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Monthly Archives: November 2012

‘The Voice’ Reveals Its Super Six As Two Head Home

A pair of singers got the ax on Tuesday’s (November 27) results episode of “The Voice,” with the lone remaining Team Christina singer heading out the door.

Dez Duron, who tried out unsuccessfully on the last season of “The Voice,” was holding it down for coach Christina Aguilera, but the heartthrob singer didn’t make it to the top six. Team Cee Lo’s Cody Belew was also sent packing, thanking fans for “riding with me on this journey.”

Another of Cee Lo’s singers, Trevin Hunte, got stuck in the bottom three, thanking his “Lord and savior Jesus Christ” before he learned that he would live to sing another day.

Before saying goodbye to any singers, we got to hear everyone display their talents once more. Team Adam’s Amanda Brown and Hunte formed a blessed union to sing “Marry the Night,” Lady Gaga’s ode to NYC.

Cee Lo, meanwhile, reunited with his “Voice” contestants, past and present — and the Muppets! — for a Christmas-themed performance before teaming for a duet with Kermit for “It Ain’t Easy Being Green,” wearing a mirrored avocado-colored sleeveless getup with matching hat for the occasion.

Belew, Terry McDermott, Melanie Martinez and Nicholas David put their various team alliances aside for a folk-circle performance of the Plain White T’s track “Rhythm of Love,” and Cassadee Pope and Duron channeled Rihanna and Ne-Yo for the love/hate track “Hate How Much I Love You.”

All eight artists landed on the iTunes charts after Monday night’s episode, host Carson Daly informed the audience, with McDermott’s cover of coach Blake Shelton’s “Over” topping the rock chart and Martinez’s take on Alex Clare’s “Too Close” at #1 on the alternative chart.

Sports Log: Philadelphia All-Star catcher Carlos Ruiz suspended 25 games for positive test

Phillies’ Ruiz is suspended 25 games

Philadelphia’s All-Star catcher Carlos Ruiz was suspended Tuesday for the first 25 games of next season following a positive test for an amphetamine. The 33-year-old had a career year in 2012, hitting .325 with 16 homers and 68 RBIs in 114 games. ‘‘I am sincerely regretful for my mistake in taking a prohibited stimulant,’’ Ruiz said in a statement issued by the Major League Baseball Players Association. This had to be Ruiz’s second positive test for a stimulant. An initial positive for a stimulant does not trigger a suspension, only that the player must undergo follow-up testing. Erik Kratz will likely begin the 2013 season as Philadelphia’s starting catcher while Ruiz serves his suspension. Kratz, a career minor leaguer, filled in nicely when he finally got a chance after Ruiz went down with a foot injury . . . Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Sammy Sosa are set to show up on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time when the ballot is announced Wednesday . . . The Athletics players have decided to donate one full playoff share to eight local and national charitable efforts, a total of $34,325.16. Reliever Jerry Blevins, the team’s player representative, informed the front office that he and his teammates voted to donate one playoff share to charities . . . The Texas Rangers’ post-bankruptcy plan administrator and the team’s former owner settled a lawsuit over money generated from stadium parking lots. A court document filed Monday notes the settlement of the suit filed by administrator Alan Jacobs against Tom Hicks. Jacobs had accused Hicks of improperly taking millions of dollars from parking lots he controls at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and nearby Cowboys Stadium.

Report: Pettitte, Yankees close on deal

A person familiar with the negotiations said Andy Pettitte and the Yankees are nearing agreement on a one-year contract in the range of $10 million to $12 million. Pettitte, who turns 41 in June, retired after the 2010 season, then decided to come back in 2012 and signed a contract for a guaranteed $2.5 million. He went 5-4 with a 2.87 ERA in 12 starts, missing nearly three months with a broken left leg after he was hit by a line drive off the bat of Cleveland’s Casey Kotchman on June 27. New York also is negotiating a deal with closer Mariano Rivera, who turns 43 Thursday . . . The Cubs and pitcher Scott Feldman agreed to a one-year contract, the team said. Feldman, the former Rangers pitcher, is guaranteed $6 million next season and can earn another $1 million in incentives. The 29-year-old righthander was 39-44 with a 4.81 ERA over eight years, going 6-11 with a 5.09 ERA in 29 appearances (21 starts) last season. Chicago general manager Jed Hoyer said the Cubs see him as part of the rotation . . . Toronto righthanded reliever Casey Janssen had surgery on his throwing shoulder and is expected to be ready for spring training. The team said Janssen had the procedure Friday in Los Angeles to repair lingering joint soreness. Janssen converted 22 of 25 save opportunities while posting a 2.54 ERA.

