Naya Rivera Among The Celebrities Featured in Chris Barker’s Annual Beatles-Style Tribute to 2020’s Biggest Losses

Naya Rivera is getting a special tribute…

British artist Chris Barker‘s annual Beatles-style tribute to lost celebrities features some of 2020’s biggest losses, including the late half-Puerto Rican actress/singer and Glee star, who drowned in July while on an outing with her son on California’s Lake Piru, as well as soccer legend Diego Maradona, Little Richard, Chadwick Boseman and Van Halen guitarist Eddie Van Halen.

Naya Rivera

Barker, who has been meticulously crafting his homage to the infamous cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band since 2016 as a tribute to dearly departed pop culture icons and newsmakers — said his initial idea was to start with a blank slate in January and just add faces as the year went on.

The approach would’ve simply meant swapping out some images for more prominent ones as the year went on for a more “interactive” art project. But as this year just kept getting worse, he was glad he didn’t switch up his style.

Chris Barker's 2020 Sgt. Peppers Tribute

“Early spring I thought the devastating wildfires in Australia would be the defining moment of the year but, goodness me, 2020 just kept piling it on,” he tells Billboard. “So I had a couple of options of how to show this year was a year like no other. My immediate thought was social distancing; to have the characters all really spread out. But that would have proved really impractical.”

Instead, he stuck to the template of cramming as many singers, actors, athletes, public figures and news events as possible into the image, which this year includes everyone from police violence victim George Floyd to actors Kirk Douglas, Dave Prowse (Star WarsDarth Vader), Sean Connery, Diana Rigg, Monty Python‘s Terry Jones, Fred Willard and Jerry Stiller, as well as musical icons Florian Schneider (Kraftwerk), Peter Green (Fleetwood Mac), Kenny Rogers, Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne), reggae great Toots Hibbert, Neil Peart (Rush), Ronald Bell (Kool & the Gang), DJ José Padilla, Bonnie Pointer (Pointer Sisters) and Afrobeat star Tony Allen, among many others.

Barker’s next idea was to include a nod to how important masks were this year during the pandemic, but that would have made the concept way too complicated to pull off. After starting work a month earlier than usual (in September), he realized masking the figures would make many of them unrecognizable, and posting it around the American election as he usually does would likely leave too many important figures off in a year when the devastating hits just kept on coming.

“Who knew what else could be just around the corner? It has been such an awful, bleak year,” he said, revealing that his original background was a red sky with burning forests in a nod to the devastating Australian and American wildfires. But with Joe Biden‘s victory over one-term President Donald Trump last month and talk of a COVID-19 vaccine right around the corner, suddenly there was a glimmer of hope. And instead of sticking the Biden/Harris logo “in the middle of a burning hellscape,” the Trump campaign gave him an unexpected gift with lawyer Rudy Giuliani‘s legendarily disastrous presser at Four Seasons Total Landscaping.

“The surreal backdrop perfectly encapsulates the final nail in the coffin of the nightmarish Trump administration that inspired this whole project,” Barker said. “When I first did the 2016 montage, the loss of such an overwhelming number of iconic heroes was undoubtedly one of the defining stories of the year — even overshadowing Brexit and Trump. But this year, obviously the huge number of deaths from coronavirus is far more significant.”

With the real human cost of losses from COVID-19 piling up every day, Barker decided that the chalky floor of the Four Seasons parking lot was the perfect backdrop for an homage that also includes the losses of nearly 1.5 million worldwide to COVID, Trump’s presidency, Spencer Davis, Jeopardy host Alex Trebek, drag queen Chi Chi DeVayne, directors Alan Parker and Joel Schumacher, magician Roy Horn, Glee‘s Rivera, Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, Vera Lynn, Kelly Preston, and Gone With the Wind star Olivia de Havilland.

