FOXAmericanIdol's 14th season continued Wednesday night with its final week of auditions in San Francisco. Back behind the judges' table were Keith Urban, Harry Connick, Jr. and Jennifer Lopez, who experienced "goosies" after two contestants performed.
During the show, host Ryan Seacrest once again gave Idol fans a chance to decide via an online poll if a contestant would advance or be sent home. This week, they voted “no” to sending a contestant named Zack Dyer to Hollywood.
Here are some of the highlights from Wednesday's one-hour episode:
The show kicked off with Katherine Skinner, 15, who threw the judges off balance by announcing she was auditioning on the advice of her “psychic cat” and was wearing a fur coat that was given to her by “Bowie.” After singing Florence the Machine’s “Shake It Out,” Jennifer noted that Skinner was talented and “made for a stage,” but she wasn’t sure if it was the Idol stage. Harry called Skinner’s creativity “exciting.” Keith added “bold and fearless” to the list of compliments. All three thought Katherine deserved a trip to Hollywood.
California native Andrew Bloom, 17, was up next, singing Alex Clare‘s “Too Close.” He had the panel singing along with the performance, which Urban noted was “a good sign.” Keith said he liked Bloom’s “spirit,” despite some vocal flaws, and voted “yes.” Lopez thought everything about the performance “felt right” and also voted “yes.” Connick added a third “yes,” but warned Andrew to tone down his blues licks, because the competition would “knock him out of the park.” Bloom walked away with a golden ticket and a shot to advance in Hollywood.
Reno Anoa’I comes from a huge family and grew up with as many as 40 family members living under one roof. Backing himself on the ukulele, he sang Rod Stewart’s “I Don’t Want to Talk About It.” Jennifer thought Reno had a “pretty voice,” but advised him to stick to telling a story and not try to impress people with fancy vocal runs. Harry liked Reno’s voice, but noted the competition was about more than just a good singing voice and that he should’ve shown more variety. Keith then urged Reno, who was rattled by some of the negative comments and “praying,” to not let his desire stop him from hearing what he needed to know in order to grow. All three judges surprised Reno by handing him a golden ticket to Hollywood.
Samuel Prince, a soap opera actor, asked the judges to join him in an impromptu Tele Novella, which they all seemed to enjoy. Unfortunately, the panel wasn’t as thrilled with Samuel's performance of Justin Bieber’s “As Long As You Love Me.” Harry didn’t think his vocals were strong enough, so it was a “no” from him. Jennifer liked Samuel’s “theatrical quality,” but voted “no” to sending him to Hollywood. Keith thought Samuel did a good job of “acting like a singer,” but the performance “didn’t sound true.” He also voted “no.” Samuel was sent home.
Next up was Rayvon Owen, who sang Katy Perry’s “Wide Awake.” Urban called the performance “exquisite,” noting Owen’s version made him realize why he loved the song. “Goosies,” Lopez declared, noting the performance gave her goose bumps. She said Rayvon took the panel on a journey with him. Connick commented that Rayvon had the ability to just stand and sing and still hold people’s attention. All three said “yes” to send him to the next round.
Closing out the San Francisco auditions was 16-year-old Maddy Hudson, who sang “Resentment” by Beyoncé. It brought more “goosies” to Jennifer, who noted she had them over her entire body this time. J-Lo said she was “blown away” by the performance and Hudson was one of her favorites in the competition. Keith told Hudson he “loved everything that’s on the outside, but really loved what it’s covering up.” Harry declared Hudson had “all the ingredients to be a superstar.” Keith echoed the sentiments of all three judges when he declared, “You are so going to Hollywood.” It was three “yeses” from the panel and Hudson was on to the next round.
The American Idol auditions continue Thursday night at 8 p.m. Eastern time on Fox.
Ben WattsJustinBieber helps Ellen DeGeneres celebrate her 57th birthday Thursday with an appearance on her daytime talk show.
The comedian and talk show host, whose actual birthday was this past Monday, tweeted a photo of her and Bieber, along with the caption, "I can't believe the surprise I got for my birthday show. Then I saw his face. Now I'm a Belieber."
