Posts By Mark Graham

by (@unclegrambo)

A Group Of Overage Hangers-On Threaten To Bogart Rebecca Black’s “Moment”

While most 14 year-olds are concerned with everyday things like getting good grades and surviving the wretchedness that is puberty, teen songstress Rebecca Black has spent the better part of this year absorbing heavy artillery fire on the frontlines of the social media war. After her supremely catchy (or, depending on your opinion, totally annoying) song “Friday” launched into the viral stratosphere back in March, an army of haters mobilized to take shots at her from every corner of the Internet; just google “rebecca black friday worst song ever” and 222,000 results pop up. A tsunami of negative feedback this immense would cause many full-grown adults, let alone a 14 year-old girl, to change their name and skip town. When you add in the fact that her relations with the company that she partnered with on “Friday,” Ark Entertainment, soured to the point that they found themselves a Hermione Granger lookalike to replace her, no one would’ve said a word edgewise had Rebecca Black chosen to drop out of the limelight forever and press the “reset” button on her life.

Instead, Rebecca Black released “My Moment,” which is pretty much the Millenial equivalent of the old playground rhyme “Sticks and stones may break my bones / But words will never hurt me.” In the parlance of our times, the song “is what it is”; however, the video treatment is problematic in the way it depicts a group of adults whose only concern seems to be how to most efficiently monetize the phenomenon that is Rebecca Black.

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by (@unclegrambo)

Jordin Sparks Delivers Her Cover Of Demi Lovato’s “Skyscraper” Via Webcam

Everyone loves a good comeback story, and Demi Lovato‘s recent return from a stint in rehab (where she dealt with “emotional and physical issues”) seems poised to make her an even bigger star than she was before she sought treatment. Her new song, “Skyscraper,” is fast becoming a Millenial anthem due to its powerful (and, we should note, very timely) theme of remaining resilient in the face of bullying, and earned praise from the likes of Katy Perry, Kim Kardashian and fellow Disney product, Selena Gomez.

As is wont to happen these days, dozens of covers of “Skyscraper” are starting to pop up on YouTube, most of which are being sung by teens in their bedrooms into their webcam; one such cover, by YouTube user zeldaxlove64, has already racked up over 1.5 million streams. However, earlier today, a “Skyscraper” cover by none other than a former winner of American Idol hit the popular site. That’s right, Idol Season 6 winner Jordin Sparks sat down in front of her webcam, hit record and subsequently published her spin on Lovato’s empowerment anthem. It’s sort of a sign of the times: Instead of a big recording studio, an army of producers and engineers twiddling the knobs, and an expensive video shoot, it’s just a girl with a big voice and a webcam and a YouTube account. (Yes, we’re aware that a trio of high-priced songwriters penned the track, but still.) It’s hard to argue with the results!

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by (@unclegrambo)

Song Of The Summer Countdown: Katy Perry And Adele Are Neck And Neck At Summer’s Halfway Point


[Click here for a larger image]

This marks our eighth week of charting this year’s Song Of The Summer contenders, and it’s been quite the race so far. Adele‘s unstoppable behemoth, “Rolling In The Deep,” has been at the top of the charts for five of those weeks, and Katy Perry‘s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” has held the top spot for three of ‘em. However, it’s Perry’s jubilant anthem about the joys of getting blackout drunk that has all of the momentum in its favor after grabbing the top spot in our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown for the first time this week.

At the moment, everyone who isn’t named either Adele or Katy Perry is currently playing for third place, but that’s a tight race, too. Pitbull and LMFAO each continue to hold strong with their club-friendly megahits, while Lady Gaga‘s “The Edge Of Glory” makes its highest appearance on the charts so far this summer, despite its video being widely panned as being too underwhelming and not up to snuff with the rest of Gaga’s video canon. It’s also worth noting that OneRepublic‘s “Good Life” would also find itself in the running for the top prize, if not for a total lack of traction on YouTube and LastFM.

One last note: Rebecca Black‘s follow-up to “Friday”—a song which might just be the most popular (and hated) song of 2011 so far—is scheduled to be released at 8 p.m. this evening. We should know in less than 24 hours time whether this song has got what it takes to make a late summer run at #1.

