of “Percy Jackson” fame) through his tumultuous high school years. The cast also features Emma Watson in her most prominent post-“Harry Potter” role yet Nina Dobrev, star of “The Vampire Diaries” and Mae Whitman, a valuable player on NBC’s “Parenthood.”
For the second year in a row, a cavalcade of pop superstars took over the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas for a two-night extravaganza sponsored by the music recommender iHeartRadio. The first night’s festivities boasted a superstar duet featuring P!nk and No Doubt’s Gwen Stefani; a high-energy set from Usher that drew comparisons to Michael Jackson; and a volatile performance from Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, who unleashed numerous expletives upon the crowd after the band’s set time was slashed in half. The second night drew attention for Prince’s surprise duet with Mary J. Blige. Highlights from the festival will be packaged into an upcoming TV special.
A “Premiere” Week For TV Addicts
Primetime, most recently a cheesy reality wasteland, will be booming this week as the official TV season begins, leading to time management issues for college students who double as TV aficionados. CBS’ hit comedy “How I Met Your Mother” is back for what may be its final season. Over on ABC, a parade of “all-stars” has infiltrated the ballroom on “Dancing with the Stars.” FOX’s Tuesday night comedy block features two new shows, Mindy Kaling’s “The Mindy Project” and family comedy “Ben and Kate,” and two returning favorites, “New Girl” and “Raising Hope.” The scheduling conflicts will mount quickly.