Golf

Anchored putter likely to be banned

Webb Simpson and Keegan Bradley said they won’t be happy if golf makes it illegal to use a putter anchored to the body. But they won’t fight it. The US Golf Association and Royal & Ancient Golf Club have a press conference Wednesday at which they are expected to announce their decision on whether long putters and belly putters will be allowed. All indications point toward a ban on such putters. At question is not the putter itself, but whether it can be attached to the body. Three of the last five major champions have used belly putters — Bradley, Simpson, and Ernie Els. A change wouldn’t take place until 2016.

Woods will not join European Tour

Tiger Woods said he won’t be joining the European Tour. Woods had floated the possibility while in Turkey last month, especially now that the tour would count the Ryder Cup toward the minimum requirement of 13 events for membership. When asked about it Tuesday, Woods said, ‘‘I’m not going to play the European Tour next year.’’ He says even adding a few extra tournaments would be too much for him.

Miscellany

Chelsea regrets incident with referee

Chelsea expressed ‘‘regret’’ but stopped short of apologizing to Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg after accusing him of racism in a case that was later dropped by the authorities. The European champions also stressed that they would have no problem with Clattenburg refereeing its matches again. Clattenburg was accused by Chelsea midfielder Ramires of saying ‘‘shut up you monkey’’ to teammate John Obi Mikel during an Oct. 28 Premier League match against Manchester United, but the English Football Association found that the referee had no case to answer . . . . Chelsea now concedes that it was wrong to publicly allege that Clattenburg used ‘‘inappropriate language’’ in a statement issued within two hours of the match finishing . . . Frank Yallop of the San Jose Earthquakes was honored as Major League Soccer’s coach of the year, and the Seattle Sounders’ Eddie Johnson was comeback player of the year . . . D.C. United president and CEO Kevin Payne is leaving the Major League Soccer club after more than 15 years . With Payne, United’s top executive since the club began play in 1996, United won MLS championships in 1996, 1997, 1999, and 2004 . . . US national champ Ashley Wagner and two-time world champion Patrick Chan of Canada are among the skaters who have qualified for the Grand Prix finals. The finals are Dec. 6-9 in Sochi, Russia, site of the 2014 Winter Olympics. Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White made the dance finals . . . The Memphis Grizzlies sent rookie guard Tony Wroten to their NBA Development League affiliate, the Reno Bighorns. Wroten was the 25th pick in the June draft.

Curiosity’s ‘Historic’ Mars Discovery Just a Big Misunderstanding

Do you recall the “historic” discovery made by NASA’s Mars rover which the space agency appeared to be teasing last week? Curiosity had reportedly found something that “is gonna be one for the history books,” a proclamation which had space enthusiasts the world over guessing that evidence of life had been discovered on the Red Planet.

Yeah, not so much. Or at least not yet, anyway.

It turns out the whole thing was a big misunderstanding, according to Mashable’s Amanda Wills. And not a transmission garbled over the hundreds of millions of miles separating Curiosity from her NASA minders back here on Earth, but rather some crossed signals of a much more pedestrian variety and much closer to home.

When Curiosity chief scientist John Grotzinger told NPR last week that the Mars rover had found something that “is gonna be one for the history books,” speculation about the possibly discovery of evidence of organic life quickly went into overdrive.

