Beyonce has Pepsi, Taylor Swift has Diet Coke. Swift’s new commercial for Diet Coke premieres tonight on “American Idol.”
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You're never too old to feel 22
Beyonce has Pepsi, Taylor Swift has Diet Coke. Swift’s new commercial for Diet Coke premieres tonight on “American Idol.”
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What's that about a 'From Justin to Kelly' sequel?
Kelly Clarkson will be rocking around the Christmas tree this holiday season.
Clarkson told CMT Radio Live with Cody Allan that she is cutting the Christmas set. “I’ve been dying to make a Christmas record for more than a decade and I’m finally making one,” she says. She adds it will probably be her favorite record that she makes because she loves Christmas. No word on a release date yet.
In addition to producer Greg Kurstin, Clarkson will work with Brooks & Dunn’s Ronnie Dunn on the seasonal record, according to Idolator. The album follows her current greatest hits set.
Clarkson also revealed that she didn’t want to do the “From Justin to Kelly” movie, but was “legally obligated....I think Jimmy Fallon and I should do” a sequel. Oh, from your lips to God’s ears...
Clarkson will hit the road with Maroon 5 on the Honda Civic Tour, which starts Aug. 1 at St. Louis’s Verizon Wireless Amphitheater.
If you need your daily dose of Clarkson, she will appear on tonight's "American Idol," the show where, as you know, it all began for the Season One winner in 2002.
And, in case you were wondering, she also plans to have yellow roses at her wedding. “I’ll be drunk at the end,” she also added.
Alabama Shakes, Ben Harper and others also take part in PBS's Memphis salute
Is there anything Justin Timberlake can’t do? His album, “The 20/20 Experience,” tops the charts for the a third time this week, he’s on a stadium tour this summer with buddy Jay-Z, he generally seems to knock them dead wherever he goes.
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Things take a very dark turn, literally...
In the new video for “Heart Attack,” Demi Lovato’s current single, there are two Lovatos duking it out. There’s the mankiller Lovato, a full-on rocker Lovato with her kohl-lined eyes, wind-machine blown hair, and the vulnerable Lovato, with minimal make-up, face freshly scrubbed with her hair pulled back,trading verses.
They’re meant to provide a contrast between the Lovato who can love ‘em and leave ‘em when she doesn’t really care about the dude vs. the Lovato who thinks she’ll have the titular “heart attack” if she really has to show what the feels.
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Find out what he is only the second artist to achieve
Bruno Mars finds himself in elite company as he lands his fifth No. 1 tune on the Billboard Hot 100 with “When I Was Your Man.”
He ties with fellow solo male artists Diddy, Ludacris, Prince and Lionel Richie for taking a quintet of tunes to the top. The only solo males act who have gone to No. 1 more are Elvis Presley, Phil Collins, George Michael, Usher, Paul McCartney Elton John, Stevie Wonder, and Michael Jackson, who tops them all with 13 trips to the top, according to Billboard.
Additionally, his tune, which features only his vocals and a piano, marks only the second time an artist has hit No. 1 with such a spare track: Adele’s “Someone Like You” was the first in 2011.
“When I Was Your Man” knocks “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz out of the top spot down to No. 2. It looks unlikely that the hit will return once again following six non-consecutive weeks at the top as it falls in streaming, sales, and airplay.
Pink’s “Just Give Me A Reason,” featuring fun.’s Nate Ruess continues its march to No. 1, as it climbs 5-3. Similarly, Rihanna’s “ Stay,” featuring Mikky Ekko moves up two spaces, 6-4.
Justin Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie,” featuring Jay-Z falls two spots to No. 5, as Timberlake’s album, “The 20/20 Experience,” spends its third week at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
Former chart topper “Harlem Shake,” from Baauer drops 4-6, while Macklemore & Lewis’s “Thrift Shop” follow-up, “Can’t Hold Us,” featuring Ray Dalton, leaps eight spots to enter the top 10 at No. 7.
Country duo Florida Georgia Line sees its hit “Cruise” re-enter the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 8 following the pair’s win as top vocal duo at Sunday night’s ACM Awards and the release of a remix with Nelly (the song also vaults back to the top of Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart).