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by (@unclegrambo)

Lady Gaga Dazzles Howard Stern, Gets Dissed By Bette Midler

The always controversial Lady Gaga paid a visit to the always controversial Howard Stern this morning but, somewhat surprisingly, the results were anything but controversial (if you missed it, you can listen to the full Gaga/Stern interview here). Howard being Howard, he tried to get Gaga to spill the beans on her acknowledged history with cocaine and bisexuality, but with tons of Little Monsters listening in, Gaga refused to get too tawdry with the tales she told the King of All Media.

“I regret every line [of cocaine] I ever did,” Gaga confessed. “So to all of the little sweethearts who are listening – don’t ever touch it. It’s the devil.” Proving that she’s taking the maternal responsibilities of being the Mother Monster very seriously, she also advised her littlest Monsters that abstinence is the best policy. “I really think that kids have sex way too young,” she said, and “I’ve got a lot of young fans and I love you and I respect your show and I know you want to talk about sex and cocaine – but honestly you should wait as long as you possibly can to have sex.”

Now, this isn’t to say that Gaga was boring because she refused to get down and dirty with the shockiest jock. Rather, her 90 minute(ish) interview was full of candid and emotionally powerful moments. Her conversation near the end of the interview with High Pitch Mike (one of Stern’s regulars) resulted in one of the more touching moments of the Howard Stern Show’s last few years, and Gaga’s soaring, piano-only performances of “The Edge of Glory” (listen here) and “Hair” (listen here) made the hair on the back of this writer’s neck stand at attention. It made us wish that Gaga would release a stripped-down, acoustic version of her Born This Way, one that would allow her lyrics and melodies to dazzle in the way that they were intended to without listeners getting barraged by overly trance-y production.

Meanwhile, in the Twitterverse, last week’s MermaidGate continued to rage on, spurred on by none other than the original wheelchair bound mermaid herself, Miss Bette Midler.

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by (@unclegrambo)

New Sing-Off Judge Sara Bareilles Looks To Cee Lo As Her Reality Show Role Model

When NBC’s a capella singing competition The Sing-Off returns this fall, there will be some changes to the judging panel since the series last aired. With Nicole Scherzinger departing for a spot on Simon Cowell’s X-Factor panel, the Peacock Network made the wise decision that longtime VH1 fave Sara Bareilles was the perfect person to join Ben Folds and Boyz II Men‘s Shawn Stockman on the judging panel. Once we heard the news, we decided to give Sara a ring to congratulate her. We caught up with her by phone this afternoon while she was in Missoula, Montana, preparing for a sold-out show this evening. Sara spoke to us about whether her judging style on The Sing-Off will lean more towards Simon or Paula, her new “old soul/kind of Motown feeling” EP that she’s about to record with Ben Folds in the fall, and what director Jonah Hill brought to the next video she’s going to make for her single, “Gonna Get Over You.” (Hint: It may have a “kind of a ’50s greaser vibe.”)

VH1: When did you first hear that becoming a judge on The Sing-Off might be a possibility, and what was it about the project that appealed to you?

Sara Bareilles: I’ve been a fan of the show since the beginning, so it was really exciting to me to have the opportunity to even be considered as a potential judge. A couple of weeks ago, my manager came to me to gauge my interest in doing it. And I was like, “Oh my God, yes, of course.” Then I had a meeting with the executive producers, who are super sweet, and it felt like I was a really good fit for the show. Because I have a background in a capella, it just felt like a very organic, natural, worlds colliding kind of thing. It’s very exciting.

Did you ever harbor any desire to be on television in any capacity other than as a performer?

It didn’t really cross my mind until this show. This is the only way I would sort of consider it, because I can bring something to the show in terms of a level of expertise with a capella performing. I get a little nervous about being put in the position of having to judge people, but I know from experience that we can always improve in our craft. I really love getting constructive criticism from people I respect when it’s put in a good way. To me, it’s all about how you phrase things and how you deliver your opinions. It’s something that I’m going to have to feel out and test the waters a little bit, but I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. The best part is that I still get to watch the show, but now I get to watch it closer.

