<p>Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze</p>

Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze

Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersox ink label deals post-'Idol'

DeWyze heads to 19/RCA, while Bowersox goes to 19/Jive

Hitfix has confirmed that “American Idol” winner Lee DeWyze and runner up Crystal Bowersox have already secured record deals.

DeWyze has signed with 19/RCA, while Bowersox signed with 19/Jive. 19 is the company started by “American Idol” founder Simon Fuller, 19 has right of first refusal to sign the 10 finalists to a label, while the RCA label group (now part of Sony) has the first rights to the acts through its affiliation with 19. While these deals were announced much faster than usual, the question is never which label the winner will sign with, just which imprint within that label group.

In fact, all of the winners have gone through 19 and  RCA-owned labels:  Kelly Clarkson (RCA), Ruben Studdard (J Records), Fantasia (RCA),  Carrie Underwood (Arista Nashville), Taylor Hicks (Arista),  Jordin Sparks (Jive), David Cook (RCA) and Kris Allen (Jive).

DeWyze and Bowersox already have singles in the marketplace: As of Friday morning, DeWyze’s cover of U2’s “Beautiful Day”  is at No. 3 on iTunes’ songs chart, while  Bowersox’s version of Patty Griffin’s Up to the Mountain” is at No. 7. No official word on when their albums will be released, but we should look toward the fourth quarter, when many previous winners have put out their first post-“Idol” effort, according to Billboard, which first broke the news of the record deals.


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Lee DeWyze before the American Idol finale

Lee DeWyze won "American Idol," but didn't make the top spot of the Music Power Rankings.

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Music Power Rankings: Apple back at the top and, of course, Lee DeWyze

What is Courtney Love doing in here? Hint: It has nothing to do with her music

Frankly, this is one of those weeks where it seems like there were more losers than winners:  “American Idol’s” ratings for its March 26 finale were down 16% from last year, both U2 and Christina Aguilera announced tour postponements and record sales continue to plummet.

Even our No. 1 pick, Apple (for the second consecutive week) had a mixed week. Sure, it overtook Microsoft in market cap, but on the down side, the Department of Justice is investigating iTunes allegedly pressuring record labels to not participate in Amazon’s $2.99 Daily Deal program. Amazon is the second largest digital retailer behind iTunes.

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Lee DeWyze singing during the American Idol season 9 finale.

Lee DeWyze sings during the "American Idol" season 9 finale.

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Listen: 'American Idol' winner Lee DeWyze's first single, 'Beautiful Day'

Should Bono be worried?

Bono can rest easy. While he recuperates from some nasty back surgery, his day job as U2’s lead singer is completely safe. Lee DeWyze may have won “American Idol,” but his first single, a cover of U2’s “Beautiful Day” really makes us miss that Irish lad.

Awash in layers and layers and more layers of strings and guitars and drums, DeWyze’s version is a bit of a high speed collision, all designed to hide the fact that his voice is serviceable, but nothing exceptional.

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<p>Big Boi</p>

Big Boi

Watch: Big Boi loses his head in video for ‘Shutterbugg’

Outkast-er falls apart, literally, over his love life

Outkast's Big Boi loses his head over, what else, a girl in the video for “Shutterbugg,”  from his upcoming solo album  “Sir Luscious Left Foot:  The Son of Chico Dusty.” The video is seems deceptively simple upon first viewing, but it has some very fun image, such as the puppet band members and the nice cameo from Soul II Soul’s Caron Wheeler. We also get to see the Big Boi fall apart, literally.

We like that they have fun creating a bar scene with only a few kegs, lots of red plastic cups, and a girl and the scene where he slices open his own head is pretty cool.

Otherwise, the video (and we think have no idea if this was intentional) plays out like totally unrelated pictures in a photo album. The scenarios, whether it be the lighted up dancers in all black or the low-riding, Technicolor car have nothing to do with each other.

It’s not a very compelling song, we’re sorry to say, but the video bears at least  a few viewings just to catch everything going on. And to pick out your next camera.

On a side note, we know product placements in videos is commonplace now, but the Crown Royal shot in the first few seconds is so blatant, it’s jarring.




