DerekPlease Awards

Best Albums of 2016 - 2nd Annual DerekPlease Awards

There's something magical about a great album. It's an experience. You play it on start to finish, it takes you on a journey... you return to it again and again, and it becomes a volume in the soundtrack of your life. These are my top five favorites from 2016! 

5. Best Summer Ever - Har Mar Superstar


Minneapolis music scene favorite and internationally known artist Sean Tillmann goes by more than one stage name, but his Har Mar Mall-inspired Har Mar Superstar moniker is how he's known best. His half-experimental, half-polished 2016 effort "Best Summer Ever" is easily his best, an album that's both personal and universal. Check out the music video for "It Was Only Dancing (Sex)," shot locally at Grumpy's bar.

4. Lady Wood - Tove Lo


"Queen of the Clouds" Tove Lo hails from Sweden, the "it" destination for making glossy radio pop. Despite this, and despite the fact that she writes glossy pop for others, her own music is moody and edgy. Her second album "Lady Wood" hits where her first missed, delivering a clear, concise message that creates a listening experience that's almost palpable.

3. This Is What The Truth Feels Like - Gwen Stefani


There was little chance Gwen Stefani could reclaim the uber success of her initial solo career after a lengthy 10 year hiatus. Although the LP didn't hit it big, "This" is her very best yet. Fun fact: it was entirely co-penned by gay songwriter Justin Tranter, the highly sought after penman who recently has dominated pop radio with hits like "Sorry" for Justin Bieber, "Good for You" for Selena Gomez, and "Cake by the Ocean" for Joe Jonas' new band DNCE.

 2. Anti - Rihanna


Nobody, not even Beyoncé, is as consistently successful on Top 40 radio as Rihanna. That's why RiRi's anti-pop radio 2016 effort "Anti" was such a gamble... it's an experimental, dark, and highly personal ode to 1990s R&B and her native Caribbean. The risk that paid off big time, ironically delivering her biggest pop radio hit of all-time, "Work (feat. Drake)."

Glory - Britney Spears


After fans and critics had a mixed response her 2013 album "Britney Jean," Britney Spears came back "stronger than yesterday" in 2016; her body is rocking, her live performances are as hot as they were in 2003, and her new music ranks amongst her all-time best. Fun fact: Justin Tranter also cowrote on much of this LP! Her new album "Glory" picks up where "Blackout" left off in 2007, pushing her iconic sound forward while also remaining radio friendly.


This list was previously published in Twin Cities Gay Scene magazine.  

What was your favorite album of 2016? Tweet me: @DerekPlease 


Best Songs of 2016 - The 2nd Annual DerekPlease Awards

2016 was a slightly boring year for pop music, save for new master works by icons like Britney Spears and club crowd favorites like Tove Lo and Erika Jayne. These are the juicy beats that made the biggest impact on me this past year.

5. "How Many Fucks? (Dave Aude Remix)" - Erika Jayne

Oops, she did it again! "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" star Erika Jayne scores her 9th #1 Billboard Dance hit with "How Many Fucks?" It's a saucy send off to her Twitter haters and catty "Housewives" co-stars. 

4. "True Disaster" - Tove Lo

Probably the only chorus of 2016 that can be described as "soaring," and the first truly timeless-sounding track by otherwise trend-heavy Swedish pop singer-songwriter Tove Lo

3. "U-turn" - Tegan & Sara

In a surprising twist, former indie hipster Tegan & Sara go past full-blown pop and produce the most bubblegum song of the entire year. Gay fans rejoice! Sister, sister indeed. 

2. "Super Natural (feat. Carly Rae Jepsen)" - Danny L. Hartle

2015's queen of gay pop Carly "Slay" (ok, Rae) Jepsen returns with a taste of what's to come; a more mature, dance floor geared sound less concerned with radio success.

