Inside Music with Melinda Newman
Does he burst Susan Boyle's bubble?
Credit: Peter Kramer/NBC
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas: Andrea Bocelli’s “My Christmas” is the breakout holiday title of the year. Four weeks after its release, the title is poised to climb to No. 1 on next week’s album chart, leap frogging over Susan Boyle’s “I Dreamed a Dream”… maybe.
It’s too soon to tell if Bocelli’s CD, which got a huge boost from a Nov. 30 “Oprah” appearance, will evolve into the monster that Josh Groban’s “Noel” became. The title has sold close to five million copies since its release a few years ago. Bocelli is already closing in on the million mark: this week, “My Christmas” is expected to sell up to 425,000 copies. Speaking of “Noel,” it catapults back up the chart this week (possible because of Billboard’s recent change to allow catalog titles on the Billboard 200) into the top 12.
Boyle’s “Dream,” which set records with sales of 700,000 last week, could possibly surpass “My Christmas,” but Hits Daily Double predicts it will come in around 400,000.
Previously released titles continue to dominate the chart: R. Kelly’s “Untitled” is the only CD released this week slated to enter the Top 10. Hits predicts the sex-drenched set will come in at No. 3, although Taylor Swift, riding the waves of her eight Grammys nods, may overtake him.
What does Lambert have to say about it all?
ABC’s banishment of Adam Lambert continues to be other networks’ gains. His upcoming appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” has been canceled and now he will perform on NBC’s “Jay Leno” instead. As you’ll recall, following Lambert’s controversial appearance on the American Music Awards on Nov. 22, ABC dropped him from “Good Morning America.” CBS’s “This Morning” quickly issued an invitation, which he accepted.
To his credit, after his initial blast of calling ABC’s action discriminatory, Lambert has done everything he can to put out the flames instead of fan them. His most recent tweets continue that pattern. Late last night, he confirmed the Kimmel cancellation and added that he had also been dropped from a New Year’s Eve appearance. “Don’t blame [ABC]]. It’s the FCC heat,” he tweeted. He doesn’t name the Dec. 31 show, but it must be “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.” I guess that’s one NYE’s ball that will have to drop without any assistance from Lambert. Quite frankly, we find the FCC line to be bunk. Neither of those shows airs live (the performances for Dick Clark’s show are taped beforehand), therefore, there would be time to edit or blur out anything that might raise the FCC’s ire.
Interestingly, Lambert will be on ABC on Dec. 9 when he appears as one of Barbara Walters’ most fascinating people of 2010, so there’s not a total ban at ABC of all things Lambert: just performances.
Lambert latest tweet on the imbroglio: “It’ll all blow over. Let’s focus on being positive.” As I discovered when I interviewed Lambert, he’s nothing if not smart. He knows there’s a fine line between getting people talking and turning them off and that he, for better or worse, crossed it with his AMA performance. As he told Ellen DeGeneres on Monday, “I think in hindsight, I look back on it and I go, ‘OK, maybe that wasn’t the best first impression to make.’”
Look for a lighter effort than his debut
Kid Cudi, whose debut CD, “Man on the Moon,” came out too late for the artist to be considered for a best new artist Grammy nod, is already hard at work on his second set.
"People reaching out to me wanting to collab is so bugged out," Cudi says. "I remember when nobody wanted to do any song with me, let alone listen to my shit. It's been humbling since Kanye reached out. People seek my creativity; that's dope.”
Check out who else on on the bill for Dec. 20's 'Christmas in Washington'
Credit: AP Photo
In addition to the star atop the tree, there will be plenty of stars on the ground on “TNT’s Christmas in Washington” Dec. 20 primetime special.
Mary J. Blige, Neil Diamond, Sugarland, Rob Thomas, Usher and his protégé, 15-year-old Justin Bieber, are all slated to appear on the show, as well as President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. The annual event, hosted by George Lopez, benefits the National Children’s Medical Center.
This marks TNT’s 11th presentation of the event, which is in its 28th year.
New rock absent, veterans remain: Are there any surprising 52nd annual Grammy Award nominees?
Taylor Swift and Beyonce scored a number of nominations for the 52nd annual Grammy Awards
Oh yes, it’s ladies’ night.
Kool & the Gang may have first sung the song in 1979, but it was truer than ever 30 years later as Beyonce, Taylor Swift and Lady GaGa are among the top contenders for the 52nd annual Grammy Awards.