“Every line a reminder of a life taken, a family ripped apart. Every time I do this montage it is an emotional journey, however detached I may get from the subject matter while I’m in the thick of the Photoshop, when I put the list together for the key at the end and look at it, it is a quite sobering moment,” he said. “I know a lot of people who have lost family members this year and I always try to remember that all the people I am including have left people behind too. I have to try to be respectful to everyone and to pay tribute to them and the way they lived their lives.”

There are always a few losses that hit Barker the hardest, and this year for him it was Kraftwerk’s Schneider, Game of Thrones star Rigg and Python’s Jones.

All he asks is that if you are moved by his work, donate to the UK’s NHS charities this year.

Mariah Carey Earns 19th No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100 with “All I Want for Christmas Is You”

It’s a pre-Christmasgift for Mariah Carey

Completing a journey 25 years in the making, the 49-year-old half-Venezuelan American singer’s 1994 insta-holiday classic “All I Want for Christmas Is You” crowns the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time, jingling 3-1 on the chart dated December 21, 2019.

Mariah Carey Christmas

Originally released in 1994 on Carey’s album Merry Christmas, the modern classic reached the Hot 100‘s top 10 at last in December 2017 and rose to its prior No. 3 high last holiday season (and matched the rank last week).

Carey adds her 19th Hot 100 No. 1, extending her record for the most among soloists. She also moves to within one of The Beatles‘ overall-record 20 Hot 100 No. 1s.

Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” is the second holiday No. 1 ever on the Hot 100, joining The Chipmunks‘ “The Chipmunk Song” (with David Seville), which ruled for four weeks in 1958-59. 

Carey joins an elite club of acts with Hot 100 No. 1s in the 1990s, 2000s & 2010s. Its previously-inducted members: Christina AguileraBritney Spearsand Usher.

Carey’s decade-by-decade breakout: 14 No. 1s in the ’90s, four in the ’00s and now one in the ’10s.

Notably, no act has ever logged time at No. 1 on the Hot 100 in four distinct decades, consecutively or otherwise. Thus, if “Christmas” is No. 1 on the chart dated Jan. 4, two weeks from now, Carey would become the first artist to achieve the honor.

The Hot 100 blends all-genre U.S. streaming, radio airplay and sales data. 

Netflix to Premiere Season 3 of “The Crown” with Helena Bonham Carter in November

Helena Bonham Carter is ready for her crowning moment…

Netflix has announced that the third season of its royal drama The Crown, starring the 53-year-old part-Spanish actress, will premiere on November 17.

Helena Bonham Carter

This comes nearly two years after the airing of the second season of the British drama, which launched on December 8, 2017.

Season 3 of The Crown starts in 1964 and will cover events such as the rise of the Beatles and England winning the soccer World Cupin 1966. Characters such as Camilla Parker Bowleswill also start to emerge in the next season.

Written by Peter Morgan, the third season will have a new cast from the previous two seasons. 

Oscar winner Olivia Colman stars as Queen Elizabeth II, taking over the role from Claire FoyTobias MenziesBen Danielsand Bonham Carter will play Prince PhilipLord Snowdonand Princess Margaret, respectively.

Parker Bowles is played by Emerald Fennelland Prince Charlesby Josh O’ConnorMarion Baileyplays The Queen Mother.

Erin Dohertystars as Princess Anne and Jason Watkins as Prime Minister Harold Wilson in the series, which runs through 1977.

Blacc Covers Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” for amfAR’s New AIDS Benefit Compilation, “The Time is Now”

Aloe Blacc is giving one of the King of Pop’s hits a modern makeover… And, it’s all for charity.

The 37-year-old Panamanian American singer-songwriter, who is participating in Netflix’s animated Beatles-themed series Beat Bugs, is one of the featured artists on for amfAR‘s new AIDS benefit compilation, The Time is Now.

Aloe Blacc

The 14-track, 1980s-inspired covers album will be released October 7 via Republic Records and Mass Appeal with proceeds benefiting AIDS research foundation amfAR.

