Our favorite part of American Idol is always that final moment when the winner is all verklempt and overwhelmed and forced to sing his or her (finally, this year, her!) winning song live under completely surreal circumstances. That’s the best part of the season, isn’t it? It’s why we let them put us through so much bloated programming leading up to that moment. So last night (May 16), Candice Glover was crowned our newest winner of Idol, and we got to see the her smile and cry her way through her coronation song, “I Am Beautiful.”
But as warm as that made us feel inside, we wanted to hear the real track, and now we’ve got it! The studio version of Glover’s official single doesn’t offer up any surprises — her vocals soar over the clean production — but it’s a solid showcase of the newest Idol’s talents. Hear the empowering track below. More »
The Weeknd has premiered the title track from his forthcoming album Kiss Land, and it is an absolute monster. Clocking in at 7:41, “Kiss Land” takes Abel Tesfaye‘s sinister lothario thing to absurd new heights — lyrically, of course, but also because the beat uses a looped female scream. Combined with the creepy funhouse chimes, the whole first half of the song feels like the neon single artwork is advertising a seedy amusement park for groupies.
The Weeknd is no stranger to doing a long, two-in-one song (see: “House of Balloons/Glass Table Girls” or “The Party & After Party”), but the transition halfway through this Silkky Johnson-produced track is a real stunner, the serrated beat that follows making for a “Pyramids”-level switch-up. And like that Frank Ocean suite, there’s talk of stripping here (“She grind hard for tuition”). The song closes out with the “this ain’t nothing to relate to” hook we first heard in Tesfaye’s “John Carpenter” teaser video. Take a tour through “Kiss Land” below. More »
We’re just a day away from watching Kanye West properly debut new material on the season finale of Saturday Night Live on May 18. No more Vine videos or shaky Hudson Mohawke footage. But first, the man who claims he’s no celebrity has the very celebrity-like duty of appearing in a string of SNL promos along with host Ben Affleck and cast-member Fred Armisen.
For the first one of the bunch, Yeezy is wearing a giant bandage on his forehead, which it isn’t there later, so he’s at least being a good sport about that whole paparazzi pratfall from earlier this week. The clips have an overall feeling like everyone’s trying to get out of the studio as soon as possible, so they’re either really uninspired or really impressive in their sense of forced awkwardness. Check them out up top. More »
This week was all about singing competitions — Candice Glover won American Idol while Randy Jackson announced he’ll be leaving the show, while Christina Aguilera and Cee-Lo Green announced plans to reclaim their judge’s seats on The Voice.
In the world of LP drama, Demi Lovato‘s new album, Demi, was met with mixed reviews — while Daft Punk mania reached an all-time high as the French house duo released a live stream of Random Access Memories on iTunes. As always, our reliable readers had a lot to say about the latest pop news.
Check out some of this week’s best comments below! More »
The Billboard Music Awards are doled out based on chart success, sales and touring performance, so you have to respect that they’re the one awards show that’s at least up front about this whole spectacle being about money and not art. But because they’re based on readily available numbers, you know what you’re getting. That makes the BBMAs perhaps the most unnecessary of music awards shows (all of which are unnecessary on some level).
However! The Billboard Awards are also great because when you’re using the charts as the metric for quality, then you only hob-knob with the biggest of the big names in pop music. Thus, the collection of performers and presenters here comprises pretty much everyone who matters in music. That’s how you get Prince sharing the stage with peers like Pitbull. It’s ludicrous, but it’s also a show of music’s incredible reach. You’ve all heard almost all of this stuff. So that makes this a very populist awards ceremony, perhaps even one of the last hallmarks of the musical monoculture. Or maybe it’s just a cash-grab for acts who’ve already grabbed all the cash.
Whichever it is, you know you’ll watch it. So read on for everything you need to know about the 2013 Billboard Music Awards. (Oh, they air live on ABC from Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena on Sunday, May 19 at 8 p.m. ET. You probably need to know that, too.) More »
By now, you’ve likely already read the big news that Candice Glover was crowned winner of season 12′s American Idol, with fellow finalist Kree Harrison placing as runner-up after America voted on their Wednesday night finale performances. The two-hour finale came exactly four months after this season kicked off with new judges, Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban.