Beyonce leads all artists with 10 nods, while Swift fields eight and Lady GaGa five.
We’ll be writing a lot more about the Grammys between now and the Jan. 31 awards show, but here are a few quick observations about the nominations and the omissions.
- Overall, this is the most mainstream group of nominations in years. While the Grammys have grown ever more in line with what’s popular on the radio each year—and that is not necessarily a good thing—we could usually count on some dark horse to inspire water cooler conversation, such as Jazmine Sullivan’s nomination for best new artist last year or Ledisi a few year ago. There’s also usually some album of the year contender that has only appealed to the cognoscenti or geezers, such as last year’s winner, Herbie Hancock’s “River: The Joni Letters.” Not this year. The album of the year contenders were all plucked straight from the upper reaches of the Billboard 200. The only album nominated for album of the year that hasn’t topped the chart is Lady GaGa’s “The Fame,” but it’s been in the top 10 practically longer than the rest of the other nominees combined.
- Whitney Houston is completely shut out. Her label even moved the release of her album, “I Look to You” up a day to make sure it was eligible and forced poor Houston to perform live in that humiliating “Good Morning America” concert and yet she couldn’t eek out even a best female R&B vocal performance nod. That’s not an omission, my friends, that is a total slap down…Also licking their wounds about now? U2. “No Line on the Horizon” has to settle for best rock album and Green Day, whose “21st Century Breakdown” also gets locked out except for best rock album (both groups also got rock song and rock performance nods).
- It’s a bad year for alternative music when it comes to Grammy nods. The Decemberists, who many folks thought had a real shot at album of the year, much less a number of other nominations, were completely locked out. No alternative music album, no nothing. Similarly, Grizzly Bear received zero nominations as did Animal Collective. Instead, David Byrne & Brian Eno’s “Everything that Happens Will Happen Today” gets a slot for best alternative music album. Grammy voters, buy a clue—or get your grandkid to fill out your ballot. Sheesh.
- I have no idea why “Single Ladies” isn’t nominated for Record of the Year and “Halo” is. When you think “record,” think about the totality of the sound of the song: the performance, the production, etc. That’s why this award doesn’t go to the writer; it goes to everyone who crafted and massaged the song. “Single Ladies” boasts a far more interesting production than “Halo,” which does get the nod for Beyonce here. “You Belong to Me” doesn’t belong here. There is absolutely nothing noteworthy about the production and sound of that song other than Taylor Swift sounds on key (did I really just write that?)
- I give the 10,000 or so Grammy voters credit. They completely get the difference between a record and a song here. For example, I would be writing this through my tears if the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling” had been nominated for song of the year. There’s no song there. If we’re going to anoint Swift’s “You Belong to Me,” this was the proper and rightful place to do so. It’s a strong song. Sadly, songs with a traditional verse and chorus, i.e. the kind of songs people will be singing 20 years from now, the don’t get recognized here… they’re all relegated to best country, folk or rock songs. The closest thing here to a real song is “Pretty Wings.” I am a little surprised that Keri Hilson’s “Knock You Down” didn’t get a nod here.
- The Ting Tings for best new artist? Really? Last year would have been more appropriate for them. It almost feels like they’ve peaked already. The Silversun Pickups nomination is nice and well deserved. Zac Brown, Keri Hilson and MGMT are no big surprise. After that trio (and given that Lady GaGa wasn’t eligible), there were a slew of potentials. I would have given the Ting Tings’ spot to including Kevin Rudolf, Diane Birch or Ingrid Michaelson.
- Lady Gaga isn’t nominated for best female pop vocal performance. Was there any female who better represented pop this year than LG? We don’t think so. What’s with that?
- When all else fails and the Grammys want to honor a veteran artist, they take a live selection and treat it as if it’s something special. I personally think there should be a live category and, otherwise, live cuts shouldn’t be eligible. The offenders this year are Daryl Hall & John Oates’ “Sara Smile,” from “Live at the Troubadour” (I was at that show and it was great, but please) and the selections from Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood’s “Live from Madison Square Garden” set. Of course, nothing will ever top Tony Bennett winning the album of the year for his “MTV Unplugged” set. No disrespect to Bennett, but that was a travesty.
What do you think of this year’s slate?
