Oh say can you see… the American public turning on Queen B? After a generally stunning appearance at Monday’s presidential inauguration, Beyoncé has found herself in a place both Ashlee Simpson and Christina Aguilera know all too well. No, sadly “Shadow” didn’t earn any Grammy Awards so we’re obviously talking about a quote-unquote scandal over the public lip-synching of a beloved national tune. We oohed and aahed at Beyoncé’s rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” just hours ago, commenting on everything from her fierce runs to those gorgeous green earrings. But is there such a thing as “too good to be true”? According to the London Times, Bey opted to go with a backing track and chose to lip-synch the song rather than perform it live on the Capitol lawn. Photos posted to her official Instagram reveal what we originally thought were rehearsals with the Marine Corp Band on Sunday, but an official spokeswoman for the band tells the UK paper that Bey decided to use this studio version “shortly before her performance.” “A backing track? Really?” asks the otherwise flawless Kelly Clarkson.
Posts By Emily Exton
Yesterday was indeed a day to celebrate American political traditions and tremendous achievements in civil rights, but there were also plenty of fashions to covet and musical performances to look forward to in between the peaceful transfer of power. Capping off a long week of celebrity events in support of Barack Obama‘s second term, Beyoncé, Kelly Clarkson and James Taylor had the honor of performing during the official inauguration ceremony, live from the West Front of the U.S. Capitol. Taylor kicked things off with “America the Beautiful,” defending the right to wear fleece in public (and later providing astute political analysis for NBC), while Kelly dazzled and impressed the likes of Senator Chuck Schumer with her powerful version of “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee.”
“Wow” is right! Season 12 American Idol hopefuls take note: the AI OG remains the gold standard.
Beliebers. Bieber Fever. #StayStrongForJustin. It’s hard to think about our current, crazy pop culture landscape without mention of the 18-year-old, saggy pants-wearing Canadian who not only fuels our rumor mill but lands coveted entertainment gigs. But no too long ago, there was a time when Justin Bieber was just a boy with a guitar, standing in front of a camera, asking us to love him. Today marks the six-year anniversary of Bieber on YouTube, the place where he first adopted the pseudonym of kidrauhl and changed the way aspiring acts market their talents forever. To celebrate–and once again self-promote–the Bieb is pimping a new acoustic take on one of his personal favorites (“Take You”) from last year’s Believe.
Two days into Season 12 of American Idol and we are sincerely feeling for the entire crew. Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj didn’t waste any time trading not-so-discreet digs on Wednesday night’s premiere, and episode two saw Nicki take issue with the entire program as a whole (no discrimination, for better or for worse). Live-tweeting the second night of auditions, as stars are wont to do these days, Nicki hit Twitter with a message of disapproval, directed at the show: “Is Idol really gonna play themselves and show that sh-t? Smdh. Wow.”
We can’t be too surprised by this reaction, mostly because we’ve had plenty of warning that this day would come. Nicki’s live-tweeting did provide a shout-out to Lazaro Arbos–the Cuban-born contestant who struggled with a stuttering problem but delivered an amazing rendition of “Bridge Over Troubled Water”–and sought to promote any positive mentions of her judging style from the loyal Barbz who fill her timeline. Thursday night’s episode did, however, see Nicki “jokingly” argue with a female contestant she wasn’t impressed by over their similar purple eye shadow, as well as wave a hand Mariah’s way when she attempted to counter with her positive comments. Consider it a lite version of the time she threaten to knock Mimi out.
Not only is Monday the climax of your three-day weekend, it’s an important moment in American history. Barack Obama will officially take office for his second term as President of the United States, with all sorts of pomp and circumstance that demands your full attention–so you can tell your friends and family members that you are sitting at home in your jammies in the name of patriotism. Plus, Beyoncé will be there.
Yes, you did it again, team!
In the spirit of sharing, Lance Bass went on Jimmy Kimmel Live to reveal a very painful, personal secret from his past–something his fellow *NSync members didn’t even know. Having previously cleared up any questions about his sexuality and expressed a strong desire to fly to the moon, who knows what he’s been harboring long after the marionette strings were locked away for a rainy day.