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Watch: Rihanna morphs into Slash for 'Rockstar 101' music video

Watch: Rihanna morphs into Slash for 'Rockstar 101' music video

What's with the ram head gear?

When I wanted to be a rock star growing up, all I got was a hairbrush for a microphone and a broom for a guitar. My, how times have changed. Rihanna wants to be a rock star and she’s got way more toys than I ever did. The only thing she’s missing, to hear her tell it, “is a black guitar,” but more about that later.

We’re not sure what crawling around on all floors in nothing but chain mail and headdress with ram horns on it has to do with being a rock star and we don’t understand it any more after watching the video for “Rockstar 101" several times. Simlarly, turning into Slash—the truly amusing part of the video—has also got to be the strangest, if not hottest, homage the guitarist has ever been paid. Toward the end, Rihanna does get said black guitar, plus a hat like Slash wears, sun glasses and long curly hair. He plays on the track; maybe he was busy the day of the video shoot?

When you’re this rich, you really get to play dress up in body paint and you get to be shot by the most amazing photographers in the world. Plus, you get to grab your breasts in videos sheathed in designer wear and people think it’s hot, not lewd.

The song is a dramatic, repetitive, grinding  track with no hook or melody within miles. It’s odd. Rhianna’s “Rated R” has spawned a hit in “Rude Boy,” but basically it has been an album for Rihanna to work out some issues as she becomes an adult. Anyone who fell in love with “SOS” or “Umbrella” has surely wondered where that girl went.

Both Rihanna and Lady GaGa have brought performance art into the pop mainstream in a way that we’re not sure we’ve ever seen before (sorry, Madge). It seems to be working better for Lady GaGa right now than Rihanna: after half a year, “Rated R” has yet to hit the million mark in sales and that’s  after at least four singles. Maybe it’s too jarring a switch from her earlier music.

What do you think?  Do you miss the old Rihanna or embrace the new one?

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Beady Eye

Oasis is now Beady Eye.

Credit: Lawrence Watson

Liam Gallagher changes Oasis' name to Beady Eye

Steve Lillywhite produces Noel Gallagher-less band

What do you get when you take Noel Gallagher out of Oasis? A Beady Eye, that’s what.  That’s the new name of the Liam Gallagher-led band composed of Oasis-ites Gem Archer, Andy Bell and Chris Sharrock. Bell, who played bass in Oasis, has moved over to guitar. Fans had been waiting months for Liam to deliver the new name after  stating earlier this year that the Noel-less band would not continue under the Oasis name, but would continue on as a recording unit.

The quartet is recording its Beady Eye debut with producer Steve Lillywhite. No label affiliation has been announced. Oasis’s last album, 2008’s “Dig Out Your Soul,” was distributed in North America via Warner Music Group’s Reprise Records, after the band’s long affiliation with Epic Records in North America ended.  A new single is expected before year’s end.

Noel left the band last August—apparently this time for good—shortly before Oasis was set to take the stage at the Rock en Seine festival outside of Paris.

In the meantime, a 3-CD/1 DVD Oasis collection, “Time Flies…1994-2009” comes out June 15.

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Gorillaz step in for U2 at Glastonbury following Bono's back surgery

Gorillaz step in for U2 at Glastonbury following Bono's back surgery

British date marks animated band's only U.K. festival appearance

Less than two days after U2 pulled out of its headlining spot at Glastonbury, Gorillaz will replace the Irish band at the U.K. festival.

The animated band stepped in after U2 canceled Glastonbury, as well as the next leg of its U.S. tour, following lead singer Bono’s emergency back surgery.

"This is going to be Gorillaz' only U.K. festival appearance, and it will be a massive audio-visual spectacle which will really ignite the Pyramid on the Friday night, with Muse, then Stevie Wonder to follow," said festival organizer Michael Eavis, in a statement in Billboard.

Gorillaz will play on June 25. This year marks Glastonbury’s 40th anniversary.


