New Miley Cyrus Music Is Coming: Everything We Know About Malibu and the Upcoming Album

Miley Cyrus is coming back to the music scene with a bang.

After taking a self-imposed “media blackout,” the singer sat down with Billboard to discuss the next steps in her career.

As it turns out, new music and a new album are coming sooner rather than later.

According to the publication, the first single titled “Malibu” is set to be released on May 11. And just two days later, the singer will appear at 102.7 KIISFM’s Wango Tango in what is being described as a “special guest performance.”

As suspense and excitement continues to build, Miley has been gracious enough to drop some hints about what Smilers can expect in the weeks to come.

Miley Cyrus

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

For starters, the first single off the as-yet-untitled album is being described as a “breezy love song” with sounds you’ve never heard from Miley before. 

The former Hannah Montana star wrote the lyrics and melodies to various songs on the album with producer-writer Oren Yoel playing the instruments. 

And while Miley created one song for Hillary Clinton and another for women in the workplace, the album is expected to be more personal than political.

“This is Miley leaning into her roots more than I’ve ever heard,” dad Billy Ray Cyrus shared with Billboard. “For her, this is honest.”

Another source added, “She sings a lot about love. She doesn’t directly identify Liam Hemsworth but it’s pretty obvious.”

Ever since she became a household name on the Disney Channel, Miley has created countless hits. In fact, many of those records including “Party in the U.S.A.,” “Wrecking Ball,” and “We Can’t Stop” have become massive radio hits.

When it comes to her upcoming songs, however, Miley is focused on other important things.

“My main concern isn’t radio,” she told the publication. “I truly don’t even listen to it.” Wherever the songs end up playing, we can’t wait to hear. 

James Gunn Narrates A Scene In Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2

In the latest edition of the New York Times‘ “Anatomy of a Scene,” director James Gunn narrates a scene from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 — which opens nationwide tomorrow and is expected to pull in $250 million at the worldwide box office this weekend.

The sneak peek, which is inspired by the cropduster sequence in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 thriller North by Northwest and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s climactic gatling gun showdown in Furious 7, features a a battle between Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and her adopted sister Nebula (Karen Gillan). 

“In Guardians of the Galaxy, we often have these emotional character relationships between two people or more. And in this one, it really is the culmination of two movies’ worth of hatred between sisters who do not get along,” Gunn explained. “This first manifests itself in a physical fight here and then leads to an emotional scene where Nebula breaks down. You thought she was the bad guy the whole time. But you realize that actually she was the one who was wronged by her sister when she was young and she’s the one who, in a lot of ways, is the victim in the relationship.” 

Gunn then revealed why the scene is devoid of music. “Simply because there is so much music throughout the movie. I wanted this scene to stand out. I think it’s special and very raw and visual,” he shared. “And I wanted a chance for our sound department, the guys at Skywalker Sound, to really shine and do something that was almost operatic with just sound alone. But I think mostly the reason was just for variety’s sake in the movie.”

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Set to the backdrop of ‘Awesome Mixtape #2,’ Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel cinematic universe continues to expand.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is written and directed by James Gunn (Slither). The film marks the return of the original Guardians, including Chris Pratt (Jurassic World) as Peter Quill/Star-Lord; Zoe Saldana (Star Trek Into Darkness) as Gamora; Dave Bautista (Spectre) as Drax; Vin Diesel (Furious 7) as the voice of Groot; Bradley Cooper (American Sniper) as the voice of Rocket; Michael Rooker (Jumper) as Yondu; Karen Gillan (The Big Short) as Nebula; and Sean Gunn (Gilmore Girls) as Kraglin. New cast members include Pom Klementieff (Oldboy), Elizabeth Debicki (The Great Gatsby, Everest), Chris Sullivan (The Knick, The Drop) and Kurt Russell (The Hateful Eight, The Thing).

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is scheduled to hit theaters on May 5, 2017.

Kim and Kanye Shielded Kids From Their Marital Drama

Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West may have had a rough year, but sources tell PEOPLE that they have managed to keep things as normal as possible for their children, North, 3, and Saint, 1.

“The kids are so young that they didn’t really feel like anything was too different,” a source close to West tells PEOPLE.
Kim Kardashian West/Instagram

West, 39, and Kardashian West, 36, are doing “much better” in their relationship now, the source says. A second insider tells PEOPLE that the couple has “been able to process things and move past them, and are very ready for what’s next and not be so focused on the mess that was last year. They’re in a much better place.”

But still, the couple have had their share of drama in the past few months. She had to cope with the aftermath of her terrifying Paris robbery and he was hospitalized after a very public breakdown in late 2016.

But according to the insider, the kids were blissfully unaware of much of the drama. “Both Kanye and Kim have done all they can to shield the kids from this all,” says the source close to West. “There was no fighting in front of the kids.”

West is also enjoying his down time with family, the source says. When the rapper famously skipped the Met Gala this week, Kardashian said that he was spending time with the kids. “He’s happy when he’s with them,” says the source. “The kids are happy and well-adjusted, and that’s the priority.”

Jimmy Kimmel’s emotional health-care monologue: Is this his defining moment?

Did anyone really expect this? Wasn’t Stephen Colbert eviscerating President Trump or Samantha Bee destroying him — with jokes, of course — supposed to make some kind of difference in 2017?

Of all the late-night comedians — including ones who consistently make Trump the target of brutally biting jokes — it’s Jimmy Kimmel who thus far has had the most influence in a serious political conversation in the Trump era. And he didn’t do it with an impersonation or a particularly epic takedown or a meta-prank, but with an emotional, 13-minute monologue about his newborn son’s heart condition.

