Mere moments after Lana Del Rey completed her now infamous appearance on Saturday Night Live a few weeks ago, we saw dozens of tweets in our feed comparing her performance to something that a weird Kristen Wiig character would do. Well, the rabid imagination of the Twitter community came to life on last night’s episode of SNL, when Wiig showed up unannounced during Weekend Update as Lana Del Rey.
Wiig’s impression, which was a very slight variation of her classic character in the series of Two A-Holes sketches, straddled the line between mocking and defending the 25-year-old singer. Wiig’s Del Rey described herself as “stiff, distant and weird,” but also addressed the “authenticity” argument by sarcastically (and sagely) noting that “No serious musician would ever change their name, except maybe for Sting, Cher, Elton John, Lady Gaga, Jay-Z, everyone else in hip hop, and of course Bob Dylan.” The segment was fairly meh, mainly because head writer Seth Meyers avoided the opportunity to poke fun at NBC News anchor Brian Williams. As you’ll recall, Williams went out of his way to criticize SNL and bash Del Rey in a controversial email to Gawker, and Weekend Update’s refusal to jab back at Williams demonstrated for the umpteenth time that this era of the show places a greater emphasis on playing nice in the corporate sandbox than it does on biting the hand that feeds.
Just like we suspected, the news that Adam Lambert would be taking over as lead singer for Queen is simply not true. Lambert took to Twitter just a few minutes ago to clear up the erroneous reports, which started with London’s Daily Star tabloid, but didn’t truly catch fire until Rolling Stone reported the news. “Oooh them clever reporters takin my quotes outta context,” Lambert tweeted, “I haven’t confirmed any guest appearances. I was talking about the EMA’S. :)” In a separate tweet, he continued, “That being said, I’m truly flattered by your jump to such glorious conclusions mr journalist!! :)”
Sorry to break the news to you, Glamberts! We’re sure you won’t take it too hard, though, as we can all comfort ourselves by enjoying the brand new video for “Better Than I Know Myself” for the umpteenth time. Additionally, Adam’s denial of these reports just go to demonstrate exactly how much faith he has in his new record and how committed he is to his upcoming tour. He told our VH1 News correspondent Kate Spencer as much in a recent video interview:
“Well, I think the thing to keep in mind too is that like, you know, I’m a songwriter and I have an album out, or coming out, and that is important to me. That is my first priority, is sharing my music and my message with my fans. But Queen is really cool! And I love the music and I love the honor of being asked and I think it sounds like a lot of fun, so I’m going to try and find a way to kind of make both things happen.”
Kid Rock has mellowed considerably since the days when his hard-partying ways and high-profile relationships with the likes of Pam Anderson and Jaime King made him a regular fixture in the tabloid media. In the latest edition of our VH1 Tuner Podcast, our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown host Jim Shearer got some time with the Son of Detroit and discussed a variety of topics that you might not necessarily expect someone with a such a reputation for being a hellraiser: The practical complexities of discovering exactly which charity organizations are on the level, his love for the all- female country group Pistol Annies, his dislike of the guy who started the anti-Nickelback campaign, his rationale for keeping his music off iTunes and much, much more!
You might not know the name Graffiti6 yet, but there’s a very good chance that you would recognize some of their tunes. Even though their debut album, Colours (listen to it on Spotify), has only been out a week, nine of the 12 songs on the album have already been licensed, appearing on television shows like VH1′s Basketball Wives, MTV’s Teen Wolf, NBC’s Parenthood and the FIFA 2012 video game. They were here in New York City this week promoting their new record, and in addition to a performance on the set of Big Morning Buzz Live (which you can see above), they opened for Augustana at a sold-out show at Manhattan’s Gramercy Theater on Wednesday night.