The top 10 rounds out with two tracks each taking one step backward: Drake’s “Started From The Bottom” slips 8-9 and Imagine Dragon’s “Radioactive” slides 9-10.
What Paisley told me about the song
Do intentions matter? As controversy swirls around Brad Paisley and LL Cool J’s “Accidental Racist,” a song on Paisley’s new album, “Wheelhouse,” out today, the criticism is coming fast and furious.
To be sure, from a musical standpoint, the song is reductive and somewhat naive...and that’s just Paisley’s part. Don’t get me started on LL Cool J’s rap, which I will delve into more later. But if you can get past the awkwardness and clunkiness, the song raises some interesting issues that we like to pretend don’t exist, but still do.
I spent some time with Paisley recently for a cover story for the current issue of Country Weekly magazine. We talked at considerable length about “Accidental Racist.” He said he didn’t write the song to be “provocative,” but that he also didn’t want to pull any punches. He’d been accused of being racist once when he’d worn a music act's t-shirt with a Confederate flag on it, and that had served as a wake-up call for him.
In our conversation, it was clear he had spent a great deal of time thinking about race relations in the south and studying the Civil War. This wasn’t a song he wrote casually or without great care. He wanted the song to make people think and to continue a dialogue that he felt had been reopened by movies like “Lincoln” and “Django Unchained.”
As a fellow southerner (Paisley is from West Virginia, but now lives in Nashville and I was born and raised in North Carolina), there are parts of his lyrics that resonate with me. When I lived in Chicago and New York, I often met people who assumed I was prejudiced simply because I had a southern accent or who made other presumptions about me because I was from south of the Mason-Dixon. While I find some of Paisley’s lyrics overly simplistic, I can relate to some of what he brings up. I am so proud to be Southern, but the slavery issue will never be something that I can ignore as part of the South’s tragic past (even though neither one of my parents were Southern). It’s one of the most glaring examples of being on the wrong side of history that anyone can imagine. Paisley isn’t trying to excuse it or rationalize it away in any way, shape or form in “Accidental Racist.” He's trying to understand why it haunts us so much 150 years later and how we can move on.
On the other hand, LL Cool J’s rap just feels dunderheaded and it sinks the song. There are a few good points: when he brings up feeling a distrust of someone in a white cowboy hat, I can understand that, but the part I can’t wrap my head around is LL Cool J’s equating any of the prejudices that blacks may have against whites as in any way even remotely comparable to slavery. When I first heard, “If you don’t judge my gold chains, I’ll forget my iron chains,” my jaw may have literally dropped to the floor. Almost as bad is “If you don’t judge my doo-rag, I won’t judge your red flag” and “The past is the past, do you, feel me?” I understand the intention is to move ahead and try to focus on common ground rather than focus past differences, but his part just doesn’t work.
Paisley wrote his words and LL Cool J wrote his own, but since it’s Paisley’s record, the buck ultimately has to stop with him and I find myself wishing he’d challenged LL Cool J a little bit more to think about what he was saying there. By no means is Paisley’s part perfect, but I wonder if there would be such an outcry if the song only featured Paisley’s honest, earnest questioning about how to reconcile his heritage.
In the broader arc of Paisley’s career, there’s a point that not a lot of the pundits who are piling on him right now have brought up. If you’ve followed Paisley over the past dozen years, you know his heart is pure, when it comes to these kinds of questions. To be sure, he’s not clinging to his shotgun, declaring that “A Country Boy Can Survive” like Hank Williams Jr. He’s a post-modern southerner, proud of where he’s from, but very well aware of its unforgivably flawed past.
He’s shown us so many different sides. There’s the comedic Paisley who pokes fun of the internet on “Online” or rednecks with “Camouflage.” There’s the guitar wiz Paisley, who is awe inspiring with his combination of dexterity, speed, and clarity. Then there’s the Paisley that interests me the most: the Paisley that wants to make us, and all country fans, think and stretch our minds a little bit. Sometimes it’s done subtly and other times, more obviously.
