Posts By Lauren Harris

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Mary J. & Maroons Will Rock Pepsi Smash

mary_j_and_maroon_5

What could be better than seeing Mary J. Blige or Maroon 5? Seeing Mary J. Blige and Maroon 5! The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul and the Cali funksters are hitting Glendale, Arizona to play the NFL Pepsi Smash Bowl Bash. Expect plenty of top-secret, special guests joining Mary and Maroon, arena-worthy performances, and absolutely no boob-flashing.

Can’t make it to the show? We’ll be broadcasting it on VH1 on February 2nd at 9pm. Can’t wait that long? Check out our Pepsi Smash site, with tons of videos and performances by Mary J. and Maroon 5.

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Avril Lavigne Pregnant?!?!

Avril_Lavigne

According to reports, 23-year-old mall punk Avril Lavigne is pregnant. IsThisHappening.com is saying that Lavigne is six weeks along, making her debauched New Year‘s a no-no. The singer’s husband, Sum 41 frontman Deryck Whibley, has allegedly been telling friends about the baby, due in August. Obviously, it’s too soon to tell whether it’ll be a chain-walleted baby boy or a racoon-eyed little girl.

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Avril’s Show Stolen By Lil Jon

Avril_LavignePoor little Avril Lavigne. Everything was going so well for her on New Year’s Eve. With her highlights newly hot-pinked and her husband on her arm, Avril attended Prive’s New Year’s bash, where crunkalicious rapper Lil Jon was DJing. With Avril booked to call the countdown, things were looking good for the self-proclaimed “motherf*cking princess.” Disaster struck when Lil Jon decided to do his own countdown, drowning out Avril and sending her into a tailspin. “I wanted to do the countdown!” Avril reportedly cried to hubby Deryck Whibley. Page Six reports that Avril finally dried her eyes when the club brought out the Dom Perignon.

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Britney’s Worst Year Ever: December

Britney_SpearsNo one could have imagined a mere 12 months ago that Brit would create such glorious new nonsense every week. Some of the craziness escapes you? Here’s our recount.

December 1 ? Even Celebrities Drunk Dial ? Britney hits the Scandinavian Mansion of Style [Ed: WTF?] to celebrate her 26th birthday with her two remaining friends, cousin/enabler Ali Sims and creepy new hanger-on Sam Lufti. Shortly after Paris Hilton joins the crew, she lends Britney her cell phone so she can call ex-husband Kevin Federline. Brit pleads with K-Fed to join them, but someone has to stay home and watch the kids. Britney becomes infuriated, and reportedly hangs up on him. [NY Post]

December 5 ? Shady Associates ? Brit pal and constant companion Sam Lufti apparently has quite the shady past. With two restraining orders and no discernible career (Lufti had claimed to be a film producer), Brit?s family fears for the singer?s safety. One source blabbed to UsWeekly: ?She?s so desperate for a friend.? [Us Weekly]

December 12 ? Calling In Sick to Court ? Ten minutes after a scheduled deposition began, Spears called and informed her representation that she was ill and unable to attend. Later that day, Brit?s creepy consort Sam Lufti called E! and told them that due to the media frenzy, Brit?s anxiety ?sky rocketed,? and she was unable to pull it together and face the same paparazzi and reporters she?s been courting for almost a decade. [Us Weekly]

December 19 ? Crazy Runs In The Family ? In an impressive show of sisterly love, 16-year-old sister Jamie Lynn steps up and takes some of the media pressure off her sister by announcing her own pregnancy on the cover of OK! Magazine. While her parents were shocked and appalled, and the younger Spears confesses to being ?scared,? she?s decided to keep the baby. When questioned by TMZ, Britney initially had no idea her sister was in a family way. [OK! Magazine]

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Britney’s Worst Year Ever: November

britney_spears

You were there through the bad driving, the head-shaving, and the Criss Angel thing. It?s been a tough year for our girl. No one could have imagined a mere 12 months ago that she?d create such glorious new nonsense every week. Some of the craziness escapes you? Come back every day: We?re counting down the events that made up the Year in Britney.

