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"EW" Predicts Sam Smith Will Be King of the Grammys


Image Group LA/ABCWho'll be taking home the gold on Grammy Night, February 8?  According to Entertainment Weekly, Sam Smith has three of the top four categories all locked up.

EW predicts that Sam, who's up for six Grammys in all this year, will win Album of the Year for his debut, In the Lonely Hour, and will also take home the trophy for Best New Artist.  In addition, the mag says Sam will win Record of the Year for "Stay with Me."  The only top category he'll miss out on, the magazine claims, is Song of the Year, which Taylor Swift will win for "Shake It Off."

The magazine also predicts that one category Sam will lose is Best Pop Vocal Album, which will go, it says, to Katy Perry's PRISM.

Now, those are the magazine's predictions for who will win.  As for who should win, that's a different story.  EW says Beyonce deserves to take home Album of the Year for her self-titled "surprise" album; Sia should win Record of the Year for "Chandelier," and Hozier should win Song of the Year for "Take Me to Church."

EW also polled three industry professionals anonymously -- a top songwriter, a hitmaking producer and an artist -- to ask who they're voting for this year.  None of them agree across the board in any of the top four categories, though all three admit that they're voting for Sam Smith at least once, in at least one of the top categories.

The Grammys air February 8 on CBS.

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Fall Out Boy and O.A.R. Playing Sunday's NHL All-Star Game


Images Courtesy of Crush Management; Josh GolemanThe NHL is hoping that you'll remember the league's all-star festivities for "centuries." That must be why they recruited Fall Out Boy to play during the first intermission of this Sunday's NHL All-Star game.

"Centuries," the anthemic hit single from FOB's new album, American Beauty/American Psycho, has become a sports anthem, thanks in part to ESPN using the track as the soundtrack to their coverage of the college football playoffs. In addition to the NHL All-Star game, FOB will  play the Super Bowl Blitz: A Concert for the Troops ahead of Super Bowl 49, happening February 1 in Glendale, Arizona.

O.A.R. will also play the NHL All-Star game -- the band will take the icy stage during the game's second intermission. As the game will take place in Columbus, Ohio, home of the Columbus Blue Jackets, the performance will be a hometown show for O.A.R., as the band was formed during while the members were students at Ohio State University.

The NHL All-Star Game will take place January 25 and will air at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

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Rihanna Releases New Song with Paul McCartney and Kanye West


Westbury Road Entertainment/Roc Nation RecordsEarlier this month, Kanye West and Paul McCartney teamed up to release a new single called "Only One."  It was promised as the first of several collaborations between the two artists.  Now, a new collaboration has been released -- with Rihanna added to the mix.

The melodic acoustic track, featuring Rihanna, Kanye and McCartney, is called "FourFiveSeconds," and you can hear it at Rihanna's official website and via iTunes now.

Rihanna described the song on Twitter as "FIRST GLIMPSE AT MY NEW MUSIC!" The singer hasn't released a new album since 2012'S Unapologetic, but has been teasing the imminent release of new music for quite some time now.

"Now I'm four, five seconds from wildin'/And we got three more days 'til Friday," Rihanna sings.  "I'm just tryna make it back home by Monday, mornin'/I swear I wish somebody would try me/ Ooh, that's all I want/And I know that you're home tonight, thinkin' how could I be so selfish/but you called 'bout a thousand times wondering where I've been." 

Kanye also sings on the track; we assume that McCartney is the one playing acoustic guitar.

No word on when Rihanna's new album will actually be released.

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Taylor Swift Breaks the Internet...by Showing Her Belly Button


ABC/Lou RoccoLast year, Taylor Swift made headlines by telling Lucky magazine that she prefers high-waisted bathing suits and trousers because, quote, "I don’t like showing my belly button...I want that to be a mystery."  Well, now the mystery has been revealed, and people can't stop talking about it.

Taylor is in Hawaii with the three sisters from the Grammy-nominated band HAIM, and on her Instagram, she posted a photo captioned, "Greetings from Maui," which showed all four women posing in bathing suits.  Notably, Taylor was wearing a somewhat skimpy bikini that clearly showed her belly button -- it's an "innie," by the way.  Predictably, fans went crazy, reposting the photo and commenting on Taylor's big reveal.