“For many years, throughout the ’90s, I frosted my tips,” Bass bravely confessed during Thursday’s late-night show, following Lance Armstrong‘s teary one-on-one with Oprah Winfrey. What and huh? This is the kind of intelligence that downright shocks those of us passionate TRL voters who truly believed he was born with a beautiful, naturally sun-kissed head.
We’ve seen John Mayer cavorting on both coasts with Katy Perry and lingering in the darkness at 30 Rock in recent months, but we haven’t heard much from his infamous mouth. Over the last two years, Mayer has struggled with a granuloma that stalled his live act completely, forcing him to cancel last year’s SXSW appearance and ultimately scrap his tour. Mayer first experienced trouble in April 2011 and underwent surgery in September before a doctor-recommended “indefinite” hiatus led to the release of Born and Raised with no live support. After several ups and downs he’s been making a slow return to the stage, playing guitar in support of his “bro” Frank Ocean during SNL‘s season premiere in September, as well as hitting November’s Stand Up for Heroes benefit in New York this fall.
2013 appears to be the start of some better news (on the music front at least; we wish you all the best with KP), however, with Mayer making the final push towards being tour-ready once and for all. Yes, we no longer have to survive on guitar faces, gossip columns and his contributions to the accessories department at Bloomie’s: the voice is back! Getting there, at least. Read more…
The “beef” between Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj that’s been
brewing promoted for months wasted no time getting started on Wednesday night’s premiere episode of American Idol. With auditions that began in New York City, both native New Yorkers (hailing from Huntington, Long Island and Jamaica, Queens, respectively) fiercely competed to prove who had more of a reason to sit behind the judges table, and who was more worthy of a network television paycheck.
For every time a contestant gushed about listening to Mariah through his or her childhood and dreaming of one day being able to replicate her five-0ctave range (with good reason), Nicki made sure to assure the next, completely hopeless hopeful that they, too are a star–they’re just not right for this competition. It was an outer battle to be the kindest and funniest judge, as well as the truest Big Apple resident. Queens and Long Island have had a turf war for years, so we guess this makes sense. While Nicki surprised me with her thoughtful and straightforward assessments, she did overuse pet names like “darling” and “sweetheart,” making things a little bit more about her when she could, while Mariah was cool with keeping a slight distance between her and the contestants. Five Grammys have given her that right. But does it make her a Mean Girl?
On the heels of footage of an allegedly tipsy Selena Gomez making the rounds at the Golden Globes after-parties comes a look at the former Disney star’s first mature-with-a-capital-“M” acting role. Monte Carlo may have featured Blair Waldorf and that dude from Glee, but it proved that without the convoluted hijinks their television writers can provide them with, they’re all bit… dull. But there’s still hope for Selenita, who has the making of a triple threat and the gossip factor to leave fans wanting more.
We’ve been eagerly awaiting Spring Breakers since casting was announced and racy photographs hit the web over the summer. It’s since made festival rounds and generated buzz based on its director, Harmony Korine, who rose to fame after writing the screenplay for 1995’s Kids at only 22. It was a film praised for its honest, graphic depiction of teenage life, and helped launch the careers on then-unknown actors like Rosario Dawson and Chloë Sevigny. Eighteen years later, Korine’s latest directorial effort takes a similar approach, by hiring a group of bubbling performers on the rise (and Gucci Mane) who have strong ties to PG (or PG-13 at best) entertainment; Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens did their time on the House of Mouse, while Ashely Benson stars on ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars and used to hang with Justin Bieber‘s crew.
If you’ve been wondering who the stranger is floating around the pages of your beloved pop culture oasis, rambling on about Beyoncé and bemoaning Justin Timberlake’s social media strategy, allow me to introduce myself: Hi! I’m Emily, and I’m your newest writer for VH1 Tuner. I’m over the moon to be joining this super talented team at such an exciting time, but I’ll throw it over to Rihanna to help express exactly how I’m feeling right now:
I’ve written about all things pop culture at Entertainment Weekly and Popdust, and one of my proudest moments includes the time I met Brad Pitt while wearing far too much denim (hint: there was a vest involved). I’m still recovering from locking eyes with Justin Bieber and I really wish Taylor Swift would just do her for a little bit, but mostly I’m looking for fun-loving pals who will tolerate my love of the Carter family and speak to me entirely in Clueless quotes. (Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter with good ones!) Let’s be friends?
[Photo: Getty Images]