Bruno Mars tops Billboard
Miley Cyrus twerked her way to the top of the charts, and Justin Timberlake returned to music after a seven-year hiatus, but another artist owned music in 2013: Bruno Mars.
Billboard announced Friday that the pop crooner is the year’s top overall artist.
“It’s flattering. It’s just an honor,” Mars said in an interview this week. “I’m proud to be a part of this whole team that I have.”
The singer’s year included a No. 1 hit with “When I Was Your Man” and a top 5 hit with “Treasure.” His sophomore album, “Unorthodox Jukebox,” was released late last year and has sold more than 1.8 million units. It’s the second- best-selling album of the year behind Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience.”
Mars added that listeners have resonated with his music because it’s “relatable.”
“You know when you eat that food and it’s filling that void you were missing,” he said, describing his music.
‘SNL’ to add more diversity
“Saturday Night Live” plans to add one or two black female performers to its cast as soon as January.
A representative for the NBC sketch-comedy show Thursday confirmed reports that it’s answering complaints about its lack of diversity by staging showcases to choose at least one black female cast member and to hire her within weeks.
In recent weeks, the show has seen two dozen candidates in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York.
The New York Times reported that a special audition for seven or eight finalists will be held Monday on the “SNL” stage in Manhattan. It’s “100 percent good for the show to have an African-American woman” in its ranks, Executive Producer Lorne Michaels told the Times.
Criticism for the show’s lack of diversity was spurred this fall by its only black cast members, Jay Pharoah and Kenan Thompson.
Thompson voiced weariness at being obliged to play black female characters in drag. Pharoah lobbied for the addition of a specific comic, Darmirra Brunson, of the OWN sitcom “Love Thy Neighbor.”
“SNL” has had just four black women in its regular troupe since premiering in 1975.
Prince Harry at South Pole
Prince Harry and his fellow trekkers Friday finished a three-week, 200-mile journey to the South Pole, charity organizers Walking With the Wounded announced.
The group, which includes 12 former soldiers who suffered severe injuries in battle, pulled sleds weighing 155 pounds across the Antarctic to reach the bottom of the world.
It was an “incredible” feeling to have completed the challenge, said Ed Parker, the expedition’s director and co-founder of Walking With the Wounded.
“We always knew that this wasn’t going to be easy, but that is what makes the challenge so exciting,” he said. “Our aim was to show that, despite injury, young men and women from our armed forces can still achieve great things.”
A bearded Prince Harry, who is an army pilot and patron of Walking With the Wounded, had said in a video blog Wednesday that the goal was almost within reach.