On 2009’s “American Saturday Night,” verse after verse details what we consider a typical evening out in the United States without ever thinking about how much of our culture came from other places. It’s a reminder that we are a melting pot and that we, as a nation, drew the best from the immigrants who came here and made them our own. Find me one other country song that makes that point, as subtle as it may be.
Paisley wrote 2009’s “Welcome To the Future,” another song that explicitly mentions race, after Obama’s election. The song, one of his best, mentions a black friend who had a cross burned on his yard after asking out the (presumably white) homecoming queen, as well as references Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King and how progress comes and we should all embrace it. Paisley played the songs at Obama’s Inaugural Ball in January.
Even on his most recent No. 1, “Wheelhouse’s” “Southern Comfort Zone,” he talks about the wonders of travel and how it opens up one’s world. This is not your typical country artist who is content to sit on the front porch.
He’d probably blanch at my use of this word, but in my mind, Paisley is one of the few artists who consistently gets mainstream country radio play, who has a progressive streak.
For his part, Paisley took to Twitter last night and today to respond to the criticism: “...I hope the album rocks you,soothes you,raises questions,answers,evokes feelings, all the way through until [closing track] 'Officially Alive'” and added, I imagine about the controversy, “'Cause I wouldn't change a thing. This is a record meant to be FAR from easy listening. But fun. Like life. Have a ball, ya'll. love- brad.” Today, he added “This is what I love about albums. Especially country albums. So many different topics can be explored.So So many conversations can start here..”
That’s my hope too. It’s fine, and quite frankly, very understandable not to like the song simply because, as one website claimed, it’s horrible. But to dismiss it out of hand seems to squander an opportunity to continue the conversation that is very real and that needs to be ongoing.
Watch the fan-made lyric video
Avril Lavigne’s new single, “Here’s To Never Growing Up” may reference Radiohead in its first line, but the act it most recalls is Ke$ha. The sing-songy track, built around a big, kick-drum stomp, sounds like a cross between the “Tik-Tok” singer and the arena hands-in-the-air, acoustic-guitar-strumming, simple-minded tunes crafted by Nickelback’s leader, Chad Kroeger, who just happens to be a co-writer on the song and Lavigne’s fiance. Throw in a little dose of "Girlfriend's" attitude and call it a day.
With lines like “we’ll be running down the street yelling kiss my HEY/We’ll be like, 'yeah, whatever,' we’re still living like that,” the song is an aptly-titled salute to staying forever young (so much so that one cover of the single features Lavigne holding a teddy bear).
Lavigne has always had an annoyingly mannered delivery, but it reaches new heights on “Growing Up,” “boom” sounds like “bim,” and when she sings, “This is who we are,” you’ll swear you fell into a vat of Ke$ha’s “We R Who We R.”
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Get the scoop weeks before you can see it on TV
LAS VEGAS - For the past four years, the Academy of Country Music has taken advantage of having a flotilla of country artists in Las Vegas for the annual ACM Awards to tape a special the following night that airs several weeks later.
Hear his provocative song with LL Cool J, 'Accidental Racist'
Brad Paisley is country music’s consummate artist: he writes, sings, plays guitar, and entertains at a higher level in all four areas than most acts do in just one. On his ninth studio album, “Wheelhouse,” out Tuesday (9), he adds producer to the list.
“Wheelhouse” opens with a few seconds of the WW1 chestnut, “How Ya Gonna Keep ‘Em Down on the Farm,” which segues into “Southern Comfort Zone,” Paisley’s No. 1 hit about exploring the rest of the world, while still feeling there’s no place like home.
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Join us in Las Vegas as we take you to the show and backstage
8:05: That took only a few seconds. After performing "Boys Round Here," Shelton and Bryan immediately go to making jokes about their man parts---or lack there of. If you're watching at home, let us know if the "ball room" joke got bleeped. They definitely have a good ole boy vibe working for them, but it could wear thin by evening's end... chances are good, however, that's the most we'll see of them together. Their opening pokes fun at each other, but pretty much leaves everyone else unscathed. The opening number was fine but lacked much pizazz, even with the addition of folks like Pistol Annies, Brad Paisley and Sheryl Crow, who is trotted out at every country show now, for some reason, perhaps because she's now trying to transition to country because, well, that's what pop artists do when pop is tired of them... To be fair, she's lived in Nashville for a while and has certainly had country chart success as a featured artist on songs. She's working on a new album for Warner Bros. Nashville now.
