VH1 DIVAS Celebrates Soul is set to air on VH1 on Monday, December 19 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, and as you already know we’re counting down the days until Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Hudson, Florence + The Machine, Kelly Clarkson, Jessie J and other lovely ladies take to the stage for us. We’re now tearing off Day 3 of the DIVAS advent calendar, after bringing you Jill Scott covering “Natural Woman” on Monday and Beyoncé singing her classic “Dangerously In Love” yesterday.
One quarter of the way through the DIVAS countdown and now we’ve got a classic performance of Barbra Streisand‘s “The Way We Were” by the Empress of Soul herself, Gladys Knight. Bringing a new level of soul to the classic sentimental track, Gladys all but blows the stage away with this stirring vocal performance from VH1 DIVAS 2004. With a soaring vocal on the big notes and an infectious smile (you’ll smile too!) when she sings the lyrics “Would we? Could we?”, Gladys does the iconic number the justice it deserves.
VH1 DIVAS Celebrates Soul will premiere exclusively on VH1 on Monday, December 19, 2011, at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT.
Katy Perry is set to host Saturday Night Live this weekend, which will be her first turn at hosting the iconic sketch comedy show, with Robyn performing as the musical guest. With Katy vying for “The One That Got Away” to reach the #1 spot on the Billboard charts, we wonder if the gig at SNL won’t help to boost her profile as position on the charts, especially considering how adorable the pop star is in the show’s promotional video with Kenan Thompson. Endearingly personable, Perry is sans pink wig and elaborate costuming, and instead is elegant wearing her new cropped blonde bob and a printed shift dress. She’s funny, too — just try not to smile when she does an impersonation of husband Russell Brand‘s acting advice to her which culminates with “be a bit cheeky!”
Live From New York, It’s Saturday Night! [Live From New York, It's Saturday Night!]
Lady Gaga — in the enigmatic way that Mother Monster has of making half an announcement then making fans wait for the second half — has revealed that yes, she has a name for her next album, but that no, she won’t be sharing it yet. The album, which will be Gaga’s third full length studio album, is in the works, hot on the heels of her sophomore album Born This Way which was just released this year. Gaga says of the album, “I’ve started writing it and I have the name for it, and all the concepts are beginning to flourish and take place. I’m excited to put it out, but it’s not done yet. So I’ll put it out when it’s done.” The rumor mill is also turning with speculation that the new release will feature a collaboration with Elton John. So while Gaga let’s suspense build, we’ve had a few thoughts of our own about what the eccentric pop star could call the new album:
- The United States Of Gaga – A nod to the fact that Gaga has more Twitter followers than President Obama.
- Reality/Unreality or Couture/Not Couture – We’re sort of hoping the new release will be somewhat revealing of the Gaga/Stefani Germanotta dichotomy, an exercise in Sasha Fiercing, if you will.
- [No title -- Just an image of Lady Gaga's perfectly manicured, jewel encrusted hand giving the middle finger] – A little bit ambiguous, a little bit TAFKAP, a little bit White Album; giving a secret handshake to her Little Monsters, a nameless album could be Gaga’s way of sticking it to the man in the name of diversity and freakishness.
Got any suggestions for what Lady Gaga should name her new album? Leave them in the comments!
Lady Gaga: ‘I have a name for my new album’ [NME]
[Photo: Getty Images]
Whenever studies about the behavioral patterns of Millenials get published, words like “positivity” and “individuality” and “idealistic” make frequent appearances; if you believe what the academics and marketing folks tell you, this is a generation that believes that the world can be saved solely by the power of a tweet. However, anyone who has actually spent any significant amount of time with people who fall into this age-range know that they aren’t this shallow nor as eternally optimistic as the so-called experts suggest, and are just as apt to fall under spells of disillusionment and succumb to periods of disenfranchisement as the rest of us (whether you’re Gen X, Gen Y or a Baby Boomer). Well, after seeing Skylar Grey perform at a small industry showcase in Manhattan last night, it’s pretty apparent that she is an artist that is well-positioned to resonate with this “darker” side of Millenial culture.
Skylar Grey rose quickly in the Interscope farm system over the last eighteen months and change on the strength of her ability to write massively catchy hooks; she’s responsible for the sing-along choruses of Eminem and Rihanna‘s “Love The Way You Lie,” Diddy-Dirty Money‘s “Coming Home” and Dr. Dre‘s comeback single, “I Need A Doctor.” She’s now attempting to launch a solo career of her own, with an album of original material likely to materialize sometime in 2012.
Grey emerged on stage last night at the tiny club Dominion dressed in full, gothy Lisbeth Salander chic (aka The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) — jet black hair, tight leather jacket, Doc Marten-esque boots and a pair of plaid pants worn well below her waist with a wallet chain attached; Katy Perry, she most certainly is not. Like her stage name* evokes, Grey stands in stark contrast to today’s bubblegummier pop stars (think Demi Lovato, think Selena Gomez), delivering lyrics like “I’m addicted to your torture”, “I’m proud to be your f***in’ weirdo” and even something that sounded a lot like “Come here necrophelia” with a whispery, attitude-laden intensity.
The great thing about hangovers is that almost everyone knows what they feel like — and now Taio Cruz‘s song “Hangover” adds music to the condition. Although, we’re not going to lie, the banging club-driven beat is probably the last thing we want to hear when we’re actually hungover, and would probably be a much better companion to the night before the day after. Performing the track live on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, Cruz gave an upbeat performance of “Hangover,” inspired by the Euro-techno beats that have seemed to prevail this year in pop music. A speaker thumping anthem, if it were summer, we’re thinking “Hangover” would be the sort of beach-bar staple we’d be fist pumping along to while sipping cocktails — despite the inherent warning in the song’s lyrics!
