Tuned In: Alicia Keys Revisits Songs In A Minor With Help From Bruno Mars (And A Rick Ross Sidestep)

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The 2011 BET Awards remembered the past while honoring the present last night in Los Angeles, with a full fifteen musical performances?mostly multiple-song medleys?that spanned decades and genres. We highly recommend you check out all of the performances, especially Mary J. Blige‘s mega-medley of “Mary Jane,” “Real Love,” “You Bring Me Joy,” “Rapture” (with Anita Baker) and “It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over (with DJ Khaled and Jadakiss), and the Patti LaBelle tribute featuring Cee Lo (dressed as LaBelle!), Marsha Ambrosius, and Shirley Caesar.

The highlight of the night, though, was Alicia Keys‘s own four-song medley. She stood on her piano as she opened with new-old song “Typewriter,” a Songs in A Minor outtake that will be included on tomorrow’s 10th Anniversary reissue of the album. She took to the keys for single “A Woman’s Worth,” from the same album, for which she was joined by Bruno Mars on guitar and vocals. This wasn’t merely a throwback performance, though. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that?see Alexander O?Neal & Cherrelle‘s “Saturday Love”, which sounded as good as ever.) Rick Ross took the stage for a triumphant rendition of “Maybach Music 2,” with Keys providing T-Pain’s hook and Bruno Mars providing the guitar riff.

After she shouted out Rozay and Bruno Mars, Keys closed out her medley alone, with “Fallin’,” which retains its power and charm millions of radio plays and a decade later. We’re still processing the fact that these songs (except 2009′s “Maybach Music 2″) are all ten years old, and they sounded so good and fresh last night that we’re even more confused.

Gavin DeGraw Set To Debut His New Video For “Not Over You” Monday on Big Morning Buzz Live

by (@unclegrambo)

Tags: Not Over You by Gavin Degraw, Gavin Degraw, Gavin Degraw Lyrics

Exciting news to share with you guys. We just got word that the talented singer/songwriter Gavin DeGraw will be making an appearance at our offices here in Times Square this coming Monday, June 27. He’ll be stopping by the set of Big Morning Buzz Live, which airs every weekday starting at 9:30 a.m., to present the world premiere debut of the music video for his new song, “Not Over You.” And to mark this occasion, Gavin himself sent us this exclusive clip earlier this morning as a way to help get the word out to his fans.

If you can’t catch the Monday morning debut on Big Morning Buzz Live, don’t fret: We’ll have it here for you on the VH1 Blog as soon as it airs, and it will also appear on next week’s Top 20 Video Countdown show as well.

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Shearer’s Spotlight: Remembering Clarence Clemons

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Each Friday here on the VH1 Blog, our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown host Jim Shearer (@jimshearer on Twitter) will be sharing his Shearer?s Spotlight with us. This feature will include three things ?sometimes related, sometimes not!? that Jim is obsessing over this week. Be sure to tune into the Top 20 countdown when it airs on VH1 at 9 a.m. ET/PT tomorrow morning. Oh, and don’t forget, our brand new Top 20 site makes voting for your favorite videos easier than ever!

Last Saturday night, we lost rock n? roll icon Clarence Clemons. Immediately following his death, tributes from around the world poured forth on the Internet.

If you really think about it, the mark he left on popular music is somewhat unbelievable; Clemons was best known for his work in Bruce Springsteen?s E Street Band, where he wasn?t a frontman, didn?t play lead guitar, pluck a bass, or even sit on a throne behind a drum kit. He was a saxophonist.

Let me say that again: He was a saxophonist!

Unless you?re hanging out with fans of smooth jazz or ska music, saxophone players usually aren?t revered as music royalty?especially in mainstream rock n? roll?but Clarence Clemons was, and always will be.

Here are three reasons why I think the (appropriately nicknamed) ?Big Man? was the man:

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Last Lap: Thursday’s Odds And Ends In Music News

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Missy Elliott Shares Graves Disease Diagnosis
Billboard reports that in an interview with the upcoming issue of People, Missy Elliott reveals that she was diagnosed with the thyroid disorder Graves disease in 2008, the aggressive treatment plan for which left little time for music. Elliott speaks about her battle with the autoimmune disorder in the season premiere of Behind the Music, airing Wednesday, June 29, at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.

Justin Bieber And His Security Team Attack A Plainclothes New York City Cop
Ninety minutes ago, at an appearance at Macy’s in Herald Square in Manhattan, Justin Bieber went outside, reportedly to apologize to the massive crowd that could not come inside due to fire code. As the throng of screaming Beliebers pressed against the barriers, an undercover cop ran towards Bieber to protect him?only, neither Bieber nor his security knew the guy was a cop. Onlookers across the street caught the incident on film and, naturally, uploaded it to YouTube, so one and all can see Bieber coming to blows with a cop. [Sound of the City and TMZ]

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A Handy Guide To Which Of The Four Finalists On The Voice You Should Root For

by (@unclegrambo)

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?

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“I Wanna Go” Director Chris Marrs Piliero Talks To Us About Britney Faces And Half Baked References

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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.

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Voting For Your Favorite Videos Is Easier Than Ever With Our New VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown Site!

by (@unclegrambo)

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 Reschedules North American Dates, New Yorker Critics Be Darned

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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?

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Leave Me Alone! “I Wanna Go” And The Anti-Paparazzi Music Video

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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).

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Tuned In: Beady Eye Bring “The Roller” To Letterman

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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?
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