After the Beyontroversial performance of the National Anthem at President Obama’s inauguration, there has been an incredible amount of focus on whether or not performers are singing the “Star Spangled Banner” without the aid of a backing track, the likes of which have not seen since the days of Milli Vanilli. Beyoncé came under extreme fire for lip-synching the Francis Scott Key’s patriotic ode to our revolutionary brethren, and after watching Alicia Keys perform the anthem tonight just before the start of Super Bowl XLVII, she clearly wanted to avoid any such controversy.
Although only the Superdome’s sound operator knows for sure whether or not there was any audio tomfoolery going on before kickoff tonight, to our ears, Keys’ version of the “Star Spangled Banner” seemed like it was sung AND played live (on the piano, no less). Why do we feel like this performance was “real”? For one, it was one of the slowest renditions of the song that we’ve ever heard. Secondly, much like Mrs. Carter’s defiant version at her press conference on Thursday, Keys deliberately paused in certain, semi-unorthodox spots of the song to verbally riff in such a way that seemed almost pre-calculated to ward off lip-synching accusations. Her voice, which some have been saying has been a bit pitchy of late, sounded as good as we’ve heard it in some time. But that’s just our take. What do YOU think?
Watch Alicia Keys sing the “Star Spangled Banner” below!
Sadly, the answer to that question is “No.” Or, if you’re an optimist, “Not yet!” Country singer Gary Allan stormed the album charts at No. 1 this week, while You Oughta Know alumni the Lumineers are clapping and stomping right behind him at No. 2. Here’s a look at this week’s Nielsen SoundScan sales figures:
“HO HEY,” LET’S GO: The self-titled debut album from folky jangle-pop upstarts the Lumineers hits No. 2 on this week’s chart, a new high for the Denver trio. The sons of Mumford‘s performance on the Jan. 19 SNL certainly didn’t hurt, nor did “Ho Hey”’s prominence in all those Silver Linings Playbook TV ads. The band is up for Best New Artist at next month’s Grammy Awards, and they also landed a prime slot on this year’s Coachella bill. Meanwhile, “Ho Hey” has now crossed the 3 million sales mark, after selling 141,000 digital copies this week (good for #3 on the singles chart). No matter how big they get, we’ll always remember when they came by our office last summer for a You Oughta Know Live set.
SINK “FRIDAY”: While the beef between Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj continues to be this year’s most propulsive American Idol narrative, it hasn’t done anything for Ms. Minaj’s sales. Her second album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded freefalls 29 spots on this week’s chart to No. 115, after falling seven spots the week prior. The set has sold 805,000 copies to date, which is certainly nothing to scoff at, but hearing Nicki bicker with Mimi hasn’t exactly sent new fans running to the stores to pick up her album. Neither Carey nor auxiliary judge Keith Urban —we keep forgetting he’s even on the show!— have current products they’re pushing, so their Idol sales impact has yet to be felt.
“The one thing that you cannot doubt is that she can sing. She absolutely can sing,” Keys told Capital FM. “All the rest of the ‘whys’ or ‘whatever,’ we know that she can deliver and she did deliver that song really beautifully.”
“I thought it was funny because the weather down there was about 46 or 44 degrees and for most singers that is just not good singing weather… she did a beautiful job with the pre-record… next time I’ll probably do the same,” the Queen of Soul, who performed at Obama’s 2009 inauguration, told ABC News.
The legendary Broadway star fielded only the toughest of questions (how could one possibly say something mean about Mandy Patinkin?!) from Bravo’s Andy Cohen. “SHE WAS SINGING LIVE I DON’T CARE WHAT ANYONE SAYS!” she said on Wednesday’s episode of Watch What Happens Live.
Yesterday was indeed a day to celebrate American political traditions and tremendous achievements in civil rights, but there were also plenty of fashions to covet and musical performances to look forward to in between the peaceful transfer of power. Capping off a long week of celebrity events in support of Barack Obama‘s second term, Beyoncé, Kelly Clarkson and James Taylor had the honor of performing during the official inauguration ceremony, live from the West Front of the U.S. Capitol. Taylor kicked things off with “America the Beautiful,” defending the right to wear fleece in public (and later providing astute political analysis for NBC), while Kelly dazzled and impressed the likes of Senator Chuck Schumer with her powerful version of “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee.”
“Wow” is right! Season 12 American Idol hopefuls take note: the AI OG remains the gold standard.
Hosted by Michelle Obama and Jill Biden (there to make sure Leslie Knope doesn’t make a move on her husband) Saturday’s children’s event will take place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and will also feature performances from the likes of Far*East Movement, fun., John Legend, Marc Anthony, Mindless Behavior and members of the Glee cast. Despite the wide cross-section of musical talent, all eyes will be on Katy to see what political piece of clothing she could possibly wiggle herself into this time.
David Letterman hates tattoos. And we’ll chalk this up to him being an ol’ school player. Alicia Keys stopped by Live on Letterman in beautiful yellow and blue two piece ensemble to perform her relatable ballad “Brand New Me.” But before she could perform the retrospective on finding her voice and identity after a relationship has ended, she chatted with Letterman on family life. Letterman being the anti-tattoo grump he was to Bieber, didn’t quite scold Alicia for her husband’s tattoos, but he did have way too many questions. Read more…
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.
Having created what’s sure to be a sing-along bar anthem for years to come, Gotye’s “Somebody I Used to Know” is a monster. Shout out to Kimbra for the solid assist, too!
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.
Through storytelling, K-Dot has the versatility to sound nervous, vulnerable and shrieky, macho and intimidating, soft and robotic, Compton tough, and instructively monotone.
Bloggers have changed the game. Alicia Keys‘ can thank the blogger over at Showbiz411 for the copyright infringement lawsuit she’s been slapped with by songwriter Earl Shuman. Because of this post noting the similarities between Keys’ chart topper “Girl On Fire” and the Eddie Holman 1970 classic “Hey There Lonely Girl,” one of the living songwriters decided he wanted in on the mula being made from Keys’ hit single from her fifth album of the same title. Read more…
Performing together on 12.12.12 to raise awareness for the victims of Hurricane Sandy, these world-renowned, A-list artists will all help The Robin Hood Foundtation raise funds to rebuild communities and lives of those affected by the disastrous storm. Here at @VH1, we’ll be live-streaming the 5-hour long concert at 121212concert.vh1.com, so bookmark the page and feel free to donate what you can as you catch the historical night right here alongside us. If you can’t find an internet connection, tune-in to VH1 Classic or Palladia to watch the show over good old-fashion television airwaves!
P!nk vocally has the ability to cover the gamut of hard rock to soulful R&B. Over in the UK P!nk put her trademark stamp on a cover of Alicia Keys‘ hit single “Girl On Fire” on BBC Radio. Both Storytellers singers have vastly different musical styles. P!nk’s badass rocker chick influences her music versus Alicia Keys’ more safe pop and R&B zone. Weirdly enough the two sound quite similar in their different variations of “Girl On Fire,” and we think it’s the yelling the song almost demands. Read more…