We’re just one week and oh, say, six hours away from the premiere of VH1 Unplugged: Kelly Clarkson! Her five-song Unplugged set will debut exclusively on VH1.com at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday, November 17, but we absolutely, positively couldn’t wait that long to share the above clip with you.
As part of her set, Kelly decided to cover “I Know You Won’t,” which was originally recorded by another American Idol winner, Carrie Underwood, on her 2007 LP Carnival Ride . Carrie’s version is gorgeous, no doubt, but whereas her version is languid to the point of being passive, Kelly infuses her take—which, we should add, is brought to you by our friends at Starburst—with her trademark combination of dignity, strength, and a touch of heartbreak. Try to listen to the whole thing and not get goosebumps, we dare you.
Amidst the fanciful costumes and ostentatious fanfare of the annual Victoria’s Secret “fashion” show, some of our favorite artists got on stage to sing the angels down the runway. Nicki Minaj, in a characteristically brazen ensemble, gave the Angels a run for their money with her other-worldly costume, and was just as sexy as the girls stomping past her, even though she was—ahem, we hope you can appreciate the irony in this—dressed somewhat more demurely. Kanye West was joined by surprise Watch The Throne collaborator Jay-Z to perform their hits “Otis” and “Stronger.” Fashion-forward Kanye cheekily appeared to be wearing a bomber jacket from the yet-to-be-released Versace for H&M range. Maroon 5 also performed, with frontman Adam Levine getting all cute (or sickening, depending on how you feel about love and couples right now) on stage with his long-time model girlfriend Anne Vyalitsyna.
However, the evening’s best moment didn’t involve pandering to Hollywood (Blake Shelton’s raucous version of “Footloose”) or even a huge, pyro-laden production number (sorry, Miranda Lambert!). It occured when Kenny Chesney and VH1 fave Grace Potter each slung an acoustic guitar over their shoulders, hopped on a stool and duetted on a positively gorgeous version of their hit, “You And Tequila.” Of course, we’re suckers for any and all things Grace (those stems!), but the way these two harmonized last night reminded us why we listen to country music in the first place. There’s no slick production, no glossy radio sound, just two great voices (and some palpable chemistry) blending together to make something special. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
On last night’s episode of The X Factor, 13-year-old schoolchild sensation Rachel Crow tore the house down with her performance of Etta James‘ “I’d Rather Go Blind.” It inspired an interesting contrast in the judges’s reactions; Simon Cowell looked like a giddy school boy the entire way through the epic performance—the only time you ever see him smile like this is when he knows he’s found himself a cash cow—while Nicole Scherzinger looked as if she might lose it at any moment. We’re with Simon though — Crow’s performance was breathtakingly spectacular, and we’re thinking the girl might be a serious contender for top spot. So, with that in mind, we’re officially adding Rachel Crow to our list of reasons why The X Factor is better than Idol (especially if she promises to change her shoes!).
There is a line in Bruno Mars‘s new single, “It Will Rain,” that goes like this: “There’ll be no sunlight/If I lose you baby.” A romantic line, to be sure, but one that shouldn’t be read too literally, especially considering the song’s inclusion on the Breaking Dawn soundtrack. After all, as any Twi-Hard worth their salt would tell you, Edward Cullen would probably prefer it if there were no direct sunlight ever again! That way, he and Bella could live out their days without worrying about spending money on silly things like 1000 SPF sunblock and Ray-Bans, and could instead make half-human, half-vampire babies underneath the moonlight for all eternity.
But what we REALLY wanna know is this: How did Bruno and his ladyfriend get their hands on a film canister containing a print of Breaking Dawn a full nine days before the movie hits theaters? We know some peeps down in Chinatown that would pay top dollars to get themselves a bootleg of that reel. Regardless, enjoy this video on your computer monitor for now, but be sure to tune into VH1′s Top 20 Video Countdown this weekend to be able to see it in glorious HD on your flatscreen at home!
Actually, scratch that. Rihanna‘s new record, Talk That Talk, is the dirtiest “pop” record we have ever heard. We listened to the entirety of the 11-song album, which will hit stores on Monday, November 21, earlier this afternoon here at our Times Square headquarters and can confirm that everyone in attendance left the room with flushed cheeks after experiencing extensive periods of blushing.
Now, this is not to say that Rihanna has gone out and recorded the female As Nasty As They Wanna Be; it’s not simply a sexually-explicit affair (although, at one point during The-Dream produced track “Birthday Cake,” she does proclaim “I wanna f*** you right now”). Rather, Talk That Talk continues the conversation that Rihanna began with her single “S&M” (off Loud) and, if you’ll pardon the Spinal Tap reference, turns it up to 11. Rihanna and her chief partner-in-crime, songwriter Ester Dean (who either wrote or co-wrote at least six songs on the LP), have put together a record that not only oozes sex, but also revolves almost exclusively around it.
Yesterday, two tiny snippets of Madonna’s next single, “Give Me All Of Your Love,” leaked online. It goes without saying that people IMMEDIATELY began critiquing the song’s merits in forums, blog posts and on social networks, despite the fact that this wasn’t a full, finished song, but rather, a DEMO.
Heavy D‘s passing shook the hip hop community to its core yesterday as fans and friends tweeted their condolences and reactions to the 44-year-old’s untimely death. Today on VH1′s Big Morning Buzz Live, mogul Russell Simmons discussed Heavy D’s influence on music. Some of hip-hop’s most respected MCs took to Twitter last night offering 140 characters of their sorrows, reactions and memories of the self-proclaimed “overweight lover.”
Here’s what the hip-hop community had to say about Heavy D’s death:
Perhaps more impressive, though, are Beyoncé’s five nominations, especially her nod from the monoculture for 4 in the Favorite Album Of The Year category. 4 has been one of the more maligned records of the year, thanks to the fact that it has yet to produce a hit single on par with “Crazy In Love” (off Dangerously In Love), “Irreplaceable” (B’Day) or “Single Ladies” (I Am Sasha Fierce), not to mention the torrent of juicy scuttlebutt regarding Sony’s alleged disappointment in the album before consumers even had a chance to hear the full thing. Still, this morning’s nominations signal that the public-at-large appears to be unfazed by the industry chatter People’s Choice Awards nominations may not be as prestigious as those bestowed by the Grammys, but we’re guessing that Beyoncé’s camp is celebrating a minor victory this morning.
The People’s Choice Awards will air on CBS on January 12, 2012, and we’ve got the complete list of all of the music-related nominations for you below: