TIME Television

No Such Thing as Too Many Hosts for SNL 40’s Epic Opening Monologue

Miley Cyrus, Paul McCartney, Tom Hanks, Billy Crystal, Steve Martin and so many many more.

Saturday Night Live is pulling out all the stops for the 40th anniversary and that meant a high bar for the opening monologue. Steve Martin started the show, which was a brilliant choice. Despite never being an official cast member, he has appeared on the show a mind-boggling 27 times and is responsible for some of its most memorable sketches. (King Tut, anyone?)

Martin set out to give a rousing speech on the importance of comedians in SNL history, but was quickly interrupted by Tom Hanks demanding that actors be given the same status.

Never to be outdone, Alec Baldwin arrived (sans “Schweddy Balls”) on the stage to point out that he had hosted more than anyone else (16 times and counting!). To bust up the guys’ club, Melissa McCarthy arrived to remind the world that people other than “80-year-old white guys” had hosted the show.

Then Miley Cyrus, Chris Rock and Peyton Manning all arrived in rapid succession, followed by Billy Crystal, introducing himself to Martin: “It’s Steve, right?” Not satisfied with having a billion dollars worth of star power on stage, Sir Paul McCartney and Paul Simon arrived on the scene to play a few bars, too.

Even by SNL standards, that’s an impressive opener.

TIME Music

Christina Aguilera Wants These Women to Record the Next ‘Lady Marmalade’

Christina Aguilera
Brian Bowen Smith—NBC Christina Aguilera is a coach on the eighth season of The Voice.

The singer talks to TIME about rejoining The Voice, her "Dirrty" days and her new album

It’s already been a busy week for Christina Aguilera, and she hasn’t even made her big return to television yet. On Sunday, Aguilera won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for “Say Something,” her 2013 hit with A Great Big World. This Sunday, she’s kicking off the 64th NBA All-Star game at Madison Square Garden. And later this month on Feb. 23, she’ll return as a coach on NBC’s The Voice alongside Blake Shelton, Adam Levine and Pharrell Williams after taking two seasons off to focus on motherhood. (She welcomed daughter Summer Rain Rutler last August.)

TIME caught up with the singer to talk about her home life, her plans for 2015 and what advice she has for Nick Jonas.

TIME: Congratulations on your Grammy win! Were you at the ceremony?

Christina Aguilera: No, I’m in steady dance rehearsals and vocal rehearsals for this Sunday, for the NBA kick-off performance. It’s a whole tribute to New York — I’ve got the Rockettes joining me and a special guest. I’m very fired up for this specific performance because it’s such exciting, classic material revamped. And then I had to record late [Sunday] night for a soundtrack deadline, so I was unable to attend. I think if I had had a record out, I would have made the trip. Maybe next year! But I was so happy. I felt the boys won it more than me. It was such an innocent, pure intention of a song that truly didn’t ask for anything — so humble in its approach. It didn’t have any formula. It was very honest with just a simple piano and a vocal. It was real music. It was truly organic. I was so happy to see such talented guys take that win.

Did you miss spinning around in those chairs on The Voice?

Yeah, the chairs can be kind of fun! Too bad it only lasts for the first section — the blind auditions — then there’s no more spinning.

What a bummer.

But that’s also a very nerve-wracking time because you feel the performer and the nerves they’re going through, and you feel nerves for yourself. You get hesitant on pushing your button sometimes, because you don’t want to fill your team too fast, but then you feel nervous that you might be letting some great talent go. It’s such a weird mind game at the end of the day. Truly, the company I come back to is so fun. I always have a great laugh with the boys. They kept it pretty hilarious for me, which is really important. I would be bored behind the scenes if I wasn’t coming back to Blake and Adam’s craziness.

You took two seasons off to focus on being a mom. Did you pick up any new hobbies while you weren’t on The Voice?

I don’t think anything new. I was consistent with my yoga throughout my pregnancy. I moved into a new house, actually, which has been taking up a lot of time and energy. Unpacking boxes, having a five-month-old — so just normal life stuff, which is awesome. It’s very important for me to stay grounded and keep honesty within my music and my artistry. No real vacations or anything like that. I pretty much stayed in L.A. and spent time with my son, my family and myself” writing music, gaining inspiration for my new future endeavors — my record being the biggest part of that.

