However, the stars didn’t take a soulful stroll down their decades-long careers, impressively belting out their tracks, swapping stories and even kicking off their heels (yes, Patti!) with just each other.
In the final round of the battle, the ladies were joined by none other than Dionne Warwick to perform “That’s What Friends Are For” as a trio. The moment, 35 years after the release of Warwick’s star-studded version featuring Knight, was the definition of touching.
But, the singers had one more song in store in the name of sisterhood—the trio’s 1991 cover of “Superwoman.”
“What a night,” Knight said.
LaBelle added, “We’ve had our moments up here tonight and we’re blessed whoever’s watching that you watched and that you saw real love because that’s what it is.”
While choosing a winner between two greats feels wrong, the track list for this Verzuz battle is below. You can be the judge, or as Michael B. Jordan was doing, simply enjoy the show. As the actor tweeted, “They sittin down but I’m standin up !”
Fargo Returns with Warring Crime Families and Even More Midwest Nice
I always want to like Fargo more than I do. The FX anthology series from Noah Hawley debuts its fourth season this Sunday with another Midwestern fable about life, death, and bitter cold. It stars Chris Rock as a the leader of an organized crime racket in 1952 in Kansas City, Missouri, squaring off against the local mafiosos, led by Jason Schwartzman. The Italians, the Fadda family, were there before Rock’s ring, the Cannons—but they were preceded by an Irish crime outfit, who were themselves preceded by a Jewish one. The first episode gives us a brief history of these families in Kansas City, who all attempted—and failed—to maintain peace by trading their youngest sons to be raised by the rival family.
You’d think that after three failed truces, this son-trading thing would be widely regarded as a bad move. But as narrated to the audience by the lethally clear-eyed teenager Ethelrida Smutny (E’myri Crutchfield), the only black student at the local high school, humans seem determined to barrel towards strife and violence no matter what history has taught us. So despite the obvious trauma that Josto Fadda (Schwartzman) experienced as a young boy traded to the Irish—or that his man Rabbi Mulligan (Ben Whishaw) did as an Irish boy traded to the Jews and then absorbed, during strife, by the Italians—Loy Cannon (Rock) trades his own son Satchel (Rodney L Jones III) for a young member of the Fadda family, Zero (Jameson Braccioforte). Fargo begins its fourth season poised on a knife, waiting with bated breath for the other shoe to drop.
And waits. And waits. The show begins each episode with the hyperbolic, haunting, utterly untrue text from the beginning of the film, diluting its power with every use: “THIS IS A TRUE STORY,” it begins, before adding with foreboding, “At the request of the survivors, the names have been changed.” This is a lot of pomp and circumstance for a show that ends up moving very slowly and quite tortuously, plodding through episodes and roping in fantastically named new characters as if detail is a replacement for having a point. The detail can be wonderful: The production brings the interiors of the slightly shabby Midwest to neutral-toned life, tainting its respectability with the incursion of strife at every turn. There’s a character named Doctor Harvard and another named Doctor Senator, and Andrew Bird is there as Ethelrida’s father, Thurman Smutny. (Her mom, Dibrell, played by Anji White, is black.)
You can see why actors like being on Fargo. The show is dominated by its rich texture, and the characters are imaginative creations—their mouths full of pretentious monologues about life and death, their hands driven by inexplicable desires and the heavy weight of duty. They have the freedom to take up so much space, and time, with the quirks of their performance. And because Hawley’s show pipes in at least some version of the movie’s sardonic wit, there’s something almost parodic about the whole undertaking, a self-seriousness that is also an inside joke. This might best be expressed this season in Jessie Buckley’s wild take on a twisted nurse named Oraetta Mayflower. She wears a white nurse uniform complete with white hat and white tights, and speaks with a Minnesota (??) accent that borders on the satirical. Or maybe it’s in Schwartzman’s freewheeling take on a mafia don—a scenery-chewing performance imbued with a metatextual sarcasm, a Coppola scion aping the tropes his family so firmly established.
“I Think…She Would Seriously Consider Running for President”: Inside Meghan Markle’s Political Ambitions
Her comments about the election may have raised some eyebrows back in Britain this week, but the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle plans to continue canvassing ahead of November’s U.S. presidential election, and hasn’t ruled out a career in politics—including a possible White House run.
