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).
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!!!!!
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].”
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.
“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.
The Drudge Report has revealed the winner of tonight’s American Idol. So, if you don’t want tonight’s results spoiled, then you can and should continue along. For the rest of you, here’s our requisite SPOILER ALERT warning. To find out whether Scotty McCreery or Lauren Alaina won, follow along: Read more…
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.
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:
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!
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.