From our stage right vantage point, we overheard a couple of twentysomething girls talking about the group before the show. “I like Augustana, but I don’t know Graffiti6 at all,” one said to the other, but by the third song of Graffiti6′s set, they were bantering back and forth about how they couldn’t wait to see the group again. Lead singer Jamie Scott has leading man looks and a tenor voice that reminded us more than a little of Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine, but the two band’s dynamics could not be more different. Whereas Maroon 5 specializes in disco-driven pop, Graffiti6 fuses hip hop inspired backbeats with widescreen sonic textures courtesy of producer/guitarist Tommy D. Songs like “Annie You Save Me” and “Stare Into The Sun” come off a bit more propulsive in a live setting than their more layered studio versions, which really served to engage the audience, most of whom didn’t seem to be familiar with this new act when the show began. Consequently, by the time Graffiti6 got to their set-closing new single, “Free” (the music video for which we told you about earlier this week), there’s no denying that the band had won themselves a couple of hundred new fans. Read more…
You haven’t seen excitement until you’ve seen us talking about Madonna’s Super Bowl half time show. It’s palpable, electric, maybe a little bit Pointer Sisters — basically, we’re doing all that we can to stay calm for the next 72 hours or so. In order to curb our energy into something a bit more productive, we’ve spent the morning playing Madonna‘s Musical Director and coming up with both predicted and dream setlists for her roughly 12-15 minute show. See what you think and if you agree — let us know what your dream set is in the comments section!
PREDICTED SET LIST by Mark Graham (@unclegrambo):
“Ray Of Light” / “Give Me All Your Luvin’ (featuring Nicki Minaj & M.I.A.)” / “Express Yourself” / “Vogue” / “Music”
Billions of people will be watching Madonna’s Super Bowl halftime show, so there’s no doubt that she’ll be feeling the adrenaline and deliver a high energy, dance-y set for the fans. “Ray Of Light” is a very recognizable track that will get fans out of their seats and grooving from the get-go, at which point she can safely transition into the requisite “Go buy my new single!” part of the show. After she welcomes (and then quickly boots) Nicki Minaj and M.I.A to/from the stage, she’ll move into the portion of her set that, to paraphrase her backup dancer, “brings the gay.” Playing “Express Yourself” will be a subtle “In your face!” to Lady Gaga, and “Vogue” (maybe with Cee Lo?) would get both the fans in Indianapolis and on their couches all over the world going berserk. Closing with “Music” —featuring its anthemic chorus of “Music makes the people get together”— would be the most frenzied way to end her short set, and send everyone who’s watching off thinking “I LOVE MADONNA!”
Sad news to pass along this morning. Don Cornelius, the creator and host of Soul Train, was found dead in his California home earlier today. TMZ is reporting that the 75-year-old died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, after struggling with health issues and a messy divorce over the course of the last few years.
His longtime friend, Quincy Jones, just released the following statement to USA Today: “I am shocked and deeply saddened at the sudden passing of my friend, colleague, and business partner Don Cornelius. Don was a visionary pioneer and a giant in our business. Before MTV there was Soul Train, that will be the great legacy of Don Cornelius. His contributions to television, music and our culture as a whole will never be matched. My heart goes out to Don’s family and loved ones.”
Back in 2010, VH1 put a spotlight on Cornelius and the revolutionary program that he created with the VH1 Rock Doc, Soul Train: The Hippest Trip In America. To remember exactly how awesome Soul Train was, take a look at this incredible footage of the Soul Train audience doing a line-dance to “Respect Yourself” by the legendary Staple Singers.
While it’s fair to say that the current incarnation of G’N'R can no longer fill stadiums they way they did in their early Nineties heyday, tickets for these six dates —three in NYC, one in Chicago, one in Silver Springs and one in Atlantic City— are sure to be some of the hottest tickets of what’s shaping up to be an outstanding year for live music. According to Rolling Stone, the last time that Guns N’ Roses played at Webster Hall was in 1988 (!), so old school headbangers and curious millenials alike will no doubt be ponying up big bucks to see the 2012 Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame inductees in such an intimate environment. And who knows, maybe Axl will bring out some of his former band members for a tune-up before the RRHOF induction ceremony in April? We sincerely doubt that will happen, but if there’s one thing that we have learned about Axl after all these years, it’s to expect the unexpected!
