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by (@unclegrambo)

Scotty McCreery Is YOUR American Idol

Well, that certainly was anti-climactic, wasn’t it? After Matt Drudge reported yesterday afternoon that Scotty McCreery annihilated Lauren Alaina in the popular vote by a nearly 2:1 margin and was going to be named this year’s American Idol, last night’s broadcast finale felt less like a victory lap and more like a really drawn out lead-up to a foregone conclusion. When Ryan Seacrest announced that the 17 year-old country singer from rural North Carolina had beaten the 16 year-old country singer from rural Georgia, both contestants momentarily winced, then looked at each other with the same kind of expression that you see on people who know that a surprise party is being thrown for them before they even walk in the door. Confetti shot in the air, J. Lo pranced around in a catsuit, and Scotty McCreery got kissed by more women on stage than he’s probably kissed in real life.

However, as former Idol champs like Taylor Hicks, Lee DeWyze, and Kris Allen will attest, winning American Idol is the easy part. Staying afloat in today’s highly competitive music industry is another story entirely, and it remains to be seen whether Scotty will be wholeheartedly embraced by the Nashville elite. While Idol has launched Carrie Underwood and Kellie Pickler into country stardom, it should be noted that during its ten season run, Idol has never produced a highly successful male country singer (unless you count Josh Gracin, which, sorry, we really don’t).

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Posted: Christina Perri’s Dance-TV Reign Now Spans Two Continents

May’s VH1 Posted artist Christina Perri is still in a whirlwind of promotion for lovestrong., but that hasn’t stopped her from sending us plenty of behind-the-scenes and on-the-road photo updates (and visiting our offices last week). And we’ve just gotten a third set of shots from the You Oughta Know artist:

Hi from Amsterdam! Here are a few pics from the TV show that I did last night, called The Ultimate Dance Battle. It’s a dance show “in the round”, with the choreographers as the contestants. I love Holland!!!!!

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Yes, Beyonc? Saw The Sanremo Performance, But No, It Wasn’t A Ripoff

Beyonc?‘s much-lauded 2011 Billboard Music Awards performance came under scrutiny yesterday for its similarities to a performance by Italian singer Lorella Cuccarini at last year’s Sanremo Festival. But the 2010 performance was only one of many influences, according to the creators of the Billboard spectacle.

Beyonc? herself spoke to AOL Music about the comparisons. “My makeup artist showed me the performance of Lorella Cuccarini a year ago, and it inspired me so much,” she explained, adding, “Thank god for YouTube.” (Nevermind that Mary J. Blige performed at the same festival.) Though Beyonc? ultimately chose other collaborators for her performance, she did meet with “the talented people who worked on [Cuccarini's performance].”

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Online Exclusive: Death Cab for Cutie Perform “Title and Registration” For Storytellers Audience

Storytellers: Death Cab for Cutie premieres this Friday at 11 p.m. ET/PT, but unfortunately this performance of “Title and Registration,” the third single from 2003′s Transatlanticism, won’t air during the performance. But we couldn’t leave such a good performance sit in the vault, so we shared it with Stereogum, and with you.

Although the band does invite string players to join them for some songs on Storytellers, they stick with their touring formula for this song, despite the difficulty of performing its multi-layered instrumentation as a quartet. Their commitment to performing as they did when they were carting their own gear is a story in itself.

PREVIOUSLY:
Storytellers Sneak Peek: Death Cab for Cutie “You Are a Tourist”

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Jason Derulo Re-Starts the Warehouse Party in “Don’t Wanna Go Home”

Jason Derulo‘s new video is here! As it happens, we completely misinterpreted the sneak peek?Derulo isn’t the only one who still wants to party, but merely the first to rise. In time the rest of the napping partiers awaken and join the reinvigorated revelry.

“Don’t Want to Go Home” wisely embraces the urban dystopia chic championed of late by Lady Gaga and especially Ke$ha. We’re back to an era of club videos set outside the club (in this case, in a warehouse), which means that though the clip cycles through a number of club-video clich?s, the setting keeps them from feeling stale. Arguably, what the video gains in freshness, it loses in logic (why does the sprinkler system still work in this abandoned warehouse, and what even set it off?) but in these sorts of sequences, logic is for the birds, and for critics who didn’t give Step Up 3 great reviews.

The video will make its television debut on VH1′s Top 20 Countdown Saturday at 9 a.m. ET/PT, which seems perfect for a video (and song) about dancing all night, passing out, then waking up to dance some more.

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Raphael Saadiq Kicks Off Top 20 Live With Style (And Funk)

We’ve had such success with You Oughta Know artists coming to VH1 to play great You Oughta Know Live sets?like Two Door Cinema Club‘s semi-acoustic take on four songs, including “What You Know”?that we knew we had to get more established Top 20 Countdown favorites into our offices, too. And who better to inaugurate our new series than the multitalented Raphael Saadiq?