Less remarked upon was a rather cryptic tweet from the Curiosity team after the interview:

What did I discover on Mars? That rumors spread fast online. My team considers this whole mission “one for the history books” …

Wills figured the statement was a rather, well, curious one to make for a science team that was supposedly preparing to announce a groundbreaking Mars discovery in early December. She took the matter up with NASA social media manager Veronica McGregor, who described the tweet as an effort to “quell” a runaway rumor.

“It’s always difficult to quell rumors like this one. But at the same time it’s great to see so many people are excited and interested in what the rover might find,” McGregor told Mashable.

It seems that the misunderstanding between Grotzinger and NPR came about because the NASA scientist was discussing Curiosity’s mission and findings in general terms as “historic,” while the public radio programmer interpreted his words as a reference to a specific and recent discovery made by the surface probe.

So Grotzinger’s reference to a recent Curiosity soil sample-collecting foray that the mission’s “science team is busily chewing away on” was simply a description of the scientific process the team uses rather than a hint at a specific finding by the rover in the Martian soil, according to Wills.

McGregor further explained that the scientist’s discussion of new Curiosity data set to be released in December was just a reference to “a press conference slated for Dec. 3 at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting” which has “been on the books since Curiosity actually landed on Mars and does not coincide with a major announcement,” Wills reported.

Sweeny: Breaking Down Kuroda, The Yankees’ Rotation And Potential Outfield Help

There was a point in the last week where it may have seemed that Hiroki Kuroda was going to pitch elsewhere in 2013.

Los Angeles, Japan, somewhere other than New York. If that had happened, it would have sent some panic waves through Yankees fans, who perhaps would struggle to swallow an extra helping of turkey or pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving Day.

Eat without worry, my friends. Kuroda is indeed coming back to the Yankees in 2013. Here is what general manager Brian Cashman had to say about the Japanese right-hander, who, surprisingly, was the Yankees’ best and most consistent starter in 2012:

“Hiroki did a phenomenal job for us last year and we had a strong preference of retaining him. I suspect it was a very aggressive market for him, it should have been. We feel fortunate that we were able to acquire him last year, and I feel the same way this year. He can play a really important role here as he did last year. He’s a pro. He did everything on the field, and had a seamless transition to New York and our clubhouse off the field.”

Cashman said that the Yankees feel as if they have a competitive rotation right now, but they’re always looking to add to it.

“The pitching is our priority and has been our priority, so we will continue on those efforts,” Cashman said. “But right now on paper we do have five starters. You’ve got CC (Sabathia), Kuroda, (Phil) Hughes, (Ivan) Nova, (David) Phelps. But we certainly would like to add to that, lengthen it, deepen it and strengthen it.”

OK, first of all he’s obviously not counting Andy Pettitte yet, even if the rest of us are. There was every indication given by Pettitte at season’s end that he wanted to pitch again — he just hasn’t made that decision public yet. When he does, he will be a Yankee and will be part of the rotation.

“Andy is deciding whether he wants to play,” Cashman said. “As of right now he hasn’t put himself in play, so there is really nothing to discuss at this point until he goes through that process.”

As I mentioned, there is no reason at this point to think that Pettitte will not be back, so let’s jump off that bridge again when we get there.

As for Nova, his season was a disappointment, but there is still too much potential there to ignore. The plan to rebuild his confidence appears to be under way.

“I feel really good about Nova,” Cashman said. “Has a good young arm … This year, (it was) sophomore growing pains or whatever you want to call it. But at the same time his strikeout total soared and his walk total even reduced. It was an interesting year for him. His stuff is there. He’s a good, young, under control, not even arbitration-eligible starter with a boatload of experience both positive and negative.

Top-ranked Indiana passes first real test with overtime win over Georgetown

The most relieved player in the Barclay’s Center after top-ranked Indiana’s 82-72 victory over Georgetown was the freshman point guard whose ill-timed missed free throws put the Hoosiers in jeopardy of their first loss.

Yogi Ferrell clanked two huge foul shots against Georgetown in the final 46 seconds, helping the Hoyas scrape back from a seven-point deficit to force overtime on a driving basket from Otto Porter late in regulation. The Hoosiers regrouped and responded in overtime, surviving thanks in part to seven points from Ferrell in overtime including a game-clinching off-balance 3-pointer.

