This Week in Pop Culture: February 16 - 22, 2019

We've scoured this week's entertainment news and rounded up our favorite vocab words from the stories that everyone's buzzing about.

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. confidante
    a woman or girl to whom secrets can be entrusted
    “From the outside, people want to paint a Cinderella story, but Meg had made her life quite amazing before this,” Meghan’s close confidante told PEOPLE.
    - People (Feb 18, 2019)
    Royal watchers around the world were abuzz this week when the Duchess of Sussex attended a lavish baby shower in New York that was attended by her closest confidantes. Reps for the palace were quick to defend “The Markle,” who has been under fire in the press lately, saying that while baby showers are an American tradition, the Duchess did not break any royal rules here.
  2. detention
    a state of being confined (usually for a short time)
    Dressed in somber all-black, he spoke at length about his childhood, his time in detention, the Grammy Awards ceremony he missed and how growing up without legal status shaped the person he became.
    - The New York Times (Feb 17, 2019)
    21 Savage is speaking out about his detention by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after being released from custody. Savage, a British National, was held for 12 days on charges that he overstayed his visa. This story has surprised fans who presumed that the rapper, who was raised in Atlanta since he was a child, was American.
  3. dismay
    the feeling of despair in the face of obstacles
    While the cyberpunk film easily takes the box office crown for the weekend, it’s a dismaying opening for a film that reportedly cost around $200 million to make.
    - Entertainment Weekly (Feb 17, 2019)
    Alita: Battle Angel was number one at the movies this week, taking in $33 million. That dollar amount may sound impressive, but the film cost over $200 million to make. Anyone in Hollywood whose name is associated with Alita is probably dismayed about the disappointing ticket sales (not to mention their career) right now.
  4. fiasco
    a complete failure or collapse
    Then the tattoo fiasco drew attention to “7 Rings,” which is in its fourth week on the airwaves, and the drama with the Grammys (she won a statuette but didn’t attend the ceremony over a conflict with the show’s producer) kept Grande in the headlines.
    - Entertainment Weekly (Feb 19, 2019)
    Ariana Grande has captured all top three spots on the Billboard 100 chart this week, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since the Beatles did it in 1964. With “7 Rings,” “Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored,” and “thank u, next,” ruling the airwaves and her recent Grammy win, Grande’s recent tattoo fiasco is a minor blip in an otherwise stellar start to 2019.
  5. garner
    assemble or get together
    But I was fine with not winning because it was just such a crazy compliment to be nominated alongside such giant albums. Huge albums that garnered lots of attention, lots of sales, lots of radio play. So you can hope that you may have a small chance, but I definitely was nowhere near banking on anything.
    - The New York Times (Feb 18, 2019)
    Speaking of Grammy winners, Kacey Musgraves has seen her record sales go up since her big wins at the awards show last week. The country singer says she’s taking it easy right now, and although she’s currently writing new songs she doesn’t know when or if they’ll ever get released.
  6. moniker
    a familiar name for a person
    She also got the musical notes “G” and “A” on sheet lines of sheet music tattooed onto the inside of her arm to spell out her famous moniker.
    - Entertainment Weekly (Feb 19, 2019)
    Lady Gaga got two new tattoos this week, a large one commemorating her role in A Star is Born and a smaller one with her moniker inked as musical notation with the notes G-A-G-A.
  7. pandemonium
    a state of extreme confusion and disorder
    Journalist Joe Khalil added that the crowd was “running for the exits and ducking for cover” and that “shouts of ‘gun’ could be heard” while another user said the scene was “ pandemonium.”
    - People (Feb 16, 2019)
    Medical emergencies are always a bit scary, but this one had an added level of terror — the kind when pandemonium breaks out in a crowded theater. At a Hamilton performance in San Francisco, a woman had a heart attack right around the time of the gunshot in the famous duel scene. A fire alarm went off, and the crowd ran toward the exits. Four people were injured in the rush to evacuate the theater.
  8. precursor
    something indicating the approach of something or someone
    Elsewhere on the awards circuit, the precursor industry guilds have all split their top winners (the Directors Guild chose Roma, the Screen Actors Guild went with Black Panther, and the Producers Guild heralded Green Book), making it difficult to predict the Academy’s choice for Best Picture as the Feb. 24 Oscars ceremony approaches.
    - Entertainment Weekly (Feb 17, 2019)
    The awards shows that lead up to the Academy Awards are seen as precursors to the big event, with fans and critics looking at the winners of these smaller accolades as front-runners for the Oscars. This year, however, each film industry guild has given top honors to a different movie, which makes it nearly impossible to predict the best picture winner.
  9. spur
    incite or stimulate
    Another Grammy winner, the A Star Is Born soundtrack and its hit “Shallow,” jumped up to Number Two, spurred on by Lady Gaga’s show-stopping performance on Music’s Biggest Night.
    - Rolling Stone (Feb 17, 2019)
    After Lady Gaga’s rousing performance at the Grammys, and just in time for its spotlight at the Oscars, her duet Shallow is back on the charts. The song was first released in September of last year, and it’s very rare for a song to still have a presence on the charts six months after it’s released. Expect an even longer run if Gaga and her collaborators win the Oscar for Best Original Song.
  10. winnow
    select desirable parts from a group or list
    After the field of 12 finalists was winnowed during the last 20 minutes of Monday's two-hour, noncompetition finale, Lim claimed the trophy and the $25,000 winner’s prize.
    - USA Today ( Feb 19, 2019)
    Shin Lim, who refers to himself as a “sleight-of-hand artist”, won the America’s Got Talent Champions edition this week, beating child ventriloquist Darcy Lynne in the final. Lynne, whose puppet sang an operatic aria for this competition, was previously eliminated when the judges winnowed the field of competitors, but she came back as a wild card. Shin Lim was crowned the winner by a panel of America’s Got Talent superfans from across the nation.

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