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!
In the post-Nipplegate era of Super Bowl halftime shows, a majority of the performers have been stadium rock acts, carefully chosen by the NFL because they, to borrow a political expression, play to the base. Acts like Bruce Springsteen, The Who and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are all Rock And Roll Hall of Famers with undeniable chops and impressive catalogs, but also artists that are unquestionably “safe” (meaning, no one’s gonna get pissed and flip the channel when The Boss launches into “Born To Run”). However, this year’s selection of Madonna —one of the most controversial artists of the Eighties and Nineties— might very well push some of Joe Six-Pack’s buttons.
Today’s Gatecrasher column in the New York Daily News features a quote from an unnamed backup dancer of Madonna’s, one that promises that Her Madgesty is “bringing gay to the Super Bowl.” Now, Madonna’s status as a gay icon is undeniable —there’s a whole Wikipedia page devoted just to this topic— so this news has us wondering exactly how far she’s going to push the envelope. (Personally, our fingers are crossed for a quintuple-kiss between her, Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., Elton John and David Furnish.)
A few weeks back, our VH1 News team caught up with Matthew McConaughey on the set of the music video for Butch Walker‘s “Synthesizers.” The song is partially a lament about the perils of growing older and becoming decidedly less hip, but it’s also a rallying cry about the merits of sticking to your guns and not chasing fads in an attempt to remain hip. These decidedly mixed messages make for an interesting song, but also for a thematically jumbled music video.
Reincarnating the character of Wooderson from Dazed And Confused for this video was a stroke of minor brilliance, as perhaps no one character in the recent history of cinema better represents how cool it can seem to be stuck in one’s ways. As the video begins, Wooderson —still wearing that same
Marley Nugent t-shirt, mannnnn— makes his way into a modern day Hollywood nightclub, packed to the gills with table dancing Snooki wannabes and LMFAO-style hipster d-bags. Not surprisingly, he looks older and, if you can believe it, even more stoned than when we last saw this character; McConaughey initially plays it so Wooderson looks tired, desperate and past his prime, allowing a forlorn look of despair to creep across his face, despite the fact that he’s trailed by two smokin’ hot ladyfriends. However, as soon as the chorus kicks in and the song’s tone shifts from plaintive to defiant, the vibe of the video changes (not for the better), and Wooderson morphs from being an over-the-hill stoner and into the Pied Piper of Clubland by, get this, playing a trumpet and a tiny toy piano.
The 2 Live Crew‘s As Nasty As They Wanna Be was a cassette tape that everyone who grew up in the Eighties owned but kept carefully hidden from their parents’ prying eyes (and ears). While certainly not the first rap crew to brag about their sexual conquests, Luther Campbell and his posse of perpetually horny MCs made waves by pushing their sex rhymes deep into XXX rated territory. Their lewd and lascivious “pornocore” material ultimately caught the eye of Florida legislators and got them, as Luke would famously put it, “Banned In The U.S.A.”
Well, nearly 20 years after disbanding, Luther Campbell announced over the weekend —at the Sundance Film Festival, no less!!!— that 2 Live Crew would be getting back together for a reunion tour this fall. You may recall that the group got together for a one-off performance at VH1′s 2010 Hip Hop Honors show, but this time around, the group will be taking their show on the road. No details about the tour have been announced, but Uncle Luke promises that “We’re going to perform the songs and everybody’s going to be excited.” Um, hopefully not TOO excited, if you catch our drift…
Uncle Luke Ready To Get Nasty Again, Reveals 2 Live Crew Reunion Plans [SOHH]
[Photo: Getty Images]
Seemingly everywhere you turn your head these days, Steven Tyler is standing there. Leno on Friday night? Check. American Idol on Fox? Check. On the victory podium with AFC champions the New England Patriots? Check. Wait, what???
Yes, that’s right, the Aerosmith lead singer is buddy buddy with billionaire businessman and owner of the NFL’s New England Patriots franchise, Robert Kraft. He brought some good luck to his hometown team by singing the National Anthem at yesterday’s AFC Championship game, a performance that his Idol co-hort Randy Jackson would describe as “pitchy.” Depending on how many cups of CLAM CHOWDA you ingested yesterday afternoon, you’ll either love it or hate it.
Oh, and after the seventeen hours of football that was on yesterday (only a slight exaggeration), there was a new episode of American Idol on, too. We don’t know what’s going on with the water in San Diego, but Tyler didn’t score very high on our new Dude Is Acting Shady Meter (which now come complete with an ACTUAL meter, designed by our own Lauren Deiman). He didn’t so much as bat an eyelash with Jim Carrey‘s 24 year-old daughter, Jane, but he did turn on the charm a smidge for two of yesterday’s female contestants.
