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Kelly Clarkson performs at the 2012 Grammys.
Kelly Clarkson performs at the 2012 Grammys.
Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Kelly Clarkson's 'Stronger' shows its strength on the Billboard Hot 100

Is it enough to catapult the tune back to No. 1?

Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger” gains back its strength as the song vaults back up to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 after slipping to No. 4.

But the real story on the chart this week is the success of British boy band The Wanted, who gain their first Top 10 hit as “Glad You Came” soars 23-5. The Wanted should be very glad that “Glee” covered the song last week, helping catapult it up the chart.

Between the former “American Idol” champ and the latest recipients of “Glee’s” largesse are Adele’s “Set Fire To The Rain,” which stays at No. 2, fun.’s “We Are Young” featuring Janelle Monae, which gains three spots to rise 6-4  and last week’s No. 1, Katy Perry’s “Part of Me,” which falls to No. 4, according to Billboard.

The bottom half of the Top 10 is basically rearranging the players with no significant leaps:  Rihanna’s “We Found Love” featuring Calvin Harris move 8-6, Flo Rida’s “Goo Feeling” moves 12-7,  David Guetta’s “Turn Me On” featuring Nicki Minaj fires back 11-8, Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa’s “Young, Wild & Free” zips 14-9 and Minaj’s “Starships” slips one to No. 10

Why do so many tunes slide back up into the Top 10 after falling out? The Grammys. That’s why. Last week, a number of tracks saw huge digital gains following the Grammys so the chart went a little askew. Those tracks have now fallen out of the Top 10 and the previous hits have reoccupied this top 10 spots.

Also, Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” which had climbed to No. 3 following her Feb. 11 death, dives to No. 30.

Three songs, at least of one of them destined for the Top 10, debut on the chart: B.o.B.’s “So Good” comes in at No. 11, Carrie Underwood’s “Good Girl” at No. 24 and Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” at No. 39.
 

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<p>This is Jessica Sanchez, the one &quot;American Idol&quot; female contestant you won't confuse with all of the rest.</p>
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This is Jessica Sanchez, the one "American Idol" female contestant you won't confuse with all of the rest.

Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Semifinals - The Women Perform

After a lackluster night for the 'Idol' Men, could the Women shine?

Tuesday night's "American Idol" wasn't a very good showcase for the season's Top 13 Men.

However, it was a perfectly decent showcase for my ability to do a live-blog for a performance show. I was a bit pitchy at first, but I worked it out and the experience proved that, really, I could recap the phone book.

Thus? I'm ready to go with another live-blog for Wednesday's episode celebrating the Top 12  (unless they sneak in a 13th) Women.

Click through...

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<p>&quot;West of Memphis&quot; producer Peter Jackson and director Amy Berg at the Sundance premiere of the film</p>

"West of Memphis" producer Peter Jackson and director Amy Berg at the Sundance premiere of the film

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Sony Classics picks up Peter Jackson and Amy Berg's 'West of Memphis'

Could it be in the hunt next season?

I'd be curious to know how close "Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory" was to winning this year's Best Documentary Feature prize (which ultimately went to "Undefeated"). It would have been nice to see Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky up there accepting an award for a body of work that saved a man's life.

Some speculated that the presence of Amy Berg's "West of Memphis," produced by Peter Jackson, took some of the sting out of the final film's punch. It bowed at Sundance last month with exclusive insights and interviews in the saga of the West Memphis Three. It also played the Santa Barbara fest a week later.

Sony Pictures Classics has announced today that it has acquired US rights to the film, which could yet pop up in the film awards season and extend the much-need spotlight for this miscarriage of justice.

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<p>Mariah Carey </p>

Mariah Carey

Credit: AP Photo

Mariah Carey plans first post-babies concert for March 1

How can you get in on the action? Is new music coming?

Mariah Carey’s most devoted fans will get the chance to see her March 1 in her first post-baby concert.

Carey will entertain her little lambs in a private show at New York’s Gotham Hall. To attend, you must be a member of her Honey B. Fly fan club and be 21 or over (or accompanied by an adult).

