Kacey Musgraves Delivers ‘Forrest Gump’-Inspired Performance on ‘SNL’

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE — “Owen Wilson” Episode 1806 — Pictured: Musical guest Kacey Musgraves performs “Justified” on Saturday, October 2, 2021 — (Photo by: Will Heath/NBC)

I’m a self-admitted prude about gratuitous nudity, but I’ll make an exception for the Kasey Musgraves’ performance on Saturday Night Live. In short, it works. And not because she’s hot, because it’s an altogether beautiful song and her lack of clothes feels like an accessory to her performance rather than the main event. Performing “Justified” from her recently released album star-crossed, Musgraves’ was inspired by the character of Jenny from Forrest Gump. Watch below to be mesmerized.

Elaine Welteroth Exits ‘The Talk’

The Talk' Welcomes New Co-Hosts Elaine Welteroth And Amanda Kloots |  ETCanada.com

Tell me your talk show is tanking without telling me your talk show is tanking

Elaine Welteroth has exited The Talk, following in the footsteps of Carrie Ann Inaba, who left for health reasons, and Sharon Osbourne, who left following a heated on-air exchange about race with Sheryl Underwood. Welteroth’s days on The Talk seemed numbered when someone (whom I can only assume is Sharon Osbourne’s camp) leaked audio of Welteroth offering support to Osbourne backstage, which seemed very different from Welteroth’s words on camera.

Welteroth later responded saying, “To set the record straight, it was not a hot mic—I was unlawfully recorded without consent. And I never filed a complaint with HR against Sharon Osbourne or anyone else. I am disheartened, however, that my kindness has been taken out of context and weaponized in an attempt to absolve responsibility for someone else’s actions.”

CBS Has a Leaky Faucet

According to Page Six, CBS was none too pleased with the Welteroth’s off-air support, with a “source” saying, “There was a lot of tension, particularly when Osbourne[‘s camp allegedly] leaked a tape of Elaine comforting her after the incident. People thought [Welteroth] was playing both sides of the fence, and there was a [general] consensus that she threw CBS under the bus.”

Where are the Producers?

While I agree that Elaine played both sides and as a result alienated the audience, I’m curious why showrunners and joint executive producers Heather Gray and Kristin Matthews are still employed. There’s no question that the conversation in front of the camera went left in part because of poor preparation from the producers, and the on-air hosts were seemingly left to clean up the mess in the press. It’s easy for Elaine to look like a hypocrite if she was given behind-the-scenes direction about what she could and could not discuss.

One would hope that if the hosts devote their personal opinion to a show, the producers would have their back when things go awry. Thus far, no such conversation about what’s going on behind-the-scenes is on the record. Why should The Talk panel be held entirely responsible here? The producers need to step up and defend their hosts.

Simone Biles Wins Bronze on Beam — Changes Gymnastics Forever

2021 Tokyo Olympics: How to Watch Simone Biles and Suni Lee in the Balance  Beam Event Final - TV Guide

When Simone Biles withdrew from the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games during the gymnastics team competition because of the “twisties,” I knew she wouldn’t return anytime soon. The phenomenon that we’ve since learned manifests as complete disorientation while spinning in the air, if not taken seriously, can result in serious injury. Simone was both praised for prioritizing her mental health and simultaneously criticized (by trolls) for being a “quitter.”

As a former diver, I can tell you firsthand that the twisties is no joke. Though I was far from elite caliber, I distinctly remember waking up one day to the complete loss of a simple backflip. That eventually manifested into an inability to execute even a back dive tuck. At the time, I thought I simply had overwhelming anxiety and decided to power through. With no sense of my fundamentals I threw my legs out from underneath me and landed on the board (on my stomach). Since I was never very good to begin with, I decided it was time to quit the sport altogether.

The head coach of the college got wind of my plan and said, “You are free to quit the sport, but you must do the backflip before you do.” Through a series of visualization exercises and simple diving techniques to regain my equilibrium, I eventually did the backflip. One might think that as soon as I did the dive it clicked back in my brain, but it did not. “Do it again,” the coach said. And I did. I did the dive about five times, beaming with pride — but still feeling slight disorientation.

I tell this story to explain a microcosm of what Biles must’ve been going through this past week. Her decision isn’t just about mental health as many have suggested, it is also about physical health. Gymnastics is unforgiving, and one only needs to look to Elena Mukhina to see the devastating consequences of performing when unable/not ready. This isn’t the “yips” in golf. Biles won’t miss a putt — she could break her neck.

Many gymnasts such as Dominique Moceanu came to Biles’ defense saying, Simone’s decision “demonstrates that we have a say in our Own health — ‘a say’ I NEVER felt I had as an Olympian.” What we have learned about gymnastics, is that many gymnasts feel as if they do not have the agency to stand up for themselves. We saw pedophile Larry Nassar capitalize on this culture of silence and the brave survivors of his abuse have said no more.

