From L to R: Javier Colon, Dia Frampton, Vicci Martinez and Beverly McClellan.
Thanks to a combination of high wattage star power and a weakened roster of American Idol candidates, NBC’s The Voice was able to capture the fancy of American television audiences this springtime and delivered huge viewership numbers to its network. Last night, the judges and audience voted to select the show’s four finalists. If you haven’t been watching (or even if you have!), we put together a quick primer for you on who the remaining candidates are and why you should root for them, which you can use to prepare for next week’s finale, airing on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.
WHO: Javier Colon (Top Left)
COACH: Adam Levine
SOUNDS LIKE: Brian McKnight
WHY YOU SHOULD ROOT FOR HIM: Funny, the reason you should root for him is the same as why some are rooting against him. You see, Javier Colon released two albums —he was simply called Javier at that time— on Capitol Records in the mid-aughts. Some would argue that he never really got a fair shake from his label during those tumultuous years for the industry, while others would say that he’s already got his shot and doesn’t deserve another one.
WHO: Dia Frampton (Top Right)
COACH: Blake Shelton
SOUNDS LIKE: Vanessa Carlton
WHY YOU SHOULD ROOT FOR HER: Much like her competitor Javier Colon, Frampton has a major label background; along with her sister Meg, the two released the album Here, Here, and Here on Sire Records in 2009. They were later dropped by Warner Bros., Sire’s parent company, in July of 2010. Will America give her another chance to make it big?
We loved the madcap silliness of “I Wanna Go,” the Britney Spears video that premiered yesterday, so we jumped at the chance to talk to the clip’s director, Chris Marrs Piliero. The up-and-coming director is also responsible for Ke$ha‘s completely off-the-wall “Blow” video and a number of others, and we’re excited to see what he does next. This afternoon he spoke to us on the phone from Los Angeles about Half Baked, the Britney smirk, and the importance of fun.
VH1 Blog: How much of the video’s concept did you bring to the table when you first met with Britney?
Chris Marrs Piliero: Pretty much the whole thing. We made some changes to certain aspects, but as far as the concept as a whole, it was all laid out before we met up.
Where did the Half Baked reference, and the decision to cast Guillermo D?az in general, stem from?
I’m a huge fan of the movie, and that scene resonates with everyone as the epitome of the greatest way to quit your job, and just blow people off. Going through the lyrics of the song, the line about being inappropriate really resonated in my head, and I felt like that would just be such a perfect way for her to tell the reporters to eff off. So I put it in, like, “This would be a rad moment.” Obviously I never know what’s going to be embraced and what’s not going to be, but I thought [Britney] seemed like a cool chick, and hopefully she’d be down with it. And she loved it. She was totally into it.
And when I initially wrote it out, it was one of those things, like, “We gotta try to get Guillermo.” That would be the icing on the cake. That would make it come full circle, to have him be a part of the video. And he loved the idea too, and it all just kinda fell into place.
Good news, VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown fans! Earlier this afternoon, we launched a brand new site which makes both watching and voting for your favorite videos easier than ever. Just head over to top20.vh1.com and check it out our new digs.
Not only can you now cast up to 20 votes for your favorite videos per week, you can also share your votes with your followers on Twitter and your Facebook friends. This makes it easier than ever to rally support for your fave videos and, hopefully, propel them up our weekly chart.
Don’t forget to tune in to VH1 each and every Saturday morning at 9 a.m. ET/PT to catch host Jim Shearer count down what’s topping the chart that week.
Adele has quickly rescheduled the tour dates she was forced to cancel earlier this month due to laryngitis, and even given the tour an upgrade: her engagements are now split between August and October, and include a number of new dates and bigger venues (in which cases more tickets will be going on sale shortly). All tickets for most of the dates will be honored; the exceptions are listed below.
The British soulstress got some ink in this week’s New Yorker, too?but just barely; the magazine’s pop critic Sasha Frere-Jones opens a piece titled “The Women of Pop” with the following:
Three women run the pop world right now. Lady Gaga?s Born This Way, Beyonc??s 4, and Adele?s 21 split the market into neat thirds without too much conceptual jostling. Adele?s impeccably sung collection of unperturbing soul, 21, released in February, will almost certainly be the year?s biggest-selling album. Her career is likely to be long, because she is selling to the demographic that decides American elections: middle-aged moms who don?t know how to pirate music and will drive to Starbucks when they need to buy it. The rest of the population has Gaga and Beyonc?.
