Javier Colon got a fresh shot at music superstardom when he was announced as the winner of NBC’s The Voice last night. But before he caught his (second) big break, he recorded two albums with Capitol Records, 2003′s Javier and 2006′s Left Of Center. While he was working the promotional circuit in support of his eponymous self-titled album back in ’03, he stopped by our VH1 offices for a lively Unplugged show. We decided to unearth two of the clips from this session, his cover of Bill Withers’ “Use Me” (above) and his very first single as a major label recording artist, “Crazy” (which is below). As you’ll see, even then, his trademark cap was in place.
The season finale of The Voice and the season premiere of Behind the Music (now streaming in full on our site!) stole the thunder of the two bands that performed last night on television, but you wouldn’t know it by watching them. Parachute, a band of University of Virginia graduates whose blend of Something Corporate emo-pop piano balladry and soul-band backup vocals and bass guitar works way better than it has any right to, kept the crowd excited on Jimmy Kimmel Live! with their single?”Something to Believe In.” The track has gained some traction on adult pop radio, even as the band is wearing t-shirts for bands like Snapcase while playing for rooms full of kids on their first headlining club tour. Before the show, lead singer Will Andersontweeted, “My goal on?@jimmykimmel tonight is to always be staring into whatever camera is on. Seriously. Watch for it.” We’d say he was fairly successful.
Meanwhile, on Late Night with David Letterman, Marty Stuart cranked out “Country Boy Rock & Roll,” a barnburner of a single from Ghost Train: The Studio B Sessions. Stuart is a country traditionalist, which describes not only his sound but also his look. Did you ever think you’d see hair like this on television in 2011? Read more…
A hearty congratulations are due tonight to Javier Colon, the winner of the first season of NBC’s The Voice. The 34 year-old, who was dropped from his label Capitol Records after releasing two albums under their watch, triumphed over his competitors Dia Frampton, Vicci Martinez, and Beverly McClellan.
We first felt like the Javier wave was about to crest last week after his stirring rendition of Coldplay’s “Fix You,” a performance which also saw him shed his (then trademark) cap for the first time. At the time, we opined that he might have pulled this maneuver a week too soon, but you know what they say about hindsight.
Last night, though, Javier proved himself to be one of this competition’s frontrunners with an engaging performance of his original song, “Stitch By Stitch” (which we have for you below). And tonight, he proved he had nerves of steel when he stood toe-to-toe with Stevie Nicks during a duet of the Fleetwood Mac classic, “Landslide,” never losing confidence despite Stevie’s not-so-subtle direction on how he should inflect his vocals. Judge/coach Adam Levine described it, perhaps with a smidge of hyperbole, as “one of the most beautiful duets I’ve ever heard in my life,” but there is no denying that Javier Colon is having one of the best nights of his life. He’s got a second chance at music superstardom, but only time –and perhaps the ticket sales for this summer’s The Voice multi-city tour– will tell if he’ll end up making Capitol Records regret their decision to let him go.
International superstardom is exhausting, especially if you’re Beyonc?! After a fierce Sunday set at Glastonbury, Beyonc?’s4 finally hits shelves this week, and yes, we’re absolutely ready for this album’s off-the-charts intimacy levels to stupefy our senses. As a hard-working entertainer dedicated to her craft, it’s no surprise that the talented renaissance woman needed and deserved a break from years of relentless recording, promoting and touring prior to releasing this record. But what, exactly, did Queen B do during her year away from the music business?
Premiering tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. on VH1 and Palladia (7 p.m. ET/PT on MTV and BET), VH1 special Beyonc?: Year of 4 arrives just in time to bring the icon’s year-long adventure to light. (If you miss it, we’ll have it streaming on VH1.com for 24 hours, too). Capturing her many experiences while traveling the world and re-examining her career, the film is equipped with footage taken with Bey’s camera and her own very-personal narration. Truly bringing us into her often-private world, Beyonc? ruminates on her life thus far, her marriage to rapper Jay-Z, her company and brand (after parting ways with father and former manager, Matthew Knowles), and the future she intends on building as a role-model for women around the world. In the sneak above, we follow Bey as she toboggans down the Great Wall of China, hangs with friends and family, and recognizes how taking time off never even occurred to her.
Ke$ha and Conan O’Brien are really running with their collaboration. When she returned to his show on Monday for its summer concert series, she also curated her own installment of It Came from the Intertubes (a Best Week Ever-type feature that Conan’s site launched last month), and taped the above sketch about Auto-Tune. Gags about the oft-used software are a little played out, but voice modulation is always at least a little funny, and Ke$ha really sells it, so it works. She neighs!