The 2012 class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will include hard rock veterans Guns N’ Roses, funk-rock stalwarts Red Hot Chili Peppers, bratty hooligans turned socially conscious hip hoppers the Beastie Boys, trippy sixties folk singer Donovan, English blues rockers Faces/The Small Faces, and the pioneering female folkster Laura Nyro. These groups will all be inducted during a ceremony held this April, one that promises to be one of the most emotionally charged and exciting RRHOF events in recent memory.
We’re speaking, of course, primarily of the tumultuous relationship between W. Axl Rose and (most of) the former members of Guns N’ Roses, a band whose explosive brand of hard rock changed the face of not only the Sunset Strip sound of the mid-80s, but also propelled them into a short reign as the World’s Best Band around the time of Appetite For Destruction/G N’R Lies/Use Your Illusion I and II. Thanks to a potent combination of too much fame, too much money, and too many drugs, the group imploded after a disastrous two-plus year world tour that concluded in 1993, and most of the band members have not performed together since. Axl addressed this issue on a recent episode of VH1 Classic’s That Metal Show, noting that he has mended some fences with bassist Duff McKagan and rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin, but also intimated that he and Saul “Slash” Hudson are not on what anyone would describe as speaking terms. Can they put aside their differences for one evening, and maybe perform a few tracks? That, my friends, is likely a question that not even Hall organizers will have an answer to until the night of the ceremony.
And, of course, it wouldn’t be a Hall of Fame if every act nominated got in. To that end, this year’s snubs include The Cure, Eric B. & Rakim, Joan Jett, Heart, and the artist that you, the VH1 Tuner readers, voted as being most-worthy of induction into the Hall this year, Donna Summer. It’s not over yet, though, guys! Just ask Alice Cooper, who was passed over for 15 years until being inducted on his 16th go-round last year.
Congrats to all of this year’s nominees; see you in April!
Nirvana Are Re-Releasing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” To Vie For Number One
We swear the late Kurt Cobain turns in his grave every time something like this happens. Nirvana decided to re-release “Smells Like Teen Spirit” when it came to the surviving band’s attention that fans were rallying to make the classic song Britain’s Christmas Number One over whoever takes out the X Factor crown. Sigh. [NME]
Lady Gaga Goes To The White House To Battle Bullies
Lady Gaga really does love her ‘Little Monsters.’ So much so, she’s heading to the White House to chat with Obama‘s administration about combating bullying. Go go Gaga activism! [Popdust]
Is Katy Perry‘s bargain iTunes offering for “The One That Got Away” an early Christmas gift from Katy Claus or is there something else afoot? Katy’s latest track is selling for the low, low price of just 69 cents at the iTunes store, and is the only single in the Top 10 to have a reduced selling price. The suspiciously low price tag has got tongues wagging, as cynics speculate that it’s a pretty transparent ploy to score Katy Perry’s sixth #1 song off her album Teenage Dream, thus giving her the record for most number ones off the same album.
Teenage Dream is currently tied with Michael Jackson’s Bad for the top spot, and if “The One That Got Away” makes it to the top, she will have outdone the King Of Pop. Credit for the runaway success of the singles of Perry’s sophomore LP to her record label, Capitol/EMI, who have not only promoted the heck out of this record, but also convinced Kanye West to record two guest verses for 0″E.T” when they were getting ready to release it as a single; his vocals don’t appear on the album version of the song. Currently, “The One That Got Away” is at #9 on the charts, and we’d be more than happy to see it get all the way to #1, especially if it results in the public at large saving themselves a few sheckels at the iTunes store during the holidays.
Katy Perry’s “The One That Got Away” iTunes Price Slashed: Will It Go To #1? [Idolator]
Avril Lavigne has matured quite a bit since her early mall pop days with The Matrix, both as an artist and as a person. Her maturation is on full display in this somewhat jarring yet supremely entertaining new video from our friends over at MTV Buzzworthy, a video which shows a newly domesticated Lavigne decorating Christmas cookies, of all things!
Don’t get it twisted, though: Martha Stewart, she is not. Her trademark sense of style—remember when Avril did Head-To-Toe with us earlier this year?—has not wavered one bit, even as her skills in the kitchen have rapidly progressed. In fact, according to the video, Avril has even started cooking (“Italian!”) for her band when they’re out on the road together. Here’s hoping somebody saved that snowman cookie for us!
Watch Avril Lavigne Make Christmas Cookies While Being Certifiably Adorable [MTV Buzzworthy]
OK, OK, so a more apt title would have been Adele poses with PICTURE of Beyoncé, but what can we say? We got so excited about the prospect of the divas together we even started making them moniker mash-ups like Beydele and Adeloncé. After taking over her own Twitter account (!), Adele posted a photo of herself posing with Beyoncé’s Live At Roseland DVD poster, adding, “I’m in bed, watchin Gladiator, eatin an apple. Heres a pic of me & Queen B last wk in NYC! X.” And she looks hawt (that’s extra hot) as she mimics Bey’s seductive pose. The Twitpic is making us love Adele even more — here’s the world’s number one superstar unaffectedly fan-girling over the world’s other number one superstar. It doesn’t get much more real than that.
Star Spotting: Adele Stans Out For Beyonce, Remains Flawless [MTV Buzzworthy]