If Shakira and Mariah Carey got in a fight, who would win? Yeah, the chances of two of the richest, most beautiful and most talented women in pop music today actually throwing down with each other are slim, but there are other ways of "winning," right?
Shakira has ten Grammy Awards; only two are regular Grammys, the other eight are Latin Grammys. Not as cool, by any means. Two points Shakira. Mariah has five Grammys. And no matter what anyone else says, Grammys are the only awards that matter. All those Image, Billboard and whatever awards are just extras. Five points Mariah.
Shakira vs. Mariah
Mariah married the best boyfriend any pop singer could have, Tommy Mottola, who was until recently the head of Sony Music. True, he shut her up in an extravagant home studio and forced her to record 24 hours a day. And yeah, he trotted her out at every party, board meeting and press conference like a blow-up doll with vocal cords. And he did cut her off from all other social contact. And he was fortysomething to her 23 when they got married, plus there was that bit about his nasty divorce, but please, he's Tommy Fricking Mattola! Mr. Music. Mr. "I can make anyone a star!" 1,000 points Mariah.
Then she dated Luis Miguel --yuck. The Mexican crooner was shorter, blonder and, on occasion, more feminine than she is. (I would mention that big-ass gap in his teeth, but since I'm blessed with the same dental affliction, I won't.) That's a minus five for her. And there were rumors about her and Eminem, who was also shorter, blonder and, on occasion, more feminine than she is. Since it was Eminem who started the rumors and Mariah had to go on television to deny them, that's another minus five.
Shakira has had few public relationships, except, oh yeah, for that one with Antonio de la Ra, the son of the president of Argentina. 100 points Shakira. Then President de la Ra screwed up the Argentine economy, supposedly with his son's help, and the country almost collapsed. That might look bad, except the Argentine economy collapses on a pretty regular basis. No score.
3. Dancing ability
Mariah can't dance. At all. Except for her right hand chopping at the air, nothing much ever moves on her while she sings. Her videos always show her posing or, at the very most, walking. But there's never any dancing of any kind. And there's never any dancing during her stage show, at least not by her. Zero points Mariah.
Shakira has a snake for a spinal cord. 1,000 points. She took belly dancing lessons growing up and can shake her hips in 32 different directions at once.
Mariah comes from a mixed ethnic background. Her mom is a white Irish-American, her dad is a black guy from Venezuela, so she's got white, black, Hispanic, American and Latin all in one package. That's 25 points.
Shakira also has a multiethnic background. Her mom is a white Colombian, while her dad is a Lebanese-American. White, semi-white, American and Latin. That's only 20 points.
5. Public behavior
Who can beat Mariah's very public meltdown? Minus 1,000 points (for multiple instances of on-camera insanity).
Shakira, zero meltdowns. Zero points.
Total score for Mariah: 20. Total score for Shakira: 1,122. Sorry, Mariah, Shakira wins.
Between The Cracks
The British metal band Bullet for My Valentine's drummer Michael Thomas is lucky he still has his lungs -- or at least that's what his PR people want us to think. The band was filming its last video in an underground cave and Thomas contracted a "deadly lung disease." Okay, underground caves are full of airborne nasties, but how deadly could it have been if he's on the phone with us a few weeks later, talking about the group's first Texas visit?
Houston Press: So what was it like recording your video in that cave?
Michael Thomas: Well, we [were] in Slovenia and it was three miles [underground.] It was so damp and cold, I caught something there. Then a couple of days later, we had a 12-hour flight to Japan, so that didn't help. I got really, really ill in Japan. I thought I was going to die.
HP: I would think it couldn't be too safe, being in a cave and then playing a lot of loud metal music. Didn't you shake up the cave a little?
Thomas: Exactly! That's why I didn't want to do it. Me being a drummer and then there's these huge, spiky things waiting to fall down and impale me. Really, I was sure that something was going to snap off and kill me.
HP: You've known the other members of the band for a long time...
Thomas: Yeah, I'm 25 and I've known Jay for at least 24 years. [That's Jason James on bass and vocals.] I've known the other two guys 12 or 13 years. [That's Matthew Tuck and Michael Paget, both on guitar and vocals.]
HP: You've never been to Texas, but you've toured other parts of America, right?
Thomas: Yes, this is going to be our fifth time to America. We love touring there. But yes, we've never been to Texas. We can't wait to get there.
HP: How has the fan reaction been on the European part of your tour?
Thomas: It's been incredible. Everyone seems to be digging what we do, which is really nice. We turned gold here [in the United Kingdom], and we'll be turning gold in Germany soon as well.
HP: Is success what you thought it would be?
Thomas: Kind of yes and no. This is what we had hoped would happen, what we dreamed about, but I think we didn't really expect it to actually happen so we're a little overwhelmed by it.
HP: Why didn't you think this would happen for you?
Thomas: Because of the style of music we play. I wouldn't think that there was much room for more metal. But I guess I've been proved wrong. People are liking us.
HP: The band has been called "glam metal." Is that what you call yourselves?
Thomas: We're just metal. [Laughs] End of. Just metal. Nothing emo, nothing fucking core, it's just metal. We got called "fashion core" in Germany. What the hell is "fashion core"? It's just stupid. People just like to put names on things, no matter if they fit or not. It's annoying. We're metal. That's all. Plain and simple, we're the new wave of British heavy metal. That's it.
HP: So I read that you are appearing in an upcoming issue of Penthouse. Is that true?
Thomas: In Penthouse? I have no idea. What is that?
HP: Sorry, Penthouse is an American magazine like Playboy.
HP: So your article will be right next to a lot of naked women.
Thomas: Nothing wrong with that! [Laughs]
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HP: We don't have a lot of naked women in our newspaper...
HP: But I could ask my boss if we can run this next to our ads for stripper clubs and chat lines; they have semi-naked women in them.
Thomas: Yeah, that would be nice! Thanks! Bullet for My Valentine appears Sunday, September 24, at the Meridian, 1503 Chartres. Call 713-225-1717 for more information.