Kimmel’s comments about his son Billy were punctuated by tears, praise of Billy’s nurses and doctors, and a plea that leaders in Washington make health care accessible to all — just as lawmakers on Capitol Hill debate how those with preexisting conditions would fare under a GOP health-care proposal. “No parent should ever have to decide if they can afford to save their child’s life,” Kimmel said through tears. “It just shouldn’t happen. Not here.”

Video of Kimmel’s monologue went viral, prompting a flurry of political op-eds, cable-news roundtable discussions, fact checks and praise from former president Barack Obama. “Well said, Jimmy,” Obama tweeted. “That’s exactly why we fought so hard for the ACA, and why we need to protect it for kids like Billy.” Kimmel’s name surfaced on newspaper front pages in stories about the congressional wrangling over passing a health-care measure.

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney even addressed Kimmel while trying to defend the GOP health-care plan: “Everyone, I think, agrees with Jimmy Kimmel that we have enough money in this country to provide care for those type of folks,” Mulvaney said Wednesday on “Fox & Friends,” a program Trump is known to watch regularly. “If we give more control to the states they can figure out a way to best provide for children like Mr. Kimmel’s baby.”

Press secretary Sean Spicer weighed in hours later at his daily briefing. “We share that concern for the Kimmels’ child, as well as any child that needs care,” Spicer said, and described Trump as working to protect those with preexisting conditions and the current system as “failing.”

Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel made an emotional plea to lawmakers to fund health-care spending for preexisting conditions on May 1. Kimmel teared up while discussing his newborn son Billy’s heart condition on his show. (Amber Ferguson/The Washington Post)

Whenever a liberal celebrity entertainer gives a politically charged speech — remember Meryl Streep at the Golden Globes? — there’s inevitable pushback from the conservatives who dismiss the messenger as a Hollywood elitist giving lectures. Kimmel has drawn the same kind of ire, but his story has broken beyond the realm of pop culture trying to wade into politics. He clearly struck a nerve, and he didn’t do it with an abrasive takedown. He didn’t overtly attack Republicans or Trump. His plea “emotionally digs at the central debate over the GOP’s Obamacare replacement right now,” one that even Republican lawmakers haven’t agreed upon, The Post’s Aaron Blake wrote.

It’s remarkable given that political barbs have become a hot ratings commodity in the crowded late-night comedy landscape. Colbert, considered a harsher critic of Trump than Jimmy Fallon, has beaten his NBC rival in ratings for 13 consecutive weeks. NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” is enjoying some of its best ratings in decades, and has doubled-down on topical political humor with plans for prime-time summer “Weekend Update” shows. Comedy Central rolled out a satirical Trump talk show last week, and has plans for a new news-comedy program in the fall.

Kimmel definitely isn’t a Trump sympathizer; he has plenty of anti-Trump material. But the ABC host also isn’t the comedic face of the #Resistance, staking out the same ground of hosts such as TBS’s Bee, who hosted an alternative White House correspondents’ dinner that took sharp aim at Trump and his supporters. In fact, the biggest political controversy to come from Kimmel’s show this year was his interview with right-leaning actor Tim Allen, who compared being a conservative in Hollywood to living in 1930s Germany.

The sight of the former “The Man Show” host crying on-air Monday may be jarring for a general public who still thinks of him as the host who tricks people with YouTube hoaxes and tells parents to lie to their kids about eating all their Halloween candy. He’s so known for mischievous pranks that when he hosted the Oscars, a bunch of people thought the big best-picture mix-up was just a classic Kimmel prank.

Fans of Kimmel know otherwise: The host is a sucker for sentimentality and not afraid of getting serious and shedding tears in front of a live studio audience. He’s cried talking about his late uncle Frank Potenza, paying tribute to David Letterman and describing what happened to Cecil the lion.

Now Kimmel’s late-night brand is no longer just heartless pranks and pretend-hatred of Matt Damon. It’s also earnestness.

This story has been updated.

Read more:

Jimmy Kimmel says no parent should decide if they can afford to save their child’s life. Here’s our story.

100 days of jokes: Late-night comedy’s best material during the Trump presidency

Drake Gets Former Porn Star Pregnant and She Has Text Messages … She Claims, But He Calls BS


Gets Former Porn Star Pregnant

She Claims, But He Calls BS

5/3/2017 11:28 AM PDT


A woman who was hanging out with Drake after his split with Jennifer Lopez claims she’s pregnant with his baby and she says she has text messages to prove it.  Drake however, is calling BS.

Sophie Brussaux has already hired a big NYC lawyer, Raoul Felder, to get the paternity/child support ball rolling. She claims she’s 3 1/2 months pregnant and pins down conception to either January 20 or 21. The pic was taken January 24 at a Japanese restaurant in Amsterdam.

The woman, a retired porn star, has what she says are text messages between her and Drake, which purport to say the following:

Drake: I want you to have an abortion.

Brussaux: I can’t kill my baby simply to indulge you sorry.

Drake: Indulge me? F*** you.

Brussaux: What?

Drake: You do know what you’re doing you think you’re going to get money.

She says she’s having a girl.

We reached out to Drake’s people, who say, “This woman has a very questionable background. She has admitted to having multiple relationships. We understand she may have problems getting into the United States. She’s one of many women claiming he got them pregnant.”

The rep goes on, “If it is in fact Drake’s child, which he does not believe, he would do the right thing by the child.”

The rep says he has no idea whether the purported text message is even real or out of context because they haven’t seen the actual text.

The rep says Brussaux had sex with another big rapper at the same time as Drake, adding the other rapper has all but acknowledged it’s his kid.

Sophie Brussaux’s attorney Raoul Felder, of Felder and Nottes, declined to comment.

