Sebastian Blanco “Ready” to Play in Saturday’s MLS Cup Final Against New York City FC

Sebastian Blanco is ready to play…

The 33-year-old Argentine footballer, who suffered a reported hamstring injury in the MLS conference semifinal win over the Colorado Rapids on Thanksgiving Day that threatened to keep him out of the remainder of the MLS Cup playoffs, says he’s “ready” to take part in Saturday’s MLS Cup final against New York City FC.

Sebastian BlancoBlanco was an unused substitute in the Portland Timbers‘ Western Conference final win over Real Salt Lake five days ago.

Dating back to August 29, Blanco has appeared in 15 of Portland’s 17 contests. Of those 15 games, the Timbers won 12 of them, with the 33-year-old attacker registering eight goals and five assists in that span.

His importance to Giovanni Savarese’s side can’t be understated, so it will come as a great relief to the Rose City that its No. 10 took part in full training on Thursday.

“I am ready. I’m OK, I feel good,” Blanco told members of the media during a news conference on Thursday. “I prepared myself for this game. I trained with my team today completely. Now we still need to have a conversation with [Savarese] … He will decide, but everything’s good.”

For the two months before his injury in Colorado, Blanco’s form gave Portland hope of a deep playoff run. And those expectations were heightened once the playoffs began, when he marked a dominating performance in a Round 1 win over Minnesota United with a brace.

But the Timbers had to scrap for their win over the Rapids, needing a 90th-minute winner from center-back Larrys Mabiala to advance out of the conference semifinals. An early goal from Felipe Mora ensured they were never too uncomfortable last Saturday against RSL, allowing Blanco to remain on the bench to continue rehabilitation toward a recovery that he refers to as nearly miraculous.

“After Colorado I was almost out, so we talk about the almost miracle to arrive to this game,” he said. “So to be part of this game is important to me. No matter what happens on Saturday, if I can play or not, it’s important to be a part and we need to support our team however I need to support.”

Despite the twice-capped Argentina international’s importance to Portland’s run to MLS Cup, NYCFC manager Ronny Deila insisted that his team is focused on containing all 11 of their opponents on the field come Saturday, not just Blanco.

“We’ve been talking a lot … here in MLS about specific players, and Blanco is … really good, of course, but they have top players plus a couple on the bench as well who can cause any team problems,” Deila said. “So it’s not about one guy, it’s about stopping them as a team.”

Fat Joe to Guest Host on “The Wendy Williams Show” Next Week

Fat Joe is set to momentarily take the hosting reins…

The 51-year-old Puerto Rican and Cuban-American rapper has been announced as a guest host for The Wendy Williams Show.

Fat-Joe

Fat Joe is among a roster of guests hosts that will help take the show through Wednesday, November 24.

Thanksgiving week kicks off on Monday, November 22 with co-hosts Devyn Simone, Bevy Smith, Elizabeth Wagmeister and comedian/actor Michael Yo.

They’ll be followed by hip-hop stars Fat Joe and Remy Ma on Tuesday, November 23, and Wednesday, November 24, respectively, according to the show.

Guest hosts have been filling for Williams since the show’s delayed Season 13 premiere on October 18, as Williams recovers from complications of Graves disease.

Selena Gomez Releases New Trailer for Second Season of Her HBO Max Cooking Show “Selena + Chef”

It’s a family affair for Selena Gomez when it comes to the kitchen…

The 28-year-old Mexican American singer/actress has teased the second season of her HBO Max cooking show Selena + Chef with a new trailer, featuring the show’s second lead star, her grandfather.

Selena Gomez

Papa, who even has his own fan account according to his famous granddaughter, comically announces, “I’m back!” when asked about Gomez’s return to the kitchen for a second helping of the series, which returns to HBO Max on January 21.

“As you all know by now, I’m not the best cook,” she confesses during a voice-over in the clip. “But I’m not going to stop trying to get better. So I’m back in my kitchen to get schooled by the best chefs.”

Dance Again” from her Billboard 200 No. 1 album Rare, which just celebrated its first anniversary on Sunday, plays in the background of the trailer, but the pop star experiences another fiery misstep while cooking when something in a pan catches on fire and sets off the alarm.

The next course of Selena + Chef features Spanish tapas, a burger with brie and roasted garlic, Asian bananas foster, mole and more dishes she cooked virtually alongside professional chefs Aarti Sequeira, Curtis Stone, Evan Funke, Graham Elliot, JJ Johnson, Jordan AndinoJosé Andrés, Kelis Rogers, Marcela Valladolid and Marcus Samuelsson.

She and Sequeira prepared her Thanksgiving holiday special, “Selena + Aarti: Friendsgiving,” together in November, when the Indian chef and Food Network star helped Gomez cook a turkey for the first time as part of her Friendsgiving celebration with her grandparents and best friends.

The “Ice Cream” singer treated fans to the first season of Selena + Chef series last summer, where she prepared homemade-yet-gourmet meals with 10 master chefs from the comforts of their own home during quarantine. Gomez also donated $10,000 to a food-related charity of the professional chef’s choosing at the end of each episode.