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<p>Christina Aguilera</p>

Christina Aguilera

Listen: New Christina Aguilera track with M.I.A., 'Elastic Love'

Plus, the hear the full version of 'I Hate Boys'

We don’t know who made “Not Myself Tonight” the first single from Christina Aguilera’s  forthcoming “Bionic” set, but it looks like they got the weakest track out of the way.  After  “I Hate Boys" leaked last week, we now have “Elastic Love,” co-written by M.I.A. It’s Aguilera like you’re never heard her and she sounds great. Gone are the vocal gymnastics, replaced by a robotic, yet still recognizable, monotone.

The song is a hypnotic, electro-synth filled tune with adorably inane lyrics like  “It I was a ruler I’d try to set you straight, but your love is like a sharpener, it really grates.” And then she gets all Miss Grammer on us with ”Rubber band was an analogy/you can even say it’s a metaphor.”  It’s like a nursery rhyme for adults set to the most infectious, trance track you can imagine. We would love to hear XTina and M.I.A. perform this tune together. Maybe M.I.A. won’t be missing in action for the video.

I’m not so sure that top 40 radio will gravitate toward this one, but dance clubs and adventurous radio programmers are going to be all over this like a cat on catnip.

Idolator has both tracks up in their entirety. Click here to listen to them.

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<p>Greyson Chance</p>

Greyson Chance

Ellen DeGeneres signs Greyson Chance to new label, eleveneleven

What happened to Interscope? Was the whole thing a media ploy all along?

After one year as a judge on “American Idol,” Ellen DeGeneres has certainly seen enough good and bad singing to know what she likes.  And she likes Greyson Chance. On her television show today (May 26) she announced that she’s starting a record label, Eleven Eleven, and her first signing is, you guessed it, Chance.

Here’s the thing though, there’s so much of this that remains unclear that we’re trying to get answers about. First off, we and other places widely reported that Chance had signed with Interscope. Plus, we talked to a source who told us that Interscope chairman Jimmy Ienner had directly signed him and that Geffen chairman Ron Fair was handling A&R duties.

Here’s what we’re trying to figure out: Is DeGeneres’s label going through Interscope?  Why did the rumors float out (which Interscope’s representative never confirmed for us) that Chance had signed with Interscope? Has this whole thing been a big media ploy all along going back to the original YouTube video of Chance performing “Paparazzi” at his Oklahoma school assembly and then appearing on DeGeneres's show two weeks ago while Lady GaGa called in? (By the way, LG's manager is now co-managing Chance, along with Madonna's manager). Either this was all planned or Chance is the luckiest kid ever.

This is DeGeneres’s second go-round with a label. In the ‘90s, she started an Atlantic-distributed label called Soda Jerk. I interviewed her about it  for a Billboard story and she clearly knew music back then and was very actively pursuing a number of artists, one in particular, whom she lost to another label.  I was impressed with her love of music, although she was still figuring out how to navigate the label system.  Soda Jerk, which quietly went away, also put out “Taste This,” a recording of one of DeGeneres’s stand up shows.

We’ll update this story as we find out more.

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Listen: Ne-Yo's in love with a 'Beautiful Monster'

Is this a new direction for the R&B superstar?

Someone’s got a rocket ship and they’re not afraid to use it. As big as Ne-Yo is, we have the feeling he's poised to explode into the stratosphere with his new album out in September.

But first we have the debut single, “Beautiful Monster.” The track, co-written and co-produced with Stargate, is a total electronic, space age-y, hand-clap creation and the contrast between the sterility of the music and the warm vulnerability of his voice is exhilarating.  We feel like he may jet pack into the atmosphere at any point.

Like many of Ne-Yo’s hits, “Beautiful Monster” mines the territory between love and hate. He’s in love with a woman, who’s “playing with his heart and playing with his mind.” But in the time-honored tradition of such songs as the great “Use Me” by Bill Withers,  Ne-Yo doesn’t mind at all, and, in fact, wouldn’t have it any other way.

It’s a slow groove, hypnotic song that doesn’t have the melodic lifts and charms of his past hits, but it’s compelling in its own way. He also throws in little exhalations that recall his musical idol, Michael Jackson.
So open your ears and listen as Ne-Yo tries on something a little different from what he’s served us before.

And while you’re on MySpace, click on the link to his ballad “Mad.” It’s been played a staggering 99 million times. Don’t you want to be the click that makes it 100 million?



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