Showrunner Bruce Miller on Sex, Hope and Humor in The Handmaid’s Tale

Any number of real-life incidents have conspired to make Hulu’s “The Handmaid Tale” topical, if not a little more terrifying than the authoritarian premise already was. Witness the recent news that a woman has just been convicted of a crime — the crime, apparently, of laughing at the nation’s Attorney General. She faces up to a year in jail.

But there’s more to this adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel than its timeliness. Stars Elisabeth Moss, Samira Wiley, Yvonne Strahovski, Ann Dowd and Joseph Fiennes have all garnered praise for their deft and magnetic performances, and critics have also singled out the meticulous work of the show’s directors, most notably executive producer/director Reed Morano, who helmed the first three installments, which debuted on Hulu last week.

In her review, Variety critic Sonia Saraiya described the show as “a worthy, heartbreaking adaptation of the text, anchored by strong performances and profound visual grammar.” In this recent feature about the making of the drama, Atwood herself, who was a consultant, called it “strong.”

All in all, it’s not surprising that “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which released its fourth episode on Hulu today, was renewed for a second season. In this interview, which combines two conversations a few months apart, showrunner Bruce Miller talks about his take on the series, its approach to nudity, characterization and tone, and the possibility that Offred might get pregnant.

When did you become aware that a “Handmaid’s Tale” TV adaptation was in the works, and why did you want to be part of it?

About a year and a half ago. I first read “The Handmaid’s Tale” in college, and I’ve reread it over the years and always found it fascinating. As I got further in my television career, I began to believe that TV was really the best format to tell this kind of story, one that takes place in such a huge and complicated world.

What was the approach you pitched for the TV adaptation?

When I went in and pitched the story, I said “The success or failure of this project rests entirely on attention to detail.” Gilead needed to be drawn precisely, and needed to feel real, or the story wouldn’t feel scary.

What were the most notable debates in the writers’ room about?

I think some of the largest debates we had surrounded the racial mix of Gilead. In the book, it’s an all-white world where people of color were sent away. We considered and ultimately decided to change that. In a book, it’s easy to say the’ve sent off all the people of color — but on a TV show, seeing it all the time it’s harder. Honestly, what’s the difference between making a TV show about racists and making a racist TV show?

One of the other big arguments that I recall was the fate of [a core character who is not Offred] at the end of episode 3.

How much did you consult with Margaret Atwood? Were there a number of conversations between her and you, or were there one or two longer conversations about big-picture questions?

Margaret and I communicated quite often throughout the whole story-breaking process and throughout filming, regarding big and small details. This book has been adapted as a film, opera, play, etc., so Margaret had a lot of unique information to impart to us based on those other experiences.

When you asked Atwood questions, were there any answers that really surprised you?

What surprised me most was how many specific details she remembered about her thought processes during her writing of the book. She wrote the book 30 years ago and has written many, many, many things in the interim, and yet she remembered her reasons for making many decisions large and small.

What was it like having Atwood on set? Were you pleased with her performance in the scene she’s in?

I was spectacularly pleased with the scene she was in, and she was a ton of fun to have on set. Honestly, I think the cast and crew were mostly, like myself, struck dumb with awe to be in her presence.

Obviously it’s the intent of Gilead’s overlords, but both Serena Joy and Offred don’t have all that many ways of filling up their days. What did you do to fill up their days and personal agendas?

We didn’t try to fill up their days. Their lives in Gilead by nature have an oppressive sense of boredom and forced solitude, which we did not want to shy away from. They each have some things to do — Offred shops, Serena Joy knits and works in the garden — but we tried to use their isolation as a motivator for their actions.

In the first season, will there be flashbacks to pre-Gilead lives for all the main characters, or just Offred? And if so, will those flashbacks be woven in and out of the entire season?

Throughout the season, we will see flashbacks of many character’s lives pre-Gilead. They are threaded through stories where we are exploring those character’s lives in the present day.

Will we see scenes of the resistance movements, or anything taking place outside of the town that Offred, Serena Joy and the Commander live in?

In Season 1, we do see some pieces of the resistance movement and the “Underground Femaleroad,” and we see a lot of the world outside of Gilead in flashbacks. But the present-day story, with Offred and her limited point of view, takes place mostly in the environs around the Waterford house.

Is it possible that Offred could get pregnant this season?


Will we see a lot more of the Aunts’ lives or their histories?

I’m fascinated by the lives of the Aunts but we only got a chance to scratch the surface of their corner of Gilead this season.

It seems like there’s an intentional sprinkling of humor in the show. And to me, in the real world, it’s more obvious than ever that humor and satire can be used as tools of dissent.

Exactly. That’s why it’s great here. There are a few moments where Offred says something out loud [that could get her into trouble.] There’s a moment between Offred and the Commander in the second episode where some words are out of her mouth before she can stop them. It’s funny, but also, in that moment, it’s terrifying. It’s like, “He could laugh, or he could cut out my tongue.”

One of the things that’s striking about it is that the world is really dark but at the same time, the show doesn’t feel hopeless.

I’m very optimistic about humanity, and one of the things you’ll notice about the show is that whenever anybody runs into a random person, that person almost always helps them. Offred is like a friggin’ ninja in this world at keeping herself alive. I find hope at the end of every episode — that she’s survived, usually with her wits and the power of her intellect. There are lot of things that [work] against her, but the fact that she survives is the hopeful part. It’s not a grim show, it’s not a hopeless show. There’s tons of emotion and connection, I think. There’s kind of a despair porn aspect of [TV] and I don’t believe in that.

Many critics have commented on the economy of the storytelling and the spareness of it, which is reflected in the aesthetics and in the number of things that are actually going on. The show is not overdone, if that makes sense.