November 14 ? Inhalers and Car Seats ? Spears failed one of her mandatory drug tests, which were put in place as a stipulation of her custody agreement. The drug Provigil ? which is used to treat narcolepsy — was found in her system. Just two days later, a judge ruled that Britney is prohibited from driving with her children in the car. [Access Hollywood]

November 18 ? Natural Born Hustler ? Spears made a stop at the Hustler Store, purveyor of sexy lingerie and sex toys, after midnight. When the pop star attempted to try on the underwear she?d selected, store staff informed her that due to the laws of society and the rules of hygiene, she was not allowed. The star then stripped down in the middle of the store in front of 15 customers. When asked to pay, the late-night skivvy shopper rolled her eyes, and snatched a pink wig as she walked out. [Us Weekly]

November 20 ? Like A Virgin, Only Not ? Just two days after her bizarre episode at the Hustler store, Us Weekly wages all out tabloid war, publishing a report that Spears lost her virginity at the tender age of 14, and not to Timberlake, which she?d always maintained. The magazine also revealed several family skeletons in its cover story on the fallen star, chiefly that depression runs in the Spears family, and Britney?s grandmother had committed suicide after her infant son died. [Us Weekly]

November 28 ? Knocked Up? ? InTouch reports that Britney is in a family way, by producer JR Rotem. Rotem was one of the pop star?s first suitors following her separation from Federline, and confessed to Blender magazine that he?d ?f*cked her wheelbarrow style.? InTouch reports that Rotem had confirmed the pregnancy, but Britney pal Sam Lufti quickly quashed the rumor, calling it ?B.S.? [JustJared]

November 28 ? Britney?s Very Own Wonderland ? On the same day the pregnancy allegations broke, Star magazine had a cover story on Britney?s ?Fantasy Room.? Apparently Brit has a room in her house dedicated solely to her kinky sex hobby. Within the mirror-ceilinged room are ticklers, spanking paddles, fur-trimmed handcuffs, costumes and pictures lining the walls of the pop star in a variety of lewd positions. Apart from the double-locked fantasy room, the spy also claimed that Brit?s house is a mess, with feces-stained couches. [Star Magazine]

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Britney’s Worst Year Ever: October

You were there through the bad driving, the head-shaving and the Criss Angel thing. It?s been a tough year for our girl. No one could have imagined a mere 12 months ago that she?d create such glorious new nonsense every week. Some of the craziness escapes you? Come back every day: We?re counting down the events that made up the Year in Britney.

Britney_SpearsOctober 3 ? Loses Mind, Babies ? After a three-hour hearing where both Brit and K-Fed were present, primary custody was awarded to Federline, while Spears received monitored visitation. In order to regain custody privileges, Spears would have to obtain a California driver?s license, attend parenting classes with Federline and submit to drug tests. The judge warned Spears to take his threats seriously. [MTV News]

October 5 ? Nobody?s Home — Just two days after the custody hearing wherein Federline was awarded full custody, the singer?s erratic behavior ? and a broken intercom ? caused her to miss her initial visit with her sons Jayden James and Sean Preston. Spears had initially planned to have her sons visit her at the Beverly Wilshire, then changed the location to her Malibu manse so as to make them more comfortable. The kids returned to Federline after several attempts to reach Spears, who was said to be inconsolable. [DListed]

October 26 ? ?Snort it, eat it, lick it?? ? At the follow-up custody hearing where Spears hoped to regain partial custody of her children, television correspondents inquired how the proceedings were going. Initially Spears responded that things were ?great,? then burst into a Tourette?s-type rage and shouted, ?Snort it, eat it, lick it, f*ck it.? [OK! Magazine]

October 29 ? Blackout, Indeed ? Without irony, Britney names her first studio album in four years Blackout. The name is intended as a message to ward off all the harm-wishers and haters who?d like to see the one-time Queen of Pop fail. The album, in addition to topping the charts, enrages the Catholic community, as it features shots of Ms. Spears seated on an attractive young priest?s lap. [NY Daily News]