Your son Max just turned 7. How long before he finds an old Christina Aguilera video on YouTube and asks, “Mom, can we talk about what happened in 2002?”

Luckily, he hasn’t discovered that yet. But it’s scary what’s out there for him to find: certain movies, certain song lyrics that I’m even hearing him come home with. I’m like, “Where did you hear that?” All of a sudden it’s like — oh my God, when did I become the parent?

What is he singing that you’re not wild about?

Oh my goodness, just songs with certain lyrical references. It could be anything as innocent as Beyoncé to songs about baking soda, you know what I mean? It’s crazy. It’s different for me because I really separate my business hat from my mom hat, to the point where my son will come back from school and basically say, “How do kids at school know who you are, Mom?” Because I literally am so sweatpants and flip-flops and no makeup at home. That’s my real time. Then I transition into an artist mode, which I keep completely separate. It’s tapping into a different side of myself, a side that I do for me. Even though it’s extremely hard sometimes to juggle all the different hats at once, it’s important for me to do that. But yeah, technology is so crazy — what’s accessible at your fingertips now. I’m a little scared.

But I know that I had really important principles for me at the time, and there’s a place and time for everything. Back in my “Dirrty” days, that was an empowering moment for me, when I was 21 and coming into my own. I will always explain to him the reasons why Mommy did X, Y and Z. They were plentiful! I’m prepared to tell him about who I am as an artist, and why he’s able to live the life that he now lives. It’s a lot better than how I was brought up!

I noticed Nick Jonas is a mentor for your team this season; he, like you, began his career very young and shocked people when he suddenly showed off a more adult side. What advice would you give him about that transition?

I love it when people go out on a limb and try new things. It’s very risky, and you never know how people are going to receive you, but that’s part of being a good artist and staying true to yourself. Whether people like it or not, you have to be the person that you really are inside. To be able to explore and experiment and be unafraid to take risks is, to me, the most important thing about what we do as artists. I don’t like when it gets too safe and people are afraid to make mistakes because of failure. I’m one that throws caution to the wind, and sometimes that ends in highs and lows. But you have to take the risks — you have to take certain chances and you have to live life. My biggest fear is that at the end of it all, I’ll look back and say, “I wish I would have had the guts to try that.” But so far, I put myself out on a limb, and that’s part of the beauty of challenging yourself — looking back at your body of work and being able to say, “Wow, I’m so glad I had the confidence to do that, to go out there, take matters into my own hands and have the balls to take it to my level.”

You worked with Sia several years before she had her big moment at the Grammys.

I like your research there. Sia, Nicki Minaj — yeah, I had a lot of great people on Bionic before crazy stuff happened.

So you clearly have an eye for spotting rising talent. If you had to pick artists for a 2015 version of “Lady Marmalade” [the 2001 song Aguilera recorded with Pink, Mya, Lil Kim and Missy Elliot], who would they be?

Miley would be great in that mix, because I think she’s a great risk taker and has a lot of fun. Maybe Nicki Minaj. Those are the two that directly come to mind. But I actually thought “Bang Bang” [featuring Minaj, Jessie J and Ariana Grande] was a pretty good “Lady Marmalade” reference, in a way. It’s always great to see girls come together — especially in the face of the media sometimes, trying to pit us against each other. It’s never ending, no matter how young or old you are. Anytime I can encourage girls to get together and actually support each other and encourage risk-taking, I’m all for it. I love it. So yeah, I’m waiting for the next new group of people.

A version of this story will appear in the Feb. 23 issue of TIME, on newsstands this Friday.

TIME celebrities

Miley Cyrus Admits She Can’t Spell Boyfriend Patrick Schwarzenegger’s Last Name

The DAILY FRONT ROW "Fashion Los Angeles Awards" - Show
Frederick M. Brown—Getty Images Singer Miley Cyrus attends "Fashion Los Angeles Awards" at the Sunset Tower Hotel on January 22, 2015 in California.

The singer also said she's not as "wild" as people think

Miley Cyrus admitted that she has no clue how to spell her famous boyfriend‘s tough last name.

“I can’t tell you, apparently there’s not a ‘T’ in it,” Cyrus, 22, said when asked Friday by Good Morning America‘s Cameron Mathison about how she might spell current love interest Patrick Schwarzenegger‘s difficult moniker.