8:10: Kenny Chesney, who really does make enough to wear something besides the same old torn jeans and faded t-shirt every single time, comes out and sings "Pirate Flag." Two up-tempo songs in a row, but no performance that sticks with you more than 1 minute after its over.
8:18: Shelton and Bryan made it from the MGM Grand to the Orleans in no time flat. That was a fast police car. Now Brad Paisley is singing "Outstanding In The Field" with Hunter Hayes and Dierks Bentley from his new album that comes out Tuesday. This could mean it's the next single after "Beat This Summer" or just a good opportunity to add some star wattage to a performance since they are on the track on the album.
8:24: George Strait is performing his new single, "Give It All We Got Tonight," and, quite frankly the King sounds a little worse for wear, but, damn, he makes 60 look good. This is the first of two times we'll see him tonight. He'll be back much later tonight with Garth Brooks. in a salute to Dick Clark, who passed earlier this year and who was the show's longtime producer. They keep cutting to the audience and everyone, whether it's Taylor Swift or Kix Brooks, is trying to sing along...somewhat unsuccessfully.
8:34: Eric Church is signing "Like Jesus Does," but I can barely focus because it's the first time I've ever seen him perform without his sunglasses on and with no cap. It's a little disconcerting. Plus, he's spending most of the time with his eyes closed, so I guarantee that some folks are asking if he's blind. The artsy attempt at shooting him in black and white and his backup singer in color isn't really adding anything. It is a beautiful song though and the best performance of the night so far.
8:37: As new artist of the year nominees Florida Georgia Line are performing a snippet of "Cruise," but there's no time for Nelly to join them on their styling new remix with him.
8:43: Beth Behrs introduces Lady Antebellum, which is altogether appropriate since she's in the video for "Downtown," which ust happens to be the song they're singing now. Hillary Scott pulls off being several months' pregnant, looking comfortable and still looking stylish. I'm not saying the show is lacking a little excitement, but one of my colleagues in the press room is watching a viral video of foxes jumping on a trampoline and is infinitely more amused by that than the show.
8:48: Could someone please explain to me how Sugarland can be up for best vocal duo when they haven't put out an album since 1993? OK, I realize it's been a lot more recent than they, but please... Anyway, the award goes to Thompson Square, who won last year as well.
8:58: Carrie Underwood certainly makes the entrance of the night so far in a black Cadillac for song, wait for it, "Two Black Cadillacs."Like many of the performances tonight, there's nothing wrong with it, but there's nothing that stands out, though. I will add, they are all singing live and maybe we're so used to hearing people lipsync that we no longer allow for any live foibles at all.
9:02: Miranda Lambert, her breasts, and John Fogerty are presenting album of the year. Yes, entertainer of the year is the big award, but it still seems early to be presenting such a biggie. The winner is "Chief" by Eric Church. He has his sunglasses back on. "I can't believe I just met John Fogerty," he says.Nice, calm acceptance speech, which is slightly disappointing.
9:05: Blake Shelton is signing "Sure Be Cool If You Did," his most recent No. 1. I love the line "looking like a high I want to be on." He sounds the best of anyone, second to Church, tonight. Maybe the sound is just better geared for acoustic performances.
9:08: Thompson Square, individually known as Keifer and Shawna Thompson, are backstage. "I truly can't believe this is our life. We never thought we'd do anything like this, especially win it twice. It's hard to put into words, but it sure feels good. Shawna then teared up when asked about thanking her mom. Her father died recently, and her mom's "been having a really hard time, so I just wanted to thank her."
