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Alicia Keys tackles the Super Bowl National Anthem

3 February 2013 3:36 PM, PST

Faced with what has easily become the most controversial song of at least the past two weeks, Alicia Keys followed up Jennifer Hudson’s powerhouse rendition of “America the Beautiful” with a mellow, jazzy “Star Spangled Banner” that got the crowd roaring and Baltimore Ravens Ray Lewis frothing before the hyped Super Bowl audience.

Seated at the piano in a sleeveless maroon gown, Keys sounded at times a bit raspy, but overall it was a strong, confident rendition, and one with just enough subtle shakiness to confirm that she was in fact singing it live and not to tape. (Ah, »

- Mike Bruno

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Jennifer Hudson and Sandy Hook Elementary chorus perform 'America the Beautiful' -- Video

3 February 2013 3:32 PM, PST

Oscar and Grammy winner Jennifer Hudson joined the children’s choir from Sandy Hook Elementary School in a performance of “America, the Beautiful” before the Super Bowl.

The kids sang by themselves first, and provided backup for Hudson’s powerhouse vocals when she came out on stage. Watch it below.


Super Bowl commercials: A look at the ads you’ll see during the game

Why Janet Jackson’s performance is the best Super Bowl halftime show of the last 10 years

Super Bowl: Alternative programming guide »

- Denise Warner

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Watch the Super Bowl 2013 commercials here! Your favorites? Your horrors? -- Video

3 February 2013 2:15 PM, PST

Yeah. It’s Super Bowl Sunday, America. And the finest, splashiest, nacho-cheesiest string of advertising in all the land’s about to begin. You can follow along with the hottest action of the day (not football) in the video player below — it’ll update after each quarter with the latest ads. And here’s a great guide to the commercials we already know we’ll see. In the meantime, let’s all chat in the comments here about which ones we love and which we loathe.

Check in later for EW’s Best & Worst Super Bowl Commercials roundup!

Follow @EWAnnieBarrett »

- Annie Barrett

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Super Bowl commercials: A look at the ads you'll see during the game

3 February 2013 6:30 AM, PST

According to our scientific poll*, at the time of publishing, 41 percent of you are watching the Super Bowl for the commercials. (The other 60 percent is split between the football and Beyonce’s halftime show, with a slight edge to the actual game.) So here is a list of the commercials we know you will see while you’re watching the 49ers and the Ravens throw the pigskin around.

The sex appeal:

Bar Refaeli makes out with a nerd for GoDaddy.

Kate Upton washes a Mercedes.

Megan Fox takes a bath with her Motorola phone.

Ready. Set. Danica Patrick.

The animals: »

- Denise Warner

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PopWatch Planner: The Super Bowl, the Grammys, and the return of 'Community'

3 February 2013 6:00 AM, PST

Once a year, America puts aside its preference for tasteful understatement and simple pleasures to celebrate everything that is good and loud about sports, television, violence, capitalism, and patriotism. It’s called the Super Bowl — a super… bowl — the clumsy but perfectly christened title for an American manufactured spectacular. The Ravens meet the 49ers tonight in New Orleans, but regardless of the outcome, the commercials will be analyzed, the enormous television audience will be documented, and the buffalo wings will be picked clean.

Check out our other picks for the week below and tell us what you’re watching. Have a great week! »

- Jeff Labrecque

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Left side, strong side: 7 tear-jerking scenes from football movies (and a TV show)

3 February 2013 6:00 AM, PST

This year’s Super Bowl pits brother against brother (49ers coach Jim Harbaugh vs. Ravens coach John Harbaugh). When this story inevitably becomes a movie (or, probably, made-for-tv-movie), we’re betting there will be a scene of mutual acceptance where one brother says he’s sorry he underestimated the other and the other responds “having you for a brother is greater than any Super Bowl ring.” And we predict we will need tissues.

There’s something about football (and football movies) that heightens emotions. Maybe it’s the competition, the agony of defeat, the glory of victory, the metaphors of »

- Sarah Caldwell

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Why Janet Jackson's performance is the best Super Bowl halftime show of the last 10 years

3 February 2013 5:30 AM, PST

The answer is simple: It was Actually memorable. Granted, it became a gigantic scandal after Janet Jackson’s bare breast was exposed by co-performer Justin Timberlake, but it also made the halftime show feel like a true event. More often than not, this break in between quarters (Football is quarters right?) feels like something you’d see at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and not something more fitting the audience of gagillion people watching.