October 30 ? Everyday is Halloween, Even Halloween ? In a bizarre turn of events, Britney ventures out for Halloween, just like unfit mothers around the globe. But they typically only have one costume. Apparently our girl spent over $1,000 on seven different get-ups. First up, Brit hit Winston?s as a slutty pirate wench, but quickly tired of the costume. Instead of leaving, she chatted up the bartender, stating ?You have nice tits. Mine are all saggy!? before demanding the bartender switch outfits with her. The following evening Britney was spotted out in her magenta cat-suit. [OK! Magazine]

[Image: X17]

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Top 20 Singles of the Year (16-20)

As 2007 dwindles down, we look back at our favorite tracks. For each of the past three Tuesdays, we?ve sung the praises of the 20 songs that made our year. See what made the cut, and let us know what you think of our choices.

Kanye West, ?Stronger? from Graduation (ROC-A-FELLA)

17_kanye.jpgBased around Daft Punk?s ?Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger,? West?s top-charting single from his third album is part dance, part Nietzschean manifesto. Slamming together beats and rhymes in a furious display of his pop-star prowess, the producer-cum-rapper explains in no uncertain terms why he is the best thing to ever happen to music in the history of everything. Yes, some of the references are awkward, but his savvy wit and deep knowledge of the news of the day serves him well; any song that manages to somehow fit Kate Moss, O.J. Simpson, Isotoner gloves, Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, A Bathing Ape, Prince and Apollonia into even a loose rhyme scheme is impressive. The video, which stars actors wearing Daft Punk?s robot suits and West?s post-post-modern fashion sense (Jeremy Scott sunglasses, Akira apparel), is the true star here, though, since it manages to both produce a vaguely coherent narrative and look extremely cool. Blame West?s fascination with Japanese art: His love of underground Japanese cultural lodestone Nigo (an artist, musician, clothing designer and all-around cultural kingpin) and artist Takashi Murakami have added up to something new entirely. Where the Wu-Tang were once fascinated by Bruce Lee, West has updated hip-hop?s not-so-latent orientalism. He wears it well.

Spoon, ?Finer Feelings,? from Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (MERGE)

16_spoon.jpgIt seems Spoon saved the best for almost-last when they placed ?Finer Feelings? as the penultimate track on Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. While the song traffics in many of the things the Austin quartet have been doing best for over a decade (bright, spiky indie pop with a dollop of barely concealed contempt from too-cool frontman Britt Daniel), it also comes with a few new features. Starting with a sample from Mikey Dread, a collaborator of known Spoon-influence the Clash, Daniel launches into what might be his most personal song to date, a portrait of the artist as a young man: ?I was part-time at the Tasty Prawn/ That and moving furniture and cutting lawns/ Covered in newsprint, staying up real late/ Just holding out for some fate.? The band then devolves into a melodic cacophony, an interlude straight out of the ?Day In The Life,? playbook, all ricocheting guitar, Motown bassline and what sounds like a moaning, slowed-down harmonica. Daniel resorts to a series of ?do do do do,? so as not to detract from the symphony of detail he?s conjured.

Read more…

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Ashlee Simpson Overshadowed By Own Sister, Now Britney’s

ashlee_simpsonPoor little Ashlee Simpson. First she’s second fiddle to big sis Jess, and Papa Joe’s least favorite child. In the pop landscape, Ash hasn’t had it easy, what with the frequent surgical updates and the whole lip-syncing thing. Folks don’t exactly think of her as an “artist,” but that was all supposed to change on Wednesday. Ash was going to make her big announcement, unveiling both the first video for her song “Outta My Head (Ay ya ya)” [Ed: Yikes] and the title for her latest album, Bittersweet World. The single, produced by Timbaland, reflects Ashlee’s latest desire: ?I wanted to do music with beats.”