Christopher Polk/Getty ImagesWhen Katy Perry takes the stage this Sunday for her Super Bowl halftime performance, she'll be facing the highest-pressure gig of her career, in front of the largest audience of her career. So who can she turn to for advice? Well, how about another chart-topping female singer who also performed at the Super Bowl halftime show? Fergie, we're looking at you.
Fergie and her group The Black Eyed Peasheadlined the Super Bowl halftime show in 2011, and at the time, Fergie was the first female pop performer to be allowed on that stage since Janet Jackson's disastrous "wardrobe malfunction" in 2004. That incident spooked the NFL so badly that it led them to book nothing but male classic rock acts -- and Prince -- for the next six years. Since then, Madonna and Beyonce have both played halftime but, as Fergie tells ABC News Radio, female Super Bowl performers will always be particularly scrutinized.
"Gosh, every girl has to worry about that when they’re performing, about having a malfunction," she laughs. So, what's her advice to Katy? "Make sure you Topstick everything," she laughs, referring to the special tape performers use to keep their outfits on. "Make sure that you just rehearse with the costume that you’re in, so that nothing comes out where it’s not supposed to come out!"
And while Katy is known for putting on an over-the-top show with plenty of special effects and tricks, Fergie says she may want to avoid one particular spectacle on Sunday.
"Maybe don’t enter the field from above, because we had to," she laughs. "I don’t know how many feet it was above there, and we had to be strapped into these harnesses and just sitting up there while they changed over the whole stadium. And I’m not that great with heights! So if you’re not that great with heights, try not to come in from the sky!"
Finally, Fergie, who has her own shoe line, says if Katy's looking for the perfect pair of shoes to perform in, she'll be glad to hook her up.
"Katy Perry, if you want any Fergie Footwear for the Super Bowl performance, you know I got you, girl!" she offers. "You will feel definitely comfortable!"
Tune in to see Katy Perry rock the Super Bowl stage Sunday night with special guest Lenny Kravitz and who knows who else. She has a lot to live up to: last year's halftime show, featuring Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, was the most-watched one in history, drawing 115.3 million viewers.
Big Machine RecordsIf you want to get down to “this sick beat,” you might have to ask Taylor Swift for permission.
Taylor has filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to trademark that phrase -- a lyric from her hit song “Shake It Off” -- and a number of others related to her latest album, 1989. Some of the other phrases include "Party Like It's 1989," "'Cause We Never Go Out of Style" -- that's a line from her current single, "Style" -- plus "Nice to Meet You. Where You Been?" and "Could Show You Incredible Things," which are both lines from her #1 hit "Blank Space."
While it may seem silly, it’s actually a smart business move for the pop star. Taylor is seeking to prevent the phrases from being used on merchandise without her permission, ensuring she’s the only one who can profit from them. If the trademarks are granted, they will give Taylor the exclusive right to have the words printed on all kinds of products, from T-shirts and stationery, to drumsticks, cell phone cases and, yes, "battery-activated glow bracelets."
Louie Banks/InterscopeWhen she’s not singing hit songs, Ellie Goulding is all about staying fit. So it’s no surprise her latest gig is with Nike.
The fitness-obsessed Brit is the face of the brand’s latest workout collection, which includes printed leggings and colorful sports bras. “I feel quite proud to be an ambassador for women who realize that being fit is better than being skinny,” the 28-year-old says on Nike’s website.
Ellie’s an avid runner who has run five half-marathons so far. She also counts everything Bikram yoga to boxing as ways she likes to stay healthy. As part of her collaboration with Nike, she’s also spearheading a new workout for the Nike Training Club app.
Her high-energy 15-minute “Get Lean” workout will debut on the app on March 2. It incorporates all of her favorite training moves, mixing both high and low intensity movement for a full body workout. “I think having a yin and yang with exercise is the important thing for me,” Ellie said. “I love to do high intensity training, but I also love to take it easy. I say take it easy, but doing yoga is not easy. Doing something different every day keeps things fresh, exciting and interesting.”
The “Burn” singer is currently working on her new album and training for her next half-marathon.
Image Courtesy Cash Money RecordsLil Wayne has finally had it. After publicly expressing his disdain for his longtime label Cash Moeny Records, the rapper reportedly has filed a lawsuit seeking to end his contract.