The rest of the piece mentions Adele only once, as a comparison point against which Frere-Jones measures Lady Gaga’s album sales. (Nevermind that 4 hasn’t even been released, so it has no sales figures to speak of.) How insultingly dismissive to Adele fans! We’ve made no bones about our Adele appreciation here, ever since we dubbed her a You Oughta Know artist back in April 2008. And don’t tell our bosses, but we know full well how to pirate music. That’s not what gets under our skin, though. What, exactly, does being a mom have to do with it?
To say that paparazzi are a recent development in celebrity culture would display an alarming lack of historical knowledge; the hugely popular Confidential was the flipside of Hollywood fan magazines in the 1950s, and it was hardly the first scandal sheet?merely the most notable. That being said, the Internet, with a potential for reproduction beyond anything Walter Benjamin could have ever imagined, has had a not-insignificant hand in shrinking the range of the monoculture while simultaneously increasing its scope and depth of focus. In this way the eye of the paparazzi turned towards musicians as much as towards actors and actresses. What was once a shortcoming of fame only faced by music megastars like Elvis, John Lennon, and Michael Jackson, was now a problem facing basically any ing?nue in the music industry. (It’s no coincidence that the coverage skews young and female.)
In some cases, paparazzi coverage can be advantageous to one’s exposure and public image. (See Molly Lambert‘s excellent piece on Blake Lively at Grantland and Anne Helen Peterson‘s follow-up. Or think about how concerned Brooke Hogan really sounded when she sang about the paparazzi on “About Us” while she was regularly appearing on our own Hogan Knows Best.) The strongest anti-paparazzi statements in music videos tend to come from artists whose tabloid coverage has directly affected their lives and/or livelihoods. Lindsay Lohan‘s “Rumors” certainly feels much stronger in retrospect, seven (!) years of life, drama, and tabloid coverage later. Just today she wryly remarked that her house arrest gave her the opportunity to do some much-postponed decorating.
Which brings us to Britney, the most vocal opponent of paparazzi in music video since Michael Jackson. MTV News helpfully gave us a rundown of paparazzi appearances in her videos, noting six examples, one from each album, starting with Oops…I Did It Again, and without even including “I Wanna Go” (the cameras-as-alien-probes imagery in “Hold It Against Me” stands up for Femme Fatale). Her relationship with the tabloid media has never been entirely pleasant, and the relentless coverage of a series of personal and, later, legal struggles she faced in 2006 and 2007 didn’t exactly endear her to paparazzi (or vice versa).
A good rule of thumb: anytime Liam Gallagher shows up on television, it’s worth watching, for better or for worse. (Remember when he told Carson Daly he was feeling “godlike” on TRL?) Last night’s Beady Eye performance on The Late Show with David Letterman was no exception. The band made their American television debut last night, but they’re no new-jacks?Beady Eye is Oasis minus that band’s primary songwriter (and Liam’s brother) Noel Gallagher?hence their debut album’s title, Different Gear, Still Speeding.
Anyone hoping for an Oasis cover was bound to be disappointed;?Gallagher told Matthew Perpetua at Rolling Stone that the band would not play any of his brother’s songs. The band nonetheless turned out a solid performance of their single “The Roller.”?
The band was immediately a big draw in the UK (co-headlining the Isle of Wight festival), but had to adjust to their American fanbase when they played The Metro in Chicago on Tuesday prior to their Letterman engagement. Blair R. Fischer reported for Spin that they did so just fine. Anyway, in the same February Rolling Stone interview, Gallagher remarked that New York is his favorite city, and the Late Show afforded the band the opportunity not just to appear last night, but to record an entire 45-minute Live from Letterman set. So all the pieces were in place for the band to sound as good as they could, which, ultimately, wasn’t that far off from Oasis, despite the Gallaghers’ continuing fraternal rancor. (Noel even scheduled his wedding during the same period Beady Eye would be across the Atlantic.)
Post-Britpop not for you? Letterman sweetened the pot on the Late Show by recruiting Justin Bieber to deliver the night’s Top Ten Little-Known Facts About Justin Bieber. (#4: “I begged my publicist to get me out of this.”)