Many, many moons ago, cultural critic Adam Sternbergh outlined his theory about the Undulating Curve Of Shifting Expectations in the pages of New York Magazine. Basically, what the UCoSE does is provide us a way of analyzing the trajectory of entertainment products as they metamorphize their way through his theorized seven-stage growth chart: Pre-Buzz, Buzz, Rave Reviews, Saturation Point, Overhyped, Backlash, and finally, Backlash To The Backlash. When this chart was conceived back in March of 2006, the Internet was clearly already an important medium; however, sites like Facebook and Twitter had yet to reach the masses in the way that they do today, so it generally took “entertainment products” a decent amount of time to fully mature and run through the full cycle of the UCoSE. However, that is not the case today — thanks to omnipresence of social media, the cycle of culture consumption has clearly accelerated.
(ED. NOTE—Admittedly, this is a somewhat roundabout intro to what you’re about to read, but if you bear with us, we promise that it will all pay off.)
Now, it may seem slightly weird to classify a real, live human being like Lana Del Rey as an “entertainment product,” but it’s pretty clear to us that she’s already rocketed through six of the first seven stages of Sternbergh’s UCoSE, albeit in an extremely abbreviated fashion. However, it now appears that after Del Rey’s widely-maligned SNL performance, she’s reaching the Backlash to the Backlash stage. In a poll that we published on Tuesday, over 48% of the poll participants indicated that they’re fully on-board Team LDR, and earlier today, Whitney Cummings —star of NBC’s Whitney and herself a widely-maligned figure— wrote a blog post coming to Del Rey’s defense.
"I'm here to tell you i'm ... MOIST."
Ten years ago, a veteran British entertainment mogul named Simon Fuller had the very bright idea to adapt his smash hit UK television show Pop Idol for an American audience. The result was a program called American Idol, and its impact on the television landscape (as well as our culture-at-large) cannot be underestimated. It has spawned dozens of imitators, and withstood all challenges to remain the highest rated show on American television (not counting the NFL, natch).
At this time last year, the departure of Simon Cowell and the failed run of Ellen Degeneres had many industry observers prophesying that the show was dead in the water. However, in a semi-remarkable twist, the show actually gained new life thanks to the star power of Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler. Speaking of the latter, the Aerosmith lead singer brought something to the show that it had been lacking since Day One: A whiff of sex. Despite the fact that the 63-year-old Tyler is old enough to be the grandfather of most of the contestants, his naturally libidinous and undeniably charismatic persona added an exciting new element to the program.
Oh, and did we mention that Steven Tyler just might be the most lovable creep on television? His entendre-laden, heavily sexual metaphors arguably provide just as much entertainment to viewers at home as the actual performances themselves. Which is why we here at VH1 Tuner are excited to debut the Dude Is Acting Shady Meter*, which will keep track of Tyler’s come-ons and rank them on a scale of 1-5, one that ranges from Innocently Innocuous to EWWWWWWWW!. So, without further ado, let’s get into last night’s Season 11 premiere of American Idol.
WHO: Shannon Magraine
SET-UP: When this six-foot tall 15-year-old was accompanied by her twenty-nine female siblings (only a slight exaggeration), her striking mom and her ex-MLB pitcher father (!) in the judge’s lair, Tyler’s boner just about knocked over the judge’s table.
TYLER’S COMMENTS: “Hot, humid and happenin’ … just like your daughter.”
DUDE IS ACTING SHADY METER SCORE: 5/5 – EWWWWWWWWW!
You might think that after selling 5.8 million copies of 21 in 2011, everyone who had any sort of interest in buying Adele’s sophomore LP would have already done so. Well, you’d be wrong: Adele is still #1 on the Billboard 200 and iTunes charts, and now rumor has it that she’ll be performing at the 2012 Grammy Awards in February, an event which she is virtually guaranteed to win ALL of the awards. Adele has already warned that it will be a few years before she releases her next album, but word out of the UK leads us to believe that her next LP might be significantly happier.