Though the show is extremely limited, we’re hearing less than 100, it will be streamed online live. It is part of the Plot Your Escape concert series. Simultaneous concerts by Maroon 5 in Chicago, Cee Lo Green in Los Angeles and Mary J. Blige in New Orleans will also occur.  P. Diddy will appear with Carey.

No word on if she’ll debut new material, but there’s a chance. She tweeted earlier this week that she was recording vocals on a new song.

To watch the concerts, just click here at 9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST on March 1.

While a tour does not seem to be in the offering, Carey has also announced that she will perform a the Mawazine Festival in Morocco on May 26. That seems altogether fitting given that one of her twins is named Morocco.
 

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<p>WZRD</p>

WZRD

KId Cudi miffed at 'weak' label' over WZRD release: 5 problems with his rant

Bridging that gap between hip-hop and rock audiences is hard, Cudder

Kid Cudi wants audiences to know that his current project WZRD -- which just released its self-titled set -- is not a side project. However, it seems his problem with Universal Republic is that the "weak ass label" is treating it as though it were a side project.

WZRD is a collab between Cudi and Dot da Genius, who has worked with the rapper-slash-rocker since 2006.
Kid Cudi Tweeted some dismay this week that Universal only shipped 55,000 units of "WZRD" to physical retailers. In a series of Tweets:


Ok so just a heads up, my weak ass label only shipped 55k physicals cuz they treated this like some indie side project tax [sic] right off.

So i apologize on behalf of my weak ass major label. And I apologize for the lack of promo, again, my weak ass major label

They tried to rush me thru this so i can just give em another MOTM ["Man on the Moon"], but guess what? F*ck that, next album is WZRD. MOTM3 on hold til 2014

So its def gonna be tough to find one in the stores guys, I'm sorry about that.

Im lettin Universal Republic have it, f*ck it. What they gon' do, spank me?? hahahaha

AND Teleport 2 Me, Jamie aint on the radio!!!! like helloooooooooo????? HIT HIT HIT!!


Cudder (real name: Scott Miscudi) was also driven to shaming some talkative attendees at the "WZRD" listening party in New York last week.

"When two individuals who are putting their life out there through song and they ask for your attention, you give it to them," Cudi told the crowd. "You came here for a purpose... to hear our music. So f*cking listen to it because we're trying to educate you on what we're doing... it's as simple as that!"

Hey, I'd hate that too, if it happened to me. But aside from his fans' inattentions at that event, Kid Cudi seems to be suffering from unrealistic expectations. Below, I outline some problems I see with his expressed misgivings:

1) It's hard to get a hip-hop following to follow you to rock. Look at Universal labelmate Lil Wayne and "Rebirth." That album sold a fraction of what his rap efforts did, and Weezy is one of the biggest names in pop recording today. Kid Cudi has plenty of rock influences in his hip-hop records, but that's what "Man on the Moon: The End of Day" and "Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager" were: hip-hop records. He's picked up guitars at his concerts, but that's not what he's known for. He may want to "educate" listeners on expanding the boundaries of guitar and urban music, but they're not forced to go there with him. Lil Wayne may start skating on a half-pipe at his shows, but that's not why folks are there.

2) Even for hip-hop fans who go with him there, they'd have to have enough exposure to the name WZRD. That wasn't even the final name for the duo until the latter half of 2011, and he'd already changed the name once. Nobody knows who Dot da Genius is, so that doesn't help with two parties earning the one visibility. WZRD wasn't mentioned through Cudi's other Twitter handle; it's being promoted by Kid Cudi himself as something different than Kid Cudi. If that's his game, how could Universal help but follow suit and treat it as a separate entity?

3) Breaking through to rock audiences from scratch is hard. Cudi earned his name because of his "alternative" status, with some material veering outside the normal rap zone. Same goes for rock listeners, and going to where they are. Certainly, it was up to Universal Republic to promote and market partly to rock audiences with this Pixies and Nirvana-inspired effort, but it's not like "Teleport 2 Me, Jamie" was going to be an instant radio hit. Has Cudder even looked at a commercial radio playlist recently?

