May 13th, 2012

Usher Keeps It Smooth On 'Saturday Night Live'

Usher Keeps It Smooth On ‘Saturday Night Live’

Posted on 13 May 2012 at 4:09pm

Plus Justin Bieber, Justin Timberlake and others make special cameos in the show’s 100th Digital Short segment.
By James Dinh

Usher on “Saturday Night Live”

Photo: NBC

Exactly one month before his new album, Looking 4 Myself, hits shelves, the wheels of Usher‘s promotional wagon gained momentum when the entertainer provided America with a set of contrasting performances and chuckles during this weekend’s “Saturday Night Live” episode, which was hosted by “SNL” alum Will Ferrell.

Rocking simple black jeans, a jacket and tee, and a faux hawk, Ursh looked vibrant and energetic as he performed his brand-new single “Scream.” Unlike previous expertly choreographed numbers for his dance tunes, the sunglass-donning singer showed off minimal, but nonetheless slick, moves, while his band and two backup singers filled his Studio 8 back stage.

“We at it again, ‘SNL,’ and this time we going to make you scream,” he told the crowd at the start of the energetic cut.

His second performance was for the Diplo-produced cut “Climax,” during which the singer showed off his sensual and smooth side. Clearing the area of his accompanying singers, Usher made his smooth falsetto the forefront of the number. It was a simple, authentic rendition of the hit song that was essential proof of his multi-faceted vocal talents.

In addition to his set of performances, the ATL singer appeared alongside Ferrell in the “2012 Funkytown Debate” skit, in which he played a character named Galactic Fantastic. Dressed in some sparkling duds and an oversized afro, the R&B entertainer played a wacky sidekick who brought in his singing voice to support Farrell’s side of the grooving song debate.

Usher got even more airtime when he was joined by Justin Bieber, Justin Timberlake, Michael Bolton, Will Ferrell and Natalie Portman, who all made cameos in the episode’s special 100th Digital Short. Paying tribute to some of the most popular Shorts like “Di– in a Box” and “Shy Ronnie,” Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone and the Biebs most fittingly put on a big-time celebration with accompanying jingle. It was an all-star affair and brought back some major giggles — especially when JT and Portman reprised their original Short roles.

To add to the night’s surprises, Liam Neeson popped up during a “Weekend Update” segment for the Nicolas Cage parody “Get in the Cage.” Neeson’s upcoming summer flick “Battleship” was the main topic of conversation, with Samberg, as Cage, asking his usual “How am I not in that movie?!” Samberg went on to babble jealous nonsense about Neeson’s other flicks in his spot-on Cage impersonation.

Like last week’s musical guest Rihanna, Mr. Raymond’s gig on the late-night sketch show marks his third appearance. And it’s one of the many stops that the singer will make to promote his upcoming project. He’s set to kick off the “Today” show’s summer concert series on Friday, perform at the Billboard Music Awards on May 20 and head overseas for Capital FM’s Summertime Ball 2012 in London in early June.

Mick Jagger will perform double duty as host and musical guest on next week’s “Saturday Night Live” season finale.

What did you think of Usher’s “SNL” performances? Sound off below.

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'Survivor One World' Finale: Predicting The Winner

‘Survivor One World’ Finale: Predicting The Winner

Posted on 13 May 2012 at 12:03pm

Former ‘Survivor’ contestant Rob Cesternino weighs in on the final five contestants vying for the title of Sole Survivor.
By Josh Wigler

Kim Spradlin on “Survivor: One World”

Photo: CBS

A foulmouthed special-ed teacher, a medical-sales-repping Southern belle, an indecisive career consultant from Hollywood, a sneaky bridal shop owner and a high school teacher from Brooklyn: These are the women competing for the million-dollar prize on Sunday night’s (May 13) “Survivor: One World” season finale.

In a season dominated by just one contestant — 29-year-old Kim Spradlin, who has won numerous immunity challenges and forged multiple alliances to get to the endgame — predicting the “One World” winner isn’t quite as challenging as it’s been in “Survivor” seasons of yore. But this is “Survivor” we’re talking about, and twists are the name of the game. There’s no shortage of curveballs that could be thrown at the final five contestants in tonight’s race for the Sole Survivor title.

As we’ve done all season long, MTV News joined forces with two-time “Survivor” contestant and regular commentator Rob Cesternino once again for his final “One World” predictions.

Most Likely to Win: Kim Spradlin
Since the departure of Colton, ‘Survivor: One World’ has been the season of Kim,” Cesternino said. “She’s been in control of every single thing that’s happened the whole way. She’s had her finger on the pulse of the game. She played an amazing game and I think it would be almost criminal if she did not win — barring a total collapse during the finale.”

Least Likely to Win: Christina Cha
“Christina at no point in the game has been in a favorable position,” Rob reasoned. “It seems unlikely to think that she’ll run off with two consecutive immunity challenges here at the end, when she’s never even been in the mix to win one immunity challenge. She doesn’t have the respect of the jury, considering some of those people were terrified by the possibility of going home before Christina. She hasn’t done anything to get there.”

Dark-Horse Pick: Sabrina Thompson
“I think she is very savvy,” the former player said. “I also think she’s well-liked by the jury. I think she could be an alternative to Kim in the finals, where she’s able to sit there and say, ‘Look, I didn’t lie to you, and I didn’t backstab you. That was all Kim. All of that bad stuff? Kim. I was here the whole way, and I was tough.’ Sabrina is someone who could at least get a couple of votes in the finals. Maybe, if the jury goes anti-Kim, she could potentially squeak out a victory.”

Worst-Case Scenario: Bitter Jury Syndrome
“I think it would be a shame if Kim makes it all the way to the finals and ends up losing the jury vote just as a way of getting back at her for voting out all of the men in the game,” Rob said. “It’s happened before on ‘Survivor,’ where the jury is bitter. I don’t think Kim’s social game has been lacking. It would be good to see someone who plays the best game get rewarded by the jury. Otherwise, as Russell Hantz has said before, the game would be flawed.”

Biggest Possible Surprise: Kim Goes at Four
“The most surprising thing that could happen at the end of the season, for me, would be that one of these players smartens up and realizes that Kim has had the immunity idol and can’t play it once she hits the final four. If she doesn’t win that immunity challenge, the smartest thing that any of them can do is to take her out,” Cesternino said. “If I’m Chelsea, and if I’m Sabrina, I don’t know how I’ve gone this far without ever trying to take out Kim. It kills me to see these players roll over and die and give this game to Kim as they’ve done all season. If they turned on her at the final four, I would be very surprised.”

Get more of Rob’s thoughts on “Survivor” by following him on Twitter.

Previously on MTV News’ “Survivor” coverage:


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