It’s Friday, and the internet has so kindly graced us with two worthy covers to drive us into the weekend:
Last night in Sydney, Lana Del Rey gave Nirvana‘s “Heart Shaped Box” a stormy and orchestral cover. Nirvana has come to be considered sacred territory, just ask Miley Cyrus, who took serious flack for her “Smells Like Teen Spirit” cover, but Lana’s haunting voice makes for an interesting tribute. Her obsession with fame is not without understanding of Kurt Cobain’s obsession with escaping fame, and her belts of “Hey, wait, I’ve got a new complaint” feel almost as tortured as Kurt’s devastating originals, and she somehow managed to make the brutal “I wish I could eat your cancer when you turn black” line sound feminine and delicate. This was a risk, but it seemed to work.
It takes two to tango in Robin Thicke’s new gig as a judge on ABC’s new singing competition show Duets. Along with his co-judges Kelly Clarkson, John Legend and Jennifer Nettles, they flew around the country in search of talented singers to become their duet partners. Undiscovered talent singing with veteran singers sounds like a recipe for an assortment of musical pleasantries. With all the pairing up on Duets, we were curious to find out what duets Robin Thicke loves, and what songs he planned to sing on the show. Read more…
Last night’s Billboard Music Awards was an exhausting extravaganza, one that lasted for three full hours and still managed to feel a bit incomplete. Of course, it didn’t help the show’s cause that many of the biggest names in the music world — Adele, Rihanna, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Lady Gaga, to name just a few — decided that they had better places to be last night than at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, and the show caught some Twitter backlash for last-minute(ish) tributes to Donna Summer and Adam “MCA” Yauch that fell flat.
That said, there were certainly more than a few memorable moments at last night’s show (which we hope you watched while following our @VH1Music Twitter feed). Here are our Top 5 Moments from the 2012 Billboard Music Awards! (Apologies in advance to all the Beliebers, for young Justin’s mostly lip-synced performance of “Boyfriend” did not make the cut.)
5. Kelly Clarkson’s live television debut of “Dark Side”
Presenter Robin Thicke introduced Kelly’s performance of her new single, “Dark Side,” by stating that she was performing the song “for the first time ever.” Of course, that was not entirely accurate, as Kelly performed an AMAZING version of “Dark Side” on VH1 Storytellers last fall. Still, Kelly looked incredibly gorgeous and, not surprisingly, used her powerhouse vocals to blow the roof off the place. Read more…
ABC has a new talent show in the works, and Kelly Clarkson has signed on to the new project. The TV show, Duets, will be a talent quest in the same vein as American Idol, but will be based on competitors performing duets with all ready famous super stars — enter Kelly Clarkson. The basic premise is that pop stars will trawl the country for the perfect duet partner, with ABC stating that the celebrities “Will individually set out on a journey across America looking for undiscovered talent worthy to be their protégés.” Joining Kelly in the quest will be Robin Thicke, Lionel Richie, and Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland.
The show will work as most reality talent shows do, with eight separate pairings and a weekly singing battle to the death. Well, not the death, it’s not the Hunger Games, but you know what we mean — contestants will be eliminated (in the most friendly, still living way possible) until there’s a winner. The prize is a contract with Disney-owned Hollywood Records, and depending on the success of the show, probably a charting single with the dueting pop star. Duets is set to debut this summer, so if you still haven’t got your fill of talent quests, then you’re in luck, because this one promises to be pretty fun with the stars getting hands on. We wonder if there will be any uber-fan experiences with contestants?
Kelly Clarkson is taking a leaf out of Taylor Swift’s book and including cover songs in her set while she’s on tour promoting Stronger. But unlike Swift, she’s not following a city-by-city guide to pop-stars — instead she’s letting the fans choose! She said on stage at the Riverdome in Bossier City, “‘Cause I got here by fans voting for me 10 years ago, so it’s still cool that y’all are still involved in the show,” before proceeding to play Madonna‘s “Crazy For You.” Kelly’s version of the song was heartfelt and reverent, and if we didn’t know better we would have assumed it was one of her own songs!
In Texas, Kelly covered Pistol Annies‘ “Hell On Heels,” (watch it after the jump) to a clearly ecstatic audience. Like Madonna’s pop classic, Kelly covered the country track to perfection, and we’re quietly impressed by her ability to slip between genres with such ease. Her sultry performance was just perfect for the sexy track, and we’re even thinking she could join the Annie’s for a duet. Earlier in the tour, Kelly also gave great performances of Coldplay’s “Fix You”, Carrie Underwood’s “I Know You Won’t” and Cee Lo Green’s “Forget You”, proving definitively that the girl can sing just about anything. We’re looking forward to seeing what else she throws out on tour, and wouldn’t mind making a few requests of our own!
The unsung hero of last night’s Super Bowl was Kelly Clarkson. Between Madonna’s spectacular visual assault at the half time show and M.I.A.’s controversy wielding middle finger, Clarkson barely got a look in for her moving rendition of the National Anthem. And how! Meticulously groomed, Kelly appeared like a glamourpuss in a form fitting black dress, smokey eyes and a sleek hairstyle. Her perfect look matched her flawless vocal — Kelly hit every note with stirring accuracy. Dynamic and moving, the performance show cased Kelly’s beautiful voice and the ease with which she employs it, doing extreme justice to both her talent and the country’s National Anthem.
It might be Madonna Week, but it seems like there’s a generous helping of Kelly Clarkson scooped on top of the Madonna madness. While Madge is taking care of half time entertainment at the Super Bowl, Kelly has been tasked with the honor of singing the national anthem, and we’re just as excited to see her belt it out as we are to see Madonna leaping across the stage in a sparkly catsuit. And it looks like it’s not only us jumping on the Clarkson band wagon — Kelly is shooting up the charts with some impressive steam.
Kelly’s track “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” (watch the video after the jump) has made it to number two on the Billboard Hot 100 today, and if we were in primary school we’d be singing something like “First is the worst, second is the best!” (although number one placeholder, Adele, is most certainly not the worst!). And speaking of Adele, will Kelly be able to topple her this week? We learned the power of an Adele number one last year; and as we’re learning this year, her reign is absolutely unassailable. Adele’s latest number one “Set Fire To The Rain” will be a tough one to beat, especially with Adele’s record at the top, and her forthcoming first post-surgery performance at the Grammys (where Kelly is also performing, albeit less momentously). But interest in Kelly has certainly been piqued this week — will she prove to be the stronger of the two?
Kelly Clarkson Gives “Mr. Know It All” A Sweet Country Remix
We’re really digging Kelly Clarkson‘s country-style recording of “Mr. Know It All”. It’s like someone took one of our most favorite things and bedazzled it or added a kicky beret — we love the original, but we love the upgrade too! [Pop Dust]
Cher Is Not Dead
Poor Cher was the subject of an internet death hoax, but it turns out that she’s thankfully alive and well. While we haven’t yet seen a cheesily wonderful Jon Bon Jovi display of life, we think there’s still time for Cher to post a photo with a sign saying something like, “Do you believe in life after Twitter hoax?” [NME]