If you were to describe your judging style, would you say you?re more of a Simon or a Paula?

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by (@unclegrambo)

J. Lo Is J. Dunzo With Marc Anthony

Any media savvy celebrity worth their Q rating knows that the best time to release bad news is late on a Friday afternoon during the summertime, when most media-types are off in the Hamptons doing whatever it is people do when they’re out in the Hamptons. Latino power couple (or should we say EX power couple) Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony are nothing if not media savvy, which is why they chose to release the news that they’re getting divorced to People at 5:20 p.m. on a Friday. Well, lucky for you, we don’t even know where the Hamptons are, so we’re bringing you the shocking news while it’s still piping hot.

In a statement released exclusively to People this afternoon (Side Note: I wonder how much People paid for this scoop?), they wrote: “We have decided to end our marriage. This was a very difficult decision. We have come to an amicable conclusion on all matters. It is a painful time for all involved, and we appreciate the respect of our privacy at this time.”

The couple looked really happy together as recently as the American Idol finale in May (pictured above), in which J. Lo shook her tailfeather while Marc “Don’t Call Me Skeletor” Anthony crooned in his inimitable style. We suppose we’ll learn more about this split of two music industry powerhouses in the coming days and weeks, but for now, it looks like Jenny From The Block and her baby daddy couldn’t figure out a way to stop scratching themselves after the dreaded Seven Year Itch set in.

Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony: We Are Ending Our Marriage [People]

by (@unclegrambo)

Enter The “You Oughta Lolla” Sweepstakes And Win Tickets And VIP Access To Lollapalooza

Less than a month from now, dozens of bands and tens of thousands of music fans will be making their way to Chicago’s Grant Park for the annual Lollapalooza music festival. If you currently find yourself on the outside looking in—three-day passes to the festival are currently sold out—well then, we have some good news to share with you.

With a click of your mouse and some light typing by your fingers, you can enter the You Oughta Lolla sweepstakes. Five grand-prize winners will receive 1) A pair of General Admission 3-Day Passes, 2) VIP, front-of-line access to the You Oughta Know FYE Autograph Tent for each day of the Festival and 3) Side-stage access to select You Oughta Know performances for each day of the Festival. Of course, VH1 Top 20 and VH1 News crews will be on hand in the Windy City to cover performances from VH1 You Oughta Know artists like Foster The People, Fitz And The Tantrums, Christina Perri, Lissie, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals and Two Door Cinema Club, among others. But really, what could be better than actually being there yourself to see all of these amazing artists live and in the flesh?

To enter the contest, all you have to do is head over to the You Oughta Lolla contest entry page and fill out the required information. Complete contest rules and regulations are on that site as well. GOOD LUCK!

by (@unclegrambo)

Exclusive Video: Watch Javier Colon Watch Himself Perform On A 2003 Episode Of VH1 Unplugged

Ever since being crowned the winner of The Voice two weeks ago, Javier Colon‘s life has been a whirlwind of interviews, press junkets, and plane flights (nine of them, to be exact). We here at VH1 have been fans of his going all the way back to 2003, when Javier performed on VH1 Unplugged. So when he popped by our offices the other day to chat, we took the opportunity to show him video from that 2003 Unplugged session, which just so happened to be the first time he had seen the video in eight years. We captured the moment on our iPhone cam, and we’ve got it for you above.

Javier was also cool enough to answer some of our questions about his experience on The Voice, what it was like to duet with the legendary Stevie Nicks, the strategy that came into play when it came to ditching his trademark cap, and what his new album is going to sound like.

VH1: Well, first things first. Congratulations on winning The Voice! What has your life been like for the last two weeks since winning it all?

Javier: The first week I had nine flights, it was a lot of back and fourth, a lot of press and stuff. It’s been amazing, it’s been a whirlwind. I felt like I was living someone else’s life. Walking as someone else, walking through the mall or through the airport with people are yelling ‘Congratulations!’ from across the concourse, or you see people looking at you funny or doing a double take. It feels like your out of your own skin.