4) There is no such thing as Universal releasing an "indie" side project. WZRD would probably do better in the hands of an indie, considering the genre and the listenership. It was up to Cudi to sign the line to a label that will support his creative endeavors no matter the genre. Universal isn't a non-profit organization: of course they want albums that sell in excess of 100,000 copies in their early weeks of release, which MotM I and II did. They've done their research...

5) …and according to a report, the number of physical copies that Universal shipped was realistic. Billboard spoke to retail experts, who agreed that buyers would be split between digital and brick-and-mortar purchase, and 55,000 sounds about right. Of course, if Universal put a ton of cash and a few extra months out for WZRD, then those numbers would be better. You could say that about any album. But Universal knows where the money's at. Cudi said that promo and release was rushed, but he at no point mentioned that its quality was compromised, only its sales. (Consider, too, it leaked six days out from release.) Cudi wants to cash a fat paycheck as much as Universal does, but the latter has done the numbers crunch and wanted to move forward, regardless of how good an album it is.

I'm not condoning how traditional major labels do business and treat art and artists. I like "WZRD," though I feel it could have been a little fleshier, a little more developed. It is a perfectly fine album, and if you like your garage rock a little loopy and you love Cudi's voice and raps, you give it a try. I'd hate to think that someone who wants to buy it would have trouble finding it (though look at what consumers have done to the consolidation of record stores already).

However, Cudi's expectations and complaints are shaped by his passion for this project, without similar consideration of its logistics. Now he's telling his fans what to expect, if he has his way: more WZRD, less MotM.

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<p>Davy Jones (far right) and The Monkees</p>

Davy Jones (far right) and The Monkees

Reflections on The Monkees' Davy Jones and his shiny, shiny hair

Farewell to our first crush

Davy Jones wasn’t a teen idol for me. He was much, much more. He was whatever that very first crush is that you have long before you’re a teen or even a tween. I was little-- maybe four--when the Monkees were all the rage, but I remember that I’d feel all silly and gooey inside when I would watch “The Monkees” on Saturday with my older sister, Jeannie, and Davy would come on screen.

Plus, Davy developed crushes with whiplash speed and every time he’d see a new girl he liked--oh, every episode or so-- they added little white stars to his eyes in post-production and they would twinkle even more.  Awwwwwwww. I knew that Davy was looking at some Malibu Barbie, but thinking of me. His hair was shiny as a pony’s and he was as frisky as a young colt...and as non-threatening, which is the key to any young crush.

The musical heroes of our youth are sacrosanct and stay forever pure in our hearts. I remember my editor at Billboard telling me that. It instantly came back to my mind today when I heard of Jones’ passing. Whether your first crush was Jones, Shaun Cassidy, a member of New Kids on the Block or the Backstreet Boys or Justin Bieber, that boyish sprite will forever remain in your heart in some way.

As an adult, I interviewed Jones a few times because of the reunion tours and other assorted ventures, and what I remember so clearly is  the first time I met him, I was shaking as if I were little again. I felt like I should ask him to sign my pillow case or something so I could practice kissing on it (don’t worry, I didn’t).

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<p>Whitney Houston and Rihanna</p>

Whitney Houston and Rihanna

Credit: AP Photo

Hitfix confirms Whitney Houston biopic is a no go

Rep says no film is in the works—with or without Rihanna

Hiftix has independently confirmed that any rumors of a Whitney Houston biopic, featuring Rihanna or anyone else, are totally false.

The internet lit up over the last several hours after the U.K.’s Daily Mail reported that it could happen, with Jennifer Hudson, Vivica Fox and Jordin Sparks also in the running. Sparks co-stars with Houston in the singer's last film, "Sparkle," out this summer.

However,  it looks like the report was false. Clive Davis’s representative confirmed to us that it "100% false."  Davis, signed and mentored Houston at Arista Records. As someone who has covered Davis for nearly two decades, including through many of the Whitney years, the suggestion. And it was.

Even though this report isn't true, we know it’s only a matter of time before someone does start to work on a Houston biopic. As the fascination with her following her death has shown, it’s too interesting and tragic a story for it not to happen, but we hope she gets to rest in peace just a little bit longer.

In other Houston news, Target has pulled a greeting card, in stores long before her death, that poked fun of her love for bad boys.
 