I definitely feel like this show does well picking something simple and digging around in it, as opposed to trying to glue on a lot of things. It’s about stripping things away.

You hired multiple female directors.

All except for one [of the first season’s five directors].

Can you talk about the show’s approach to sex? Because so much of the story really centers on the women’s bodies and how they’re regulated or used. How do you show their bodies — or their own desire for sex?

It was partly a matter of surrounding myself with smart writers, smart women. But for me, when it comes to sex scenes, I think about what the scene is actually about, and write from there.

One of the things that [Elisabeth Moss] was very interested in from the beginning was that Offred misses sex. She misses that connection. She’s getting “sex” but she’s not getting sex. The Commander is the same way — he’s getting sex but he’s not getting intimacy, and he needs it too.

We have almost no nudity. There’s one scene in the pilot and there’s a scene where Janine  is naked [in the Red Center]. She just didn’t want anything on that came from that place. It was about taking off Handmaid stuff, it was about a moment of freedom. That’s the only thing she has left that’s hers — her body.

Sometimes a scene is about nudity, but almost always, it’s not. It’s about other stuff, it can be about a connection. We oftentimes shoot with actors who are naked so that you’re not [technically challenged when it comes to camera work]. But I don’t think we’ve ended up with very much nudity in the show at all. In the book, Offred talks about her body and how she doesn’t like now. It defines her now. She used to like looking at her body and now it’s the thing that defines her, and that drives her crazy. Even when she gets in the tub, in the pilot, she doesn’t look down at her body. She looks straight ahead.

Nothing is by accident. We think about what she would be thinking, what does it mean to show skin? How much skin would you show? How does Serena feel about nudity? There are flashbacks of Serena and the Commander at one point — do they take off all their clothes?

Do they have sex outside that ritual?

No, that’s not allowed. Sex is for procreation. In the world we have created, neither the Commander nor Serena Joy believe they could conceive a child together. That reality drives the tension in the relationship with Offred.

You were filming and in post-production at the time of the presidential election and its aftermath. Did you dial up anything, or tone down any element of the show in light of the election results?

I didn’t make any conscious decisions to change anything after the election, but I’m sure it had a subconscious effect on me, as it did all of us.

Do you think the reception to the show would be a lot different if it had premiered a year ago? Do you think it’s better for it to premiere now?

I think Margaret Atwood’s story has proven to be relevant in almost any time period, but I think with Americans and the world so focused on extremists in politics right now, it definitely draws attention to the show.

One of the things that makes “The Handmaid’s Tale” an enduring work is the fact that it has many elements of a classic thriller. Was it important to you that the TV show have that kind of suspense-driven framework?

Atwood’s world really lends itself to the thriller genre. Offred is constantly in mortal danger, and violence can come at her from any direction. That’s the core of the show, and I don’t think we’ll have any trouble sustaining it.

Zeke Smith Voted Off 3 Weeks After Being Outed as Transgender

A version of this article originally appeared on

That is how you play Survivor! We begin this week’s recap by giving credit where credit is due. And the credit goes to Andrea Boehlke. I’m not just saying this so she is nice to me on the Survivor Fan Forum set we share every week and doesn’t spit in the water they place in the goofy tiki cup with the umbrella in front of me. I’m saying it because she had a hell of an episode — mastering pretty much everything there was to master.

She listened when Jeff Probst started dropping subtle clues 50 minutes into that ridiculously difficult reward puzzle. She made an immunity challenge look easy that was anything but. And, most importantly, she knew exactly when to strike at Tribal Council and why. I dubbed Andrea the Goldilocks of Survivor before the season began, but it wasn’t for her golden hair. It’s because her first two times out represented both extremes of the Survivor spectrum.

Andrea’s first time playing, she did nothing. She was part of a group of young star-struck newbies who let Survivor superstar Boston Rob walk all over them because they were too timid to do anything about it. Honestly, it was infuriating. Just thinking about it again is causing me to break out in hives. Her next time out, she course-corrected, but by too much. She played too aggressively and was way too obvious about it, making herself a target in the process. This time, like Goldilocks, she needed to find that middle ground that was juuuuuuuust right.

And that’s exactly what Andrea appears to have done. On one hand, her targeting Zeke now may seem like a revenge play, and maybe part of it was. But the bigger issue was that Andrea knew she could never trust Zeke again. If he wanted her out a few days ago because he worried she was too big a threat, then he would want her out again. And that turned out to be exactly the case when we saw Zeke tell Sarah that they should get rid of her at the next vote after Sierra. Andrea correctly anticipated this, and instead of waiting around to find out when Zeke was gong to strike, she struck first.

 That’s an aggressive game move that makes perfect sense — more than Sarah’s flip last week (which did not get her as much credit as she thinks), and more than Zeke’s flip the week before (which put him in a social and strategic no man’s land). And the fact that Andrea got more aggressive about pulling the trigger when she had immunity and could not feel any immediate repercussions was also smart and shows she understands the importance of timing.

Debbie wrote down before the season started in her pre-game vote that she wanted Andrea out first “because this is Survivor, not a Playboy shoot.” However, Goldilocks has proven she is more than just a pretty face, and if Andrea comes back and plays a fourth time, I’m guessing a lot of people will be writing her name down as the person they want out first, but this time it will be out of fear and respect, not dismissiveness.

Okay, I am away again this week on a work trip so will try to keep this down to a much more manageable length than usual, but let’s jam through the biggest moments of the episode. And make sure to keep your eyes peeled for a chance to win Zeke’s original pre-game vote.