"Make Me (feat. G-Eazy)" - Britney Spears

With EDM slowing fading from pop radio, Britney Spears adapts accordingly with a poppy mid-tempo R&B anthem for the 90s-obsessed millennial in all of us. Both ethereal and biting, the track is topped off with a sexy verse from red hot rapper G-Eazy (the MC behind the 2016 hit single "Me, Myself & I (feat. Bebe Rexha)"."

What were YOUR favorite songs this year? Chat with me... It's fun.
Twitter/Instagram/Snapchat: @DerekPlease
Facebook: Derek Scott

2015 Carrie Awards: Best Beauty

Welcome back to the 2015 Carrie Awards! It's now the moment you've been waiting for - yaaaas, it's the beauty portion. Stop powdering yourself and get back in your seat! 

Best Beauty Personality

Winner: Casey Holmes (itsbl0ndie)

Nobody makes me more excited about the art of makeup than Casey Holmes, also known as itsbl0ndie. My favorite YouTuber, Miss Holmes exploded in 2015, reaching and exceeding 1,000,000 subscribers. Congratulations are in order! This Georgia stunner is also highly business savvy, routinely working with several beauty companies like Sephora and big brands like Regal Cinemas. Not to brag, but she follows me on Twitter. Talk about a big "yaaas."


Best Cleanser


Winner: Glamglow variety

Your skin gets used to products, so it’s great to alternate cleansers. However not every brand has a quality, sulfate-free formula like Glamglow does. Keep your skin on its toes by alternating between their four different cleansers night and day.


Best Moisturizer

Winner: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration

This moisturizer literally gets me through the winter. Not even being dramatic, without this, my skin would be way worse off. If you live in a cold and/or dry climate, this is for you.


Best Face Mask


Winner: Lush "The Sacred Truth" Fresh Mask

Lush makes great fresh masks, and since they're refridgerated, they’re super cooling and soothing on the skin. After a brief discontinuation, Lush’s The Sacred Truth fresh mask made a big comeback in 2015, and was as on fleek as ever. It makes my skin feel so comfortable and soft every time I use it. Viva la Sacred Truth!


And the Best Skincare Brand of 2015 is...


Winner: First Aid Beauty

This brand gives people with highly problematic skin RESULTS, and that’s all that we truly want. They’re not a hype machine, they deliver. Very dry skin? Look no further. This is highly effective stuff, folks. 

Best Primer

Winner: Becca Backlight

If you’re like me and aim for a luminous makeup look, there’s no brand that will take you there quite like Becca. From this amazing primer, to their flawless and trendy highlighters, their entire product line will get your highlight on point. 


Best Foundation

Winner: Too Faced Born This Way

Nothing prepared me for the natural, skin-like finish of Too Faced’s Born This Way foundation. Before this foundation, I didn’t realize a look like this was even possible. It changed the game for me and it became my ride or die. I’m already on my second one and anticipate many more repurchases!


Best Bronzer

Winner: Benefit Hoola 

Everyone’s already said everything there is to say about this oldie but goodie, so I’ll just say what matters: It’s perfection.


Best Blush

Winner: Urban Decay Afterglow in shade "Video"

Yaaaas Gaga, this blush is so good! It’s a universally flattering and just gorgeous. Thanks Carrie Award-winner Casey Holmes for the recommendation!


Best Highlighter

Winner: Becca x Jaclyn Hill Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed - Champagne Pop

Jaclyn Hill had the biggest YouTuber-beauty company collaboration of 2015, with her absolutely viral and beyond-on-trend highlighting feat, Champagne Pop! Ooh gurl, this is the best highlighter I’ve ever used. I really hope Becca makes this permanent somehow, because the fact that it’s Limited Edition just breaks my ‘lil Minnesotan heart. 


Best Mascara

Winner: Benefit They’re Real!

Clumps? Girl, where? This flawless mascara has never done me wrong, and even is oops-free when coating my bottom lashes. I personally use the Brown shade, but there are also blue, green, and black ones available. Slay, I say!


