No one has ever accused Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine of lacking charisma, but it’s striking how much his profile as a sex symbol has been raised over the course of the last year and change. When the camera cut to Levine walking on stage as his group prepared to duet with Alicia Keys on “Daylight” and “Girl On Fire,” the screams were somehow even louder than anything we heard eminating from NBC’s Studio 8H last night when Justin Bieber hosted Saturday Night Live.
He wasn’t pulling double duty like Bruno Mars did back in October–or like Justin Bieber will do in just two week’s time–but there was still plenty of opportunity for Adam Levine to show off what his day job is like during his first Saturday Night Live hosting gig. He’s been stretching his acting muscles in recent months, but Levine stuck to his musical roots just enough to bust out a catchy hook and taking part in the formation of a brand-new beef, the latter taking place when Pat Monahan of Train (Taran Killam) steps to his own Maroon 5. Employing one of our necessary rules for successful hosting, Levine was not above mocking his own group, and the bands squared off in a battle of harmless guitar riffs and lady-killing stares while the likes of Jason Mraz (Jason Sudeikis) and John Mayer (Bill Hader) looked on.
But the night was not complete without the return of the digital short and the Lonely Island, whom we miss now more than ever. Levine joined Andy Samberg (welcome back!), Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer to hold court along the famous Grease raceway, reminding us that yes, we only live once, and we probably shouldn’t take that for granted with stupid stunts that will make us momentarily Internet-famous.
Les Miz can finally lighten up, even as overall sales suffer a chill. Here’s a look at this week’s Nielsen SoundScan sales:
GOOD NEWS, FANTINE!: The Gloomy Gus movie of the year finally has something to cheer about: The Les Miserables soundtrack hits No. 1 on this week’s sales chart, according to Nielsen SoundScan figures released Wednesday. The album sold 92,000 copies this week, narrowly edging out Mumford & Sons‘ Babel for the chart’s top spot (only 1,439 sales separated the two albums). Babel benefited from a big iTunes sales push, but it wasn’t enough to edge out Jean Valjean and company. For Les Mis, bad times never seemed so good.
In addition to being the first soundtrack to hit No. 1 on the chart since The Hunger Games companion album did so in April 2012, the Les Mis soundtrack —last week’s chart runner-up— gives Russell Crowe his first-ever appearance on a No. 1 album. It’s a feat he could never achieve with his outfits 30 Odd Foot of Grunts or Russell Crowe & the Ordinary Fear of God —which despite sounding made-up were both actual Russell Crowe-fronted bands (!)— although the Oscar winner was name-checked on Jay-Z and Kanye West‘s 2011 chart-topper Watch the Throne.
Ready, set, set your DVRs! On January 26, Maroon 5‘s Adam Levine will return to Saturday Night Live, though this time to play host. The swoon-y frontman has made plenty of visits to studio 8H with his band — four, if your counting, and including once already this season — but this will be his first time acting as master of the ceremonies. Levine’s The Voice gig has provided him plenty of practice on camera, and he’s busted his comedy chops with plenty of cameos on shows like 30 Rock and One Tree Hill and even SNL (remember this?), so probably he’ll be great. And as for musical duties, he’s leaving those to Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar, whose early television performances have proven him more than capable.
Before then, on January 19th, Silver Linings Playbook star and Most Desirable Woman Jennifer Lawrence will warm up the stage as host with the Lumineers performing as musical guest. Grammy nods, chart-topping albums, all up in your radio and now this? Oh how these You Oughta Know artists have grown!
As Times Square gets ready for the influx of hundreds of thousands of revelers here to celebrate the arrival of 2013 Anno Domini, the Korean sensation PSY is plotting to retire his massive YouTube hit, “Gangnam Style.” “Being in Times Square on New Year’s Eve is already special — it’s the biggest stage in the universe — plus it’s my birthday, so, with all that, it may be the ending of ‘Gangnam Style,’” PSY told our friends over at MTV News. “I mean, what better way to do it?”
We couldn’t agree more! As much as we loved “Gangnam Style” when we first saw it appear on YouTube, we have no reservations whatsoever about retiring the song in 2013 because, let’s face it, the song is #PLAYEDOUT. In that spirit, here’s our list of other songs from 2012 that we hope to hear tonight and will always recall fondly, but honestly hope to never hear again once the sun rises tomorrow morning.
12 SONGS FROM 2012 THAT WE HOPE WE NEVER HEAR IN 2013
12. The Lumineers, “Ho Hey” – After thousands of listens, “Ho! Hey!” is starting to turn into “No! Way!”
11. Neon Trees, “Everybody Talks” – It started with a whisper, but when we hear this song on the radio now, it makes us wanna shout “CHANGE THE CHANNEL!”
10. One Direction, “Little Things” – We can’t remember a more passive-aggressive song ever getting this much airplay. #cringeworthy
On this week’s episode of the VH1 Top 20 Countdown, we’re rolling out the Top 20 videos of the year from Herald Square, New York City. That’s right, all the videos that have led the countdown throughout the different seasons of the year will now battle it out for Top 20 supremacy. But before the show airs on Saturday at 9am EST, you can still cast your vote for the video you think should take the crown for 2012. Who will it be? You’ll have to tune-in and check back with us on Saturday to find out!
2012 has been an interesting year for the music business. As chart genres shift and technology continues to influence how and what we consume, in-flux trends seem to fly in out of nowhere.The viral sensation breakout star, for example. But can we go back to basics for just a moment? These people are here to entertain us and sing, right? Like, into microphones and send sound waves into the universe. Whether their songs permeated the charts all year or their pipes are ones to keep an eye out in the future, the following 15 voices were the most noteworthy in 2012.
In addition to being the voice behind David Guetta’s “Titanium” and Flo Rida’s “Wild Ones” this year, Sia also wrote the lyrics and melody for Rihanna’s “Diamonds” and her talent should be recognized, damn it.
3. Kendrick Lamar
Through storytelling, K-Dot has the versatility to sound nervous, vulnerable and shrieky, macho and intimidating, soft and robotic, Compton tough, and instructively monotone.
“Payphone” still ringing in our ears and “One More Night” only just now beginning its decent from the top of the charts, Maroon 5 have already begun negotiating the success of their next entry: “Daylight.” The pop titans premiered the melancholy new Overexposed single on Saturday Night Live a few weeks back, and have since worked it into their Grammy Nomination Concert medley. Today it gets a lengthy and crowd-sourced music video, which neatly doubles as a ‘Thank You’ for and a testament to the flesh and blood fans that have helped them in their quest for total chart domination.
Maroon 5 never really get fancy with their performances, probably because they don’t really need to. They are practiced at what they do, and even in the least desirable of circumstances — the SNL soundstage, for one, is notorious for warbling even the most adept of vocalists but Adam Levine sounded just fine there — they put on a tight and enjoyable show. No pomp or circus necessary, and usually Levine just wears a t-shirt. And so it’s no surprise that the medley of hits they performed last night at the Grammy Nomination Ceremony was very laid back but everything it needed to be, and then a little more. Taylor and LL Cool J, we hope you are watching closely, because this is how you do it.