According to the lawsuit, obtained by TMZ, Wayne wants to sever his obligations to the label which he accuses of having withheld tens of millions of dollars for his oft-delayed album Tha Carter V, a project that the label has yet to release.
Wayne is suing for $51 million. In addition, the rapper has also asked the court to deem him the joint copyright holder for all Young Money recordings, which would entitle him to royalties from the work of Drake, Nicki Minaj and others.
RCA RecordsThe Billboard Hot 100 is still totally funked up. "Uptown Funk," by Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson, rules the #1 spot for a fourth week.
According to Billboard, one thing that helped the song maintain its position this week is the popularity of a viral video featuring a teacher from Maceo Smith New Tech High School in Texas leading students in an elaborate dance routine to the song. Streaming video now counts when it comes to chart position, and the clip has racked up close to four million views.
Bruno reacted to the viral video on his Facebook page Tuesday, admitting it made him emotional. "I cried at the end," he wrote. "I'm still a thug though. Thank you to everyone involved in making this video."
Elsewhere on the chart, Fall Out Boy's latest hit "Centuries" has jumped from #12 to #10, giving the band its first top 10 hit since 2007. Fall Out Boy had previously reached the top 10 with "Sugar, We're Goin' Down," "Dance, Dance" and "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race."
By the way, the song "Centuries" samples the song "Tom's Diner," a top 5 hit in 1990 by singer/songwriter Suzanne Vega, so she's listed as one of its co-writers. As a result, Vega now has a top 10 hit for the first time in 24 years.
Courtesy Caesars EntertainmentMariah Carey is being sued by her former nanny, the New York Daily News reports. In the suit filed Wednesday in Manhattan federal court, Simonette Da Costa claims Mariah forced her to work 100-hour weeks, and refused to pay her overtime.
Simonette says she went to work for Mariah and her now estranged husband Nick Cannon in October 2013. She lived with the family and took care of twins Moroccan and Monroe. She also accompanied the children whenever Mariah traveled for global concerts and appearances. “She was on call 24 hours a day. She was always at their beck and call,” the nanny’s lawyer, Eli Freedberg, says.
Simonette was allegedly paid between $6,000 and $7,200 per month, but didn’t get any overtime, despite working around the clock.
“Plaintiff was on duty during all hours of each 24 hour day with no entitlement for breaks, for meals, and even for sleep,” the suit claims. “Indeed, Ms. Carey would often call plaintiff at hours in the middle of the night and demand to be taken to her children or to be updated on the status of her children.”
Simonette says she was fired in January of last year after Mariah berated her “for expressing too much affection for their children.” Her lawyer says Mariah was “jealous” of her relationship with the twins. He estimates Mariah and Nick owe his client about $100,000 in damages.
A rep for Mariah tells the paper, “We don’t comment on frivolous lawsuits.”
This isn’t the first time Mariah’s been sued by a former employee. In December, she was sued for allegedly not paying her longtime staffer Ylser Oliver overtime for seven years. Ylser claimed she worked 10 to 16 hours a day, six to seven days a week, cleaning Mariah’s home and tending to her needs. That case is still pending.
James Minchin III/RCA RecordsAdd Gavin DeGraw to the list of performers at Sunday's Super Bowl.
Gavin, along with country star Dierks [derks] Bentley, will be performing at the NFL Tailgate Party as part of the pregame festivities at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona. A portion of each singer's performance will air live during NBC's Super Bowl Sunday pregame show.
The pregame show will also feature John Legend singing "America the Beautiful," while Idina Menzel will belt out the national anthem. Katy Perry, of course, will headline the halftime show.
ABC/Kelsey McNealWe’ve known for months that Big Sean and Ariana Grande are dating, but now we’re hearing Big Sean gush about his girl. In a new cover story with Complex, the 26-year-old rapper opens up about his “special” relationship with the 21-year-old singer and frequent collaborator.
Sean, who was previously engaged to Glee’s Naya Rivera, tells the mag he has a “new chick that [he’s] gotta thank God for.” He says he and Ariana first met at a Christmas show in 2011 and struck up a conversation. Ariana told him she was a fan of his music and the two became fast friends.