It seems like one of the big things that came through on the show, aside from your incredible talent and incredible voice, is that people really seemed to make a connection to your choice of headwear.

I got a lot of hats man, I got a lot of hats, I mean all types of hats. From Kangols to fedoras, all kinds of stuff. On the show, I only did baseball hats for the most part. But I’ve got a lot of different hats.

Do you consider that to be one of your trademarks?

Yeah, it is! I mean, the hat is definitely one of my things, there is a lot of people that actually took issue with the fact that I didn?t take it off, in the beginning and I was like ?You know what? I’ll take it off actually in the middle of a song,? so I took it off in the middle of a Coldplay song.

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by (@unclegrambo)

First X Factor Promo Proudly Confirms That Simon Cowell Is Still A Giant A-Hole

Early on during last night’s MLB All-Star Game on Fox, the network took advantage of the number of eyeballs watching the game to debut their very first promo spot for The X-Factor, their new singing competition debuting this fall. And if there were any doubts before last night as to how Simon Cowell’s new show would attempt to differentiate itself from the newly nice —some would say toothless— American Idol and NBC’s ultra-positive show The Voice, they were eradicated approximately one-minute and seventeen seconds into this two-and-a-half minute long promo.

The promo begins in a hazy, fog-like state, with The X Factor judges Cowell, Paula Abdul (who, btw, is Botoxed to the gills), L.A. Reid and Nicole Scherzinger presiding over a parade of terrible singers. If things don’t seem quite right, it’s because they aren’t: No, the X-Factor contestants aren’t going to be horrible, and no, Simon Cowell hasn’t traded in his trademark skintight crewneck tees for a cabled pink sweater because this is all a nightmare! By now, the spot intimates that we should know that Cowell would NEVER be seen driving a wussy, electric Chevy Volt (Side note: weirdest product placement in a long time, right?); rather, he’s the kind of guy who rolls around downtown L.A. with X-FACTOR vanity plates on his $1.5 million Bugatti Veyron EB. And while he’s working, he’s not here to make friends; instead, he’s here to roll his eyes condescendingly at Paula Abdul! In short, he’s still the same A-hole S.O.B. he’s always been (which is something that Cheryl Cole would certainly confirm).

And that, Fox is betting, will be enough to get people to tune-in when The X-Factor debuts on Wednesday, September 21. Will they be right? Well, we’ll have to see now, won’t we?

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by (@unclegrambo)

R.I.P. Sherwood Schwartz (1916-2011)

TMZ is reporting that Sherwood Schwartz, the creator of the famed Gen X television staples The Brady Bunch and Gilligan’s Island, passed away earlier today at the age of 94. It’s fair to say that those shows have two of the most recognizable and memorable theme songs in the history of television medium, and Schwartz (pictured above being kissed by Florence “Carol Brady” Henderson and Dawn “Mary-Ann” Wells) had songwriting credits on both of them! If there were a Hall of Fame for this sort of thing (and, frankly, it’s a shame that there isn’t), Schwartz would be a shoo-in to be inducted on the first ballot.

Of course, network television shows these days rarely utilize minute-long theme songs during their credit sequences as a way to ease viewers into the world that their characters occupy, mainly because that is time that the suits would rather sell to advertisers and the showrunners desperately need to develop their plotlines. However, at the time when Schwartz rose to prominence, the medium was still emerging from its primordial ooze stage, and theme songs were a handy narrative device carried over from the days of radio serials. To write just one of these legendary theme songs would surely place Schwartz in rare company, but to have TWO of them to his credit is just plain bonkers. Guess this means that Alan Thicke –yes, THAT Alan Thicke, the dad from Growing Pains, but also the same guy who is credited with writing the theme songs for The Facts of Life and Diff’rent Strokes– is responsible for carrying the TV theme song torch from here on out. Rest in peace, Sherwood.

Here’s the theme song for the Brady Bunch; bet you know every word by heart!

And here’s Gilligan’s Island
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