"That moment when you die bc of taylor swift's belly button," tweeted one fan.  Another tweeted, "omg @taylorswift13 finally revealed her belly button #nomoremystery."

Perhaps in reaction to the commotion, Taylor later posted a photo of herself wearing one of her usual retro-style one-piece suits.  She captioned the photo, "She's always wearing, like, a 1950's bathing suit."  That's a reference to the Saturday Night Live parody ad from last year, "Swiftamine," about a medication for adults who get dizzy and disoriented when they realize they like Taylor Swift's music. 

In the parody, a doctor is shown explaining, "Taylor Swift onset vertigo occurs when one of her songs forces your brain to fight your ears. Your frontal lobe says, 'Oof. Taylor Swift. She's always wearing, like, a 1950's-style bathing suit.'  But your ears say, 'Shut up. This is a perfect song.'" 

Taylor later said in an interview that she loved that line the best.

It's worth noting that Taylor has shown her belly button before.  In 2012, she was photographed emerging from the ocean in a black-and-white bikini, and her belly button was on display for all to see.  That's why it was odd that she told Lucky in November, "As far as anyone knows based on my public appearances, they haven’t seen evidence of a belly button."

While in Hawaii, Taylor did other things besides showing her belly button, by the way: she went whale watching and hiking as well.

Greetings from Maui! @haimtheband

Una foto publicada por Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) el

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Super Bowl Prop Bets: Katy Perry's Hair Color, Idina's Memory & More


While there will be plenty of money changing hands over whether the Patriots or the Seahawks will win the Super Bowl February 1, there are also a lot of crazy bets going on on the side that have nothing to do with the actual game.  These are called "proposition," or "prop" bets, and some of the more amusing ones have to do with your Super Bowl musical performers: halftime headliner Katy Perry and national anthem singer Idina Menzel.

At the website MyTopSportsBooks.com, you can bet on everything from what color hair Katy will have during her performance, to whether or not Idina's name will be mispronounced when they introduced her.  As long as it's not John Travolta doing the announcing, she should be safe: the odds on that are only 33/1. 

Here's a list of the prop bets currently being offered around Katy and Idina's performances:

Odds on a halftime show wardrobe malfunction: 22/1

Over/Under on number of Katy Perry wardrobe changes: 2.5

Odds on Katy Perry’s hair color:
-Brunette: 1/2
-Purple/blue: 5/1
-Redhead: 10/1
-Blonde: 12/1

Odds on Katy Perry wearing a whipped cream bikini: 18/1

Over/Under on the number of halftime guest stars: 2.5

Odds the PA announcer mispronounces “Idina Menzel”: 33/1

Odds that Idina Menzel forgets the words to the national anthem: 50/1

Over/Under on the length of the national anthem: 122.5 seconds

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Taylor Swift, Demi Lovato and Beyonce Nominated for "Shorty Awards" Honoring Social Media


ABC/Ida Mae AstuteTaylor Swift, Lorde, Demi Lovato and Beyonce are among the finalists for this year’s 7th Annual Shorty Awards, which honor the best social media content on the web.

A nominating board of journalists chose three finalists for each category, and fans have a chance to vote for four additional finalists via Twitter. Taylor, Demi and Beyonce are the board’s top picks in the Singer category, while Lorde and Calum Hood of 5 Seconds of Summer are featured in the Musician category.

In the Band category, One Direction and Bastille made it to the finals. They’re joined in the category by HAIM, the Grammy-nominated sister group who is friendly with Taylor Swift.

When the Shortys began in 2008, only Twitter users were recognized, but the awards have since expanded to include other social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Vine, YouTube and Tumblr. Nominees span categories from Music to TV to Fashion to Art.

Twitter users can nominate their picks for finalists until February 19. Winners are selected by members of the Real-Time Academy of Short Form Arts & Sciences, which includes Apple co-founder Steve “The Woz” Wozniak, actor Adam Scott, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, TV host Nick Cannon and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.

Last year’s winners included Fifth Harmony in the Band category and Questlove in both the Singer and Music categories. The 7th Annual Shorty Awards ceremony will be held in April in New York City, and will be live streamed internationally.

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Katy Perry's Designer Hints at Halftime Show Fashion Details


Christie Goodwin/Capitol RecordsKaty Perry’s Super Bowl halftime show performance is top secret, but fashion designer Jeremy Scott is dropping some hints about the singer’s onstage wardrobe.