Cyrus went on the show to promote her new MAC Cosmetics Viva Glam campaign, which donates 100 percent of proceeds from her lipstick to the MAC AIDS fund. She also shared her passion for working at the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

The “Wrecking Ball” singer defended herself as a role model for youth, noting that what she promotes is acceptance.

“What is important to teach people is that … you can’t judge other people,” she said, adding that she, too, has been unfairly criticized.

“I’m not the way that people try to make me seem … I don’t go around just trashing hotel rooms and partying, that I’m actually working on, you know, music that I love and being involved in things that I love,” Cyrus told GMA.

Cyrus also said she was “stoked” by her Grammy Award nomination but that she doubts she’ll win.

And in an interview with Entertainment Tonight, she said her actions are often wrongly portrayed in media, making her seem wild.

“I think people try to make me seem a lot less centered than I am,” Cyrus said. “You make choices and sometimes they’re right, sometimes they’re wrong just like in life. [My choices] are magnified and people kind of try to make you seem out of control when actually I’m a pretty happy, centered person that likes to do a lot of things for people. I’m not driven by just my own self and wanting more.”

This article originally appeared on People.com.

TIME celebrities

Miley Cyrus and Patrick Schwarzenegger’s Siblings Are Also Dating

Hollywood celebs keeping it in the family

Miley Cyrus’s brother Braison and Patrick Schwarzenegger’s sister Christina are dating.

According to E! News, the pair hit it off after meeting at Miley’s 22nd birthday party in November and started seeing each other in December, a month after Miley and Patrick began their romance.

Braison even posted a couple of pictures to his Instagram with him and Christina looking adorable.

Twenty-year-old Braison is a singer-songwriter and Christina, 23, is a graduate from Georgetown University.

Christina and Patrick hail from the Kennedy-Shwarzenegger clan, with mother Maria Shriver, a journalist, and father Arnold Schwarzenegger, the actor and former Governor of California.

[eonline]

TIME Music

Writing Party in the U.S.A. Paid Jessie J’s Rent for 3 Years

93.3 FLZ's Jingle Ball 2014  - Show
Alexander Tamargo—Getty Images Jessie J performs onstage during 93.3 FLZ’s Jingle Ball 2014.

The 2009 hit went 7-times platinum

Just when you finally got it out of your head, Miley Cyrus’ hit song Party in the U.S.A. is making headlines again.

Singer and songwriter Jessie J told Glamour UK that she cashed out big by writing the 2009 jam with Dr. Luke and Claude Kelly. “Party in the USA paid my rent for, like, three years,” she said. “Actually it was longer than that. That’s where I get most of my money. I write songs. I’m a singer. I love doing endorsements and stuff, but that’s all added on.”

The song went on to become seven-times platinum.

[Glamour UK]

TIME Music

The 2015 Grammy Nominations Had a Few Surprises After All

Meghan Trainor
Jens Kalaene—picture-alliance/dpa/AP Meghan Trainor

Taylor Swift got nominated for best vocals over Beyoncé?

The record of the year competition? Meghan Trainor is all about that race.

Trainor, the 20-year old star behind this summer’s surprise hit “All About That Bass,” is one of four acts competing in a surprisingly pop-driven field for one of the Grammys’ top prizes, honoring a song’s performance and production. She’s joined by Iggy Azalea (with Charli XCX) for “Fancy,” Sia for “Chandelier,” Taylor Swift for “Shake It Off,” and Sam Smith for “Stay With Me (Darkchild Version).” Nominations in several categories have already been announced, and the album of the year prize is set to be announced tonight.

All five of the record of the year nominees were major chart hits, marking a continuation of last year’s drawing from chart-toppers like “Get Lucky” and “Blurred Lines.” Before last year’s pop buffet, slightly lower-fi and more rock-driven acts including Bon Iver and the Black Keys managed to get into the race. But it’s the least aggressively poppy of the nominees that has to be considered the frontrunner: Sam Smith has been collecting nominations throughout the announcement period, including best new artist (alongside Iggy Azalea, Bastille, HAIM, and Brandy Clark) and best pop solo performance (alongside John Legend for “All of Me,” Sia for “Chandelier,” Swift for “Shake It Off,” and Pharrell Williams for “Happy”).

