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R.I.P. Gil Scott-Heron (1949-2011)

The widely-spreading rumors of Gil Scott-Heron‘s death are, sadly, true. Jamie Byng, the Canondale publisher who, as The Guardian reported in February 2010, not only reprinted several volumes of Scott-Heron’s poetry but also made the poet the godfather of one of his sons, confirmed the tragic news on Twitter.

Musician and poet Scott-Heron rose to prominence with his powerful 1970 debut Small Talk at 125th and Lenox, featuring his most famous recording, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” His politics and his art remained intertwined throughout his life, as in the anti-nuclear weapon song “We Almost Lost Detroit”:
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by (@Lacezilla)

Music’s Top Ten Most Powerful Couples

Death Cab For Cutie?s VH1 Storytellers is airing at 11 p.m. tonight on VH1, and since lead singer Ben Gibbard is now married to his indie beloved Zooey Deschanel, we got to thinking about music?s most powerful couples of the moment. Because these lists are often tricky to compile and put into an order that everyone can agree on, we took to the streets and polled over 5,000 people. JK! We actually did something smarter and more efficient, combining stats from Billboard charts, YouTube clicks, and social media followings, and mixed it with our interpretation of je ne sais quoi cool-factor buzz. Confident in our rankings, we hereby give you VH1?s list of the most powerful couples in music today.

Who did we miss? Care to offer up any suggestions of your own? Hit us up in the comments section below!

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Beyonc? Sings “1+1″ Backstage at American Idol

Beyonc?‘s premiere performance of “1+1″ on last night’s American Idol was one of the finale’s highlights, to be sure. So how cool is it that Jay-Z recorded her dressing room rehearsal on his phone and posted the footage to his blog earlier this afternoon? “Sometimes you need perspective,” Jay-Z writes, in the way of commentary. “You?ve been right in front of greatness so often that you need to step back and see it again for the first time.”

Jay-Z starts on Beyonc? but then briefly tracks the phone-cam around the room on the way to including her three harmonizers and keyboard accompanist in the shot. As they power through the gorgeous ballad, Beyonc?’s team, friends, and family look on in still silence (except when her nephew waves, and then briefly but adorably gesticulates along with the song). We’re so impressed with the run-through (and grateful for the footage) that we will even forgive Jay-Z for signing the post “Andy WarHOV.”

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Crosby, Stills, Nash and “Young” Cover Miley on Fallon


Jimmy Fallon reprised his Neil Young impression yesterday for a Late Night with Jimmy Fallon performance of Miley Cyrus‘s “Party in the U.S.A.” “Mr. Young” recruited CSNY bandmates David Crosby and Graham Nash to assist him for what would have been the group’s most inspiring cover since “Woodstock,” if only Stephen Stills had been able to attend.

“Neil Young” previously collaborated with Bruce Springsteen for an acoustic cover of Willow Smith‘s “Whip My Hair.”

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Dan Layus of Augustana Talks Early Days and Summer Songs

After appearing on yesterday’s episode of Big Morning Buzz Live, Dan Layus of Augustana stopped by our humble blog offices to talk about the early days, the experience of being a You Oughta Know artist (back in 2006), and of course our favorite topic behind the scenes of late: songs of the summer, for which Layus expressed hope that Augustana’s new single “Steal Your Heart” (which you can watch below) would be in the running. Enjoy!

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American Idol: The Top Five Finale Performances

As many suspected (and Matt Drudge claimed to know), Scotty McCreery won the tenth season of American Idol. But the last results show isn’t really about the winner (especially not when there are two hours of programming to fill): It’s about the performances! And the finale had them in spades, including not a few surprises. Here’s what you missed:

5. Steven Tyler “Dream On”

The judges had varying levels of involvement in the finale performances. Randy Jackson made sure Gladys Knight joined the fantastic Kirk Franklin-Jacob Lusk duet “I Smile”, while Jennifer Lopez was content to dance as her husband Marc Anthony performed his salsa cover “Aguanile” (with Sheila E. killing it on the timbales). But Steven Tyler took the stage to perform his first hit with Aerosmith, and proved that his voice is as strong as ever (and that the song holds up just as well).

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by (@unclegrambo)

Ask Jordan Knight Anything!

In news that ought to set your nostalgic heart racing, Jordan Knight, lead singer of the New Kids On The Block, will be swinging by our Times Square offices next week. As you’ve no doubt heard, the NKOTB and the Backstreet Boys just embarked on a massive, North American tour they’ve dubbed NKOTBSB that will see them play to thousands of screaming fans this summer. Well, during a short break from this tour, Jordan has kindly agreed to take some time next Tuesday, May 31 —the same day that his new solo album, Unfinished, hits stores— to answer questions from submitted by his fans. Even better? He’s agreed to answer ANYTHING!

Yes, that’s right, you can Ask Jordan Knight Anything! Wondering if he eats his PB&J sandwiches with the crusts on or off? You should ask! Curious as to what he wears to sleep? You should ask! Intrigued by his thoughts on whether or not cutting government spending will resuscitate our country’s economy, thereby boosting our Gross Domestic Product? You can (and should) ask!

So, how do you ask? Well, there’s a few ways. You can leave a comment below, or you can tweet @vh1 with the hashtag #askmeanything. We’ll compile as many questions as we receive and do our best on Tuesday to get Jordan to answer them all. Remember, you can Ask Jordan Knight Anything, so make your questions as crazy or funny as you possible. The only limit is your imagination!

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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