'I Dreamed a Dream' tops 700,000 in opening week
Susan Boyle's "I Dreamed a Dream"
Who’d have thought a frumpy middle-aged British singer could steal the spotlight from the flamboyant, black eye-lined glam rocker?
Susan Boyle, that’s who. The British reality show contestant (as opposed to the US reality show contestant) was already one of the biggest stories of the year, but she just added a doozy of a new chapter. Her debut, “I Dreamed a Dream,” tops the Billboard 200 this week with a staggering 700, 763 copies sold, according to Billboard. That would have been a big number even before record sales started their swan dive eight years ago.
That tally is enough to give Boyle the highest first week sales of 2009, handily topping Eminem’s “Relapse” by nearly 100,000 copies. But we’re not done yet. The amount is the most sold by a debut from a female artist since SoundScan launched in 1991. (Snoop Dogg holds the overall record: his “Doggystyle’ sold 803,000 in 1993). The only question left is who is going to play Susan Boyle in the story of her life… we say Kathy Bates.
In other chart news, Adam Lambert, whom many predicted would top this week’s pole, comes in with a really nice number himself: 198,000. Normally that would have been enough for “For Your Entertainment” to capture the top spot, but this week it only lands him at No. 3, as he also comes in behind Andrea Bocelli’s “My Christmas,” which sells 218,000. That’s looking to be the holiday title to beat this Christmas season. And for those “American Idol” obsessives, Lambert’s sales are more than double Kris Allen’s opening frame of 80,000 copies last week for his self-titled debut. Go ahead and place your bets on how Allison Iraheta’s set will do when “Just Like You” debuts next week.
Despite endless amounts of publicity and lots of positive reviews (this critic excepted), Rihanna can only eek out a 4th place start as “Rated R” moves 181,000 copies. Lady GaGa’s gets a nice double hit: “The Fame Monster,” her eight-song EP, comes in at No. 5, while the repackaged “The Fame,” which includes “The Fame Monster,” jumps from No. 34 to No. 6.
The rest of the top 10 shakes out as follows: Miley Cyrus’s Wal-Mart exclusive leaps from No. 29 to No. 7, Taylor Swift’s “Fearless” rises to spots to No. 8, Carrie Underwood’s “Play On” remains at No. 9 and Norah Jones’ “The Fall” does just that, slipping from No. 3 to No. 10. Last week’s chart topper, John Mayer’s “Battle Studies” goes all the way down to unlucky No. 13.
Although it might not affect the top reaches of the chart, expect a lot of reentries and increased sales next week for the leading Grammy nominees. The nominations will be announced later today and will be covered extensively right here on Hitfix.
'The Hazards of Love' is reinvented as iTunes' first full-length video album
By this time Thursday we’ll know if the Decemberists’ critically acclaimed “The Hazards of Love” received a Grammy nod for album of the year, but in the meantime, the concept CD is receiving the video treatment.
“Here Come the Waves: The Hazards of Love Visualized” becomes the first full-length video album available on iTunes today.
“Here Comes the Waves” recreates “The Hazards of Love” through the creative filters of four filmmakers, Peter Sluszka, Julia Pott, Guilherme Marcondes and Santa Maria, who created animation for segments of the CD. Each auteur took one-fourth of the album and set it to disparate visuals that, somehow, work as a whole, thanks to curator Flux and producer Hornet. (We’re guessing they weren’t born with those names.)
The video album debuted live in Los Angeles at UCLA’s Royce Hall as the band played the entire CD as the images aired.
Watch this official trailer for “Here Comes the Waves.”
Susan Boyle's 'I Dreamed a Dream' leads all titles, Blu-Ray picking up
Black Friday shoppers in Kansas City, Kan.
Credit: AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
For music retailers, Black Friday was a shade of gray. Traditionally the day when strong sales propel merchants from the red into the black, this year’s Black Friday had many music sellers wishing for more.
The biggest seller was, not surprisingly, Susan Boyle’s “I Dreamed a Dream,” according to Billboard. As we’ve previously reported, it was on target to sell around 650,000 units in its first week of U.S. release. The title’s success somewhat caught her label, Sony, by surprise, Billboard reports. Sony anticipated “Dreams” would sell around 250,000 copies, but the CD exceeded expectations by 300-400% at every retail account. Some retailers reported running out of stock, but only for a few hours at a time. The good news is that Boyle is bringing a demographic that might not normally go record shopping into stores: once they are there, they may make several impulse purchases.