The first track released from the set is Blacc’s bluesy cover of Michael Jackson‘s classic “Billie Jean.”

In addition to Blacc, the compilation album includes tracks by Phantogram, DNCE, LP, Theophilus London and more.

Among the songs featured on the new album are Tina Turner‘s “What’s Love Got to Do With It” revamped by DNCE, Dita Von Teese and Sebastien Tellier taking on Culture Club‘s “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” and New Order‘s “Bizarre Love Triangle” covered by Sugar for Sugar, a band consisting of Scarlett Johansson, Julia Haltigan, Holly Miranda and Kendra Morris.

The 14-track covers album will be released October 7 via Republic Records and Mass Appeal with proceeds benefiting AIDS research foundation amfAR.

Here’s the full track list below.

“Take Me Home” (Phil Collins), Performer: Phantogram
“Bizarre Love Triangle” (New Order), Performer: Sugar for Sugar
“Under the Milky Way” (The Church), Performer: Metric
“Whip It” (Devo), Performer: Brazilian Girls
“Rio” (Duran Duran), Performer: Bebel Gilberto
“What’s Love Got to Do With It” (Tina Turner), Performer: DNCE
“Billie Jean”(Michael Jackson), Performer: Aloe Blacc
“Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” (Culture Club), Performer: Dita Von Teese and Sebastien Tellier
“Maneater” (Hall & Oates), Performer: Lower Dens
“Genius of Love” (Tom Tom Club), Performer: Chaos Chaos
“I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” (Whitney Houston), Performer: Marian Hill
“Pride (In the Name of Love)” (U2), Performer: LP
“Lovesong” (The Cure), Performer: Yuna
“Dance Hall Days” (Wang Chung), Performer: Theophilus London

Blacc to Participate in Netflix’s Animated Beatles-Themed Series “Beat Bugs”

Aloe Blacc is getting animated…

The 37-year-old Panamanian American singer-songwriter has been added to the voice cast of Netflix’s animated musical series Beat Bugs.

Aloe Blacc

There’s no word yet on Blacc’s role/participation on the kids show inspired by the songs of The Beatles.

The series follows five best friends who together discover life’s most important lessons in an overgrown suburban backyard. The Beat Bugs live out these childhood adventures to the words and music of The Beatles.

“Because I’m able to tell [the story] through streaming episodes, you’re able to engage in cinematic storytelling,” says creator Josh Wakely. “To do Pixar-level storytelling was really the intention from the beginning.”

Beat Bugs incorporates more than 50 songs from the John Lennon/Paul McCartneyNorthern Songs’ catalog and features covers by P!nk, Eddie Vedder, James Corden, Regina Spektor, Of Monsters and Men, The Shins, Chris Cornell, Rod StewartJennifer Hudson, Robbie Williams, Tori Kelly and Sia.

Beat Bugs will premiere its 13-episode first season globally on August 3 on Netflix, and Season 2 on November 18.

E! Orders Eight Hour-Long Episodes of Carey’s Docuseries “Mariah’s World”

Things are about to get real for Mariah Carey

E! has ordered eight hour-long episodes of Mariah’s World, a docuseries centered on the 45-year-old half-Venezuelan American singer, songwriter and actress.

Mariah Carey

The series will follow Carey as she begins her European Sweet Sweet Fantasy Tour, all while planning her upcoming wedding to Australian business mogul James Packer.

The series will take an intimate look at Carey, along with family, friends and her inner circle, according to E! Mariah’s World will air globally across E!’s 17 international channels reaching 153 countries in 24 languages.

“Mariah is one of the most captivating pop superstars of our time and one of the rare artists whose first name alone is instantly recognized around the globe,” said Jeff Olde, Executive Vice President of Programming & Development at E! “The series will present a unique, vulnerable and surprisingly humorous side to Mariah that her fans have never before seen while showcasing her unparalleled celebrity lifestyle filled with true glamour, maximum luxury and ultimate stardom.”