The designer spoke with Access Hollywood Thursday about what viewers can expect from Katy’s costumes. "The unexpected, lots of excitement, lots of outfit changes, which is very difficult to do with basically this kind of set-up," he said.

And, of course, he added the costumes will involve plenty of color. Jeremy, who’s been working with Katy for a long time, said he thinks people will be surprised by her performance and that it would be an “iconic” moment for her.

Hopefully it won’t be memorable for any kind of Janet Jackson-style wardrobe malfunctions. Jeremy assured that will not be happening. “We’re making sure everything fits to a T,” he said.

Super Bowl 49 airs February 1 on NBC.

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Charli XCX Still Claims Hilary Duff's Team Thought "Boom Clap" Wasn't "Cool Enough"


RCA Records; Bella Howard/Atlantic RecordsCharli XCX’s “Boom Clap” was a hit, but apparently not everyone thought it would be. In an interview with V Magazine, on stands now, the 22-year-old British pop star reiterated her claims that Hilary Duff’s team passed on the song because they didn’t think it was “cool” enough.

“We sent the song to her people and I don’t think she ever heard it,” Charli told the mag. “But they were like, ‘This song isn’t cool enough for Hilary.’ And we were really sad about that! So I was like, F**k it. I’m going to sing it.”

She said that when Hilary finally heard the song, she reached out via Twitter. “Hilary Duff heard it and she tweeted me, ‘Hey, I really like your song! I wish I’d known that I could’ve had it,’” Charli said, with a laugh. “And I was like, 'Too late, Hilary. Too late.’”

Charli first spoke out about the Hilary rejection last year, and at that point, Hilary was completely clueless about it.  This past October, she spoke to ABC News Radio and addressed Charli’s claims.

“I don’t even know what that all was,” she said. “I mean, I know we tried to set up a session once in New York, but I had to fly home…but sessions get canceled all the time. And then she all of a sudden was like, ‘Oh she could’ve had “Boom Clap”’ or ‘I would have given it her.’ But I don’t know, I was kind of confused by the whole thing.” 

Hilary also added that there are no hard feelings: she thinks Charli is awesome and loves her music.

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Lady Gaga Contributes Diane Warren-Penned Song to New Documentary "The Hunting Ground"


ABC/Rick Powell)Not long ago, a photo popped up online of Lady Gaga in the studio with hitmaking songwriter Diane Warren, who's created smashes for Celine Dion, Toni Braxton, Aerosmith and many more artists.  Now we know what the two were doing together: recording a song for a new documentary that's premiering Friday at the Sundance Festival.

"Recorded a song w/ amazing @Diane_Warren for very important doc #TheHuntingGround that premieres at Sundance today! Congrats 2 all involved!" Gaga tweeted on Friday, adding, "The film documents the lives of young people affected by rape. Our song is called 'Till It Happens To You.'"

The Sundance Festival website describes The Hunting Ground as a "piercing, monumental exposé of rape culture on campuses, poised to light a fire under a national debate."  What's revealed, say the filmmakers, is a "system of institutional cover-ups, rationalizations, victim-blaming and denial that creates perfect storm conditions for predators to prey with impunity."  The film also focuses on undergraduate rape survivors who are fighting back.

Diane Warren is also nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song for "Grateful," a song she wrote for the movie Beyond the Lights which is performed by Rita Ora. Meanwhile, Lady Gaga is up for a Grammy for her album with Tony Bennett, Cheek to Cheek.

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Backstreet Boys Discuss Group's Evolution in New Documentary Clip


Francesca FoleyIn a newly unveiled clip from the upcoming Backstreet Boys documentary, the group members discuss how they evolved from industry puppets into artists who make their own decisions.

“The producer would make it sound magical and the record executives would pick the singles," Brian Littrell says of the group's early albums, in the clip which is streaming on Billboard's website. "There was no decision making."

But now that they're adults, he says, the group's music-making process is much more autonomous. “When we were kids it was different: we were told what to do, told what to say," he says. "And now it's like, 'You know what? I do have a voice. I want to think for myself. I want to make music for me. I want to make music for our fans, I want to make everybody happy.'"

