Are Mario Lopez and Khloe Kardashian returning to the X Factor this season? Who’s going to battle it out for a Billboard Music Award? And which tracks have already been leaked from Jay-Z’s The Great Gatsby soundtrack?
After one listless and uninspired season on Fox’s struggling X Factor, US Weekly is reporting that Britney Spears “will get fired” from her role as a judge on the program. According to their report, there seem to be two main issues at play here. The first is her $15 million salary, which a source tells them is an awful lot “for her to say ‘amazing’ and offer half-claps.” Her mental state is also being reported as an issue, but not in the way that you might think.
X Factor creator/evil genius Simon Cowell is reportedly second-guessing his decision to cast the seemingly heavily medicated Spears on his show. “He wanted crazy Britney, but he got boring Britney,” a source tells US Weekly, which strikes us as one of those things that is okay to think but definitely not okay to say out loud. While there’s no denying that Spears lacks the ability to riff on an impromptu basis, this is not exactly what we in the business call “breaking news.” Ever since her head-shaving incident, she has been kept on a short leash by her team of caretakers, rendering her as a personality-challenged shell of her former rambunctious self (who, in her “defense,” does make hilariously inappropriate crazy faces on the reg). Cowell should’ve recognized this deficiency from the start, and not placed a foolish bet that the stress of being on live television twice a week would revert Miss Spears back to her dangerous and emotionally challenged self. That seems incredibly callous, even for someone generally held in low regard like Cowell.
It’s been 5 years, 1 month and 26 days since the last time Britney Spears last appeared for an extended period of time on live television. That occasion? Her infamous, zombified, bewigged performance of “Gimme More” at the 2007 Video Music Awards, an event that forever altered Britney’s reputation (and one, some would argue, that she never really recovered from).
In the five-plus years that have elapsed since that night, Britney has appeared on TV a handful of times (a VMA acceptance speech here and there, pre-taped segments of X Factor), but those events have always unfolded in a highly-controlled and scripted manner. Tonight marks her official return to the pressure-packed world of live television, and millions will be tuning into the X Factor on Fox tonight to see how she holds up under the spotlight. Britney admitted to Extra that she’s “a little nervous,” and it turns out her producers are, too, but not for the reasons you might think.
Last night, X Factor contestant Chris Rene sang a song he had written himself, “Where Do We Go From Here.” Chris gave an endearing performance, sitting mid-stage on a stool and strumming an acoustic guitar. Super sweet and beachy (a little bit Jack Johnson, maybe? Remember that guy?), the performance was received by the judges with an outpouring of praise, even from Simon Cowell who called the performance “a stroke of genius.” The audience agreed in a cacophony of applause, and Stevie Wonder even made a personal call to tell Chris “You are inspiring me right now. We’re thinking Chris might have taken the lead in the competition — who better to win a musical talent contest than one who is not only musically talented, but multi-talented?
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).
As Beyonc?‘s show-stopping 2011 Billboard Music Awards performance spread across the internet yesterday, Vulture noticed that an eagle-eyed fan recognized the screen-projection portion of the choreography as strikingly similar to a performance by Italian television personality Lorella Cuccarini at the 2010 Sanremo Festival. This enterprising viewer placed the performances side by side in one video, for comparison’s sake (viewable above). But upon watching the Cuccarini performance alone, the suggestion of plagiarism gets a lot more complicated: