Janet Jackson Weighs In Against Controversial Michael Jackson Tribute Concert

Janet Jackson has finally weighed in on the controversial tribute concert planned for her late brother in October, potentially putting the already imperiled Michael Jackson tribute in further jeopardy. In a one-sentence statement to the Associated Press, she wrote, simply, “Because of the trial, the timing of this tribute to our brother would be too difficult for me.”

The criminal trial to which she refers is that of Dr. Conrad Murray, charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson. Her statement echoes that of siblings Randy and Jermaine Jackson, who issued a statement the day the concert was announced explaining that they would not support a tribute concert scheduled to take place during Murray’s trial.

Janet’s lack of support is the latest in a series of setbacks faced by Michael Forever: The Tribute Concert, scheduled for October 8 in Cardiff, Wales, since it was first announced, at a press conference in July, by Jackson’s mother Katherine and siblings Marlon, Jackie, Tito and La Toya. The tribute has booked a lineup including Ne-Yo, Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Smokey Robinson, Leona Lewis, Alien Ant Farm, Craig David, and, via satellite, Beyoncé; will be broadcast to 30 countries (in 3D where available); and will raise money for the AIDS Project and other charities. Nevertheless the tribute has not received the support of Michael Jackson’s estate, and had furthermore come under fire from both the estate and MJ fans for initially including Kiss on the lineup in the face of negative comments Gene Simmons has made about Jackson.

Janet Jackson Not Attending Michael Jackson Tribute Concert [AP]

[Image: Getty Images]


Hurricane Irene Results In Tremendous Flood Damage For New Jersey Residents?Including Sebastian Bach

New York City may have been spared the brunt of Hurricane Irene, but communities in the Catskills, Vermont, and New Jersey have been devastated by flooding, which has threatened to burst dams and has overflowed reservoirs?like the one in Lyndhurst, NJ, adjacent to the home of former Skid Row frontman, recurring Gilmore Girls guest star, and all-around nice guy Sebastian Bach. He reveals, on Facebook: “My home of 21 years, my house featured on MTV Cribs, has been destroyed, condemned, & deemed uninhabitable due to the extreme flooding courtesy of Hurricane Irene.” Unfortunately for Bach, his archive, full of Skid Row master tapes and press clippings and KISS memorabilia, was stored in the now-underwater basement. “Gone are irreplacable items, such as my KISS Gargoyles from the 1979 tour; KISS pinball machine; Skid Row master tapes, video & audio, concerts, master tapes from Oh Say Can You Scream etc.; boxes & boxes of one of a kind Skid Row memorabilia, from the first tour to our last, all stuff I collected on the road that no one else had…every single magazine that had Skid Row on the cover,” he reports.

On the bright side, before the hurricane leveled Bach’s home, his sons and their friends were able to move what artwork of Bach’s father David Bierk remained on the lower levels, so the entire David Bierk Archives, including the 16-foot “Slave To The Grind” mural that appeared on the cover of Skid Row’s 1991 album of the same name, is intact. Furthermore, neither he nor any of his family was injured in the storm.

[Sebastian Bach Image: Getty Archives. Lyndhurst Image: Sebastian Bach's Facebook]


Tuned In: St. Vincent And Cake Angle For Prime Booking, Then Play Their Hearts Out

With the late shows just coming back from hiatus, and the VMAs only one day earlier, yesterday was not exactly prime late-night booking for big artists?but it did present an opportunity for artists who might otherwise have difficulty competing for airtime. St. Vincent on The Late Show with David Letterman, and to a lesser extent Cake on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, leaped at the opportunity, turning out great performances in what, for them, is a great venue.

St. Vincent, whose new album Strange Mercy is set to be released September 13, has scored a series of promotional coups: appearing on the September 2011 cover of Spin, performing on the rooftop of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and premiering the comically dark video for “Cruel” in unlikely venue The Huffington Post. Last night’s performance of “Cruel” was actually her second Late Show appearance?she performed “Marrow” in June of 2009?but she was hardly going through the motions. If “Cruel” is a good indication, her new album will be a fall highlight.