The Daily Mail is reporting today that the 23-year-old Adele has found love in a swampy place; specifically, in the arms of Simon “Swampy” Konecki. However, much like the troubled relationship that fueled the narrative of 21, this burgeoning relationship is not without its own bit of controversy. You see, “Swampy” is not only a wealthy investment manager 14 years her senior, but —gulp— is also a married (ED.NOTE—Or is he? See our update below!) man with a 5-year-old daughter of his own. Lest you place the “homewrecker” tag on Adele, though, reports seem to suggest his marriage is all but kaput; he’s “in the process of divorcing” his current wife (the pair has been separated since 2010). Either way, we’re happy for Adele and excited for the possibility of her penning a bunch of lovestruck anthems.
UPDATE: According to a post on Adele’s personal site, Swampy is actually divorced. Here’s what Adele herself wrote about the situation: “This is the first and last time I will comment on the details of my relationship with Simon. Contrary to reports and headlines in the press today, Simon is divorced and has been for 4 years. Everyone in our lives separately and together wish us nothing but the best, and vice versa. These are the facts. Take care and see you all in February xx”
Revealed: Adele’s Old Etonian lover Simon Konecki is a married dad [Daily Mail]
[Photo: Getty Images]
Lana Del Rey is no stranger to controversy. The stunning 25-year-old chanteuse with the haunting voice has been in the crosshairs of the indie blogosphere for months, but after she made her American television debut last night as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live, she’s become a conversational lightning rod in the mainstream. Del Rey’s performances of “Video Games” and “Blue Jeans” were not the strongest renditions of those songs in her young career and, as a result, many critics delighted in breaking out their book of nasty superlatives to describe her work using social media services.
Perez Hilton broke his phony, self-imposed streak of faux-niceness and tore into Lana Del Rey on Twitter in the wee hours of the morning: “Just watched SNL. Not only was @LanaDelRey vocally WAY off, but watching her utter lack of stage presence was cringe-worthy. #DontBuyTheHype” Actress and part-time singer Juliette Lewis piled on, tweeting “Wow watching this ‘singer’ on SNL is like watching a 12 year old in their bedroom when they’re pretending to sing and perform. #signofourtimes” before remembering what her own voice actually sounds like and wisely deleting her tweet. Even Eliza Dushku, last seen guest-starring on The League, weighed in on Twitter, describing Del Rey as “wack-a-doodle” before also deleting her tweet. Lest you think it was only famous people eagerly sinking their claws into her, a wholly unscientific, purely anecdotal search on Twitter we just performed shows that negative comments about LDR are outweighing positive ones by at least a 2:1 margin.
However, despite this tidal wave of haterade, it looks like Lana Del Rey and Interscope Records might end up having the last laugh. Her four song Lana Del Rey – EP is currently the #2 album on the iTunes charts (where, it should be noted, it is averaging a 4-star rating after garnering nearly 2,900 reviews) and her LP, Born To Die, is the #16 album on the Amazon.com charts, despite the fact that it doesn’t even come out until January 31. So while everyone probably wished that her performance on SNL had gone over as well as her excellent rendition of “Video Games” on Later Live … With Jools Holland back in October, it’s evident that the American public is now not only aware of this controversial new singer, but that they’re interested in learning more about who she is and what she sounds like. In other words, mission accomplished for Team LDR.
RELATED: Artist On The Verge Lana Del Rey Talks SNL, Coachella And Paz De La Huerta’s T*ts
After racking up tens of millions of views on YouTube and generating more conversation than virtually any other “indie” artist in 2011, Lana Del Rey made her American television debut tonight on Saturday Night Live. She performed “Video Games” and “Blue Jeans”, the two songs that first propelled her from virtual obscurity and put her on the map less than six months ago. America clearly took notice, too: She was a trending topic on Twitter not once but twice tonight (although, it must be noted, one of those times the TT was “Lana Del Ray”, a misspelling of her name).
Spelling issues aside, SNL provided a compelling introduction to Lana Del Rey’s unique sound. She appeared a bit nervous at the outset of each of her two performances tonight, her voice dropping into an even lower register than she generally sings, but she settled into a groove each time and finished both songs with gusto. Curiously, she chose not to perform “Born To Die,” the song which she shot a big budget video for back in December (and is currently the Single of the Week in the iTunes Store), but we suppose she’ll probably perform that when she visits the Late Show With David Letterman and Ellen in a few weeks.
We actually had the opportunity to sit down for a candid conversation with Lana Del Rey earlier this week, during which she opened up about her controversial omission from this year’s Coachella lineup and told us a totally awesome story about an encounter with a topless Paz De La Huerta in Paris late last year. We also asked her about Daniel Radcliffe, who was the host of tonight’s episode of Saturday Night Live, the results of which you can see below: