Stop The Presses!

June 1-8: Videos Go Viral, Celebrities Downward-Spiral

Lyndsey Parker
Stop The Presses!

This week, all the blogosphere was abuzz with new viral videos, most hilariously--or disturbingly, depending on how you look at it--the parody of Beyonce's "Single Ladies" video by tween heartthrob Joe Jonas. The spectacle of the middle and arguably dreamiest Jonas Brother sashaying up a storm in a nothing-left-to-the-imagination Danskin catsuit and black stiletto pumps understandably confounded many viewers, who didn't understand that good sport Joe had shot the video on a dare from the JoBros' fans.

Detractors instead cited the bizarre but admittedly very funny clip as evidence of Joe's supposed homosexuality; as a troubling sign that this famously purity-ring-wearing pop star had taken the song's "put a ring on it" line way too much to heart; or at least as evidence of Joe's lack of touch with the times, since a very similar (and, some would say, funnier) parody starring Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg had already aired on Saturday Night Live months prior.

Ironically, no one accused Justin or Andy of being gay when they cavorted about in even more revealing Beyonce-inspired leotards in that SNL skit...but, as Russell Brand would readily attest, the Jonases have always been easy targets.

Another big viral video of the week came courtesy of Green Day, who during their Colbert Report appearance brilliantly spoofed Keyboard Cat, the ubiquitous synthesizer-poking YouTube feline whose upbeat yet eerily doleful canned music is currently soundtracking every EPIC FAIL on the Interweb. While the Keyboard Cat meme has spawned even more parodies and tributes than "Single Ladies," Green Day's version--which starred frontman Billie Joe Armstrong in the kitty role, with his bandmates manipulating his human paws along the keys--might be the best homage yet. EPIC SUCCESS.

But perhaps the most talked-about video stunt of the week came courtesy of Eminem and Bruno (one of Sacha Baron Cohen's many hilarious alter egos) on the MTV Movie Awards. The notorious skit featured the flamboyant Bruno, dressed as some sort of thong-flaunting cherub and suspended above the A-list audience on Peter-Pan theater wires, suffering a mid-air Spinal Tap-esque malfunction and subsequently plummeting buttocks-first on top of hapless audience member Eminem. Eminem's outrage--reminiscent of his MTV VMAs showdown with instigating puppet Triumph The Insult Comic Dog years ago--seemed genuine enough. (He yelled out, "Are you serious? Get this guy offa me!" before his bodyguards started manhandling poor, half-naked Bruno.) But the fact that Marshall appeared to be miked--along with the fact that he'd had plenty of time to move out of the way before Bruno landed on him--seemed somewhat suspicious.

Well, a few days later, Eminem indeed revealed that he'd been in on the joke all along. "I'm thrilled that we pulled this off better than we rehearsed it," the self-professed Sacha fan told RapRadar.com. He added that he'd even "laughed for three hours" after he watched the awards show's playback later at his hotel.

You and the rest of America, Mr. Mathers. Kudos.

But it wasn't just viral videos creating a stir on the Web this week. Country star LeAnn Rimes--whose own medley of Andy Samberg SNL Digital Short songs, performed with Chris Isaak and Forest Whitaker, was another buzzy MTV Movie Awards hit--made headlines of her own. And it was nothing to joke about.

A few weeks ago, the married crooner was accused in Us Weekly of having a steamy affair with her co-star in the Lifetime TV movie Northern Lights, the also-married Eddie Cibrian. Us even ran photos taken from a video security camera that depicted LeAnn and Eddie supposedly canoodling on a romantic dinner date; reported that the two had trysted at the Malibu Beach Inn; and quoted Northern Lights director Mike Robe as saying, "From the moment we rehearsed, LeAnn and Eddie honestly developed a really strong bond and a warm relationship." Both actors adamantly denied that their relationship was anything more than professional/platonic, and soon the whole scandal seemed like a pre-planned stunt of Sacha/Eminem proportions, cleverly designed to bolster ratings for Northern Lights. (The program drew 4.5 million viewers, making it the most-watched movie of the year for the Lifetime network...so such a theory certainly seemed believable.)