Backstreet Boys: Show 'Em What You're Made Of follows the band during the making of their 2013 record In a World Like This, during rehearsals and while out on tour. The year 2013 also marked the band’s 20th anniversary. The documentary hits theaters on January 30.

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Mike Tyson Explains His "Crazy" Contribution to Madonna's New Song "Iconic"


InterscopeMany were left scratching their heads when news broke that boxing legend Mike Tyson would be featured on a song on Madonna's upcoming album, Rebel Heart.  Now the nature of his contribution to the track “Iconic” has been revealed. 

"Madonna calls you and tells you to come somewhere, you go," Mike tells Rolling Stone.  "I didn't know what the hell I was going there for.  I'm just there having a good time and hanging out with Madonna.  She has her producer there and I go into the studio and I didn't know if she wanted me to talk or rap.  I just go in there and start talking.  I'm talking about my life and things that I have endured.  I'm saying some really crazy stuff.  It was really intense."

He said he ad-libbed his part of the song in one take and was inspired by an unlikely source: Italian fascist Benito Mussolini.

"When I did it, I think about being some guy like Mussolini and they're really arrogant, but you try to come from a positive perspective and be uplifting," he explained.  "You watch Mussolini on television -- even though we don't understand what he's saying -- he is so mesmerizing.  I look at myself in that way."

Though he hasn't heard the finished song yet, he's pretty confident that he nailed his part.  "Doing the song with Madonna makes me think this [music career] could really happen," Mike said.  "Most guys that come in there drink a bunch of liquor or smoke 100 blunts.  I just went in and boom, one take.  Everyone thought it was cool."

"Iconic" marks the first time Mike and Madonna have collaborated, but the two go way back.  Mike first met Madonna in 1988, during a double-date with his then-wife Robin Givens and Madonna's then-husband Sean Penn.

We'll get to hear Mike's part in "Iconic," which also features Chance the Rapper, when Rebel Heart is released on March 9.  Unless, of course, it leaks before then.

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Meghan Trainor Admits She'd Date One Direction's Niall Horan


Tyler Golden/NBCMeghan Trainor may have written a song with One Direction’s Harry Styles, but it turns out he isn’t her favorite member of the boy band.

When pressed by the U.K.’s Capital FM to admit who she’d like to go on a date with for Valentine’s Day, Meghan revealed she has a secret crush on Niall Horan.

"Oh let's get the fancy boys! One Direction, give me the blonde one!" Meghan said. "He's a gentleman.” She added that she encountered him once in person, and was got swept off her feet by his Irish charm.

She also dished on her tune with Harry, calling it a “cute ukulele song with two vocalists, a male and a female.” She said it’s about a person seeing their ex with someone new, but remaining hopeful that they might get back together some day.

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Miley Cyrus Talks Being Face of MAC Viva Glam, Gets Honest About Grammy Nomination


ABC/Lou RoccoMiley Cyrus is fresh off her worldwide tour, but she’s not slowing down. She’s joining the ranks of Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj as the new face of MAC cosmetic’s Viva Glam campaign.

The singer said on Friday's Good Morning America that she signed on to the campaign because she wants to empower "those even affected by HIV and to kind of give them this hope, and know that there's people out there who are fighting for them and especially not just for the cure, but to end this kind of stereotype."

All of the proceeds from sales of Miley's custom lipstick will go to the MAC AIDS Fund, which supports people affected by HIV and AIDS.

"I think it's fun for young people to get to buy a lipstick and know that it's going to actually go to changing the way that their future is going to be," Miley added.

Regardless of her reputation for twerking, humping foam fingers and posing topless, Miley considers herself a role model for young people.

"I am [a role model] for what I know of what is important to teach people -- and what is important to teach people is that...you can't judge other people," she said.

Along with joining the campaign, Miley is also gearing up to attend the Grammy Awards Feb. 8. The singer is nominated in the best pop vocal album category for Bangerz, but she doesn't think she'll take home a trophy.

"[It's] probably not gonna happen, but I'm stoked to go," she said.


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Train's New "Bulletproof Picasso" Video Features "Walking Dead" & "Modern Family" Stars


Columbia RecordsTrain's video for their 2014 hit "Angel in Blue Jeans" featured tough-guy actor Danny Trejo.  Their brand-new video for the song "Bulletproof Picasso" features stars from the TV series The Walking Dead and Modern Family.