VH1′s latest entry in the award-winning Rock Docs franchise, The TRL Decade, premieres tonight at 9:30 pm. The hour-long special takes a look back at the colorful history of the long-running MTV video request program and the effect that it had on the music industry, and features insightful interviews from former VJs like Carson Daly and Dave Holmes, as well as some of that era’s most popular musical acts.
In order to get you in the mood for tonight’s premiere, we built this special
Spotify playlist for The TRL Decade, which features many of the songs that you’ll hear in this documentary feature. Get your ’90s nostalgia on with boy band faves like “Larger Than Life” by the Backstreet Boys, rap-rock smashes like Korn‘s “Freak On A Leash”, hip hop hits like P. Diddy‘s “Bad Boy For Life”, sugar coated girl pop classics like Mandy Moore‘s “Candy”, and many more.
“Keep in mind I’m not here, I’m from a different world.”
That line is from the chorus of “Different”, the lead single from Ximena Sariñana‘s recent self-titled album, and it speaks volumes about where she is as an artist at the moment. Her debut LP, Mediocre, was released in her native Mexico in 2008 and performed well both commercially and critically, earning her two Latin Grammy nominations, but when it came time to record her second record, she was faced with a dilemna. “Either stay in my country, where everyone knows who I am, or start from scratch and convince people that I’m worth it,” Ximena was quoted as saying. Well, she chose the latter, and her efforts are just starting to pay off. She was named our You Oughta Know artist last August, she played a gig for a couple of hundred die-hard fans at New York City’s Mercury Lounge last night, and she was able to land a highly-coveted spot at this year’s Coachella Festival, too.
Ximena’s set last night was a mix of songs from her first two albums; she sung three songs in Spanish, and the remaining seven were in English. The 25-year-old stood confidently center stage, singing and playing her Nord keyboard (accompanied by a guitarist, a bassist, a drummer and a percussionist), and slowly sipped from a single glass of whiskey throughout the course of the show. “I’m totally drinking whiskey instead of water,” she bantered. “It’s like the worst thing for a singer, but it’s either my voice is better, or my general mood and perkiness.”
Ah, Aspen. While not exactly known as a music mecca, it is by all accounts a place where the beer flows like wine, where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano! (Clearly, we’ve watched Dumb & Dumber one too many times.) It was also where J. Lo, Steven Tyler, Randy and Ryan Seacrest hunkered down to try out contestants on this week’s episode of American Idol.
We don’t know if it was a result of the altitude or what, but something in the mountain air inspired Steven this week. He was able to avoid falling prey to the charms of 19-year-old nose-ring enthusiast Tealana Hedgespeth (“I’m more of the outgoing person, I’m more of the person who would go up to you and be like, ‘Hey, i like your shirt’”), but our bescarfed host planted a giant smacker right on the lips of 24-year-old music teacher Jenny Schick right at the top of this week’s episode, scoring a perfect 5 out of 5 on the Dude Is Acting Shady Meter. We’ll cover this, as well as Tyler’s other flirtations, below:
WHO: Jenni Schick SET-UP: Jenni started off reminding us a bit of Week One contestant Erika Nowak, confessing that she’s got a hankerin’ for reality singing competition judges like Steven Tyler and The Voice‘s Adam Levine. However, her performance of Pat Benatar’s “Heartbreaker” got Steven all hot and bothered, resulting in him clutching her face with his grubby fingers and kissing her mouth. (Can we talk about that kissing technique for a second? Face touching is one thing, but outright face grabbing? WEIRDZIES.) TYLER’S COMMENTS: “Holy shick! You better be able to sing, good girl … Whoa, I’m gonna get in trouble for that.” DUDE IS ACTING SHADY METER SCORE: 5/5 – EWWWWWWWWW!