But all that went out the window when a certain someone’s 16-year-old sister went and continued the cycle of dysfunction by getting herself knocked up. “?Ashlee can?t believe this happened. She?s so disappointed,? a source told MSNBC of Jamie-Lynn Spears‘ announcement. Ashlee stopped by TRL on Thursday to talk about her record, saying “I kind of laugh at things a lot, so you?ll hear that on the record.? Let’s hope Ash is able to laugh at her marketing campaign being overshadowed by teen pregnancy. Hilarious!

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Britney’s Worst Year Ever: September

britney_spears

You were there through the bad driving, the head-shaving and the Criss Angel thing. It?s been a tough year for our girl. No one could have imagined a mere 12 months ago that she?d create such glorious new nonsense every week. Some of the craziness escapes you? Come back every day: We?re counting down the events that made up the Year in Britney.

September 9Gimme Less ? After days of speculation, MTV announces that the recently rehabbed pop star would make her triumphant comeback on the channel that made her. Unfortunately, Spears spent the night before the performance out with Diddy, staying up until 6 a.m. and skipped the dress rehearsal. Sarah Silverman?s pre-performance monologue, and what looked like a handful of sedatives derailed Spears: She bombed, moving through her routine like a zombie. The only person who deemed the performance a success was 50 Cent, who called it ?a highlight?she worked it.? We believe that 50 was in the bathroom at this point in the show. [Us Weekly]

September 12 ? Timbaland Says Apologize ? In an interview with MTV News, Timbaland says that he and Justin will never work with Britney unless she apologizes. Timbaland remains vague about what caused the bad blood, saying only, ?She knows what she’s sorry about. She needs to say, ‘I was wrong,’ and it’ll definitely move forward…. That’s all she has to say.” The producer then called her ?big-headed.? At press time, it appears Timbaland is still waiting on apology. [MTV News]

September 17 ? It?s Not Us, It?s You ? Just hours after her lawyers quit, the pop star found herself without representation when The Firm pulled a Timberlake and dumped her because of her behavior: The company claimed that ?current circumstances? prevented them from working with the enormously talented pop star. Current circumstances?could they mean the head-shaving? Or the erratic behavior that might be the result of a serious drug addiction? Or the barefoot-in-public-restroom thing? This is the second time Brit?s management has quit in as many months. [People]

September 23 ? The Bodyguard ? In a sworn deposition in the custody battle between Kevin Federline and Britney Spears, former bodyguard Tony Barretto revealed the torments of his job as her protector: He had to allow her to rub her breasts on him and grind with her on a dancefloor. In addition to sexual harassment, Barretto was charged with keeping her full of Special K (her favorite cereal), and orchestrating the shutting down of Rite-Aids so the star could shop in privacy. [News of the World]

[Image: Seth Browarnik/Wire Image]

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Top 20 Albums of the Year (16-20)

Thousands of discs were released this year, but only 20 could make the final cut. With the most scientific of instruments (headphones, and sometimes CD players) we whittled down this year?s releases, and for the past three Thursdays, we?ve delivered five of our faves. Let us know what we missed, and what you loved.

Britney Spears, Blackout (JIVE)

16_britney.jpg The weirdest chapter in Britney Spears‘ incredibly weird year was that amid the rehab(s), the head-shaving, the VMAs bombing, the pole-dancing video that made Lindsay Lohan‘s I Know Who Killed Me look like actual art, the paparazzi run-ins, the child endangerment and the actual blackouts, Britney was able to turn out the album of her career. The 12-song Blackout isn’t art, per se, but it reflects what pop music in 2007 is so well that you wouldn’t be faulted for mistaking it as such. How much does its achievement have to do with Brit? Who knows. It could be that she sleepwalked through the making of it, showing up at the studio inebriated and letting producers like Danja, Bloodshy & Avant and the Neptunes do their progressive thing while she essentially rubber-stamped the stomping dance tracks with her notoriously unremarkable larynx. But it matters not: if on Blackout, she’s just the puppet she’s always been accused of being, she’s puppeting remarkably well. In the end, it’s reasonable to assume that she had a hand in selecting what made Blackout‘s final cut, and if that’s the case, she made up for a year of bad decisions with 12 fabulous ones.

