1. Justin Timberlake announces new album in most pretentious way imaginable
Earlier today, Justin Timberlake took to Twitter to announce the welcome news that he's going to release another album. And by "announce," we mean post a minute-long, unbearably pretentious video to herald his return. "Someone asked me other day, 'So you're just done with music?'" mumbles the 'N Sync alumni in the black-and-white video. "It means more to me than anybody else in the world," he whines. "As close as I get to it, I don't know that I can physically torture myself that much year in and year out." The singer concludes emphatically: "I'm ready." Let's all have a moment of silence for Justin Timberlake's physically torturous life, which includes recording multi-platinum albums, starring in Oscar-nominated movies, and being married to Jessica Biel.
2. Britney Spears is reportedly leaving The X-Factor
In a split that recalls both of Britney Spears' prior nuptials, her brief, tentative marriage to Fox's The X-Factor will reportedly be coming to an unceremonious end. TMZ reports that Spears plans to walk away from the series in order to "focus on her music" — or, perhaps more precisely, to record a dozen tracks that can be auto-tuned by a crack team of engineers. The Spears/X-Factor divorce will likely be amicable; the "Toxic" singer's presence wasn't toxic for the show, but it also hasn't done much to help The X-Factor grow past American Idol, The Voice, or any of the other singing-based reality shows currently on television.
3. Justin Bieber and Harry Styles are planning a Vegas vacation
In order to drown the sorrows of their recent, high-profile breakups — or perhaps because they just saw Swingers for the first time — international pop stars (and alleged BFFs) Justin Bieber and Harry Styles are planning a "boys' trip" to Las Vegas, reports The Sun. A source cryptically reports that the pop stars "might not be old enough to legally drink, but that won't stop them" — meaning, we presume, that Bieber and Styles instead plan to spend their evenings with Celine Dion and Cirque du Soleil.
4. Kanye West's popularity falls due to "Kardashian curse"
Is Kim Kardashian responsible for Kanye West's flagging music career? "A so-called 'Kardashian curse' sounds silly," says The Huffington Post, before immediately explaining that the "Kardashian curse" can actually be backed up by hard data. E-Poll Market Research, which analyzes the marketability of celebrities, says that the average celeb has an "Overexposure" score of 4 percent, and that Kanye's score, which has steadily risen since he and Kardashian got together in April, is currently at 37 percent. There does appear to be "some sort of fallback or blowback from him hooking up with Kim," says E-Poll's senior director, clearly proud of his ability to quantify the world's nagging sense of animosity toward Kardashian, whose "Overexposed" score is currently at 62 percent. So remember, Kanye: Things could always be worse.
5. John Travolta offers unintentionally poignant rendition of The Beatles' "Yesterday"
At a recent party in Beverly Hills, TMZ reports that the unlikely duo of Keith Urban and John Travolta took the mic for a cover of The Beatles' "Yesterday," offering an unsettling, if unintentional, glimpse into Travolta's psyche. "Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away," sang Travolta, who recently recorded a Christmas duet called "I Think You Might Like It" with Olivia Newton-John that was not, in fact, particularly well-liked. "Suddenly, I'm not half the man I used to be," continued Travolta, whose failed action comeback film, 2010's From Paris With Love, earned a little under half of its $52 million budget domestically. There's a shadow hanging over all of us, John.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why the Sony hack changes everything
- Why torture doesn't work: A definitive guide
- Hey, bosses: Stop giving bonuses to your employees
- Capitalism isn't a cure-all for Cuba
- You should be furious about Hollywood's gutless retreat on The Interview
Subscribe to the Week