Words With Friends
You already know what I’m going to say about this reward challenge, don’t you? Because watching the players rip their bodies through an obstacle course, and then be raised and lowered on a seat while they picked out 30 numbers in order was all so awesome. I loved the way it was designed. I loved watching everything about it. But you know what I’m going to say, right? Because I say it every week. None of it mattered. Because — say it with me now — IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PUZZLE!

Once again, the coolest physical part of the challenge served as mere window dressing. After all that up and down and pulling and dropping and what have you, the difference between teams going into the puzzle was only five seconds. But it could have seriously been 10 minutes and it still would not have made a lick of difference. Whichever team was going to do the puzzle faster was going to win. Ninety-five percent of the time, that’s how it goes.

So you knew I was going to say that, and I apologize for the broken record routine. But, as I mentioned, I still loved watching all that stuff happen, even if I knew it ultimately meant nothing. Now, let’s get to the word puzzle. Reinventing how this game is played. That is a hard freakin’ puzzle. As soon as I saw that, I knew the contestants would struggle. They would be thinking about words like “Reward” or Probst phrases like “Dig deep” and “Worth playing for.” Hell, they may have even been considering things like “Scoop of the crispy,” for all I know. But reinventing? Let’s just say that wouldn’t exactly be at the top of my list. (Incidentally, the things that would be at the top of my list would be stuff like “Sally Schumann wuz robbed,” “Tata is a total pimp daddy,” and, “Why is Jeff Probst always looking at his shoes when he tells players to come on in?” But that’s just my list.)

Sure enough, 50 minutes in, the players did not have a clue. So Jeff Probst gave them one! When you’re doing a challenge, the smartest thing is to block out Jeff Probst’s voice. It’s just a distraction. I know from all the times he has mercilessly mocked me while I’ve tested competitions out on location. But there is one big exception to that rule: when you are doing a word puzzle. Because the longer that puzzle takes, the more likely he is to drop a hint. And that’s exactly what happened here.

After players tossed around possibilities like “nutritional” and “perspiration” over 50 minutes of futility, Probst started harping on the theme of the season (Game Changers) while stressing, “You guys are changing,” and “Everything is always changing in this game.” He kept repeating that one word over and over. Hell, if he had a boombox handy, he probably would have started blaring David Bowie’s “Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes…” just to drive the point home.

So in that situation, you listen, and you try to come up with another word for changing. Altering? Nah, that feels more like a challenge for a contestant on Project Runway. Modifying? Nope, that sounds like something that would get a mad scientist killed halfway through a Syfy movie titled Turkeypotamus vs. Werewhale. Refining? That’s just a word for what I should spend time doing for once before posting my recaps. So what could it be? Andrea’s got it! Reinventing! After that, it was pretty much game over, and the blue team was off to Tokoriki Island Resort to accept drinks from a very high-pitched-speaking greeter.

Hey, Blockhead!
I got an early sneak peak at this week’s immunity challenge back in the testing phase. I was shooting some darts and downing some brews with Scott Porter (of Friday Night Lights) in the challenge department trailer when John Kirhoffer, Chris “Milhouse” Marchand, and Zach Jensen asked us to step outside to test out this block stacking competition.

The key is to get your legs high enough where you don’t hit the trip obstacle that will then cause all the blocks to fall. I let Scott take this one so I could photograph and videotape it for him. (Also, I hadn’t yet finished my beer and, you know, priorities.) The challenge looked pretty damn easy on TV, as only one person (Brad) knocked his blocks over, but I will tell you it took Scott a while to do it in the testing phase, and homeboy was sweating up a storm having to reach his legs up so high every time.

The problem is, that struggle did not really translate on TV. And there was only one block drop, which is what makes a challenge like this so dramatic. You need two or three people getting really close to the end, so close to that elusive immunity… and then having it all come crashing down. That’s the fun in a challenge like this. I know that sounds mean, but it’s true. So even though we were treated to a close finish between Andrea and Michaela, it lacked some of the back-and-forth that you ultimately would like to see in an immunity challenge. Trust me, this challenge (which we’ve seen before) is not easy. But it looked easy from our couches, and that was the problem.

Also, “spin & grin” kind of freaks me out for some reason, but I can’t quite put my finger on why. Speaking of the finger, maybe it’s because “spin & grin” is a little too close to that classic schoolyard taunt, “Sit and spin.” Perhaps that’s the issue. Just a working theory.

[Congratulations! You’ve found the super secret Survivor pre-game vote-off giveaway of the week. In case you’re new here, I am giving away all the original votes that the Game Changers cast before the game (that you can view on my Instagram feed). To enter for a chance to win Zeke’s vote for J.T., just answer the following question. Zeke and Michaela just competed on back-to-back seasons, so the other Game Changers had yet to see them play. Who is the first person to play back-to-back where the contestants that person faced in the second outing had not seen his/her first one? (Hint: There are some people who played back-to-back where the players the second time out HAD seen at least part of that person’s first season, but we want the name of the first returning player who was a complete mystery to the rest of the cast.) Email your answer to [email protected] AND PLEASE MAKE SURE TO INCLUDE YOUR MAILING ADDRESS! The winner will be contacted directly. (Congratulations to last week’s winner of Debbie’s infamous “Playboy vote,” Jessica Redcliffe. Good luck to all! We now return you to your regularly scheduled Survivor recap, still in progress.]
Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty

Zeke’s Last Stand
I still don’t know what “Boomer Sooner” means, but I know enough to figure out that Zeke is a big college football fan, and we’ve seen that play out in both seasons. But this time, it may have gotten him in a bit of hot water, and I’m not talking about the Jacuzzi at Tokoriki Island Resort either. This time, Brad (a former NFL lineman) and Zeke started bonding over football. Now, even though Zeke told us later that he did want a final five that involved Brad, he’s not the kind of guy who would let a little football talk sway his strategic decision. We saw that when he cut Chris’ throat last season.