“We started as friends,” Sean says. “I’d never done that. Usually you meet a girl and then start dating. We always saw each other in the studio, and we’d talk about songs we were working on. It was cool to have a girl that I could talk to about my problems. I did that with her…This is something special and I appreciate every moment of it.”
Big Sean says he tries to avoid media scrutiny of their relationship and doesn't allow the pressure to get to him. “I don’t think about it like that,” he says. “You can’t be afraid, because when you’re afraid you don’t give it your all.”
Sean and Ariana first collaborated on the song “Right There” from Ariana’s debut album, Yours Truly. Sean also appeared on Ariana’s hit “Problem,” and another track on her current album, My Everything, called “Best Mistake.” They confirmed their relationship after they were seen walking hand-in-hand backstage at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards last August.
Westbury Road Entertainment/Roc Nation RecordsIf rumors are to be believed, Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney will be taking the stage at the Grammys next month to perform their new collaboration, “FourFiveSeconds.”
“Rihanna’s seriously pleased to have bagged a big slot at The Grammys and two huge names to kick off her comeback,” a source told The Sun. “Paul McCartney’s a Grammys regular and it will give Rihanna serious kudos to have a Beatle backing her on stage. It is going to be a huge Grammys moment.”
Paul plays on the track while Rihanna and Kanye share vocals. “FourFiveSeconds” debuted last Saturday, with Rihanna describing it on Twitter as “FIRST GLIMPSE AT MY NEW MUSIC!” The singer hasn’t put out a new album since 2012’s Unapologetic.
While a Grammy performance by the trio has yet to be officially confirmed, there are plenty of other big names who are definitely taking the stage, such as Madonna, Ed Sheeran, Adam Levine, Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga, Usher, Gwen Stefani, Hozier and more. The 57th Annual Grammy Awards will take place February 8 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Image Group LA/ABCIn a revealing new cover story for Rolling Stone, Sam Smith admits he wouldn’t mind losing a Grammy to Beyoncé, says he wants abs like Justin Bieber, and reveals he doesn’t like it when people call him the “male Adele.”
The 22-year-old is a huge fan of Beyoncé -- there’s even been video of him singing “Drunk In Love” in the shower, posted online. But Sam, who's facing off against his idol in the Album of the Year category at the Grammys next month, insists he’d rather see Queen Bey win. "She deserves it way more than I do," he tells Rolling Stone. "I'd be embarrassed if I got it over her. If I got it, I'd give it to her."
Sam’s also a huge Adele fan and calls her “my Michael Jackson,” but he doesn’t like being compared to her. "We're very different, and I feel like the constant comparisons might piss her off," he says, adding, "It just annoys me that people can't digest two pop stars singing really personal songs who don't look like normal pop stars."
That’s not to say Sam doesn’t have moments where he wants to look like a “normal pop star.” He admits he’s on a cayenne-pepper juice diet in order to lose some weight before the Grammys. "I'm just very body-conscious,” he said. “Sometimes I'm really proud that I don't look like other pop stars. But there's also moments where I'm like, 'Ugh, I wish I had abs like Bieber.'"
In a Rolling Stonevideo, he even joked, “I prefer food to music and sex... and my family.”
Florent DechardBruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk” collaborator and producer extraordinaire Mark Ronson has just been named the ambassador of the 3rd annual Grammy Amplifier program.
The online music initiative, sponsored by Hyundai and The Recording Academy, aims to mentor aspiring artists and provide them with the opportunity to showcase their talent.
Mark, a three-time Grammy winning producer, will help evaluate online submissions and choose the program’s three winners. The winners will individually be awarded one of the following prizes: A studio recording session with a Grammy winning producer; filming and starring in their own music video with a noted director; or securing an opening act spot for an established musician and/or at a music festival.
The program is currently accepting submissions at GrammyAmplifier.com. Based on their track plays and social media performance, the top 25 finalists will be brought together for a mentorship experience, and then narrowed down by program curators to a short list of finalists. The program’s curators this year are The Band Perry, Ziggy Marley, and singer/songwriter Allen Stone. Mark will pick the three winners and decide which winner gets what prize.