In the clip, Reid Ewing, who plays Dylan on Modern Family, plays a young man hitchhiking in the desert with a guitar on his back, carrying a sign that says "Cali or Bust."  A old fat guy in a convertible zooms past him, leaving him in the dust, and pulls into a diner, where he's served by a pretty blonde waitress, played by Emily Kinney -- Beth Greene on The Walking Dead.  Ewing walks in, shows her a map and asks for directions, and the two make a connection.  He walks out, and the old fat guy pinches Kinney's butt.  She freaks out and douses him with ketchup, then steals his car keys, jumps in his convertible, hits the road and picks up Ewing.

The rest of the video features the two lovers on the road, heading for California, intercut with footage of Train singer Pat Monahan and guitarist Jimmy Stafford performing the song on a balcony.  When Kinney and Ewing finally arrive in California, they hit the beach, strip down to their underwear and jump in the ocean.

"Bulletproof Picasso" is the latest single and title track from Train's current album.  A lyric from the song inspired the name of the band's summer tour, the Picasso at the Wheel tour, which gets underway in May.  Tickets for the tour go on sale Saturday, January 24 at 10 a.m. local time via Live Nation.

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Nick Jonas Says Being a Solo Artist Is "More Rewarding"


Peggy Sirota/GQNick Jonas not only models double-breasted suits in the latest issue of GQ, he also discusses the joys and pressures of going solo.

Nick, who once made teen girls scream as one-third of The Jonas Brothers, is now making grown-ups swoon. GQ asked him what it’s been like making the transition from “boy celebrity” to “man celebrity.” “I think that this stage in my life is really, for a lot of reasons, pretty incredible,” he said. “Being a solo artist and trying to take these bold steps on my own.”

Nick once had his brothers Joe and Kevin to share the pressure; now the responsibility is entirely his own. But, he said, it’s better that way. “I think anytime that you push yourself, it's more rewarding,” he said. “It makes being on my own that much sweeter.”

He is still sort of sharing the spotlight, though -- with his abs. The mag asked if he ever gets jealous of his well-publicized six-pack for hogging all the attention. “You know what? If my abs drove them to the music and got them to access the other projects I'm doing, it's all good,” Nick said. “It's all worth it.”

Nick’s self-titled solo album, featuring the hit song “Jealous,” was released in November of last year and peaked at number six on the Billboard 200 chart. He also stars as Nate, a closeted gay MMA fighter, on the DirecTV series, Kingdom. This year, he’ll appear as a guest mentor for Christina Aguilera’s team on season 8 of The Voice.

Nick’s six-page fashion spread for GQ’s February issue hits outlets January 27.

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Paramore Announces Intimate Spring "Celebration"


Fueled By RamenParamore has announced an intimate U.S. tour for the spring, except they're not calling it a tour, exactly.

A posting on the band's Facebook page reads, "It feels right to bring the Self-Titled era to a close. We've had a very personal and hugely triumphant journey with this one. What wouldn't feel right is saying goodbye to this time in the band's career and not celebrating it with our fans in some special way. So we've decided to do one last little run with it. Smaller shows, beautiful theaters…and we're not calling it a tour, by the way."

The message continues, "Each night will be a little event, or as we said just a few seconds ago, a celebration. As we acknowledge the past few years (and more) of everything we've been through together, we're also looking forward together at all there is to come."

The band signs off by writing, "Thank you to anyone and everyone who made this album a milestone in Paramore's career and in each of our lives. We started this journey 3 years ago, desperate for any sort of future at all! Now we are standing taller, more confident, knowing that we are the ones who write our own future. This means you too."

The tour, billed as Writing the Future: An Intimate Evening with Paramore, will feature the band Copeland as the opening act. Paramore credits Copeland for helping them get their foot in the door by bringing them along on their tour ten years ago.  Tickets go on sale to the general public on January 30 via LiveNation.com.  Paramore.net email subscribers will get a code to buy tickets on Monday, January 26 at 9 a.m.