Despite Boyle’s appeal, a number of retailers reported music sales down roughly 6% on a comparable –store basis from last year. Helping stop the slide were used CDs, which were strong sellers at the 28-store Newbury Comics chain. “We ran promotions for used product and people just responded and bought stuff for themselves,” Newbury’s head of purchasing Carl Mello told Billboard.
Interestingly, Blu-Ray’s time may have finally come. Retailer say that the high price point has kept many buyers away, but deep discounts on hit movies (spurred by Wal-Mart’s actions) racked up sales for the format.
Reports are still filing in on Cyber Monday, but in a separate story, Billboard said it would not prove to be any holy grail since cheap music deals online are readily available all the time at such outlets as Amazon. Conversely, iTunes offered no special deals yesterday.
Tour starts Jan. 2; album out Feb. 2
Credit: AP Photo
Wednesday night’s performance on "Grammy Nominations Concert Live" by Nick Jonas & the Administration may be your first chance to see the younger JoBro’s solo outing, but it won’t be the last.
The band will start a 14-city tour on Jan. 2, followed by a new album out Feb. 2, according to People.
Jonas Bros.' fans know that Nick was originally signed as a solo act, so this move should come as no surprise. With no disrespect to the contributions by his brothers, Joe and Kevin, Nick is the musical leader of the group in the same way that Taylor Hanson is the top talent within Hanson.
Before any Jonas Bros. fans throw themselves off a building, NJ and the Admin is a side project and the Jonas Bros. will continue. The Jonas Bros. are not breaking up. Step away from the ledge. This just means there’s more Nick to go around.
Backing up Nick in the new venture are three member of Prince’s New Power Generation and Jonas Bros.’s producer John Fields. “The funk R&B rock style we’ were going for is definitely there, “ Nick tells People.
What was morning show thinking?
Chris Brown leaving a courthouse last month on Nov. 19
Credit: AP Photo/Reed Saxon
“Good Morning America” keeps putting its foot in its mouth. Let’s recap, shall we? First, ABC’s morning program cancels Adam Lambert’s Nov. 24 appearance after the network receives more than 1,500 complaints following his salacious show-closer, “For Your Entertainment” on Nov. 22’s “American Music Awards.” CBS’s “The Early Show” quickly grabs Lambert, who performs without incident and manages not to repeat a man-on-man kiss or grind faces into his crotch simulating oral sex.
Team Lambert goes on the offensive, basically accusing anyone who complains about his AMA appearance of being homophobic since no one raised such a fuss when Madonna and Britney Spears locked lips on MTV. I’ll grant him half a point on that one: that kiss took place on cable outlet MTV, which is vastly different than ABC. Plus, let’s not make this wholly a gay vs. straight issue since CBS is still dealing with the firestorm created by the Justin Timberlake/Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction from the Super Bowl several years ago.
But I digress. A few days after cancelling Lambert on the grounds that ABC couldn’t ensure that the delicate sensibilities of the housewives watching “GMA” wouldn’t be offended by something Lambert committed during his performance, “GMA” announced that it would feature an interview and performance with Chris Brown. That same Chris Brown, who is now a convicted felon for assaulting Rihanna. Call me crazy, but I don’t think there’s a mugshot of Lambert floating around. So, if I have this straight, “GMA” is saying that we’ll let you come perform if you hit a woman, but if you’re a man and you kiss another man, that we just can’t have.
So, as you can imagine, “GMA” then starts to catch hell for its latest action. So today, according to Associated Press, “GMA” cancelled Chris Brown’s Dec. 11 performance. The interview with Brown, that will also be on “20/20” will air, but he will not be allowed to perform, and, therefore, promote his new CD (Yeah, we’re sure they won’t even mention that he has a new project). Instead, he’ll explain and apologize for the umpteenth time why he hit Rihanna. ‘GMA” falls under ABC’s News division, not the entertainment division—not that you’d know it by watching most mornings—therefore, it can justify the interview as a news story.
In some ways, this is the only way that “GMA” could handle this once it bungled the Lambert appearance, but I wish the show had simply grown a pair and kept Lambert’s performance as slated. Then it could have also gotten a news scoop: the first interview with him about his AMA appearance and the aftermath. Instead, it then committed another blunder that it had to right.