Island Records/DCD2 RecordsFall Out Boy has once again proven their staying power: their new album, American Beauty/American Pyscho, featuring the hit "Centuries," has debuted at #1 on the Billboard album chart.
This is the band's second #1 album in a row, following 2013's Save Rock and Roll, and their third overall: Infinity on High debuted at #1 in 2007. The album debuts with 218,000 album units sold, according to Nielsen Music, and as Billboard notes, that's the the second-best sales week of Fall Out Boy's entire career, and their largest since 2007.
Thanks to American Beauty/American Psycho and last week's #1 debut, Meghan Trainor's Title, this marks the first time since 2010 that two debut albums released in January -- which is usually a weak sales month -- have scored first-week sales of more than 150,000 copies.
Meanwhile, Taylor Swift's 1989, which was knocked out of the #1 spot by Meghan's album last week, holds at #2. Meghan's album falls to #3, and Ed Sheeran'sX (Multiply) remains at #4.
The top 10 sees debuts by new albums by alternative rockers The Decemberists, veteran shock rocker Marilyn Manson, and rapper Joey Bada$$.
Image Group LA/ABCBrit singer Rita Ora had a career breakthrough 2014, thanks to "Black Widow," her collaboration with Iggy Azalea. Now she's getting 2015 off to a great start by booking a performance at the Academy Awards.
Rita will perform the Oscar-nominated song "Grateful" at the telecast, airing February 22 on ABC and hosted by Neil Patrick Harris. The song was written by veteran hitmaker Diane Warren for the movie Beyond the Lights; it's Warren's seventh Oscar nod.
Rita will release a new album in the spring and will appear in the upcoming movies 50 Shades of Grey and Southpaw.
Rita joins other Oscar performers Adam Levine, who'll sing the nominated song "Lost Stars" from the movie Begin Again, and John Legend and rapper Common, who'll perform the nominated song "Glory," from the movie Selma. The other nominees are "Everything Is Awesome," from The Lego Movie, and "I'm Not Gonna Miss You," from the movie Glen Campbell...I'll Be Me. Country music legend Glen Campbell will likely not be able to appear to perform the latter song, because he's currently suffering from Alzheimer's.
The 87th Academy Awards will be held on Sunday, February 22 and air on ABC starting at 7 p.m. ET.
ABC/Randy HolmesIggy Azalea's nominated for four Grammys this year, and she says the biggest issue she has with getting ready for the February 8 ceremony isn't what she might perform, or what she might say in her acceptance speech...it's what she's planning to wear.
"I think the dress is the biggest preparation for a woman on Grammy night," the Australian rapper told Billboard. "So I’ve been working with a designer who’s been making me a dress that’s just for me -- with me in mind -- so I’m really excited about seeing that come to life."
Iggy says that unlike most of her red carpet choices, her Grammy dress will essentially be a surprise: she has no idea what it's going to look like, but she does know the color.
"Usually I see it and I pick it, so I’m a bit nervous, but I’m very excited," she told Billboard. "It’s blue!"
In addition to prepping for the Grammys, Iggy is also working on a new album and preparing for her Great Escape tour, which gets under way in April. Iggy told Billboard that even though it's exciting to perform in big cities like L.A. when she's on tour, there's a lot to be said about playing smaller towns.
"Sometimes it’s really nice to go to the towns that might have an arena but don’t really have a lot going on," she explains. "Because they’re super excited and they always, like, scream the easiest and the loudest and it’s the most fun."
"There are other places like L.A. where it is harder to get that hyper-fan-crying situation, ‘cause they’re used to seeing, you know, celebrities in the supermarket next to them," she adds. The pros of L.A., though, are that it's easier to get her friends and her boyfriend to come see her there.
The Great Escape tour kicks off April 14 in Fresno, California.
Big Machine RecordsWhen Taylor Swift released her album 1989 last year, it became somewhat of an online joke that many of her fans described themselves as "dead" or "dying" because they were so blown away by her and her music. Now, Taylor's using that same language to describe how she feels about a compliment paid to her by one of the biggest stars in music history.
According to Yahoo Australia, while speaking to an Australian TV show, Madonna said the following about Taylor: "It’s good to have princesses [of pop]. It means there’s lots of pretty dresses around. I like Taylor Swift. I think she writes some really catchy pop songs. I can’t get them out of my head."