Here are Paramore's "celebration" dates:

4/27 -- Augusta, GA, Bell Auditorium
4/28 -- Clearwater, FL, Ruth Eckerd Hall
5/3 -- Rosemont, IL, Rosemont Theatre
5/5 -- Boston, MA, Citi Wang Theatre
5/6 -- New York, NY, Beacon Theatre
5/8 -- Atlantic City, NJ, The Borgata
5/9 -- Uncasville, CT, Mohegan Sun Arena
5/11 -- Baltimore, MD, Meyerhoff Theatre
5/12 -- Louisville, KY, Palace Theatre
5/14 -- New Orleans, LA, Saenger Theatre
5/15-16 -- Gulf Shores, AL, Hangout Festival
5/17 -- Nashville, TN, Grand Ole Opry House
5/19 -- Dallas, TX, Verizon Theatre At Grand Prairie
5/20 -- El Paso, TX, Abraham Chavez Theatre
5/22 -- San Diego, CA, SDSU Open Air Theatre
5/23 -- Los Angeles, CA, Dolby Theatre
5/25 -- Portland, OR, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall

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Diplo Says Taylor Swift Fans Are the "Worst People in the World," Says There's Secret, "Scary Stuff Going On" with Taylor


ABC/ Lou RoccoRemember when superstar deejay and producer Diplo made a joke about setting up a Kickstarter account to buy Taylor Swift a booty, and Taylor's BFF Lorde responded by insulting the size of his manhood, and then the Internet blew up?  Well, Diplo should probably change his name and move to another country, based on the latest comments he's made about Taylor and her devoted fans.

Speaking to GQ about the Taylor/Lorde booty incident, Diplo said, "Literally, it was such a tongue-in-cheek joke on both sides. I think Taylor Swift is such an impactful character...it was because she was involved that it became really big."  But he says her fans didn't take it as a joke at all.  "Taylor Swift fans are really crazy," he tells GQ. "They threatened to murder me and stuff. It's really bizarre, and disgusting. They're the worst people in the world."

Pronouncing himself a "pretty big fan" of Taylor's, Diplo goes on to say of her fans, "They're like 'I wish your kids had Down syndrome.' They're so evil...These people are like mean-spirited, evil human beings. I'm not a politician. I shouldn't have to be under the microscope for people like that."

He goes on to reiterate that he admires Taylor, but that she intimidates him as well.

"I'm a fan though. Her powers -- she's big. She's strong, bro," Diplo says. "Taylor Swift is very strategic with her friends and enemies. And I know lots of secrets. I can't divulge, but I know a lot of stuff about her. And she's definitely, there's definitely scary stuff going on. And I'm scared. I'm scared for my life."

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"American Idol" Recap: Carlos Santana’s Nephew Heads to Hollywood


FOXThe American Idol judges have been visiting their hometowns this season in search of talent, and this week, auditions were held in Harry Connick, Jr.'s old stomping ground, New Orleans.

Connick was back behind the judges' table, along with Keith Urban and Jennifer Lopez.

Eleven more contestants, including a nephew of Carlos Santana, advanced Thursday to the next round of the competition, bringing the total for the first three weeks to 99.

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 to send a contestant named Alexis Chapa to Hollywood.

Here are the highlights of Thursday's two-hour episode:

The Big Easy auditions got off to a slow start with a number of rejected contestants, including Drew Plaisance, whose second cousin used to babysit for Connick. The initial poor showing made the Idol judge wonder if his hometown would “represent.”

That changed when New Orleans native Angelica “Jelly” Joseph belted out her a capella version of Adele’s “Rollin’ in the Deep.” It blew the judges away, with Harry complimenting Jelly on her style, elegance and spirit. Keith noted Joseph’s voice “had a spunk to it.” Jennifer was also impressed. They all voted “yes” to send Angelica to Hollywood.

Next up was Tiffany Stringer, a 16-year-old Texas cheerleader who incorporated some of the moves she learned into her version of Cher Lloyd’s “Want You Back.” Connick thought the performance sounded very “drill team” and voted “no.” Urban disagreed though, noting that the dance elements, along with her vivacious personality, made the performance entertaining. Lopez also loved Tiffany and said “yes” too. Stringer earned a golden ticket to Hollywood.

Greyson Turner, 15, currently plays at restaurants in his hometown of Spartanburg, South Carolina, but dreams of one day playing for big crowds in stadiums. After singing an original tune called, “Chasing Shadows,” Jennifer noted Turner had a passion and intensity that just seemed to come naturally. Harry agreed, adding that his first instinct as a coach would be to warn Greyson not to blow his voice out, but that another side of him wants the teenager to go for broke. Lopez and Connick both voted “yes,” as did Keith, who declared that Turner has a great voice. Greyson moved on to Hollywood.