Rumors abound that Meghan could run for president in 2024, and she got the attention of the office’s current occupant, who said in a press conference on Wednesday that he is “not a fan” of the duchess. Donald Trump was responding to a video that she and Prince Harry made to promote Time 100’s list of the most influential people in 2020, in which she declared that November’s election is “the most important election of our lifetime.” But it’s possible that 2024 could be even more important for her personally.
“One of the reasons she was so keen not to give up her American citizenship was so she had the option to go into politics,” said a close friend of the royal. “I think if Meghan and Harry ever gave up their titles she would seriously consider running for president.”
However those working closely with Meghan insist she has no plans to pursue a political career. “While there’s no denying she is interested and engaged in politics as a topic, she harbors no ambition to enter a career in politics herself,” said one well-placed source.
Members of the royal family are expected to be politically neutral, and Prince Harry has always steered clear of politics. Harry and Meghan did not mention any specific candidates in their Time 100 video, but they did emphasize the importance of voting. “Every four years, we’re told the same thing, ‘This is the most important election of our lifetime.’ But this one is,” Meghan said. “When we vote, our values are put into action, and our voices are heard.”
Harry added, “As we approach this November, it’s vital that we reject hate speech, misinformation, and online negativity.”
The comments are said to have sparked concern at Buckingham Palace. Courtiers appeared to distance the royal family from the couple’s comments, issuing a statement saying that “the Duke is not a working member of the royal family” and describing his comments as “made in a personal capacity.”
Even before their comments, there was no love lost between Donald Trump and the duchess. In a 2016 interview with Larry Wilmore she called the then candidate “misogynistic, and so vocal about it,” and when informed of her quotes in 2019 Trump responded, “I didn’t know that she was nasty.” She was notably absent when the president and the first lady visited the U.K. for a state visit in 2019. While Meghan was on maternity leave at the time, Harry was with the other royals when they met with the Trumps and “noticeably hung back” from the group.
When she married into the royal family, Meghan was advised that she would have to tone down her political activism and keep her opinions private. In an interview with Marie Claire in August, the duchess referenced her frustration at having to be silenced and said she would be voting in the forthcoming election. “I know what it’s like to have a voice, and also what it’s like to feel voiceless,” she said. “I also know that so many men and women have put their lives on the line for us to be heard. And that opportunity, that fundamental right, is in our ability to exercise our right to vote and to make all of our voices heard.”
‘The Boys’ Spinoff Series in Development After Reportedly Massive Season 2 Ratings
The Boys are heading off to school. The hit Prime Video superhero series is officially getting its own college-themed spinoff, Deadline reports. The upcoming project, which comes from The Boys executive producer Craig Rosenberg, was launched into development after the successful Season 2 premiere of the original series, which debuted Sept. 4 as the most-watched global launch of an Amazon Original series ever.
The upcoming series is set to take place at the only college in the nation made for only for young superheroes, which also happens to be run by Vought International. The untitled The Boys spinoff is described as “an irreverent, R-rated series that explores the lives of hormonal, competitive supes as they put their physical, sexual, and moral boundaries to the test, competing for the best contracts in the best cities. Part college show, part Hunger Games — with all the heart, satire and raunch of The Boys.”
Rosenberg will write the pilot and will act as the showrunner and executive producer on the spinoff, which comes from Amazon Studios and Sony Pictures Television in association with Point Grey Pictures, Kripke Enterprises and Original Film. The Boys creator Eric Kripke and executive producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg will also join the upcoming project.
The Boys, an adaptation of the comic by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, first premiered on Prime Video in 2019. The second-season returned earlier this month with a three-episode debut and new installments following each week. Season 2 picks up with The Boys in hiding and The Supes on the lookout for them. While Hughie (Jack Quaid), Mother’s Milk (Laz Alonso), Frenchie (Tomer Capon) and Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara) are laying low, Butcher (Karl Urban) has gone off on his own and is nowhere to be found. The Seven is dealing with its own problems, and the addition of a new supe, Stormfront (Aya Cash), doesn’t help.
Season 2 marked an even bigger debut for the series, pulling in almost double the audience of Season 1 in just its first two weeks and continuing to bring in millions of new viewers with every weekly episode. After a successful run on Prime Video this fall, The Boys Season 2 is coming to an end with the season finale on Oct. 9.
Where to watch The Boys
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