PETA Declares Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty Its Favorite Vegan Makeup Line

Selena Gomez’s pawsitive efforts to push animal rights forward are being recognized.

PETA‘s 15th annual Libby Awards have been announced, with the 28-year-old singer, actress and entrepreneur taking home one of the prizes.

Selena Gomez

Gomez’s cosmetics line Rare Beauty won favorite vegan makeup line for being animal-test-free and cruelty-free as certified by PETA, joining more than 48,000 other companies in the organization’s Global Beauty Without Bunnies database.

Lizzo won favorite vegan cooking videos for whipping up green chile enchiladas with jackfruit with a jackfruit margarita and a Thanksgiving dinner that turned out to be 100% plant-based.

“These compassionate celebrities didn’t let the pandemic stop them from walking the walk when it comes to kindness to animals,” Marta Holmberg, PETA senior director of youth programs, says in a press statement. “PETA is honoring the superstars who are leading by example and proving that helping animals can be as simple as whipping up jackfruit enchiladas or buying a vegan lipstick.”

Lily Collins not only scored her new best friend Redford from an animal shelter during quarantine, but also the honor for most pawsitive quarantine story. And during the early stages of quarantine when every A-lister began binge watching Netflix‘s Tiger KingRiverdale star Madelaine Petsch spoke up on her Instagram Story about how “these animals belong in the wild they aren’t meant to be domesticated and put in cages.” Her declaration took home the award for favorite post for animals.

To find all the winners and more information about the PETA Libby Awards, head to PETA.org.

Ally Brooke to Perform During This Year’s “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade”

It’ll be an extra special Thanksgiving for Ally Brooke

27-year-old Mexican American singer and former Fifth Harmony member will be performing as part of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which may look different this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ally Brooke

Unlike other years, the decorated floats and helium-filled balloons will not be marching down the usual two-and-a-half-mile route starting at West 77th Street. The parade has shorted its route and will only be held (without an audience) in front of Macy’s famed flagship store on 34th Street for the national television special.

Ally Brooke joins a roster of performers that includes Lauren Alaina, Jimmie Allen and Noah Cyrus, Sofia Carson, CNCO, Jimmy Fallon and The Roots, Karol G, Tori Kelly, Patti LaBelle, Ella Mai, Leslie Odom Jr., Keke Palmer, Dolly Parton, Pentatonix, Bebe Rexha, Jordin Sparks, Sebastián Yatra, Brett Young and more.

The casts of HamiltonMean GirlsJagged Little Pill, and Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations, all of which have not taken the live stage since March, are set to perform at the parade.

While the Broadway performances will be filmed ahead of time, they will air during the broadcast at 9:00 a.m. ET on NBC.

Gloria Estefan to Perform at ‘Nurse Heroes Live’ Benefit Virtual Concert on Thanksgiving

Gloria Estefan is giving special thanks to some of our frontliners…

The 63-year-old Cuban singer will be among the entertainers honoring nurses in a star-studded benefit virtual concert on Thanksgiving.

Gloria Estefanria

Nurse Heroes has announced that the concert called Nurse Heroes Live will stream on the organization’s YouTube and Facebook pages along with LiveXLive on November 26 at 7:00 pm EST.

The benefit will provide money for a variety of programs including scholarships for nurses and their children.

Estefan joins a lineup of performers that include Stevie Wonder, Celine Dion, Josh Groban, Black Eyed Peas, Pitbull, The Wailers, Carole King, Maluma and Andrea Bocelli.

Whoopi Goldberg will host the concert with special appearances by Oprah Winfrey and Billy Crystal.

Taylor Swift will donate a signed collectible edition “Folklore” guitar, which will be auctioned for the benefit of the Nurses Heroes Foundation.

The nurses of New York’s Northwell Health will be the first beneficiaries of the concert. The event will also showcase 50 nurses from the hospital in an ensemble performance with several celebrities.

The concert will be produced by Emilio Estefan and Times Square Live Media.

Hulu Releases Trailer for Aubrey Plaza’s Holiday-Themed Rom-Com “Happiest Season”

Aubrey Plaza is ready to ring in the holiday season…

Hulu has released the first trailer for Happiest Season, a holiday-themed romantic comedy starring the 36-year-old actress/comedian and former Parks and Recreation star.

Aubrey Plaza, Happiest Season,

“This is why I avoid Christmas — it brings out the worst in everything,” says the trailer for the film, which also stars Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis.

Here’s the logline: Meeting your girlfriend’s family for the first time can be tough. Planning to propose at her family’s annual Christmas dinner — until you realize that they don’t even know she’s gay — is even harder. When Abby (Stewart) learns that Harper (Davis) has kept their relationship a secret from her family, she begins to question the girlfriend she thought she knew.