Smith’s strength across the nomination field portends a big night, not least because he’s in the mold of recent British R&B-inflected vocalists Amy Winehouse and Adele, both of whom dominated the Grammys. He at least can be considered a frontrunner in the most hilarious category announced so far, best pop vocal album. The field was stretched to six to ensure there’d be room for everyone from Ed Sheeran and Coldplay (the Timberlake-alike x and the breakup record Ghost Stories) to Ariana Grande and Katy Perry (the wildly mixed bags My Everything and Prism) to first-time nominee Miley Cyrus (Bangerz).

It’s fairly surprising, given the pop-driven bent of the record of the year nominees, that “Happy” didn’t find its way in — or, given her historical strength with the awards-giving body, that Beyoncé showed vulnerability by not finding her way into the pop solo performance category for “Pretty Hurts,” the song she submitted. (She has been nominated for best urban contemporary album alongside four artists not named Beyoncé.)

But perhaps the biggest surprise, so far, is that all five of the best new artist nominees, people in a category that famously plays by its own rules, are only on their first album.

TIME Culture

In Free the Nipple Movie, Women Go Topless for Equality

“Someone is definitely getting arrested.”

Censorship matters to Lina Esco, whose new film Free the Nipple tells the story of a group of activists challenging laws by baring their chests in the streets.

For Esco, “It’s not about going topless, it’s about equality.” The movie grew out of a real-life campaign that questions a country that glorifies violence in the media but removes a woman from a flight for breastfeeding her baby. As one of the fictional activists says in the trailer, “Our sexuality has been taken away from us and is essentially being sold back to us.”

The movement got a jump-start when Miley Cyrus, who has faced plenty of censorship herself, tweeted a picture of herself holding a fake nipple last December, accompanied by the hashtag #freethenipple. It’s not lost on Esco that the sensationalism of a bunch of topless women can only help to spread the word about her cause. “If I would have made a movie called ‘Equality,’ and no one was going topless,” she acknowledged to Entertainment Weekly, “nobody would be talking about it.”

Free the Nipple hits theaters on Dec. 12.

TIME Media

Kim Kardashian’s Butt Is an Empty Promise

Kim Kardashian Paper Magazine
Jean-Paul Goude—Paper

Brian Moylan is a writer and pop culture junkie.

The celebutante's exaggerated behind on the cover of a magazine offers no truth or insight. It only makes us think about how it looks like a glazed Krispy Kreme donut

Last night Paper magazine released two of their latest covers, one featuring Kim Kardashian and the other one featuring an even more famous celebrity: Kim Kardashian’s butt. They were emblazoned with the words “Break the Internet,” and they certainly did. The images instantly shot to the highest currency in today’s media: they were trending. But that’s pretty much all they were. There is nothing behind that butt other than it being a really nice butt. That is the end–pun intended–of it.

This is not the first time that we have seen Kim Kardashian’s posterior. And it is not the first time that we have seen Kim Kardashian naked on the cover of a magazine. Strangely enough, she suggested back in 2010, the last time she was naked on a cover, that she wouldn’t pose nude again. She already broke that promise once this year, baring it all for British GQ. We had to know that it wouldn’t be true in hind sight (get it?).

The funny thing about Kim’s latest butt-shot is that all it is intended to do is create a frenzy, much like her famous “belfie” (which is a butt selfie for those of you at home who have better things to pay attention to). There is no reason Kim Kardashian wants to show off her ass or #BreakTheInternet other than because she can, she is expected to, and we fall for the trap every damn time.

It’s really provocation for provocation’s sake, the cheapest kind of stunt. Miley Cyrus, pop music’s current firebrand, was naked on the cover of Rolling Stone licking her shoulder. She revealed less physically, but more intellectually. It was that tongue hanging out, a pose she has repeated again and again while twerking. These moves, and, of course her memorable VMA performance with Robin Thicke, made us all think about cultural appropriation, female sexuality, third wave feminism, and what is appropriate behavior for a celebrity with such a large fan base of young women. Kim Kardashian’s butt on Paper magazine only makes us think about how it looks like a glazed Krispy Kreme donut.

Speaking of pop music provocation, this is nothing that Madonna didn’t do better, first, or smarter several decades ago. Everything from writhing around in her wedding dress on the first ever VMAs to her book Sex was pushing the envelope, but it was always with a purpose. It was about freeing herself from the shackles of the Catholic Church and conventional morality and showing the world that women can own their sexuality without being exploited.