Biles’ move has set a precedent for the sport for years to come. She is a walking representation that these Olympic athletes have agency over their mental health, their physical health, and their bodies. If the greatest gymnast of all time felt comfortable/brave enough to step away from competition, imagine what’s to come. She is the GOAT for another reason now.

Julia Stone Releases Magical Album: ‘Sixty Summers’

Julia Stone - Sixty Summers - Amazon.com Music

It appears half of the very talented Australian indie-folk pop brother/sister duo,  Angus & Julia Stone, has gone solo, and the result is magical. Sixty Summers marks Julia Stone’s third solo effort, her first since 2012. The singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist ‘s new record has been described as “sonically adventurous,” “divergent, vibrant pop reminiscent of the mid-’80s,” and both “free and restless.”

Co-produced by St. Vincent (a.k.a. Annie Clark) and Thomas “Doveman” Bartlett (Bartlett played keyboards on both Taylor Swift’s Evermore and Folklore albums), it’s worth (more than one) listen.

Listen below to a track featuring  Matt Berninger from The National.

Bennifer 2.0 Heats Up — And I’m Here for it

I must confess to the serious hatorade I drink during the reign of Bennifer 1.0 and to this day, I can’t articulate the issue I had with the A-list couple. Though it pains me to admit it, I’d venture to guess that the media played a role in my personal opinion.

In retrospect, while they did rub their relationship in our face (literally — Ben rubbed J Lo’s booty and her music video), the punishment didn’t fit the thirsty crime. It seems they really were in love, and their inability to navigate the press attention, might have been the catalyst that cause their breakup (and perhaps that whole strip club debacle).

So where are we now, and will this reunion go the distance, or is Ben Affleck simply a Band-Aid for Jennifer Lopez’s breakup with Alex Rodriguez? Buckle up, I’m about to answer my own question.

First, no one needs a Band-Aid to cover the wound of Alex Rodriguez. I’d venture to say she needs a Time Machine instead to avoid that very predictable ending of infidelity. Second, Jennifer Lopez lives a clean lifestyle and with Ben Affleck’s addiction issues, they are more compatible today than they were then. Third, when they are together their hotness quotient raises by 100%, which is a good indicator of happiness. And lastly, I think the pink diamond ring originally gifted to Jennifer Lopez by Ben Affleck is in Ben Affleck’s possession, and I predict he will propose again with that same ring. It’s true love — heaters be damned.

Bill Maher Tries to Restore Our Faith in Humanity

Bill Maher’s best skill has always been going against the grain in a non-troll format, and though he might have veered off track for a hot minute, the politically incorrect host has revved back up with some anti-establishment gems. In the video below, he restores our faith in humanity, and as a liberal cloaked in some conservative values (the sane ones), I appreciate the borderline uplifting New Rule segment. Watch below.

Wendy Williams Shoots (And Misses) Her Shot with Comedian Gary Owen

I’m all for shooting your shot, but Wendy Williams shot far too many times for Gary Owen, and judging by the video below, the man was desperate for an emergency exit.

Owen recently announced his divorce from longtime love Kenya Duke, who he often incorporated into his standup act. Wendy Williams made a shameless play for the newly single father-of-three proving that if it first you don’t succeed — try, try again…and again.

After watching there exchange in full, I did imagine what we might think if the gender roles were reversed given the endless amount of grief we still give David Letterman for often hitting on his female guests. In fact, Wendy took it a step further than flirtation, asking the comedian out on an official date, which is a lose lose situation. He clearly doesn’t want to go, but if he rejects her on air, he’ll seem mean.

It’s worth noting that I believe Gary has already moved on to a new relationship. I got a sense for these things.

Ben Platt Performs “Imagine” on Kelly Clarkson’s Show

I love Ben Platt, but he’s not exactly the most dynamic performer. He stands and sings, and though there’s nothing wrong with that, it can be limiting if you’re lacking Adele’s pipes and there’s no band on stage. Having said that, I have to give the guy well-deserved props for his performance of his new single “Imagine” on Kelly Clarkson’s show, which featured dancers that added some beautiful oomph to his moving tune. Watch below.

American Idol’s Hunter Mett’s Ends Toxic Masculinity with ‘Falling Slowly’ Performance

When Hunter Metts took the stage at American Idol to sing the Academy award-winning song “Falling Slowly” from the film Once, I knew it would be spectacular. Metts has a soothing, unique tone that is the perfect fit for the track originally written, composed and performed by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová. What I didn’t predict however, is that Metts would forget the lyrics at the end and in doing so, show the world what it looks like when a man is vulnerable.

Katy Perry received praise for her attempt to console him while he was mid-tears, but I’d like to instead praise Metts for using his huge platform to chip away at toxic masculinity. It is not often that we see men cry and when we do, we should embrace it.

It is brave to be vulnerable — and we need to remember that.