Spoon, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (MERGE)

17_spoon.jpg With a title so dadaist, it?s ironic that Spoon?s sixth album is their most clear. But maybe it isn?t so ironic: the album?s title is taken from the onomatopoetic piano line that courses through the album?s second track ?The Ghost of You Lingers.? Rather than sail over the heads of their fans with the prickly, oblique lyrics frontman Britt Daniel has become famous for, the band seems to have gotten down to the bedrock elements of music ? sounds and feelings. Examples of the band?s movement toward sincerity riddle the record: Daniel tells his own genesis story on ?Finer Feelings,? empathizes with the long shot on ?The Underdog,? and even allows listeners behind the curtain on ?Don?t You Evah,? which begins with a studio joke between band members. The band get deeper into their influences, following in the foot steps of their punk-pop forefathers the Clash and experimenting on the down-beat reggae ode to a femme fatale ?Eddie?s Ragga.? ?You Got Yr Cherry Bomb? recalls Phil Spector?s production, filled with heavy reverb and horns. Breezing by in just 36 minutes, the band prove there?s no genre they can?t deftly maneuver.

Kanye West, Graduation (DEF JAM)

18_kanye.jpg Haughty is as haughty does. Hip-hop?s most reliable MC hasn?t given up on positioning himself as hip-hop?s most successful MC ? you know, hitting the club with all that fresh sh*t on and something crazy on his arm. But his bluster (?I always had a passion for flashing?) has oodles of creativity behind it, and it?s been a long time since any mic fiend dropped three home runs in a row. The rhymes may not be as perfect as those on College Dropout or Late Registration, and subject matter may be a tad monolithic, but with the striver-speak of ?Good Life? and ?Stronger,? the Luis Vuitton don can definitely lay claim to his hat trick.

Feist, The Reminder (INTERSCOPE)

19_feist.jpg As has been pointed out several times over, Feist once sang ?It may be years until the day my dreams will match up with my pay.? It only took about three years. The former punk-screecher turned filth-rap posse member turned Canadian musical collective member has worn many hats during her career, but it turned out Feist?s solo songs would spawn the most success. From the now ubiquitous revival-type feel goodery of ?1 2 3 4? (you know?the iPod song), to her vamping ?My Moon My Man,? to her update of the Nina Simone?s ?Sea Lion Woman,? Feist appears to have assembled the type of self-revelations (?I?ll be the one to break my heart,? ?There?s so much present inside my present,? ?You?re changing your heart, you know who you are?) that take people thousands of dollars and years in analysis to come to.

Rihanna, Good Girl Gone Bad (DEF JAM)

20_rihanna.jpg If Michael Bay or Jerry Bruckheimer were to spend their time writing music as opposed to blowing up tractor trailers in movies, this is the kind of record they?d make — a big-budget splashy blockbuster, all done up in vibrant Technicolor with the audio to match. Rihanna, a Barbados-born teen, had shown earlier promise with infectious hits like ?SOS? and ?Pon de Replay,? but nothing on the size and scale of Good Girl, which continues to spawn hits long after its release (and that was only last May, if you can believe it). First, of course, there was ?Umbrella,? where she stretches the syllables of the word in the chorus to fit the melody — ?Umbrella-ella-ella-ay-ay-oh-oh.? Genius. With its non-threatening, vaguely maternal offer of shelter from the rain, Rihanna welcomed fans by the dozen. She quickly followed that up with the Michael Jackson-inflected ?Don?t Stop the Music,? the sweet soul of ?Hate That I Love You,? the sad strains of ?Cry? and the tough stuff of ?Shut Up and Drive,? a song so powerfully poppy that they should probably seal it in a jar and bury it in the Nevada weapons-testing zone lest it get out and inspire generations to skip school and head straight for the studio. Who knew it was possible to craft pop so expertly in 2007?