And these aren’t the only women. Joan Rivers (RIP) was telling jokes that often raised controversy to show that if we can laugh at the Holocaust or 9/11, we can ease the pain we still feel about it. Sarah Silverman, another brilliant comic whose mouth frequently gets her in trouble, uses her jokes about racism, sexism, and homophobia to show the world how absurd all of those things really are when you examine them closely.

These are all people that think about what effect their actions are going to cause and see some sort of greater good by causing controversy. Kim Kardashian shows off her butt because she knows that people are going to freak out about it. Maybe it’s because Miley grew up forced into a sort of bright-eyed decorum by the suits at Disney that she knows how to rebel against something. Madonna had the Church and Rivers and Silverman have the male-centric world of standup comedy. They all have a barrier that they’re butting (ha!) up against and trying to tear down. What sort of obstacles did Kim, a pretty, rich girl from Beverly Hills, ever have to fight against?

Seriously, though, this is the only social currency she has in the world. I’m not going to break out that old saw that Kim Kardashian has no talent, but she has no occupation like Miley, Madonna, Joan, or Sarah. She has no outlet to express herself and keep herself relevant other than a highly scripted reality show with sinking ratings and her image. Remember, she is a celebrity whose initial fame, after being Paris Hilton’s closet organizer, was predicated on her having a sex tape. Kim Kardashian can only peddle in her body, and her ass is the most valuable part of that body.

Still, we follow it because that is what she does. It’s perfect that she’s married to Kanye West, whose hyperbole are so outrageous that we now just roll our eyes at them. It’s just Kanye being Kanye, much like Kim applying a liberal coat of oil to her derriere and slapping it on a magazine cover is just Kim being Kim. These two are all just provocation and bluster, repeated images that seem to offer us some sort of truth or insight but are really just self serving.

Kim Kardashian’s butt is the biological equivalent of click-bait. We can’t help but pay attention to it, but we’re always upset by the lack of substance. We want there to be something more, some reason or context, some great explanation that tells us what it is like to live in this very day and age, but there is not. Kim Kardashian’s ass is nothing but an empty promise.

Brian Moylan is a writer and pop culture junkie who lives in New York. His work has appeared in Gawker, VICE, New York magazine, and a few other safe-for-work publications.

Read next: Kim Kardashian’s Butt Might Just Break the Internet Today

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Music

Watch The Flaming Lips and Miley Cyrus Cover The Beatles on Conan

Strange can be beautiful

The Flaming Lips and Miley Cyrus continued their campaign of weird on Conan last night with a performance of the Beatles’ “A Day in the Life.” Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne donned a floor-length metallic cape, from which Cyrus, two minutes in, emerged wearing a tinsel wig and googly eye-adorned bodysuit.

The Flaming Lips are promoting its recent album, With a Little Help from My Fwends, a tribute to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band featuring guest appearances by Cyrus, My Morning Jacket and Moby, among others. All proceeds from album sales go to an Oklahoma City non-profit that assists low-income and elderly pet owners with veterinary costs and rescues abandoned pets.

The performance itself was a worthy cover, between Cyrus’ echoing, breathy interlude and just the right amount of intergalactic sound effects. The Flaming Lips are known for featuring extraterrestrial themes onstage, and this performance was no exception. It’s refreshing to see Cyrus get through a song without sticking her tongue out or twerking, and the oddball pair sounded quite lovely together.

TIME Books

Sinead O’Connor Will Reveal All in a Memoir

The controversial singer will document her career as well as dishing the "sexual dirt" on former lovers

Irish singer and known rabble-rouser Sinead O’Connor is penning a memoir, her publisher announced on Wednesday.

According to a press release about the still-untitled project, the memoir will cover O’Connor’s early life in Ireland, her breakout and rise to fame, as well as her current career.

The autobiography will presumably include notorious incidents such as the time O’Connor tore up a photograph of Pope John Paul II during a Saturday Night Live appearance in 1992, her subsequent booing in Madison Square Garden during a Bob Dylan tribute concert just days later, and perhaps even her open letter to Miley Cyrus. No matter what, the “Nothing Compares 2 U” singer has already promised that the book will include a lot of juicy details about her personal life.

“I’ve never stopped expressing myself in my music, and now, with a book,” the 47-year-old singer said in a statement. “And I look forward to dishing the sexual dirt on everyone I’ve ever slept with.”

The book, which will be published in the U.S. by Blue Rider Press, is slated for a March 2016 release.

[NYT]

 

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