Taylor reposted Madonna's comment on her Tumblr page, and then wrote, "Thanks now I’m dead." She added the hashtags "#HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO DEAL WITH THIS," and "#BE COOL TAYLOR STOP BEING EMBARRASSING."
ABC/Lorenzo BevilaquaEnriqueIglesias is reportedly being sued over his 2014 hit, "Bailando," by two songwriters who claim he stole the tune from them.
According to TMZ, Cristian Escuti and German Schulz claim "Bailando" is a rip-off of a song they recorded in 2009 called "Quiero Bailar Contigo." The pair claim they sent the tune to a Sony executive in 2012, but never heard back.
The songwriters claim the melody, lyrics, rhythm and chorus line of "Bailando" were taken from their tune. The pair claims Sony had partial ownership of the tune, and conspired to steal it from them.
TMZ says Escuti and Schulz are particularly angry that "Bailando" was Iglesias' biggest song from his Sex and Love album, and the video has nearly 690 million views on YouTube.
TMZ claims they requested a copy of "Quiero Bailar Contigo," but Escuti and Schulz's attorney said his clients wouldn't let him send it to the them.
ABC/Randy Holmes; ABC/Lou Rocco; Christie GoodwinJohn Mayer will be stepping in as a host on CBS' The Late Late Show next month, and he has some interesting guests lined up, including a guy who's BFFs with -- awkward! -- a woman he allegedly once dated.
John will be behind the desk recently vacated by Craig Ferguson from February 4 through February 6. On his first night, he'll welcome Bravo's Andy Cohen, of Watch What Happens fame. On Thursday the 5th, his guest will be Jim Carrey. And on Friday the 6th, two nights before the Grammy Awards, his guest will be Ed Sheeran, who's up for three Grammys this year, including Album of the Year.
But will things be weird between Ed and John? After all, Ed is one of Taylor Swift's best friends, and John not only reportedly dated Taylor, he did her wrong enough to allegedly inspire the song "Dear John" on her album Speak Now. Taylor, of course, has never admitted that the song is about John, and called him "presumptuous" in Glamour magazine for thinking that it was. But a couple of years ago, John told Rolling Stone that "Dear John" "humiliated" him.
"It made me feel terrible," he said at the time. "Because I didn't deserve it. I'm pretty good at taking accountability now, and I never did anything to deserve that. It was a really lousy thing for her to do." He added, "It's abusing your talent to rub your hands together and go, 'Wait till he gets a load of this!'"
John later released a song called "Paper Doll" that everyone assumed was about Taylor.
Brooke NiparBefore she was singing about "bringing booty back" and embracing her curves, Meghan Trainor had to fight low self-esteem just like the rest of us. The 21-year-old singer admitted to U.K.’s Reveal that she used to be "addicted to diets," and tried to follow Beyonce's weight-loss secret.
Meghan tells the publication that her insecurities began in school when her best guy friend told her she’d be "so hot" if she lost ten pounds. She said she rushed home and told her mom she was “never eating again.” That's when she started researching fad diets online.
"I Googled, ‘What does Beyonce do?’ and decided I'd try the detox diet with cayenne pepper,” Meghan recalled. "Do you know how much I had to drink to get used to it? It was so gross. I stopped straight away. I was like, ‘This is not normal.’”
Meghan said she’s since met Beyonce, who's a fan of her music, and credits her for having a “real figure” in a business where many women feel they have to be skin and bones.
"I definitely feel like I'm 30 and I've been through a lot,” the 21-year-old singer said. “I haven't experienced anything crucial or devastating. But I got addicted to weird little diets and I quickly realized how stupid it was.”
Meghan said that when she first wrote her #1 Grammy-nominated hit “All About That Bass,” it was more about how she wished she felt, rather than how she actually felt, about her body. But once she started performing and getting positive feedback, she says, she started to feel more confident. Now, she encourages her friends to love their bodies.
"I'm just 100 percent happier than I was,” she said. “The trick I tell my girlfriends now is that you have to say it out loud. You haven't got to nearly kill yourself on these diets. You just have to look in the mirror and tell yourself, ‘Damn I look good today!’”