But Andrea and Aubry didn’t know that. So they saw Zeke — who had already flipped on them once — getting chummy with the enemy, and what were they supposed to think? Of course, that wasn’t the real problem for Zeke. The real problem for Zeke is that he had shown his cards as a big-time gamer too early. “I played this game four times, and he knows this game better than I do,” said Cirie. That was Zeke’s fatal flaw this time. The key to playing Survivor is playing great without letting others realize how great you are until it’s too late. Unfortunately for Zeke, he came on so strong right after the merge that he put a target on himself that was impossible to shake.

Once Andrea won immunity, she was ready to strike. The only question was whether she and Cirie would seek a vote from Sierra to turn the tables or get Sarah and Michaela to play ball. Andrea and Michaela kept the ruse going at Tribal Council, saying that the majority six would stick together, but it was all for show, as Sarah and Michaela did indeed flip. (Evidently, they told the other alliance the target was Tai because they all put their votes on him.)

Watching Michaela burst into tears was surprising because I didn’t get the sense she and Zeke were close at all going into this season, and they didn’t seem to get particularly chummy this time out either. Michaela is an emotional player, to be sure, but this was one emotion I was not expecting out of her.

As for Zeke, you could feel — and hear — his disappointment after the vote came in. “Dammit,” he murmured while walking off. But no bitterness. If you play big, you may go home. Zeke knew this. It’s never personal in his book — just business. That’s one of the things I admire most about him. And while Zeke erred by playing a bit too antsy after the merge and left himself devoid of any true allies in the process, it’s that restlessness and refusal to settle that makes him so exciting to watch. (He’s also a hell of a narrator, one of the most consistently underrated qualities of a top-tier Survivor contestant.)

Zeke didn’t want to be defined by what happened at Tribal Council with Jeff Varner. To a degree, he will be, because the class and composure he showed in that situation was off-the-charts impactful. But if he wanted to be known as Zeke the Survivor player first and foremost, then mission accomplished for a second straight season. He didn’t win, but in many ways Zeke is the embodiment of what the game has become and the take-no-prisoners approach that makes the show so electric to watch. I sincerely hope we haven’t seen the last of him.

Nor have you seen the last of our Survivor coverage! We have an exclusive deleted scene waiting for you above. And don’t forget to read my weekly Q&A with the Hostmaster General himself, Jeff Probst. My exit interview with Zeke will be up Thursday morning, so keep an eye out for that, and of course you can follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss for all your Survivor coverage needs.

But now it’s your turn. Were you Team Andrea or Team Zeke? What did you think of this week’s challenges? And who has played the best game so far? Hit the message boards to weigh in, and I’ll be back next week with another scoop of the crispy!

Survivor: Game Changers airs Wednesdays (8 p.m. ET) on CBS.

Unchecked fake news gave rise to an evil empire in Star Wars

On May 25, 1977, filmmaker George Lucas and Twentieth Century Fox released “Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope” — the first movie in a planned series of nine films. The movie soon became a cultural phenomenon. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the launch of the Star Wars series.

We never see a journalist in “Star Wars.” Not in eight movies and counting.

The galaxy is otherwise rich in professions. There are bartenders, bounty hunters, geneticists, one librarian, medics, moisture farmers, musicians, senators, soldiers and a lady who sells toads out of the sewer. The character who comes closest to an act of journalism, if we’re being generous, is a two-headed alien who commentates during a podrace. His sportscast is mostly hackwork, stuff like “It’s Skywalker!” and “The crowds are going nuts!” Worse still, he’s not very impartial; at the sight of the gangster Jabba the Hutt, both of his heads gargle in apparent fealty.

If there was ever a galaxy far, far away in need of a smart and independent press, you’re looking at it.

Make your own “Star Wars” character

“Fake news in ‘Star Wars’ is probably their number one problem,” says Ryan Britt, an editor who specializes in science fiction at the website Inverse. Britt, in his 2015 book “Luke Skywalker Can’t Read,” makes a provocative claim: Most “Star Wars” denizens, if they’re not illiterate, seem fundamentally disinterested in reading.

“There’s a lack of deep reading and understanding and comprehension,” Britt says. “The transference of cultural memory is really, really short.”

Though Luke occasionally uses the written word to complete tasks, such as navigating to a distant planet, we never see him read for fun or education. Nobody does. You’d be correct if you argued that fleeing a Death Star isn’t the best time to flip through the latest issue of Space Vogue. But even during the prequel series, amid the calm and luxury of the capital planet, there’s nary a holographic newspaper or textbook in sight. And so propaganda reigns. Facts quickly turn into distorted myth.

This lack of media, from Britt’s point of view, enriches the fictional universe. “It’s not an indictment that ‘Star Wars’ is poorly written,” he says. “It explains the dysfunction.”

Like Ken Burns’s “The Civil War,” “Star Wars” depicts an epic conflict. So we mashed them up. (The Washington Post)

Fake news is a deadly symptom of the media-poor culture displayed in “Star Wars.” Facebook, in a report released at the end of April, defined fake news as a “catch-all” phrase that may include “hoaxes, rumors, memes, online abuse, and factual misstatements by public figures that are reported in otherwise accurate news pieces.” And in “Star Wars,” a few whopping “factual misstatements” by a public figure give rise to an evil empire.

Near the end of the prequel “Revenge of the Sith,” the elected leader of the Galactic Republic gives a speech. It’s a rousing speech, full of carnage and conspiracy. Supreme Chancellor Palpatine spins a wild theory that the powerful elite, the Jedi, wish to subvert the government. It’s also total bull.