However, this week Eddie's wife, model Brandi Glanville, spoke directly to Us--shockingly accusing LeAnn of "stalking" Eddie, to the point where she'd allegedly followed him to an L.A. Lakers basketball game after he'd changed his phone number and she couldn't reach him. "[LeAnn] is a stalker," Brandi told Us Weekly. "She refuses to leave us alone--it is shameful and scary...She's hurting my family and messing with the wrong mom."

LeAnn didn't address Brandi's allegations personally, but a rep for the country star told People: "These comments are incredibly defamatory. While there are always two sides to every story, LeAnn continues to remain above the fray and chooses not to play this out in the press." However, such a vague statement understandably failed to quash the infidelity rumors surrounding Leann and Eddie, and we have a feeling this is not the last we'll hear about this scandal.

In even sadder and more scandalous news, Britain's Got Talent underdog sensation Susan Boyle--whose reality show performances have become hugely viral video clips, watched more than 100 million times online--was hospitalized for exhaustion after finishing second on the show's finale last weekend. The day after her defeat, she was rushed to London's Priory health clinic after reportedly undergoing an emotional breakdown. ("It's very tough," said a spokesperson for Britain's Got Talent. "She gave it her all [on the show] and is absolutely shattered.") It later came to light that, following several tantrums that Susan (who suffers from learning disabilities) threw in the week leading up to the finale, Susan's pastor and several mental health experts had argued that she was not emotionally stable enough to deal with the massive stress of a live televised competition and instant megafame. As a result, many media pundits debated whether reality TV is just too cruel, and if show producers have a moral responsibility to protect their contestants, particularly ones with special needs of any kind.

That debates rages on, but in the meantime, Susan Boyle seems on her way to recovery, having just been released from the Priory after a five-day rehab stay. We wish her well.

Someone else who's no stranger to rehab, or public breakdowns, or media scrutiny, is troubled diva Whitney Houston, who has not released a new studio album since 2002. But she just announced this week that her comeback disc (her first release since divorcing equally notorious husband Bobby Brown) will finally come out this September.

Can the diva--who has sold more than 170 million records, singles, and videos over the course of her once-thriving career--make a real comeback at age 45, after seven years of being in the spotlight for her tabloid antics but not for her music? We shall see, but we're rooting for her as well.

News that Susan and Boyle are back on track is certainly encouraging, but unfortunately we must conclude this column with two sad stories: The deaths of two music legends, Chicago blues diva Koko Taylor and jazz great Sam Butera. Koko, the Chess Records matriarch most famous for her version of Willie Dixon's "Wang Dang Doodle," was 80 years old, and Sam, best known for his sax-playing and arranging with Louis Prima, was 81. They shall both be missed.

And on that bummer note, thus concludes another week in music news. Come back next Friday for more headspinning headlines, and until then, goodnight and good music.

THIS WEEK'S TOP 10 STORIES:

1) Susan Reaches Her Boyling Point - Britain's Got Talent darling Susan Boyle is hospitalized for a breakdown after losing on the show's finale.

2) Koko Taylor Dies - The blues legend was 80 years old.

3) Joe Jonas Puts A Ring On It - The Jonas Brother's "Single Ladies" parody amuses many, confuses others.

4) Houston, We Don't Hope You Don't Have A Problem - Whitney announces plans to hopefully make a comeback with a new album this fall.

5) Eminem's Shady Joke - His Bruno stunt at the MTV Movie Awards dupes an audience of millions.

6) LeAnn's Love Triangle - A married actor's wife accuses Rimes of being a "stalker."

7) Michael Jackson Not Thrilled With Concert Plans - He claims he only wanted to play 10 London farewell concerts, not 50.

8) Play Him Off, Green Day Cat - Green Day's Keyboard Cat parody makes fans LOL.

9) Sam Butera Dies - The jazz great was 81 years old.

10) While My Fake Guitar Gently Weeps - The surviving Beatles unite to promote their Rock Band game.

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