9:10: The Band Perry's "Done" is hands-down the most energetic performance of the night. The song has got a little Pat Benatar, a little Led Zep, and, of course, since it has to pass as country, a little fiddle. Switch next to best new artist nominees Jana Kramer, whose fiance Brantley Gilbert performed earlier. She sounds terrible.
9:21: Duo Florida Georgia Line wins best new artist, a fan-voted award, ins the evening's first major shock. They'd practically already engraved Brantley Gilbert's name on the trophy everyone was so sure he'd win. Clearly, people from more than Florida and Georgia voted for them. One of them notes that this time last year they were watching the show on TV.
9:24: Jason Aldean is performing "1994," or as we call it, "Joe Diffie." For some reason in the images coming at us is a cassette with "Joe Diffie mix" on it, although it was already a CD world. There are also country cuties dancing on blocks. Please. Regardless, for a song that has some energy on the CD, this is a flat performance. Plus, there's no Joe Diffie. If there were ever a time for him to come out and surprise us, that would be it. I wonder if the performances are coming off as rough on TV as they are on the monitors we're watching backstage? I am a big country music fan and I don't get what's happening with the performances tonight, but the audio has been uniformly poor and too low.
9:27: Little Big Town wins vocal group of the year. A well-deserved win for a group that is having a phenomenal year after trudging along for years and years.
9:33: Blake Shelton really is the only one who can get away with talking about seeing his wife, Miranda Lambert, naked this morning and make it so damn charming. Lambert's performing "Mama's Broken Heart," which is one of my favorite country music videos of the year. Kasey Musgraves, whose debut album is fantastic, co-wrote the track. It's a spirited, sassy performance.
9:37:Song of the year goes to "Over You." performed by Miranda Lambert, written by Lambert and Shelton, about his brother who died when he was a teenager. Shelton credits Lambert for teaching him to write a great song. I wonder if it feels weird to be the reigning country kind and queen of country, as they have been for a few years now, and know that it can't last. Can you just enjoy the ride or do you worry about when it will be over?
9:46: Little Big Town is singing "On Your Side Of The Bed," one of those ballads that seems destined to go to No. 1. I will root for it to do just that if I never have to see the couple doing an interpretive dance on a vertical bed suspended behind them. Is this country's version of Cirque du Soleil?
9:49: Single record of the year goes to "Over You" and Miranda Lambert. I'm a fan of that song, but I really love Eli Young Band's "Even If It Breaks Your Heart," which still hasn't gotten old for me. "As a songwriter having your song and your lyrics being recognized by your peers is pretty much as good as it gets," a teary Lambert says.
9:57: Making a joke about your wife's body, making a joke about how great another man's wife's body is-- probably not cool, but Shelton and Bryan go there anyway with Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, who introduces her hubby. He's performing "Highway Don't Care" with Taylor Swift and Keith Urban. It's an understated performance...perhaps unintentionally. It sounds like their microphones are turned way down.
10:01: Florida Georgia Line are now backstage. Brian Kelley says since the award is fan voted, they're going to take their award out on the road with them so they can share it with their fans. John Mayer has joined Brad Paisley for "Beat This Summer." Why are so many artists getting more than one performance? I'm a fan of Shelton's and Paisley's but aren't there other artists who deserved one spot? Still, I'm not even a guitar geek, but there's something sublime about watching guitar wizards like Paisley and Mayer play together.
10:10: Co-host Bryan gets his turn now with "Crash My Party." I like him better on his faster numbers.
10:19: Trisha Yearwood, who looks great, introduces Kelly Clarkson, who sings "Don't Rush." A back-up singer is performing Vince Gill's part. His not showing up is way more disappointing than Joe Diffie not showing up for "1994"... or as someone just wrote on FB, "diff-appointing."
10:30: Jason Aldean wins male artist of the year. Trying to decide if that's a big loss for Shelton, although Aldean is also deserving. This follows Jewel's nice performance of "Hands" for the "Lifting Lives" segment. She's also performing from the Orleans and since she sounds fine, it's clear the sound at the MGM is the problem.