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<p>My Morning Jacket</p>

My Morning Jacket

Credit: HitFix/Katie Hasty

My Morning Jacket, Wilco headline Forecastle Festival

Louisville fest also includes Sleigh Bells, Neko Case and more

The Forecastle Festival curators My Morning Jacket will headline the Louisville event, along with Wilco and Bassnectar.

Other acts for the July 13-15 Waterfront Park fest include Sleigh Bells, Girl Talk, Neko Case, Andrew Bird, The Head and the Heart and Galactic. With more acts to be added, the final line-up will total 70 bands on five stages.

My Morning Jacket’s involvement is a way to give back to the band’s hometown. The band collaborates with the festival’s organizers on the event, which focuses on music, art and environmental activism.

Tickets for Forecastle, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary are $49.50 for single day passes. Three-day weekend and VIP passes are also available.

 

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<p>Jason Isaacs in &quot;Awake.&quot;</p>

Jason Isaacs in "Awake."

Credit: NBC

Review: NBC's 'Awake' walks carefully between two worlds

Great pilot, but does the Jason Isaacs cop drama work long-term?

LA cop Mike Britten, the hero of NBC's new drama "Awake" (premiering tomorrow night at 10), survives a car crash and enters a strange new world where it's not clear what's real and what isn't. He begins splitting time between two separate realities: one where wife Hannah survived the crash while son Rex died, and another where the opposite is true.

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<p>Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson are just weeks away from fans getting to finally see them as Katniss and Peeta in 'The Hunger Games'</p>

Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson are just weeks away from fans getting to finally see them as Katniss and Peeta in 'The Hunger Games'

Credit: Lionsgate

Would you like to see 'The Hunger Games' early in Chicago or Philadelphia?

Lionsgate kicks off the last twenty-four days before release with a new contest

There are just a few weeks left until the opening of one of the year's most-hyped gambles, the big-screen adaptation of the Suzanne Collins novel, "The Hunger Games."

I'm actually seeing the film very soon so I can sit down and interview the cast and crew, and I'm excited to see what they've done.  I've said a few times now that I admire the Collins novels, and I think there's real potential here for a film trilogy that is visceral and thrilling and emotional, and it all depends on whether or not they get this first one right.

I will say this… a friend of mine recently got in touch after a screening of the film, and his succinct reaction was "Buy Lionsgate Stock."  Seems like a bit of an endorsement, eh?

But you don't care whether a film critic gets to see the film early.  You want to know when you get to see it.  And if you're in Philadelphia or Chicago, then I am pleased to report that HitFix may be able to help you with that.

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<p>Robert Duvall (left)&nbsp;and Marlon&nbsp;Brando in &quot;The Godfather&quot;</p>

Robert Duvall (left) and Marlon Brando in "The Godfather"

Credit: Paramount Pictures

As 'The Godfather' heads back to theaters, we look back at its strange dance with Oscar

Surely it deserved more than three trophies

It’s been 40 years since Francis Ford Coppola’s adaptation of Mario Puzo’s seminal crime novel “The Godfather” was released in theaters. To mark the anniversary, Paramount Pictures, in a partnership with Cinemark Theatres, is re-releasing the restored version of the film in 55 Cinemark XD auditoriums on Thursday, March 1.

"There is no greater iconic film than ‘The Godfather,’” states James Meredith, VP of Marketing and Communication at Cinemark in the press release. “It has set the standard for story-telling, launched a generation of great actors and provided movie-goers an unparalleled experience.”

Indeed, “The Godfather” is considered by many to be one of the greatest films ever made, which makes its rather nebulous relationship with Oscar all the more interesting. In looking back, one gets the sense that the AMPAS was in an argument with itself during the 1972 season.

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<p>Eloise Mumford in &quot;The River.&quot;</p>

Eloise Mumford in "The River."

Credit: ABC

The Morning Round-Up: 'The River' & 'Southland'

Lena looks for her father, and Tang has her worst day ever

It's morning round-up time, with brief thoughts on last night's "The River" and "Southland" coming up just as soon as I get the cops to shut my bar mitzvah down...

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