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!
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).
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!
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).
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!!!!!
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].”
Storytellers: Death Cab for Cutie premieres this Friday at 11 p.m. ET/PT, but unfortunately this performance of “Title and Registration,” the third single from 2003′s Transatlanticism, won’t air during the performance. But we couldn’t leave such a good performance sit in the vault, so we shared it with Stereogum, and with you.
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.
Jason Derulo‘s new video is here! As it happens, we completely misinterpreted the sneak peek?Derulo isn’t the only one who still wants to party, but merely the first to rise. In time the rest of the napping partiers awaken and join the reinvigorated revelry.
“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:
We’ve had such success with You Oughta Know artists coming to VH1 to play great You Oughta Know Live sets?like Two Door Cinema Club‘s semi-acoustic take on four songs, including “What You Know”?that we knew we had to get more established Top 20 Countdown favorites into our offices, too. And who better to inaugurate our new series than the multitalented Raphael Saadiq?
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.
That’s why his unique brand of blues doesn’t feel like a history lesson. On “Day Dreams,” guitarist Rob Bacon (whom Saadiq recruited after hearing his effortless replications of sampled riffs for DJ Quik‘s Bay Area hip hop) and bassist Calvin Turner (who’s also got plenty of production and arrangement in his long list of credits, and who also came up on Tower of Power) make the blues form pop with the lightest of touches. (Lemar Carter, drumming on a wooden box, didn’t really have the opportunity to show off his chops, but you can see him get funky on YouTube.)