Emily Anderson

Culture Vultures: Niamh Cullen and Emily Anderson review the week in Pop Culture - 22nd January 2021

So… in a time of serious and depressing news, we think it is not just important, but vital, to tune out for a brief minute and indulge in the ridiculous circus of the pop culture world which, despite the Universe’s best efforts (and our pleas), simply refuses to stop rising to the occasion. In this week alone we have much to discuss. Buckle up!

Image: Clark Van Der Beken from Unsplash

Will the end of 'Benana' be the cure for the pandemic?

Alas, Ben Affleck and Ana De Armas, actors but more importantly the stars of the celebrity lockdown paparazzi shots, have ended their relationship after almost a year. Their romance debuted at the same time Coronavirus took hold across Europe in around early March 2020. Coincidence? I’ll let you decide. The two seemed compelled to make it their vocation to distract us from the mundanity of lockdown life by treating us to what appear to be some of the most staged PR shots of all time, but of course we would never accuse them directly of such thing. But now, as more pap shots show a life size cardboard cut-out of Ana being thrown into the bins outside of Ben’s LA home, we look to the future in the hope the universe had coincided this global pandemic with the timeline of their romance, and now we pray that as Benana comes to a close, so will this pandemic. Cosmically I like to believe it makes some sense. (NC)

Breaking free! Olivia Rodrigo proves that no one is too old for Disney drama...

Remember when wildly successful celebrities were older than you? Me neither! Seventeen-year-old Disney starlet Olivia Rodrigo made a tsunami of noise this week after her debut single Driver’s License (sadly for grammar fanatics, sans apostrophe) went viral. Indebted to TikTok and the relentlessness of Gen Z, the song has broken records on Spotify previously set by the likes of Ariana Grande. With everyone on Earth desperate for any shred of gossip, a surging power ballad written about a High School Musical co-star ticks every box. Teen drama! Its allure is evergreen. (EA)

Image: Kin Li from Unsplash

Now, on to the Inauguration...

Gaganiss Everdeen: The girl whose voice can always go higher...

The Inauguration, also known as the preview for the Chromatica Ball, had us all on tenterhooks Lady Gaga was announced to the stage to perform the national anthem. In typical Gaga fashion she emerged from the doors with a carefully crafted look, and it seems that look was pulled straight out of the Hunger Games Trilogy. With a very Mockingjay-esque pin on, only it looked slightly more like an actual bird dipped in gold and strapped to her chest, and donned in custom Schiaparelli, our Italian American mother of the little monsters plucked the matching golden mic out of Mike Pence’s hand and proceeded to belt out the tune all the while being a PERFORMER and ACTED her way through the song, as she raised her hand, spun her head and looked pleadingly at the sky as she reached her high note, reminding us all she is Oscar nominated thank you very much! (NC)

Well, J.Lo’s here too!

Gaga may be the high priestess of the Star-Spangled Banner, but Jennifer Lopez is here to see a new president in as well. I’ll admit, it must be tricky to strike a balance at a time such as this. Do you sing solemnly? Do you make a political statement? Does the mask stay on? So much to consider! Ms Lopez got through it, however, and a particular highlight was a seamless transition from the traditional ‘This Land is Your Land’ into her own ‘Let’s Get Loud’. A certified bop, but perhaps the oddest choice imaginable to sing to an empty Capitol Hill. Woohoo! Pandemic! Let’s get louddddd! I respect the intent, I really do. But J.Lo singing an excerpt of a 2000s banger in front of a crowd-less Capitol felt slightly apocalyptic. At least A-Rod was there to cheer her on. (EA)

Bernard has things to do, Mr President...

A quick and humble shout out to one Bernie Sanders, whose inauguration outfit was closer to Vermont dad chic than to historic presidential event. Brown anorak? Check. Mask? Check. Handmade mittens from the campaign trail? Check! At an event dominated by royal family dress-coat-mask sets, Sen. Sanders and his franked manila envelope looked like a booked and busy PTA member. Refreshing! (EA)

Image: Vidar Nordli-Mathisen from Unsplash

And there we have it. A week of culture, exciting and engaging (read: alarming), laid out for your pleasure. The world may be on fire, but celebrities (and politicians) will always deliver. Until next time!