A “Jedi rebellion” has been foiled, Palpatine says. (This is false. Palpatine ordered his troopers to shoot the Jedi in the back, a slaughter presumably carried out on thousands of planets.) The Jedi disfigured his face in a failed assassination attempt, he says. (False again, though difficult to investigate — Palpatine resisted arrest in his private office, then zapped any would-be witnesses to death.)

With that, a millennium-old democracy dies. Palpatine announces that the Republic is now an empire, promising “a safe and secure society, which I assure you will last for 10,000 years.”

Almost everyone in Palpatine’s audience greets his speech with thunderous applause.

There are a few heads shaken and sad words muttered. But nobody jots down notes. Nobody switches on a recorder. Nobody in the chamber raises a tentacle and asks, “Uh, excuse me, Mr. Chancellor …?”

Meanwhile, what appear to be drones equipped with video cameras hover around the Senate chamber. The movie never explains the drones’ purpose, but it’s easy to imagine that the robots are filming the emperor’s speech. (In fact, the “Star Wars” television show “Rebels” later offers a glimpse of imperial propaganda recorded from that very location.) If so, there is no evidence that the galaxy tuned into the robot feed to see a popular and rightly outraged news anchor listing the democratic laws broken and historical context ignored.

The emperor swiftly consolidates control. It will take 19 years for isolated pockets of outrage to blossom into a full rebellion against the Empire.

“When you take out print, when you legislate against media, what results is some kind of totalitarian state,” says Joseph Hurtgen, an English instructor at Georgia’s Young Harris College and an expert in archival theory, the way information is kept and stored. “That’s always where this goes when you undermine print culture.”

The funny thing about records in “Star Wars,” Hurtgen says, is that they betray an obsession with technology. “The only archive that anybody bothers to keep in ‘Star Wars’ is technology,” he says. “Nobody’s writing down memos or news.”

Even those technological archives are devoid of context. The Jedi library contains volumes of star charts but allows no room for questioning their accuracy. “The library is complete garbage,” in Britt’s estimation. As for the Empire, as seen in “Rogue One,” its most precious archive is a tower of blueprints.

“There’s no analysis, right?” Hurtgen says. “There’s no knowledge about eschatological probabilities when manufacturing Death Stars.” Which is to say, the Empire never seems to learn from its mistakes. Nor are the Jedi blameless, says Hurtgen: Their mantra is to “examine your feelings,” a far cry from rational discourse as applied by political philosophers. (“Examining feelings gives us Hammurabi extracting teeth; Austria-Hungary, 1914, declaring war on Serbia; Trump tweeting, well, anything,” per Hurtgen.)

In fictional epics with fleshed-out worlds, there’s usually some sort of journalism, if only a TV on in the background — because if universe-altering events are happening, any halfway decent media outlet will be paying attention.

Harry Potter reads the Daily Prophet. Superhero comics are filthy with reporters. In the sci-fi graphic novel series “Saga,” hailed as a spiritual successor to “Star Wars,” a photographer and tabloid journalist play small but critical roles. Reporters pop up in “Star Trek.” In the “Battlestar Galactica” reboot, a TV series in which the total human population shrinks to 50,000 refugees, an early episode is shot from a journalist’s point of view. And yet in “Star Wars?” Zilch.

In this media void, history takes on the murk of a Dagobah swamp. During “A New Hope,” the “Star Wars” movie set just 19 years after “Revenge of the Sith,” the Jedi were described as members of an “ancient religion.” In the recent “The Force Awakens” film, the young hero Rey admits she believed that Luke Skywalker, perhaps the most important historical figure from a mere 30 years earlier, was only a “myth.”

Every so often, excitable fans of the series will tell Britt that the “Star Wars” expanded universe — books, TV shows, comics — prove him wrong. (Britt’s idea certainly seems to rub some people the wrong way. “That stupid illiteracy theory,” huffed one pop culture website last year.) Most frequently invoked to their defense is the HoloNet, the “Star Wars” equivalent of the Internet.

Even so, it seems doubtful that the HoloNet promoted the free exchange of ideas. The HoloNet News, per its Lucasfilm-approved description, was not a bastion of hard-hitting journalism. The ostensibly democratic Republic took it over first. Then, under Palpatine’s reign, it became “the official state-sanctioned news agency of the Empire.” (An organization named the “Ministry of Information” made sure that “stories were consistent with government messaging.”)

The “Star Wars” films are similar to Western movies, Hurtgen says, because both take place in a “space free of normal institutions. And one of those great institutions is education. All that’s left is storytelling, as an oral culture.”

When the first “Star Wars” film was released in 1977, he argues, it was the perfect time for an escapist fantasy about a society that doesn’t read. The previous economic era, in which a lack of a college education was not a barrier to a steady job, had come to a close.

“There’s something to a narrative appearing at a moment when higher learning and literacy are more and more required,” Hurtgen says. “The great heroes don’t have to do that. They’re fine all on their own.”

There’s a line of reasoning that argues the stories we tell reflect who we are as a society. “One thing I would wonder,” Hurtgen says, “if we’re telling stories in which there’s no media culture, there’s no written word — what does that mean for us that ‘Star Wars’ would become one of the most popular tales?”

This is a non-scientific user poll. Results are not statistically valid and cannot be assumed to reflect the views of Washington Post users as a group or the general population.

Read more:

The newest species of catfish is named after Greedo from ‘Star Wars’

This star totally does look like a lightsaber (even though we’re sick of ‘Star Wars’ already)

Astronauts celebrate #MayThe4thBeWithYou by watching ‘Star Wars’ in space

Miley Cyrus Talks Drug Use and Fiancé Liam Hemsworth


Miley Cyrus says she’s “evolving” — and part of her newfound growth has been giving up marijuana.