Best Eyeshadow

Winner: Kat Von D Eye Contour Palette 

This palette tho. You can do so many things with this, and the shadows are so highly pigmented, it’s hard to stay away from. We’re BFFs already. The corresponding double-ended brush is also amazing.


Best Setting Spray

Winner: MAC Mineralize Charged Water

I tried a handful of new setting sprays this year, but this one still did the best job of locking in my makeup, refreshing it, and also making my skin look luminous. It’s flawless!


And the Best Makeup Brand of 2015 is...

Carrie Okie herself awarding Too Faced in person (well, in cat)!

Carrie Okie herself awarding Too Faced in person (well, in cat)!

Too Faced

Between releases like their Hangover primer, and the already iconic Born This Way foundation alone, Benefit slayed the game in 2015. Slay!

Stay tuned for a very special bonus awards tomorrow, celebrating TV, a book, and home! 

What was your favorite beauty product of 2015? Comment below!

2015 Carrie Awards: Best Movies

The Carrie Awards continue! Got your popcorn? It's time to celebrate 2015 in movies!


Gurl, It's a Disclaimer:

I was a film studies major at uni, so film is an especially important awards category for me. I was overall not super impressed by the selection movies released this year. In fact, 2015 was the most cinematically disappointing year of this decade so far for me. Other than this top ten, literally only three other movies stood out to me (“Dark Places,” adapted from the Gillian Flynn novel, Disney-Pixar’s “The Good Dinosaur,” and “Jurassic World”). To be fair, I didn’t have time to see all the movies I wanted to this year; three notable ones I missed were “Steve Jobs,” “The Martian,” and “Joy.” In an alternate universe, perhaps I have seen these, and they’re on this list. 

Finally, I am highly aware that only four or five of these films are actually awards-worthy in the traditional sense; you won’t be seeing “Krampus” winning any Oscars this year. However, this is my awards ceremony, so I make da criteria! 

Without further rant, I present ye with the Carrie Awards nominees and winner for Best Movies of the Year!

10. The Final Girls

A twist-filled comedy horror film that keeps you on your toes. It has problems, but all movies do! It’s a lot of fun and definitely worth at least a rental.

9. Krampus

Campy and chilling, Krampus surprises you by actually being good. I mean, hello, it sounds like it’d be just awful. An evil Santa Claus terrifying an average American family? Adam Scott and Toni Collette? Okay, that actually sounds amazing. Do see it!

8. Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension

This one’s gonna be controversial, ‘cuz it’s probably technically a bad movie. But “so bad it’s good” is a thing, right!? Well, screw that, because I loved this one! It was one of the most interesting and scary in the franchise so far. They say it’s the last one, but there’s a lot of questions left, and a lot of money to be made… I see Paranormal Activity living on as a straight-to-Blu-ray saga, if not more theatrical releases.

7. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2

The Hunger Games has been one of my favorite series ever, and to see it end was bittersweet. Honey, it ain’t over until President Snow sings! It was not my favorite entry in the series, but definitely was a good ending.

6. Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation

The previous Mission installment Ghost Protocol is one of my favorite action films ever. The trailer for this one was pretty lame, so I wasn’t super jazzed to see it. However, you really can’t judge a film by its trailer (it’s like catfishing, I tell you), so my husband and I saw it anyway… we both loved it! It’s actually better than Ghost Protocol. Gay gasp!

5. Trainwreck

Unexpectedly emotional, and expectedly funny, Amy Schumer’s big screen debut won me, my husband and my parents over. We all loved it!

4. Spy

Sidesplittingly funny, random, and just a joyous romp, it’s the best film featuring Melissa McCarthy since her scene-stealing role in Bridesmaids. Get the popcorn, and pop this one in… it’s fabulous.

