Tag Archive: Britney Spears


On Wednesday night, a new American Idol was crowned. Congrats, Scotty McCreery. But this news was actually anti-climactic compared to everything else that occurred in the 117 minutes leading up to Ryan Seacrest’s big announcement. If anything, there were so many great performances by the contestants who didn’t make it to the finale, it was enough to make viewers wonder if they’d voted wrong when they elected the final two. Perhaps this was not the agenda “Idol” producers had in mind when they planned this show…but their loss was our gain, because we were all treated to a night of fine Idolicious entertainment.

Here were the night’s biggest highlights:8) Jennifer Lopez Proves She Should Be A Judge On “SYTYCD” Instead
Any viewers who saw J.Lo and her admittedly more vocally gifted husband Marc Anthony duet at the 2005 Grammys were probably relieved that J.Lo refrained from singing when Marc performed on the “Idol” finale, instead just doing what she does best: Shaking her famous moneymaker like a Fly Girl. Still, it was a little weird that the singing judge of a singing competition only DANCED, and didn’t bother to come within 10 feet of a working microphone.

7) No One Is Harmed In The Making Of The “Spider-Man” Performance
When an aerial stuntman in Spider-Man spandex, suspended only by skinny strings, hovered above the audience, my heart stopped, imagining another Julie Taymor-style disaster like the “Idol” stage collapsing on top of J.Lo’s million-dollar-insured legs or whatever. But instead U2’s Bono and The Edge, and Turn Off The Dark Broadway star Reeve Carney, performed the musical’s soundtrack single “Rise Above” without a hitch. I would have preferred another Rock Of Agescast performance, myself, but this sounded like a solid U2 ballad, and everyone emerged unscathed, so I was pleased. And relieved.

6) Casey Abrams & Jack Black Have A Growl-Off
I never thought I’d see the day when Jack Black would be upstaged. But he met his match in Season 10 growler Casey, who out-scatted him on a bizarre but amusing cover of Queen’s “Fat-Bottomed Girls,” while a bunch of modern-day Fly Girls in short-shorts gyrated behind them. It was more like Bodacious D than Tenacious D. It was also pretty awesome.

5) Lady Gaga Returns To Scare The Judas Out Of Scotty & Lauren
The season’s two young and impressionable finalists probably still wake up with night sweats remembering that time they were locked in a rehearsal room with mentor Lady Gaga and ordered to act “evil” and French-kiss microphone stands. When Gaga hit the finale stage in a metal-studded bikini, rubbing up against “So You Think You Can Dance” allstar Mark Kanemura on a giant rock, then jumping into a hellpit Black Swan-style, it was a tame performance by Gaga standards…but I bet Scotty kissed his cross again anyway.

4) The Great Debate: What Was This Season’s Most Shocking Elimination?
Casey Abrams claimed his top 11 elimination night was this season’s biggest shocker, and he made a good case (he didneed medical attention afterwards). James Durbin claimed his top 4 night was the season’s biggest upset (he cried, after all). Then Pia Toscano sashayed up in her “Most Shocking” beauty-pageant sash and claimed her rightful title. Seeing these Idols reenact the debates we’ve all engaged in around the ol’ watercooler was a total blast. (And by the way…I sided with Casey.)

3) Beyonce & The Top 13 Girls Run The World
Okay, WHY didn’t some of these girls perform this well WHEN THEY WERE COMPETING ON THE SHOW? Belting out a Beyonce medley, Thia and Pia oozed personality, Karen Rodriguez showed vocal range, Haley Reinhart proved she should have been in the finale, and Naima Adedapo, the dancer of the season, totally busted a move in her freakum dress. Then Beyonce joined the single ladies and things got even freakier. The one bittersweet moment? When they sang “If I Were A Boy” and I thought the full title should have been “If I Were A Boy (I Probab2) Steven Tyler Reminds Everyone He’s A Rock Legend
He plays the class clown on “Idol,” but never forget Steven Tyler is a ROCK GOD, people. There’s more to him than wacky one-liners, inappropriate flirting, and colorful scarves. His “Dream On” performance was a welcome reminder of his legacy, and on an even happier note, it forever erased Danny Gokey’s infamous “Dream On” Season 8 performance from viewers’ scarred brains. It was beautiful, man. Just beautiful. ly Would Have Gone Farther On This Show).” Come on, you know it’s true. Girls may run the world, but they don’t run “Idol.”2) Steven Tyler Reminds Everyone He’s A Rock Legend
He plays the class clown on “Idol,” but never forget Steven Tyler is a ROCK GOD, people. There’s more to him than wacky one-liners, inappropriate flirting, and colorful scarves. His “Dream On” performance was a welcome reminder of his legacy, and on an even happier note, it forever erased Danny Gokey’s infamous “Dream On” Season 8 performance from viewers’ scarred brains. It was beautiful, man. Just beautiful.

1) James Durbin & Judas Priest Give Metal A Chance
A couple weeks ago when James was eliminated, I lamented what could have been, imagining “James rocking the stage sheathed in Rob Halfordian leather” on the finale if he’d advanced. But I ended up not only getting my wish…I got James rocking the stage WITH ROB HALFORD. Watching James live out his Beavis & Butthead-esque rock ‘n’ roll fantasies, engaging in a headbanging Judas Priest screech-off on “Living After Midnight” and “Breaking The Law” (as “Pepsi Moment” pyro flames shot up to the ceiling and James’s tail-scarf wagged in earnest) was such a righteously rawkin’ antidote to the scrubbed-cleaned final two’s safe, grandma-friendly performances. And did James borrow that studded vest from Gaga?