Plaza, Stewart and Davis are joined by Alison Brie, Daniel Levy, Mary Holland, Burl Moseley, Victor Garber and Mary Steenburgen in a film that captures the range of emotions tied to wanting your family’s acceptance, being true to yourself and trying not to ruin Christmas.

Sample dialogue: “I’m scared that if I tell them who I really am that I will lose them,” Harper tells Abby. “Do you know how painful it is to watch the person I love hide me?” she replies. Harper: “I’m not hiding you — I’m hiding me.”

Clea DuVall directs from a script she wrote with Mary Holland.

Hulu will premiere the holiday rom-com on Wednesday, November 25 — the day before Thanksgiving.

MGM Moves Release Date of “No Time to Die,” Starring Ana de Armas, to Easter 2021

Ana de Armas’ big Bond moment will have to wait…

MGM’s latest James Bond film No Time to Die, starring the 32-year-old Cuban-Spanish actress, is officially moving to April 2, Easter weekend, and vacating its November 20 release date.

Ana de Armas, No Time to Die

This puts the Bond film starring Daniel Craig on the same weekend with Universal Pictures’ F9

“MGM, Universal and Bond producers, Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, today announced the release of No Time To Die, the 25th film in the James Bond series, will be delayed until 2 April in order to be seen by a worldwide theatrical audience. We understand the delay will be disappointing to our fans but we now look forward to sharing No Time To Die next year,” said the studio in a statement.

MGM was the first studio to foresee how the coronavirus pandemic was going to stall exhibition, and jumped No Time to Die from its Easter weekend release date of April 10-12 to the Thanksgiving frame.

No Time to Die stands to make $1 billion worldwide, so the studio has pushed back the release date several times now in hopes of having it come out in an optimum, vibrant global marketplace.

de Armas will be making her debut in the film, portraying the character of Paloma, a CIA agent assisting Bond.

Ana de Armas’ Bond Debut Delayed as “No Time to Die” Release Moved to November Due to Coronavirus

Ana de Armas’ big Bonddebut will have to wait…

With the coronavirus affecting the box office, MGMEon and Universal are postponing the next James Bondmovie, No Time to Die from its UK and international release date of April 2 and its U.S. Easter weekend global day-and-date of April 10.

Ana de Armas, No Time to Die

The 25th 007movie will now open on November 25, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

“MGM, Universal and Bond producers, Michael G Wilsonand Barbara Broccoli, announced today that after careful consideration and thorough evaluation of the global theatrical marketplace, the release of No Time to Diewill be postponed until November 2020. The film will be released in the U.K. on November 12, 2020 with worldwide release dates to follow, including the U.S. launch on November 25, 2020,” said a statement given exclusively to Deadline by the three studios.

The decision to move the film to November is purely an economic decision, and not one based on growing fears over the coronavirus. 

Bond is a day-and-date worldwide release, and with the franchise back in the hands of MGM fully post Sony’s distribution of the last four Daniel Craigmovies, along with Universal, all parties involved need to have all foreign territories working at their maximum in order for the latest Bond to be a continued box office success. For a tentpole of this size and scope, that kind of decrease in business would have a significant and detrimental impact on the film’s ultimate global take.

All together, the last four Craig 007 movies – SpectreSkyfallQuantum of Solaceand Casino Royale— have grossed $3.2B in the overall near $7B franchise, with Skyfallbeing the highest grossing film of all-time in the 58-year-old series at a whopping $1.1B. Failing at the box office is not an option for Bond, and for the studios to stick to their original release plan would be a disservice to their partners in exhibition.

No Time to Die features Craig in his fifth and final outing as the fictional MI6 agent. It’s directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga from a screenplay by Neal PurvisRobert Wade, Fukunaga and Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

Léa SeydouxBen WhishawNaomie HarrisRory KinnearJeffrey WrightChristoph Waltz and Ralph Fiennes reprise their roles from previous films, with de Armas, who portrays Paloma, a CIA agent assisting Bond, joining the cast. Other new additions include Rami MalekLashana LynchDali BenssalahDavid Dencik and Billy Magnussen.

Lin-Manuel Miranda Encourages People to Take Part in Small Business Saturday

Lin-Manuel Miranda is fighting for the little guy…

With the holiday shopping season upon us, the 39-year-old Puerto Rican actor and In The Heights and Hamilton creator is urging people to take part in Small Business Saturday, an effort to shop at local, independent stores on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Lin-Manuel Miranda

Growing up in the neighborhood of Washington Heights, Miranda said small businesses were a staple in the neighborhood.

“I think New York City is better when it’s full of small businesses. I think the world is better. I grew up in a neighborhood that was dotted with small businesses,” Miranda said at a recent pop-up shop put on by American Express, creator of Small Business Saturday.

“That’s a part of what makes New York special and makes the world special, is those places you can’t find anywhere else in the world,” he said.

This year, he also became a small business owner by teaming up with a group that includes theater owner James Nederlander to purchase the Drama Book Shop, a century-old store in the theater district that was in danger of closing due to high rent prices. 

The new location nearby will open in March.