Elsewhere on late night?
KATY PERRY‘S NEXT RECORD, THE BALLAD OF BROOKSLEY BORN, SET TO BE A ROCK OPERA ABOUT OTC DERIVATIVES
We kid, we kid. However, in the new issue of Rolling Stone, which hit newsstands today, the California Gurl talks at length about her newfound awareness of what makes this great land of ours tick. “It just feels like the thing running our country is a bank, money,” she tells RS contributing editor Erik Hedegaard. “I know it sounds like an intense viewpoint, but I’m only slowly but surely getting the wool taken off my eyes. When I was a kid, I asked questions about my faith. Now I’m asking questions about the world.” Lest you think she’s totally lost her way and turned into a stuffy economics obsessive, she then goes on to talk about her boobs. [Rolling Stone]
BEYONCÉ RUMOR MILL CONTINUES TO CHURN
Hot on the heels of last week’s rumors that Beyoncé‘s new album, 4, was going to be pushed back to September, this morning’s New York Post contained a juicy item planted by someone who clearly isn’t on Team Bey. According to the
snitch source, Columbia Records execs are “very nervous about Beyonc?’s new record” because “it doesn’t have the hit songs that her fans are used to. They asked her to make changes, but she said no.” The last time we remember this much behind-the-scenes drama playing out in the gossip rags before a record came out was when Kelly Clarkson and Clive Davis got into a very public beef before My December hit shelves. [Page Six]
After the massive worldwide success of Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends and its ensuing 21-month world tour, Coldplay had clearly earned the right to take a little time off. However, the band did exactly the opposite of that: While they were in the midst of the Viva La Vida tour, they began writing and recording a brand new album, one that Chris Martin described to BBC’s Radio 1 as dealing with universal themes like “love, addiction, OCD, escape and working for someone you don’t like.”
While this album, Coldplay’s fifth, does not yet have a name nor a release date, the band is already out on the road and debuting new tracks. The first single from the album, “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall,” is in contention for the Song Of The Summer crown, and this weekend, the band will be headlining the Glastonbury Music Festival in England.
If you’re bummed that you can’t make it to England, we’ve got some great news to share: On Saturday night, June 25, at 10 p.m. ET/PT, VH1 and our sister station Palladia will be broadcasting Coldplay – Live From Glastonbury in its entirety, marking the first time in the festival?s 41-year history that a full concert will be broadcast to television audiences in the United States.
For the complete press release, read on…
Ted Dwane, the bassist in Mumford & Sons, was looking a little worse for wear at the recording of the band’s VH1 Unplugged special, which airs this Friday at 11PM ET/PT. The taping was the band’s first American appearance since the Grammys, and they’d all flown over from the UK the day before?except Dwane, who’d been stranded for hours on the tarmac in London and hadn?t slept since his 3:30 AM arrival in New York City.
He certainly didn’t let his exhaustion show in the performances themselves, and if not for the introductions the band recorded, no one would ever know. Luckily for us, the introductions will be part of the special, as you can see above. Ted tries and fails to introduce the band’s second single “The Cave,” as the other band members poke and prod him, and generally give him a hard time. The performance itself is joyous and infectious. You can even see a few shots of the audience singing, tapping, and stomping along to lead singer Marcus Mumford?s lyrics and kickdrum stomp. The band talked before they played about feeling more at home gigging than in the studio recording, but they proved it when they started to perform.
VH1 Unplugged: Mumford & Sons airs Friday, June 24, at 11 p.m. ET/PT?but if you can’t wait that long, hit up VH1.com tomorrow night at 8 p.m. ET for an online viewing party before the premiere!
A press conference turns into a wild daydream rampage in “I Wanna Go,” the fan-freakin’-tastic new Britney Spears video directed by Chris Marrs Piliero. Piliero’s recent work includes Ke$ha’s Van Der Beek unicorn laser battle “Blow,” and a handful of recent Black Keys videos (including MTV’s 2010 Breakthrough Video “Tighten Up”), so he knows how to make a video humorous and memorable. Ke$ha went as far as to compare him to Spike Jonze in an interview with MTV, which might be a little hyperbolic this early in Piliero’s career, but he’s got plenty of time?and goodwill?because “I Wanna Go” is another success. All of that said, let’s talk about what the video looks like!