Libya’s Widely Used Web Suffix Makes a Long Story Short for Obama, Others.

Where have the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the U.S. Air Force directed Twitter followers to learn more about military action in Libya? To an Internet domain controlled by the regime of Col. Moammar Gadhafi.

They aren’t the only ones to send their Internet followers through Libya. So have House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio), Stanford University, Charlie Sheen, the White House, Kim Kardashian, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Paul McCartney, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and thousands of others.

The reason is a linguistic anomaly that might be Col. Gadhafi’s most unlikely asset: Libya’s Internet domain happens to be the English language’s adverbial suffix: ly.

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As a result, the .ly domain has proved attractive to English-language businesses looking for catchy online names—including bit.ly, Ow.ly and other popular utilities that compress lengthy Internet addresses, making them easier to email, link or fit the tight space on networks like Twitter. These helpful, simple—and free—services have become ubiquitous.

The .ly domain is controlled by Libya’s General Post and Telecommunications Co., whose chairman, Mohammed el-Gadhafi, is the dictator’s eldest son. It says it has rented out more than 10,000 .ly domains, either directly or through resellers.

Human Rights Watch, which has blasted the Gadhafi regime for blocking Internet access within Libya, is one organization that unwittingly used the .ly addresses. “It’s ironic and a little bit distasteful,” says Tom Malinowski, the group’s Washington director, upon learning the news from a reporter.

A spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) said her office was unaware of bit.ly’s Libyan connection. But “given this new information, we will no longer be using this free service,” the spokesman said.

A representative of New York-based bit.ly had no immediate comment on the Libya connection. A post on the company website, answering a customer question, said it paid $75 for the .ly address.

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“We don’t do business in Libya, but it’s worth noting that on May 31, 2006, the United States reopened the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, a step the State Department described as marking ‘a new era in U.S.-Libya relations,'” the post says.

However, an even newer era began on Feb. 25, 2011, when the Obama administration reimposed economic sanctions on Libya. A spokeswoman for the Treasury Department—another bit.ly user—said Americans could not rent .ly domains from entities controlled by the Gadhafi regime.

“It’s a bit of an emotional question,” acknowledges Ryan Holmes, chief executive of HootSuite Media Inc., the Vancouver, British Columbia, company that operates Ow.ly, a shortening service favored by the Salvation Army and the Israeli Embassy in Washington. “But at the end of the day, buying oil helps Gadhafi more.”

Mr. Holmes says HootSuite pays $25 per year to rent the Ow.ly address from Libyan Spider LLC. The Tripoli reseller didn’t respond to an email seeking comment. On its website, however, Libyan Spider assured customers that .ly domains would continue to function despite “recent events of unrest in Libya.”

“The only missing bit at the moment is the Internet connection between Libya and the outside world,” the company said, “and we are looking forward for it to be restored soon.”

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Lengthy Internet addresses are a particular problem on Twitter, which limits posts to 140 characters. Shortening services let users substitute a prolix link for an abbreviated placeholder. When a user enters a Web address, the service assigns it a code on its own site. Thus, an Internet address that requires, say, 595 letters, numbers and punctuation marks can be reduced to 20 characters or less, such as: http://ow.ly/4qC3v.

Punch in the Ow.ly address, and a request will move to one of Libya’s five servers—two inside Libya, two in the U.S. and one in Europe. The .ly server forwards the message to Amazon.com Inc., the contractor HootSuite uses for its Web service, where the 4gC3v Ow.ly code is linked to the original website.

The Libyans are well aware of their potential market among English speakers seeking memorable Internet addresses. According to information on Libyan Spider’s website, only 38% of .ly domains are registered by Libyans. English-speaking countries have locked up most of the rest, with the U.S., the U.K. and Canada accounting for 43% of the total.

For those without their own adverb indexes, the company helpfully posted a list of “8,742 words ending in ly.” While cruel.ly, gris.ly and smel.ly are taken, inept.ly, violent.ly and psychotical.ly remain available, the company said.

Meanwhile, some of .ly’s competitors in shortening have seen recent gains. Tiny.cc saw page impressions triple to 1.2 million in March from the previous month, says Tim Boid, a Billings, Mont., medical-equipment serviceman who operates the shortening site in his spare time. The .cc refers to the Cocos Islands, an Australian territory with a population of 600. The .cc server, Mr. Boid says, is in New Jersey.

Another shortening-site developer, Richard West of Louth, England, says he never trusted the Libyan Internet authorities, especially after they pulled a site that allegedly had “objectionable [pornographic] content under Libyan sharia law.” Instead, Mr. West chose Grenada’s Internet domain when setting up his Is.gd service, now owned by Mesmet Ltd., a British Web-hosting company.

“We’d certainly be happy to welcome Britney Spears or the Dalai Lama,”—two prominent bit.ly users—”and I think our strong ethical policies compared to the competition would also make us an appealing choice for many users,” Mr. West says. Is.gd carries no advertising and says it is “carbon neutral,” financing environmental programs to offset its servers’ consumption of electricity.

If users recoil when they discover Ow.ly’s Libyan link, HootSuite’s Mr. Holmes has a backup plan. He has registered “Ow.li, which is Liechtenstein, and we might at some point offer that out” as a Libya-free alternative.


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