10:32: It's time for the tribute to Dick Clark featuring Brooks and Strait. Brooks is singing "The Dance," as photos of Clark with various country artist roll by. He looks and sounds great, so the problem is definitely with full bands.He recedes into the background as Strait sings "The Cowboy Rides Away," very shortly joined by Brooks. It's appropriate without being maudlin, plus Brooks is clearly delighted to be singing with his idol.Would love to hear them do more together.
10:44: Miranda Lambert wins female vocalist of the year. She cries, but it's because she realized her dream by hanging with Kelly Clarkson, Shania Twain, and Faith Hill last night. She wears her heart on her sleeve and that's part of what makes her so endearing.
10:47: Hunter Hayes is singing "I Want Crazy," a new song. I'm not completely sold on him yet, but he certainly has promise and he has put in so much hard work already. He plays something like 32 instruments. He's now performing "Sir Duke" with Stevie Wonder. I don't know how you ever top that if you're an artist. Given the grin on Hayes' face, he may realize that too.
10:49: Eric Church is backstage. "I think our career is going to be pre-Chief and post-Chief for us," he says referencing how this album really took his career to a new level. He admits album of the year is the one award he wanted the most. Church just released a live album. He felt it was the right time to go back and revisit a small venue for the project as he becomes an arena headliner. "There's no critic, no fan" that can put more creative pressure on himself for the next album, he says Church, who played Metallica's Orion Festival last year, will be on Lollapalooza this year. "I feel like genres are gone in music, in the satellite age, genres are gone. There's good music and there's bad music." He called his Orion audience "one of the best audiences we've had."
10:57: A very emotional Luke Bryan wins entertainer of the year. It's such a sweet reaction that even Miranda Lambert, who just lost, as did her husband, is crying. "I don't know what to say, guys. Thank you guys so much, fans... thank you so much for making my life what is is. All I ever wanted to be was a country singer who got to ride on a tour bus and show on a stage every night." He's now running through the laundry list now, but it's incredibly sweet and moving. "Every time I step on stage it is a blessing for me to play for fans...this is the defining moment of my life." Best moment of the night, hands down.
11:01: That well-known country artist Stevie Wonder is closing the show with "Signed, Sealed, Delivered," with Hunter Hayes on drums (to my point earlier). Bryan and Shelton are singing with him, but Bryan is still too shell shocked to really do much.
11:05: The show's over, but we still have folks coming backstage, including Miranda Lambert, so hopefully, we're not done yet!
11:15: Jason Aldean says he was pretty surprised to win best male vocalist, which is typical for an artist to say, but this was a hard category to call. "It was shocking, but very cool. It was something I always hoped I would win." It's a big time for Aldean: he sold out University of Ga's stadium and will be playing it next week with Luke Bryan. He now joins George Strait, Garth Brooks, and Kenny Chesney as one of the few country artists who can sell out a stadium. "I was the guy who grew going to all those shows, at the point in my career where we’re able to do that is kind of crazy."
11:25: Stevie Wonder and Hunter Hayes are working on some material together, Wonder says backstage. Hayes is appropriately speechless when Wonder raves about him, saying, "This young man is a blessing to country music and to America because he really has listened to all kinds of music. I see God working in him."
11:40: Miranda Lambert is as giddy and delightful backstage as she was on. She's quick to clarify that Shelton did not see her naked this morning. "There's no time for that the day of the ACMs," she says. Her win for female vocalist marked her fourth consecutive trophy in that category: "I can’t fathom that.. I can’t comprehend anything that’s happening right now. I was rooting for Carrie [Underwood], I’m such a fans of hers. I’m so jealous of her voice and her legs."
11:50: Luke Bryan is still on cloud nine. He came back to the press room and answered every single question, telling the handlers who were trying to rush him that he was not done yet. "When you’re in a category with Taylor Swift, you have to put her... there’s no competing" he says, when asked what he honestly thought his chance were of winning artist of the year. "I thought it was Taylor’s award. Gosh knows, I cannot even believe it’s happening. This is so unattainable that you can’t legitimately get it in your head that you might get it.” As far as how he did as a co-host: "I feel like I knocked it out of the ball park."