Monday, April 4, 2011

Underwood steals the show from Rihanna

(L-R) Carrie Underwood; Rihanna (Ethan Miller/Getty Images; Michael Buckner/ACMA2011/Getty Images)   

Rihanna's much-hyped song at the Academy of Country Music Awards falls flat.

Rihanna Falls Flat, Underwood Steals Show At 46th Annual ACM Awards

Although the 46th annual Academy of Country Music Awards Sunday evening boasted an unusually rich list of interesting moments/personalities/collaborations, there were two performances that took up the majority of preshow chatter. One of these was non-country superstar Rihanna dueting with Sugarland frontwoman Jennifer Nettles. The other, Carrie Underwood with a tantalizingly unnamed "surprise" partner on stage.
Needless to say, only one performance lived up to the considerable hype.
I won't keep you in suspense. It wasn't Rihanna's. Unfortunately, the pop diva's duet with Nettles--a rendition of Rihanna's ballad "California King Bed"--felt leaden at worst, overwrought at best, leading mostly to a sense of wondering who on earth thought this would be a good idea.

Nettles has dueted out of her home genre before (most recently with artists as diverse as MC Lyte and Keri Hilson) to good effect. There's no apparent reason the broadly appealing Rihanna would not be able to match wits with a country artist or audience. The song wasn't even performed at the awards show proper; it was part of a new "fan jam" feature of which highlights were fed into the ACMs telecast.
And yet...thumbs down. Nothing much else to say except a shrug of the shoulders; likely the duet would have been better if they'd attempted Sugarland's bubbly "Stuck Like Glue"--a song that seems made for a pop artist to cavort with--instead.
What did work: Carrie Underwood's surprise, which consisted of her morphing into a pink-haired rock chick opposite none other than Steven Tyler. The pair wrangled it out, stamping their respective boots fiercely, on Underwood's "Undo It" and Aerosmith's "Walk This Way."

The result? The evening's unexpected and undisputed highest point. Underwood may have walked away empty-handed in terms of awards (after scoring big last year, winning the coveted Entertainer of the Year award)--but she hands-down stole the entire show anyway. 

Five industries fighting extinction

Teenage boy looking at vinyl record album (Klaus Tiedge/Corbis)  

For most people, the days of shopping at a record store or making calls over a landline are long gone.


5 Industries on Life Support

provided by
If you read the print edition of a newspaper, still make calls over a landline or plan to rent a tuxedo for an upcoming wedding, you are doing what many of your friends and neighbors gave up long ago.

Analysts at IBISWorld, a market research firm, recently compiled a list of 10 industries that may be on the "verge of extinction in the United States." Within its database of close to 700 industries, about 200 are in decline, with the ones selected having seen large and steady drops in revenue and number of establishments. From the beginning of 2011 to the end of 2016, these industries are likely to deteriorate further.
"People might think that we are coming out of recession and these industries have hit bottom, so therefore everyone should be going up," IBISWorld Senior Analyst Toon van Beeck says. "But that is definitely not the case. A lot of these revenues peaked in about 2000 and since then they have declined year over year."
He explains that while economic cycles, the ups and downs of bull and bear markets, often swing every eight to 10 years, "industry life cycles can be three to 50 years where they go from maturity into decline." The industries singled out by the firm "are really at the end of their decline phase or they are in rapid decline."

Nazis' spectacularly botched mission to U.S.

A new German U-boat returning from sea trials on Oct. 27, 1943. (AP)   

Once-secret files reveal how a plan to terrorize Americans spiraled into a bizarre farce.


British spy files shed light on Nazi saboteurs

LONDON – The four men wading ashore on a Florida beach wearing nothing but bathing trunks and German army hats looked like an unlikely invading force.
Declassified British intelligence files describe how the men were part of Nazi sabotage teams sent to the U.S. in June 1942 to undermine the American war effort.
They were trained in bomb-making, supplied with explosives and instructed in how to make timers from "easily obtainable commodities such as dried peas, lumps of sugar and razor blades."
Fortunately for the U.S., they were also spectacularly unsuccessful.
"It was not brilliantly planned," said Edward Hampshire, a historian at Britain's National Archives, which released the wartime intelligence documents Monday. "The Germans picked the leader for this very, very poorly. He immediately wanted to give himself up."

Rebels reject offer from Gadhafi's sons

Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, son of Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi, gestures as he speaks to supporters and the media. (AP/Ben Curtis)  

Seif Gadhafi's rumored plan to remove his father from power rankles Libya's opposition.

Libya rebels reject transition under Kadhafi sons

BENGHAZI, Libya (AFP) – Libyan rebels insisted Monday that the whole Kadhafi family must leave before there can be any truce with regime forces amid reports that his sons are offering to oversee a transition.
Rebel troops made a new attempt to recapture Brega, advancing to the outskirts of the oil refinery town only to be forced back under artillery fire, as hundreds wounded in besieged third city Misrata were evacuated by a Turkish ship.