It’s been an eventful season, and not just on stage. Spats between panelists Mariah and Nicki typified almost every episode, and the only original Idol judge, Randy Jackson announced that after 12 seasons, this would be his last. Auditions for the next season are already gearing up and it’s still up in the air who will be sitting on the judges panel. But I have to say, I’ve enjoyed the ups and downs this year, and hope the next is just as strange.
But more importantly, let’s talk about the finale! This was a star-studded event, with performances from the golden honey angel princess, Mariah Carey, as well as Keith Urban, former judge Jennifer Lopez (accompanied by Pitbull), The Band Perry, Adam Lambert, Frankie Valli, Adam Lambert and Jessie J.
Surprised? I mean, how else were they supposed to fill up two hours of “…and the winner is…”? More »
Did You Hear?
:: Lady Gaga is back on her feet and out of her golden wheelchair. And she’s back on social media, too. The signer posted the above photo, along with the message, “It is a dangerous place where we put ART, but sacred where we make it.” [Little Monsters]
:: Demi Lovato has a five-year plan, in that she wants to be a mom in five years. “At the end of the day, yes, I want to be a musician and I have a lot of goals, but my biggest goal in life is having a family,” she told MTV News. [MTV]
:: Choreographer Wade Robson broke his silence about his Michael Jackson molestation claims. Robson told Matt Lauer, ”This is not a case of repressed memory. I have never forgotten one moment of what Michael did to me, but I was psychologically and emotionally completely unable and unwilling to understand that it was sexual abuse.” [TODAY]
:: Remember Tyrese (before he signed a lifetime exclusivity contract with Fast & Furious)? Remember Ginuwine? Remember Tank? Well the three R&B studs have teamed up as TGT for the album 3 Kings. And they’ve just premiered the video for “Sex Never Felt Better” to hold you over until the LP arrives later this year. [Vibe]
After the jump, find out which music acts you can catch on TV today. More »
EDITOR’S NOTE: Please welcome American Idol Season 6 contestant/guest contributor Chris Richardson, who not only live-tweeted the Idol finale from the audience for us (see a roundup of his tweets below), but also summed up the spectacle with the following recap.
American Idol definitely pulls out the stops with special guests and flashy performances. A lot of excitement was built around two girls being up for the big award, from the red carpet chatter to the talk around the crowd and judges. Other years seemed to have a little more excitement, though, when it came to the Idol finale.
I was impressed by the actual live performances, but as a member of the audience, some were guests were pre-taped and brought down the excitement of the room. I feel like the judges weren’t as involved this go-around, and was kind of hoping I’d see Nicki get up there and rip the stage.
I rooted for Kree Harrison, but Candice Glover really did show her pipes live, which impressed me fully. Next year I hope they bring more idols back and have more guests and performances at the finale. That’s what the people want to see. All in all, the energy in the Nokia was “okay,” and nobody seemed surprised at the winner. I wish Candice the best of luck in her future. And I hope Idol can liven up the show a little more next year. Maybe even have Chris Richardson perform (shameless plug). I won’t pre-tape mine. — Chris Rich More »
Season 12 of American Idol premiered on January 16, and four months later to the day, Candice Glover was crowned the winner. The 23-year-old Beaufort, South Carolina native’s smooth, soulful vocals helped propel her to being a favorite among this year’s Idol pack early on, and her performances were more often than not praised week after week by judges Randy Jackson, Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban.
Last week saw the elimination of third-place contestant Angie Miller, leaving only Candice and Season 12 runner-up Kree Harrison standing in the finale. Texan hopeful Kree, also 23, also emerged as a viewer favorite thanks to her heartfelt, countrified take on her musical selections over the past four months. More »
Robin Thicke‘s got a stone-cold hit on his hands with “Blurred Lines,” thanks in no small part to the relaxed raciness of the music video. And his appearance on The Voice. Oh, and having Pharrell and T.I. on the track certainly helps, too. But also, it’s just a really good song! And doesn’t it make you feel warm and fuzzy inside when an actual good song is successful?!
Anyway, Thicke brought Pharrell along for a performance of the single on The Ellen DeGeneres Show earlier today (May 16). The singer was decked out in a black suit, while Mr. Neptunes donned a white one and provided falsetto yelps and hypeman hollers. The guys played it cool to start, with a trio of backup model/singers, and then they headed into the crowd to heat things up. Check it out up top.