Cake, meanwhile, are hardly unknowns?1996′s Fashion Nugget went platinum on the strength of “The Distance”?but January’s Showroom of Compassion was their first LP in over six years, and self-released besides. That being said, this return to The Tonight Show (they performed “Long Time” on March 1) is if not unprecedented at least improbable for a band at this stage in their career, and they, too, made the best of it, with a well-performed rendition of “Mustache Man (Wasted).”

St. Vincent “Cruel” 8/29 Letterman [The Audio Perv]
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Last Lap: Monday?s Odds And Ends In (Video) Music (Awards) News

One of the minor instant celebrities of last night’s Video Music Awards was Tyler, The Creator‘s mother, who sobbed with pride and excitement when her son won the Best New Artist Moonman. It turns out that her on-camera presence is due in part to an unlikely VMA hero: Nathan Williams of Wavves, who claims on Twitter to have given her his Black Carpet pass. Left Brain of Odd Future seems to confirm this on his Tumblr, describing Williams as “a crazy white kid,” and further noting that Williams “sparked a blunt when [Lil] Wayne was performing and Ron Artest told him to put it out!” All that, and the premiere of I Just Want My Pants Back! featured new Wavves song “I Wanna Meet Dave Grohl,” a wish that apparently came true at the VMAs. [Tumblr]

Not spotted at the VMAs: The Game, who came to the venue in downtown Los Angeles?but then decided to give his tickets away. [Twitter]
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The Strokes Cover The Cars With Help From Jarvis Cocker Of Pulp

Last night, Dave Grohl used part of the Foo Fighters‘ Best Rock Video VMA speech as a call to “look a little harder” but “Never lose faith in real rock n’ roll music.” Just thirty-odd hours earlier, The Strokes, arguably one of the higher-profile recent standard-bearers for “real rock n’ roll,” were not exactly hiding?they headlined the main stage at the UK’s Reading Festival.

Apparently the band was a little abashed that they’d be playing after Pulp, because they invited that band’s lead singer Jarvis Cocker onstage to accompany them in a cover of The Cars‘ 1978 hit single “Just What I Needed.” Watch above as Cocker trades lines with Julian Casablancas (after the Strokes lead singer’s two false starts). This clip is just what we needed this afternoon.

The Strokes and Jarvis Cocker Cover “Just What I Needed” [Popdust]
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by (@Lacezilla)

When It Waynes, It Pours: Spending The Hurricane With Tha Carter IV

While NYC residents are relieved to have been spared the worst of Hurricane Irene (we’re thinking of you, Vermont), I must admit to shallow disappointment in her pulling a robbery on my social life this weekend. Forced to stay indoors, I was able to spend some time with Lil Wayne’s recently-leaked Tha Carter IV while suffering through meteorologists and weather anchors overusing words like “hunker [down]” and “pounding [wind and rain],” wanting to throw a thesaurus at my television. After closing the MTV VMAs last night, the New Orleans native, who is unfortunately all too familiar with hurricanes, officially dropped his ninth solo album digitally before running off to host an after-party that coincided with Tha Carter IV’s release.

Because it’s dropping in such close proximity to Jay-Z and Kanye’s Watch The Throne, Tha Carter IV is a an easy target for direct comparisons. Wayne is a one-man show, and despite having a bushel of features (from the likes of Andre 3000, Nas, Bun B, and Bob Rick Ross), facing off against Jay and Kanye’s well-marketed collaboration LP certainly isn’t apples to apples, but the pot will inevitably be stirred! One of the songs on Tha Carter IV contains a verse directed at Jay-Z and talks about kidnapping newly pregnant Beyonc?, so speculations were high that some sort of altercation would occur at the VMAs last night. Likely retaliation for Hov’s “baby money” verse on “H.A.M.” back in January, Wayne’s verse on the C4 track, entitled “It’s Good” (also featuring Jadakiss and Drake), sounds like it’s just come to term; the passion in Wayne’s voice and use of verbs in the present tense suggest it was recorded many months ago, not recently. That, mixed with the fact that Jay didn’t respond publicly last night, might mean it’s water under the bridge.
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Tyler, The Creator/Bruno Mars, Kreayshawn/Rick Ross Beefs Aired Out At 2011 Video Music Awards

Tyler the Creator reupped his distaste for Bruno Mars on the Black Carpet at the 2011 VMAs last night. Prompted by Jim Cantiello‘s observation that Tyler was last, behind even Bruno Mars, in VMA Twitter mentions, Tyler remarked, “I’m a f? I’m a failure,” adding, with a bit of hyperbole, “I’m gonna kill myself,” which was also his threat should “Grenade” win Video Of The Year (it didn’t). Why the continuing feud? “I really hate his music.”