“I’m excited to bring my fans into my life for the next journey I’m about to embark on,” says Carey. “I’m already having so much fun with this documentary, and I know you will too. There is nothing like capturing these moments.”

Carey, a five-time Grammy Award winner, has scored 18 No. 1 singles in the U.S., second only to the Beatles, and was Billboard’s No. 1 artist of the 1990s.

Her tour currently has 28 scheduled performances throughout Europe, Africa and the United Kingdom. The tour will bookend her Las Vegas residency “Mariah #1 to Infinity” at Caesars Palace, which has been extended through the fall.

Sofia Receives Vevo Lift Nomination

It’s a special is Lift off for Raquel Sofia

The Puerto Rican singer-songwriter, nominated for Best New Artist at this year’s Latin Grammys, has received a nomination in Vevo’s artist development program, Lift.

Raquel Sofia

Launched in 2011, the program lends promotional support to a handful of emerging artists per year, giving them a special landing page on Vevo with exclusive content including interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, video premieres and more to expose their music to a broader audience.

Jessie J, Sam Smith, Lorde, and Tori Kelly are among the famous artists who make up part of the Vevo Lift alumni.

In this current round, Sofia is up for the Vevo Lift slot with Canadian R&B singer/songwriter Alessia Cara and Swedish pop singer Zara Larsson.

Online fan voting determines the winner, but if Sofia — who herself has a love affair with jazz, blues, folk, rock and pop — does anywhere near as well as she’s done on Spotify (17 million total streams and counting), she stands a good chance.

And then there’s the fact that she’s learned from the best, having performed backing vocals for Shakira and Juanes, among others.

“They’re so professional and so talented and they’ve worked so hard, so you get to see why they are at the top,” she recently told Billboard of working with major artists. “So I guess more than advice I learned just from being around them, like osmosis, just absorbing everything that they did, watching them perform. It’s just incredible.”

“I just remember listening to a lot of Bob Marley, the Beatles, Juan Luis Guerra and Shakira. Wanting to do that, especially the songwriting part,” she told us when discussing her childhood in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico and the influences around her debut album, Te Quiero Los Domingos.

Fans can vote for Sofia here until October 19.

Spain Selects Trueba’s “Vivir es Facil con los Ojos Cerrados” as Its Oscar Entry for Best Foreign Language Film

Does David Trueba‘s latest film have what it takes to earn Oscar glory?

The Spanish Academy of Arts and Cinematographic Sciences seems to think so, selecting the 45-year-old Spanish director’s Vivir es Facil con los Ojos Cerrados as its entry for best foreign language film at next year’s Academy Awards.

David Trueba

Trueba’s film, chosen Thursday the nation’s film acaedmy, tells the true story of an English-language teacher from Spain who traveled to the southern province of Almeria in 1966 to try to meet late Beatles star John Lennon, who was staying there.

The movie takes its name from the lyrics of the Beatles song “Strawberry Fields Forever,” which Lennon began writing in Almeria.

The U.S. film academy will select finalists for the Oscars in January, with the awards announced a month later.

Spain has won four Oscars for best foreign language film. Trueba’s brother, Fernando Trueba, won the category in 1994 for Belle Epoque. The country’s other winners include José Luis Garci’s Begin the Beguine (1982), Pedro Almodovar’s All About My Mother (1999) and Alejandro Amenábar’s The Sea Inside.

In all, Spain has earned 18 Best Foreign Language Film nominations since the launch of the category in 1956, with The Sea Inside serving as the country’s last nominated (and eventual Oscar-winning) film.

Trueba Collects Two Goya Awards for the Spanish Film “Vivir es fácil con los ojos cerrados”

David Trueba is no longer a Goya Awards bridesmaid…

The 44-year-old Spanish novelist, film director and screenwriter, previously nominated for eight Goya Awards, picked up multiple awards at the 28th edition of Spain’s equivalent to the Academy Awards.