3. Cinderella

Listen, I came into Cinderella with rock bottom expectations. The trailers looked stupid to me, and I just wasn’t having it. But it’s Disney, and I’m addicted (spoiler alert, the top three of this list are all made by Disney), so I gave it a chance. Boy, am I glad I did. From beginning to end, this film enchants its audience with wonder and whimsy. It’s not only a worthy live action adaption of Disney’s original animated classic, it’s debatably better! Its cute and poignant message leave a smile on your face that lasts long after the credits roll. Yaaas!

2. Inside Out

Pixar returned to high form this year with not one, but two great films (the other being The Good Dinosaur). Gurl, Pixar turned it out! However, Inside Out was indisputably the better of the two, capturing critic and viewer’s hearts. It was like “buttah”! Emotional, fun, poppy, and funny, this perfect film will go down in history as one of Pixar’s absolute best.

and the Golden Okie for Best Movie of the Year goes to...

1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

No other film captured my attention and imagination like JJ Abram’s fantastic continuation of the Star Wars saga, The Force Awakens. Including already iconic new characters (hayyyyy, BB-8!), and obviously iconic classic ones (Leia’s hair game is still on fleek!), the film more than makes up for George Lucas’ failed prequel trilogy, and the Ewok-fest that was Return of the Jedi.

What was YOUR favorite movie of 2015? Comment below!

2015 Carrie Awards: Best Albums of the Year

Got your seat? The 2015 Carrie Awards continue! Scroll down for the 9 nominees and 1 winner of Best Album of the Year! 

10. Honeymoon by Lana Del Rey

My least favorite Lana record, but it’s perfectly problematic. Jazzier and slower building than her others, it’s noticeably less accessible… but when you’re in the mood for it, it’s everything.

9. Slay Belles by RuPaul

Endlessly listenable, frothy, original holiday fare. Instead of being annoying, the plentiful spoken word interludes actually add a homey and interesting dimension to the listening experience. 

8. Rub by Peaches

Peaches crafts an album that sounds like her live shows; fabulous, fearless, and delightfully unexpected.

7. Realness by RuPaul

A minimalistic, 90s-revisiting EDM record that harkens back to Ru’s “Supermodel” days while simultaneously pushing his sound more toward today’s mainstream. Brilliant!

6. Kylie Christmas by Kylie Minogue

Another Christmas album!? Yes. 2015 was a great year for Xmas tunes, and Kylie delivered and slayed the game. Mostly sticks to the classics, but nails them all.

5. HITNRUN Phase One by Prince

I’ve always been a (very) casual fan of Prince, but 2015 was the year I became a big fan. I came to Paisley Park a few times, including a night celebrating the release of this album. With big production, experimental groove, and a whole lot of guts, this album kills it by remaining unpredictable throughout.

4. Unbreakable by Janet Jackson

A queen returns to her throne. In a “Velvet Rope”-level almost-double-length LP, miss Jackson (if you're nasty) shows she hasn't lost it. The highlights of this reflective record come in the songs that overtly and with subtlety celebrate her late brother, Michael; with obvious lyrical references and subtle vocal imitations, Janet salutes the icon with class and grace. 

3. FROOT by Marina and the Diamonds


Great lyrics. Great melodies. Great production. Her best album yet. Nothing much else to say! It’s by far her most accessible album, so if you're new to her music, start here.

2. Deja Vu by Giorgio Moroder 

Giorgio’s return to mainstream music is so delicious. The legendary inventor of disco brings modern pop and dance vocalists into the mix, giving his sound fresh new life. Britney, Kelis, and Kylie are the definite highlights, but the newcomers and dance underground artists give them a run for their money. 

and the Golden Okie for Best Album of the Year goes to...

1. Rebel Heart by Madonna

The Queen of Pop put back on her crown and released her best album in a decade. Long, reflective, and occasionally experimental, Madonna pushes herself to new ground while remaining true to her iconic sound. Even the worst songs are better than half of the pop songs released this year by any artist. It was an absolute shame that this record wasn't more popular, because it’s truly the best of the year. Give it a listen.

Your turn! What's YOUR favorite album of the year? Comment below!