She also takes the opportunity to slip a little actual criticism into the bit. After facetiously explaining that Pavarotti, Bob Dylan (ha!), and The Beatles all used Auto-Tune, she flatly intones, “Being against Auto-Tune is like being against the idea of a DJ. It just lets people know you’re old.”
And on that note, here’s Dylan rapping the first verse of “Mama Said Knock You Out”:
On the penultimate episode of NBC’s The Voice last night, two music business also-rans and two “singing lesbians that America loves” (to paraphrase a recent Los Angeles Times piece) wowed viewing audiences with their passionate final performances. However, as we have come to expect from The Voice, there was one very big twist: Over the course of the last ten weeks and change, Javier Colon, Dia Frampton, Vicci Martinez and Beverly McClellan have built themselves a passionate fan base with their personal renditions of already familiar songs originally performed by other artists. Last night, though, the contestants showed off something new. Namely, their own original songs!
Obviously, this last-minute twist gives a HUGE advantage to the two performers who already have experience writing and recording their own material, Javier Colon and Dia Frampton. They both took advantage of the opportunity given to them to not only showcase their voice, but also their artistry, and America seemingly approves. As of this morning, Dia’s slow-burning, piano-driven ballad “Inventing Shadows” and Javier’s slow-burning, guitar-driven ballad “Stitch By Stitch” are sitting atop the iTunes singles chart.
Tuesday was apparently bluegrass night on the late-show circuit; two of the three new musical performances were Americana-inspired. While we were wowed by the finger-picking of Jonny Mizzone?at eight, the youngest of the three New Jersey brothers that comprise the Sleepy Man Banjo Boys?on the Late Show rendition of Earl Scruggs‘s “Flint Hill Special,” it’s no more or less charming than the YouTube performance of the same song that went viral a couple months ago.
Gillian Welch, then, was the highlight of the night, debuting “That’s the Way It Goes,” from her new album The Harrow and the Harvest, on Conan. Welch, who won two Contemporary Folk Grammys before contributing to 2002′s wildly successful O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack, has gained a much wider audience in the intervening years despite no new studio recordings since 2003′s Soul Journey. (Among her fans: The Civil Wars. In a recent Posted update, Jon Paul White showed off two Gillian Welch CDs he’d purchased at Amoeba Records in Hollywood, and Joy Williams clapped approvingly.) If the rest of The Harrow and the Harvest is as strong as last night’s performance of “That’s the Way It Goes,” it will have been worth the weight.
Last week on NBC’s The Voice, Maroon 5 premiered “Moves Like Jagger,” a new single featuring Christina Aguilera that creeped its way onto our Song Of The Summer chart this week. The collaboration may have seemed inorganic or (dare we say it) promotional on paper, but on record, the song is certainly on par with the rest of Maroon 5′s catalog. Aguilera now says, in the above interview with Rolling Stone, that she will take her experiences on The Voice into the studio with her when she records her latest album.
Ke$ha and Conan are a perfect fit. For evidence, witness her off-the-wall interview last month. So it was only natural that the young pop star inaugurated Conan‘s Summer Concert Series with a three-song set (two of which made the air). After a march-to-war rendition of “Blow”, she performed the non-single title track of her debut album Animal. Ke$ha is always an extremely earnest performer, even when she’s doing cartwheels onstage (which, sadly, she didn’t on Conan). This particularly suited “Animal,” which probably would have been a single, except it couldn’t quite follow up the irreverent tone of “Tik Tok.”
The other problem with “Animal,” and the other songs Ke$ha really sings, as opposed to rapping, is that she can sometimes sound like an annoying Alanis Morissette impersonator. Last night, either she intentionally tried to avoid that, or else “Blow” left her voice just rough enough to prevent it anyway. Regardless, she sounded really great.
Also worth checking out from last night: Lloyd‘s performance of “Cupid” on Lopez Tonight. Maybe he was intentionally booked to match up to the music of Lopez’s lead-in; maybe it just happened to be a good night for music on TBS. Either way, he sounded fantastic, and his early-nineties-inflected R&B may, given 2011′s pop trends, finally get the moment it deserves.
Since we just did you guys a solid, maybe now you can do us one in return? Check out our brand new Pop Up Video Facebook page and, if you like what you see, feel free to “Like” us! Also, we’ll be using our Facebook presence as a way to get valuable (and, hopefully, hilarious!) content from you guys, the viewers, that we may end up including in the show itself. Just yesterday, we began working on our treatment for Britney Spears’ “Till The World Ends” by asking our fans “If the world ended tomorrow, I would _________ [fill in the blank].” Leave a comment and your reply just might end up on TV!