He was forced to backpedal later in the show, after seeing Bruno Mars’s bravura performance in the tribute to Amy Winehouse. He tweeted, “F?k I hate Bruno, but that was really good.” Maybe this Odd Belieber will be won over yet.
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Nicki Minaj Brings “Super Bass” To Taylor Swift Concert

Despite memorable moments at the 2010 and 2009 Video Music Awards, Taylor Swift was not in attendance this year?but she had a good reason: a concert the same night at the Staples Center, which put her in the same city as the ceremony but unable to attend.?

The VMAs were broadcast live on the east coast, which meant that they wrapped taping just shy of 8:30PM Pacific Time?cutting things far too close for the country star, but certainly leaving plenty of time for a VMA attendee?like, say, Nicki Minaj?to catch a ride over to the Staples Center and make a surprise appearance.?

Swift, who “rapped” with T-Pain for the 2009 CMT Awards, but whose Nicki-karaoke skills pale somewhat in comparison to Michelle Trachtenberg‘s, nevertheless is a big fan of the Young Money star, particularly of summer hit “Super Bass.” So she (and her Los Angeles fans) thrilled at the impromptu duet. That’s one way to celebrate a Moonman!
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The 2011 Video Music Awards Performances: Highlights And Lowlights

The musical performances at the 2011 Video Music Awards were pretty consistently great, if slightly flawed in certain ways. Adele‘s rendition of “Someone Like You” was ever-so-slightly sharp, but still brought the house down. Pitbull, Ne-Yo, and Nayer turned in perhaps the best “Give Me Everything” performance we’ve seen on television, but we’ve seen a lot of them in the nearly six months it’s been a single. Lil Wayne closed out the show with a two-fer of “How to Love” and “John,” the latter of which was probably really good, though we could hardly tell since it was so heavily bleeped. A pair of performances, though, stood above the rest (and two others fell a little short). Presenting the highlights (and lowlights):

Any eyes that weren’t already on Beyonce quickly turned her way when she intimated to photographers on the black carpet that she might be pregnant, and her performance of “Love On Top” was bookended by vocal and visual confirmation of the fact. Even Beyonce’s own pregnancy couldn’t take attention away from her performance, though. In a sequined suit, she cruised through “Love On Top,” perhaps the uncoolest jam on 4 (whoever said it sounds like Jonathan Butler‘s “Lies” was dead-on) and definitely one of our favorites from the album. Beyonce effortlessly hit all the key changes and brought back late 80s R&B in a big way. She’s so good at being “on top” that we almost feel like she intentionally set us up for that pun.?
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Jo Calderone Proves Lady Gaga’s Tony Clifton At Video Music Awards

Lady Gaga flipped the script on those who speculated as to what she’d wear to the 2011 Video Music Awards by spending the entire show in character as Jo Calderone and making a case that when one is expected to wear something particularly outlandish, the most surprising choice is to dress down (albeit in drag). Adopting an accent reminiscent of VMA-infamous Andrew Dice Clay, “Calderone” monologued at length (Kanye, eat your heart out) prior to “his” performance of “Yoü and I.” When she wasn’t laying it on a little too thick (“And then the guys?meaning me; I’m one of the guys“) she was alternately self-aggrandizing and self-mocking, describing a Gaga who wears her heels in the bathtub and never breaks character except at orgasm.

After three and a half minutes, she launched into her performance of “Yoü and I,” first solo at the piano, then at the head of an all-male crew of backup dancers, with Brian May playing guitar behind a pillar until Gaga introduced him for his solo, to the absolute delight of Dave Grohl (to whom the cameras cut away as he grinned and pumped his fists in the air).

“Calderone” got a bit more confrontational when presenting Britney Spears with the Video Vanguard Award. After claiming to have masturbated to posters of Britney in her introduction, she moved in for a kiss, which Britney considered, then declined, remarking, “I’ve done that already.” Maybe Jo had whiskey-breath; cutaways to the audience showed Gaga, glass in hand, all night.
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