“I haven’t smoked weed in three weeks, which is the longest I’ve ever [gone without it],” the famously pro-pot 24-year-old singer revealed in her new Billboard cover story. “I’m not doing drugs, I’m not drinking, I’m completely clean right now! That was just something that I wanted to do.”

Cyrus said she has grown out of, what she called, her Dead Petz phase — referring to the psychedelic 2015 album that saw the star cover her face with glittery liquid for the cover.
Brian Bowen Smith/Billboard

Now, Cyrus is in a different place, even dropping new music: a love ballad for her fiancé Liam Hemsworth called “Malibu.”

The singer explained the meaning of the upcoming first single off her yet-untitled album, revealing to Billboard that the pop-rock song — which is slated for a May 11 release — is “unlike anything she has recorded before.”

Cyrus sings: “I never would’ve believed you if three years ago you told me I’d be here writing this song.”
Brian Bowen Smith/Billboard

After ending their engagement in 2013, Cyrus and Hemsworth, 27, rekindled their romance in early 2016, and after writing “Malibu,” she admitted they needed to “refall for each other.”
Brian Bowen Smith/Billboard

On pouring her heart out in the lyrics, the former Disney Channel star shared that the song was created during an Uber ride to The Voice set, when she was a season 11 coach in late 2016.

RELATED VIDEO: Miley Cyrus’ New Song ‘Malibu’ Reveals How She and Fiancé Liam Hemsworth Had to ‘Refall in Love’
Brian Bowen Smith/Billboard

“They’re going to talk about me if I come out of a restaurant with Liam. So why not put the power back in my relationship and say, ‘This is how I feel’?” Cyrus explained why she was inspired to pen the song.

Following her breakup, she was “so immersed in work” to find herself again. “I needed to change so much. And changing with someone else not changing like that is too hard,” Cyrus recalled. “Suddenly you’re like, ‘I don’t recognize you anymore.’ We had to refall for each other.”
Brian Bowen Smith/Billboard

These days, Cyrus shares a Malibu property with Hemsworth – and their seven dogs, two pigs and two miniature horses. Hemsworth bought the property in 2014 before Cyrus moved in, and now it’s where she built Rainbow Land, the boho recording studio where she has been fine-tuning her forthcoming sixth studio album.

Alanis Morissette’s ex-manager gets 6 years in prison for stealing $7M

Alanis Morissette’s ex-business manager, who stole more than $7 million from the singer and others was sentenced Wednesday to six years in federal prison.

Morissette made a pitch for a lengthy and severe sentence saying he stole her dreams.

The singer said she had placed the fortune she earned through her fame in the trust of Jonathan Todd Schwartz and he had secretly siphoned her accounts while constantly misleading her about her net worth.

“He did this in a long, systematic, drawn-out and sinister manner,” Morissette said, adding it would have bankrupted her within three years had the thefts continued.

Schwartz, 47, who blamed his gambling addiction for the thefts, wept and apologized at the hearing, saying he took full responsibility for his behavior and would have a life of shame because of it.

“I alone am responsible for the devastation,” he said, in seeking less than a year in prison. “I will spend the rest of my life asking for forgiveness.”

Prosecutors were seeking just over five years in prison for Schwartz, but Judge Dolly Gee said she thought Schwartz deserved more time for the “sheer audaciousness of this conduct.”

Gee noted that she has often criticized federal sentencing guidelines as draconian, but noted that they weren’t harsh enough in this case. Gee said Schwartz’s gambling addiction may explain the wire fraud and tax crimes, but didn’t excuse them. She also ordered him to pay $8.6 million in restitution.

Schwartz acknowledged stealing nearly $5 million from Morissette between May 2010 and January 2014 and more than $2 million from five unnamed clients when he worked at GSO Business Management, a firm that touted relationships with entertainers such as Katy Perry, 50 Cent and Tom Petty.

Schwartz was a high-flying partner making $1.2 million a year, according to court papers. The thefts struck a blow to the firm’s reputation that is expected to cost the firm $20 million and led to nearly a dozen layoffs, according to founder Bernard Gudvi.

The embezzlement was discovered by a new money manager Morissette hired.

“It was at this time, I realized he also stole my dreams,” she said.

When the firm was contacted about the apparent theft, Schwartz made “wild accusations” that his former client was in the throes of drug addiction and mentally unstable, Gudvi said. Schwartz also falsely claimed Morissette had invested the money in an illegal marijuana growing business.

“As the walls were closing in on the scheme to steal client funds … he was unable to turn away from the lies,” Gudvi wrote in a letter to the court. “The worse things became, the more easily he seemed to dispense with the truth.”

Prosecutors acknowledged that Schwartz lost some money gambling, but said the funds financed a lavish lifestyle.

“Every expression of remorse he has made and every purported act of self-improvement he has taken occurred only after he realized he had no ‘choice’ to do otherwise,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Ranee Katzenstein said in court papers.

Schwartz, who was fired, had offered financial guidance to some of the biggest stars and was said to represent Beyonce and Mariah Carey, who both appeared at a fundraiser last year in support of a heart disease charity he founded.

Schwartz penned a mea culpa in The Hollywood Reporter last month. He said his father was a gambling addict who abandoned his family and he sought refuge in sports betting and drugs to deal with the stress from his business.

“The spiral I was in was toxic,” Schwartz wrote. “Winning did not make me feel better but losing was intolerable. If I lost, then I had to make it back and when I lost again, the hole I had dug got deeper and deeper. I felt weak and powerless, terrified by my internal demons that I was turning into my father.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.