I mean there are a few great performances from the last 10 years, like Prince in 2007, but looking at a list of past headliners I mostly just think, »

- Tim Stack

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Super Bowl: Alternative programming guide

2 February 2013 12:33 PM, PST

No one ever said you had to love football.

If you’ve managed to avoid saying yes to a Super Bowl party, and your roommate/partner/dog hasn’t laid claim to the television, first off, congratulations! That’s impressive. But now you have to decide how to spend those precious football free hours. You could head to the theater to check out the Best Picture nominees. Or you could just park right in front of television. There are lots of great picks that have nothing to do with the Harbaughs. All showtimes are on eastern time, so please be »

- Lindsey Bahr

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Fake 23 blast, 90 razor, X-out and other great football plays

2 February 2013 6:00 AM, PST

This year’s Super Bowl — if it’s a good one — will feature 60 minutes of complex back-and-forth between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers: sneaks and feints and breaks from the pocket.

(Oh, and a Beyoncé concert.)

That sort of x’s-and-o’s talk also fills football-themed entertainment. And, sometimes, some of the great plays they pull off on-screen are actually, y’know, great. Here’s a round-up of some of the greatest — if either team, or its fans, need a refresher.

Remember the Titans: Ok so this play, while pivotal, isn’t all that showy: It »

- Adam Carlson

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Nominated for Nothing: 'Hunger Games'

1 February 2013 4:46 PM, PST

Just about every year, brilliant movies are utterly ignored by the Oscars. The Searchers, Groundhog Day, Breathless, King Kong, Casino Royale, Touch of Evil, Caddyshack, Mean Streets, The Big Lebowski — the Academy has a long history of overlooking comedies, action movies, horror flicks, hard-boiled genre pics, artsy foreign films, and documentaries that aren’t about World War II. This year, we’ll be taking a closer look at films that were too small, too weird, or perhaps simply too awesome for the Academy Awards. These are the Non-Nominees.

The Film: The Hunger Games. This action-adventure teen bait — based on the »

- Sandra Gonzalez

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Becoming a Budweiser Clydesdale: Super Bowl ad features one-week-old foal

1 February 2013 2:27 PM, PST

If you’re a lover of Budweiser’s majestic Clydesdale commercials, we suggest you prepare yourself for a cuteness explosion.

For their Super Bowl ad this year, Anheuser-Busch is featuring a seven-day-old Clydesdale foal from Warm Spring Ranch in mid-Missouri. The 60-second commercial will shine a light on the foal’s bond with its trainer.

The fourth baby of a horse named Darla, the commercial’s soon-to-be-famous foal is currently nameless, and Budweiser is asking fans to take to Twitter and Facebook to suggest names. One will be chosen after the game.

This will be the 125th Clydesdale commercial that Anheuser-Busch has produced. »

- Samantha Highfill

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Willem Dafoe plays the Devil in Mercedes-Benz Super Bowl ad -- Video

1 February 2013 1:59 PM, PST

He’s played Jesus – now he’s playing the Devil. A 2013 Super Bowl ad is giving Willem Dafoe the chance to play Satan, in a promo for Mercedes-Benz.

In the commercial’s Faustian tale (backed by – what else? – the Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil”), Dafoe’s Devil tempts an impressionable young man to make a deal in exchange for Mercedes’ new Cla-Class – and all that comes with it (because everyone knows that owning a sleek car = scoring invites to red carpet events, getting your photo on the front of magazines and being chased by hoards of screaming girls).

Usher »

- Emily Rome

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The Daily Beast and Newsweek merge (again): Meet 'NewsBeast'

1 February 2013 1:51 PM, PST

Newsweek is no more. And neither is The Daily Beast.

What was once Newsweek/The Daily Beast will now be called “NewsBeast,” CEO Baba Shetty and British spirit guide Tina Brown announced this morning.

The news marks the end of the ongoing combination of two formerly separate entities — Newsweek in print and The Daily Beast online — which first came together in 2010 when Tina Brown, founder of Tdb, assumed control of the flagging magazine, which was plagued with debt and shrinking ad sales.

The relationship was marked with a series of provocative cover stories. Last year, Newsweek announced that it would »

- Adam Carlson

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Former New York Mayor Ed Koch remembered in pop culture

1 February 2013 12:08 PM, PST

Former New York City mayor Ed Koch died this morning. Beyond his political career he will be remembered for making his mark on television and in movies. Just chheck out his IMDb page! He hosted Saturday Night Live before Giuliani, hung out with the Muppets in The Muppets Take Manhattan, and had a cameo in The First Wives Club.

