Estelle gave an elegant performance of her track “Thank You” on The Late Show With David Letterman last night. Promoting her new album, All Of Me, which dropped yesterday, Estelle looked stunning with a simple slicked back hair-do and long white halterneck gown. With little aside from her stunning get-up in showmanship, Estelle’s performance was beautifully measured and displayed her strong vocal capabilities. As one of our favorite DIVAS, we love listening to Estelle’s flawless, captivating vocal every time she takes to the stage.
The 2011 Country Music Awards aired on ABC last night, and Nashville’s finest dusted off their boots and gussied themselves up for the national TV spotlight. For the second year in a row, Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley (whose new record, This Is Country Music, is pretty great) proved themselves to be a surprisingly deft and wholly likeable hosting combo, particularly when they’re roasting Kim Kardashian over the spit in song form. There was no “big winner” of the night, per se, but The Band Perry took home a couple of awards (Best New Artist, Best Song for Song Of The Summer contender “If I Die Young”) and Taylor Swift took home the evening’s biggest prize, Entertainer of the Year.
However, the evening’s best moment didn’t involve pandering to Hollywood (Blake Shelton’s raucous version of “Footloose”) or even a huge, pyro-laden production number (sorry, Miranda Lambert!). It occured when Kenny Chesney and VH1 fave Grace Potter each slung an acoustic guitar over their shoulders, hopped on a stool and duetted on a positively gorgeous version of their hit, “You And Tequila.” Of course, we’re suckers for any and all things Grace (those stems!), but the way these two harmonized last night reminded us why we listen to country music in the first place. There’s no slick production, no glossy radio sound, just two great voices (and some palpable chemistry) blending together to make something special. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
The MGM Grand played host to a plethora of pop stars this weekend for the Clear Channel-sponsored iHeartRadio Festival, two nights of genre-spanning, crowd-pleasing pop music. A mix of veterans and newcomers thrilled the (reportedly very drunk) crowd on both nights. The most successful performers were those who stuck to a setlist of hits, like Jay-Z, who may have performed “On To The Next One” but didn’t take its advice about his old songs, including favorites from The Blueprint and The Black Album alongside newer singles like “Empire State of Mind” (with a guest appearance by earlier performer Alicia Keys). Those whose songs were less well-known by the crowd, like Sublime with Rome, were less well-received.
Perhaps the big surprise of the weekend, according to reports, was Jennifer Lopez, who, in a set that spanned her musical career, proved supremely capable of standing among the pop titans of today (with a Pitbull feature on “On the Floor”). Saturday’s “special guest” Sting also more than pulled his weight, backing Steven Tyler on bass early in the evening, then joining Lady Gaga for performances of “Stand By Me” and his own “King of Pain.”
Kenny Chesney‘s fourteenth album Hemingway’s Whiskey came out last September, but standout track “You and Tequila” only this morning premiered on CMT as the album’s fourth single. Chesney may have saved the song, a duet with You Oughta Know bandleader Grace Potter, for the summer, since its late-night, drunk, California love themes suit the warmer weather.
Potter’s Nocturnals have had success on the VH1 Top 20, and country has made its inroads, but can this summery love duet break into next Saturday’s charts (or possibly the race for Song of the Summer)? Your votes, starting next week, will decide.