Indiana’s impressive showing in overtime enabled the Hoosiers to win the Legend’s Classic and survive their first true test. Georgetown entered the season unranked after losing three of its four top scorers from last season, but the soon-to-be-top 25 Hoyas appear formidable again thanks to a patient offense led by breakout star Otto Porter and a perimeter-heavy supporting cast.

On Monday night, Georgetown ruined a potential UCLA-Indiana title game by thoroughly outplaying a Bruins team that looked out of sync against a zone and is still adjusting to having Shabazz Muhammad in the lineup. The Hoyas threatened to topple the Hoosiers as well on Tuesday, answering each Indiana punch and throwing a few blows of their own thanks to 20 points from guard Markel Starks, 15 from Porter and 12 and 11 apiece from Greg Whittington and Mikael Hopkins.

Where Indiana won the game was with its offensive balance, something we may say often this season.

Cody Zeller bounced back from a foul-plagued subpar performance against Georgia with a solid 17-point, eight-rebound effort, but the national player of the year candidate was more mortal than superhuman during this tournament. He got help from the shooting and steady play of Jordan Hulls (17 points), the outside shooting of Remy Abell (two big threes) and the ability of Ferrell to get to the foul line (14 points, 9 of 11 on free throws).

Indiana shot 46.9 percent from the floor, sank 10 of 17 3-pointers and returned to Bloomington 5-0 on the season and 1-0 against worthy challengers. It wasn’t a dominant 48 hours from the nation’s top-ranked team, but the Hoosiers showed enough growth to walk away satisfied.

Khloe Kardashian Worries that Kanye West Dominates Kim Kardashian

Should Khloe be concerned that her big sis Kim is in a controlling relationship with Kanye? HollywoodLife.com has the EXCLUSIVE details on what Khloe thinks about Kim’s rapper boyfriend.

The Kardashian women call the shots, at least most of the time. But Khloe Kardashian thinks Kim Kardashian is losing her edge now that she’s dating the “domineering” Kanye West. A friend of the Kardashian family tells HollywoodLife.com exclusively, “Khloe doesn’t dislike Kanye, she just doesn’t like the way Kim acts around him. She thinks Kim kowtows around Kanye and lets him run the show. Kanye has a very domineering personality and Khloe is concerned that Kim is losing herself in the relationship. Kim is usually the captain of the ship, but when she is around Kanye she lets him make all the decisions. Look at the way Kim dresses — she dresses for Kanye. “Khloe and Lamar have a very balanced relationship and she wants to see the same for Kim and Kanye.

All of the women in the Kardashian family pretty much rule their men, this is not the case when it comes to Kim and Kanye, ” said the friend.

Stars perform to help victims of Sandy

New Jersey natives Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi joined Sting, Christina Aguilera and other music stars on Friday in a televised benefit concert to raise funds for victims of Sandy, the superstorm that had killed nearly 100 people in the United States and devastated large sections of the Northeast.

The commercial-free one-hour telecast organized by NBCUniversal, “Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together,” included appearances by Billy Joel, Jimmy Fallon, Steven Tyler, Mary J. Blige, Tina Fey, Jon Stewart, Whoopi Goldberg, Danny DeVito and NBC News’ Brian Williams. TODAY show co-anchor Matt Lauer was host.

“Voice” coach Aguilera kicked off the program.

“We’ve come together tonight to tell every single person who’s suffering that we are here for you. We will do whatever we can to help. We will not leave anyone behind because every single one of you matters,” the star said before beginning her performance of her hit “Beautiful.”

“We haven’t seen a storm like this in 100 years,” said Lauer.

The show also featured Bon Jovi surveying the devastation in New Jersey. After the touching clip, which also showed the rocker talking to impacted residents, he performed an unplugged version of “Living on a Prayer.” Images of the destruction caused by Superstorm Sandy were also interspersed throughout the show, along with victims pleading for aid, reminding viewers just how immense the damage was.