Here are some clips from Koch’s decade-spanning career in the limelight:

1.  Sex and the City

Carrie Bradshaw thinks that she is going to be a big-time model in a fashion show.  Turns out, the show is full of famous New Yorkers of all ages. »

- Sarah Caldwell

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Sony is maybe probably about to announce the PlayStation 4

1 February 2013 11:53 AM, PST

It’s been a little over six years since Sony released the PlayStation 3. In that time, Sony has seen its place in the videogame industry diminish. Part of that was unavoidable: It would have been impossible for the company to create a device that could live up to the PlayStation 2, which all-but-dominated the first half-decade of this videogame millennium. But Sony also ran afoul of the evolving culture of gaming. The PS3 is a ridiculously high-powered machine, built for the Grand Old Epic games, like God of War or Uncharted or Grand Theft Auto. But the market has shifted. Casual »

- Darren Franich

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GoDaddy Super Bowl ad has supermodel Bar Refaeli making out with a nerd

1 February 2013 11:40 AM, PST

Ah, GoDaddy, don’t ever change. (Or change completely. That’d work too.) The lowest common denominator-minded web hosting company is at it again this year with another Super Bowl commercial featuring hot hotties being hot. The new girl of the moment is Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli, hottest woman in the world (according to Maxim) and ex-girlfriend of Leonardo DiCaprio.

In the ad, Refaeli trades down — way down — by locking lips with a bushy-haired, rosacea-stricken geekburger named Walter. See, the two of them represent the two sides of GoDaddy.com: “There’s the sexy side…and the smart side that »

- Hillary Busis

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Alan Cumming returns to Broadway in one-man production of 'Macbeth'

1 February 2013 11:30 AM, PST

Not only is Alan Cumming hitting the Broadway stage in the latest production of Macbeth, but he’s doing it alone.

For only 73 performances, Cumming will star in a one-man version of the Shakespearean drama, in which he plays a patient in a psychiatric unit. The Tony Award winner then proceeds to inhabit every part within the play. Directed by Tony Award winners John Tiffany and Andrew Goldberg, Cumming’s Macbeth is coming to Broadway’s Ethel Barrymore Theater from April 7 through June 30 after successful stints at the National Theatre of Scotland and the Lincoln Center Festival.

“Performing Macbeth last »

- Samantha Highfill

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We 'Like' this: 'Downton Abbey' fake Facebook newsfeed

1 February 2013 10:38 AM, PST

[Spoiler Alert for those who have yet to see this past Sunday’s episode of Downton Abbey.]

Think you’ll never laugh again after witnessing the most recent episode of Downton Abbey? HappyPlace.com feels your pain and is turning it into laughs, however inappropriately timed they might be. The site, which has put up a “Facebook recap” for every episode this season, has gone viral with a fake Facebook newsfeed covering all the characters’ plots on the show from episode 4. All the highs, such as Thomas’ borderline-stalking crush on Jimmy, and lows — obvious — from this past week’s sobfest are there. One million ‘Likes’ for jokes such as “Ethel Parks left a job at Loving You Long-Time. »

- Erin Strecker

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'30 Rock' cast and crew thank Tina Fey -- Video

1 February 2013 9:50 AM, PST

Want to pass some eye water? Do you love 30 Rock more than you love eating sharp cheddar cheese in your PJs? Well we’ve got the video for you.

In honor of the series finale of 30 Rock, the cast and crew put together this tribute to Tina Fey where they praise her as a writer, boss, and friend.

Jane Krakowski (who better get her Emmy this year) gives an incredibly heartfelt account of meeting Fey and working with her over the years.

“She has gone through a phase in her career where her light shone so brightly,” Krakowski says, wiping away tears. »

- Sarah Caldwell

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Berry Gordy mixes it up with the actor playing him in Broadway's 'Motown: The Musical' -- Exclusive Video

1 February 2013 9:27 AM, PST

In an exclusive video clip to promote the Broadway-bound Motown: The Musical, actor Brandon Victor Dixon (The Color Purple) sits face to face with the big man himself: Berry Gordy, the founder of the legendary R&B record label that made stars of artists like Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, the Temptations, Michael Jackson, and the Jackson Five. And Gordy is not above ribbing his much younger on-stage alter ego. ”The first thing I thought about was, ‘I look so much better than this guy. Why would you take this guy to play me?’” Gordy tells Dixon in the clip, »

- Thom Geier

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