David Trueba

Trueba earned Best Director and Best Original Screenplay honors for writing and helming his hit Spanish film Vivir es fácil con los ojos cerrados (Living is Easy With Eyes Closed).

The film also landed the Spanish Film Academy’s top prize for Best Film.

Trueba’s film, based on the true story of an English teacher who motivated his students using Beatles music, beat out Gracias Querejeta’s 15 Years and a Day, Manuel Martin Cuenca’s Cannibal, Daniel Sanchez Arevalo’s Family United and Fernando Franco’s Wounded.

 

Meanwhile, Alex de la Iglesia’s fantastical Witching & Bitching swept up eight categories, including most of the technical awards, while Living took six awards — among them original score and lead actor.

 

Editor Fernando Franco won the best new director award for his directorial debut Wounded, while Marian Alvarez won the best actress statue, snagging it in a symbolically young group of actresses with the youngest average age ever for the category.

 

Miguel Ferrari’s Azul y no Tan Rosa won Venezuela’s first Goya ever for the Best Ibero-American film.

Here’s a complete list of this year’s Goya Award winner:

Film
 Living is Easy with Eyes Closed
 Fernando Trueba P.C., S.A.

Director 
David Trueba for Living is Easy with Eyes Closed

New Director
 Fernando Franco for Wounded

Original Screenplay
 David Trueba for Living is Easy with Eyes Closed

Adapted Screenplay
 Mariano Barroso and Alejandro Hernandez for Todas las Mujeres

Lead Actor
 Javier Camara for Living is Easy with Eyes Closed

Lead Actress
 Marian Alvarez for Wounded

Supporting Actor 
Roberto Alamo for Family United

Supporting Actress 
Terele Pavez for Witching & Bitching

New Actor
 Javier Pereira for Stockholm

New Actress
 Natalia de Molina for Living is Easy with Eyes Closed

Artistic Director 
Arturo Garcia Biaffra, Jose Luis Arrizabalaga for Witching & Bitching

Production Design
 Carlos Bernases for Witching & Bitching

Original Score
Pat Metheny for Living is Easy with Eyes Closed

Original Song
Do You Really Want to Be in Love?
By Josh Rouse for Family United

Photography
Pau Esteve Birba for Cannibal

Editing
 Pablo Blanco for Witching & Bitching

Wardrobe 
Francisco Delgado Lopez for Witching & Bitching

Hair and makeup
 Maria Dolores Gomez Castro, Javier Hernandez Valentin, Pedro Rodriguez and Francisco J. Rodriguez Frias for Witching & Bitching

Sound
 Charly Schmukler and Nicolas de Poulpiquet for Witching & Bitching

Special Effect
 Juan Ramon Molina and Ferran Piquer for Witching & Bitching

Animated Feature
 Foosball, Jempsa, S.Al, Plural Jempsa and Antena 3

Documentary Feature Las Maestras de la Republica, directed by Pilar Perez Solano

IberoAmerican Film
 Azul y no Tan Rosa, directed by Miguel Ferrari
(Venezuela)

European Film
 Amour directed by Michael Haneke
(Austria)

Fiction Short
 Abstenerse Agenciasby Gaizka Urresti

Documentary Short
 Minerita by Raul de la Fuente

Animated Short Cuerdas directed by Pedro Solis Garcia

Honorary Goya
 Jaime de Arminan

Jenner Featured in New Trailer for the “Glee” Beatles-Themed Episode

Blake Jenner is experiencing a case of Beatlemania

The 21-year-old half-Cuban American actor/singer and his fellow Glee cast mates appear in the latest trailer for Fox’s hit musical dramedy, as they prepare to celebrate the music of the Beatles.

Blake Jenner

In the trailer, Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison) tells the New Directions members at McKinley High that they’ll be embarking on a two-week assignment tackling the music of the Fab Four.

Glee‘s Season 5 premiere is slated for September 26 at 9:00 pm ET on Fox.