Even short a keyboardist, a guitarist, and one of his vocalists, Saadiq proved a crack bandleader?and not just thanks to his history with Tony! Toni! Ton?! and as a member of Prince‘s touring band. Vocal sideman B.J. Kemp and the other players onstage weren’t merely hired hands but sharp musicians with whom Saadiq has a history, and whose input he sought during recording. It’s easy to forget, especially when the new jack swing epicenter was in the northeast, that Saadiq is Oakland born-and-raised, but the guitarist came up under the bay city’s twin suns: Sly and the Family Stone and Tower of Power.

That’s why his unique brand of blues doesn’t feel like a history lesson. On “Day Dreams,” guitarist Rob Bacon (whom Saadiq recruited after hearing his effortless replications of sampled riffs for DJ Quik‘s Bay Area hip hop) and bassist Calvin Turner (who’s also got plenty of production and arrangement in his long list of credits, and who also came up on Tower of Power) make the blues form pop with the lightest of touches. (Lemar Carter, drumming on a wooden box, didn’t really have the opportunity to show off his chops, but you can see him get funky on YouTube.)

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Taylor Swift Grows Up In “The Story of Us,” But Boy Trouble Still Follows Her Around

Taylor Swift may have just released a music video two weeks ago on CMT, but while country radio has taken to “Mean,” it’s “The Story of Us” that’s been picking up steam on pop radio. So here we are, with “The Story of Us,” which literally just premiered on MTV. In fact, if you’re reading this in the first half hour it’s been posted, turn on MTV right now to see Sway interview Taylor Swift live on air and ask fan questions that have been submitted since Friday through MTV.com or via Twitter (using @MTVNews and the hashtag #AskTaylor).

But if you missed the special, you can still watch the new video, above. It’s more in the schooltime vein of “You Belong with Me”, though Swift has graduated (geddit?) to some sort of Gothic collegiate campus, though she’s still having boy trouble. Look how sweet she is:

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by (@unclegrambo)

In Honor Of Bob Dylan’s 70th Birthday, A List Of Bob Dylan’s 70 Greatest Songs

Today is the 70th birthday of a true American legend, one Robert Allen Zimmerman. Or, as he’s more widely known, Bob Dylan. In order to celebrate this momentous occasion for the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer who came in at #5 on our list of 100 Greatest Artists of All-Time, we’ve compiled a list (which, I should add, is the opinion of me and only me!) of Bob Dylan’s 70 Greatest Songs (the format of which, I should also add, was inspired by The Awl’s recurring “Listicles Without Commentary” feature).

So, what makes me equipped to rank the Dylan catalog? Well, I suppose the biggest reason is that I’ve been a fan of his for well over thirty years now. I used to spend a lot of time as a youth listening to Dylan’s Sixties era output with my father, whether it was while we were outside doing yardwork or blasting him on the car stereo while we were on road trips. Although a great deal of the subject matter was way above my head at the time, I remember pouring over his lyrics in an incredibly studious fashion well before I even finished elementary school. And as I grew older and spent more time exploring Dylan’s body of work during my college years (particularly his 1970s output) and beyond, I came to recognize all of the reasons that he’s touted as such a singular talent, one whose proflic output and cultural influence is likely never to be reproduced.

So, I’d love to hear from you guys. Did I get these right? Am I way off-base? Feel free to debate me on my choices in the comments section and I will reveal my justifications there. For now, though, it’s on with the show!

70) “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat” (from the 1966 album, Blonde On Blonde)
69) “If Not For You” (from the 1970 album, New Morning)
68) “One Too Many Mornings” (from the 1964 album, The Times They Are A-Changin’)
67) “Highway 61 Revisited” (from the 1965 album, Highway 61 Revisited)
66) “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carrol” (from the 1964 album, The Times They Are A-Changin’)
65) “Sad-eyed Lady of the Lowlands” (from the 1966 album, Blonde On Blonde)
64) “Standing In The Doorway” (from the 1997 album, Time Out Of Mind)
63) “Every Grain Of Sand” (from the 1981 album, Shot Of Love)
62) “This Wheel’s On Fire” (from the 1975 album, The Basement Tapes)
61) “Most Of The Time” (from the 1989 album, Oh Mercy)

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Bon Iver Channels Donny Hathaway, Bonnie Raitt on Fallon

Justin Vernon‘s star has steadily risen since the release of his band Bon Iver‘s critically acclaimed 2008′s For Emma, Forever Ago. The follow-up, Bon Iver, Bon Iver, won’t be released until June 21, but the lead single “Calgary” is available for free download from the band’s website, and Vernon appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon?but to perform not the single, but its B-side, his emotive take of Bonnie Raitt‘s 1991 mega-hit “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” with a snippet of Leon Russell‘s “A Song for You” (made famous by Donny Hathaway) as a lead-in and a bit of Raitt’s “Nick of Time” as a coda.

Vernon’s sorrowful falsetto impressed not only Fallon (who described For Emma, Forever Ago it in his interview with Vernon as a “fantastic record” to “have a couple glasses of wine, get drunk…and start crying your eyes out”) but also Kanye West, who recruited Vernon to sing the hook of “Lost in the World” on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and invited him to appear onstage with West at Coachella.

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