Another homegrown talent, Quentin Alexander, 20, followed, and immediately impressed the panel with his unique style of dress, which Lopez described as “half tribal, half pilgrim.” Quentin’s version of Lorde’s “Royals” impressed Harry, who thought Alexander had a great voice, but felt he should take as many risks with his voice as he does with his image. Harry thought Alexander deserved to go to Hollywood. He voted “yes,” along with Urban and Lopez, to let Quentin advance.

Mikey Duran, 19, had an advantage as soon as he walked in the room. Besides being born and raised in New Orleans, he even went to the same high school as Connick. Mikey’s stock rose even higher after he performed the original tune, "My Demise." Jennifer called Duran’s voice “unique” and “beautiful” and voted “yes.” After a couple of quick “yeses” from Connick and Urban, Mikey was holding a golden ticket to Hollywood.

Ricky Dale Hendricks, from West Monroe, Louisiana, is a country singer and huge Keith Urban fan. He tackled Garth Brooks’ “The Thunder Rolls” for the panel. Urban thought his performance was all over the place, but believed he could be reined in. Lopez loved the way Hendricks got lost in the song. Connick agreed, saying he wanted to see more of Ricky. All three said “yes” to send Hendricks to Hollywood.

Dakota Suarez, a drag queen from Texas, auditioned with Florence the Machine’s “Dog Days Are Over.” Connick was intrigued by the idea of seeing an Idol contestant, appearing as a guy one day and in drag the next. However, he thought Suarez’ voice was nice, but not incredible and voted “no.” Lopez disagreed and voted “yes.” After mulling it over a while, Urban cast the deciding vote, which was “yes.” Dakota was off to Hollywood.

Singer/songwriter Adam Lasher certainly has the genes to go all the way on American Idol. His uncle is the legendary Carlos Santana, who gave Adam some lessons on the guitar. Lasher chose to sing an original song for the audition. Keith loved his voice and his artistry. J-Lo and Harry agreed and all three voted “yes” for Adam to advance.

Erica Washington, a 24-year-old student, had to put many of her dreams on hold after having a daughter at the age of 18. She took a big step in getting her life back on track Thursday when she performed Beyoncé’s “Halo” for the judges. Connick enjoyed her “thick sound.” Lopez thought Washington had the whole package: looks, style and a voice to match. Urban noted that Washington’s love of the song came through in the performance. All three said “yes” to send Erica to Hollywood.

American Idol will return with more auditions next Wednesday night on Fox.

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Matchbox Twenty Concert Movie to Premiere Next Month on AXS TV


Randall Slavin/Atlantic RecordsMatchbox Twenty has been pretty quiet lately, but they're staging a daylong takeover of AXS TV next month to mark the premiere of their new concert film, Matchbox Twenty Live North, shot during the band's 2013 tour in support of their 2012 #1 comeback album, North.

In an interactive live event scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET on February 15, the band will take over the AXS TV Twitter account to chat with fans before the film itself premieres at 8 p.m.  Fans can ask questions using the hashtag #MB20Takeover, and a few lucky fans will be chosen to win cool band merchandise. The film itself features live performances of hits like "Unwell," "3 AM" and many more.

But the Twitter takeover and the concert film are just part of a full 12 hours of programming devoted to the band and their friends that day.  Things get underway at noon with Nothing but Videos: Matchbox Twenty Edition, and then throughout the afternoon, and well into the night, you can enjoy exclusive interviews with Matchbox Twenty, as well as concert specials from John Mayer, Train, The Fray, Lifehouse, Matt Nathanson and more.

On the music front, Matchbox Twenty frontman Rob Thomas plans to release a new solo album this year.  Earlier this week, he said fans can expect a new single in the beginning of summer.

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TLC Surpasses Kickstarter Goal for Funding New Album


Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagicWell, that didn’t take long.  Just four days after TLC launched a Kickstarter campaign with a goal of raising $150,000 to fund a new album, remaining members Rozonda “Chili” Thomas and Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins say they have reached and surpassed that mark.

As of Thursday night, the girl group had raised more than $197,000 from 1,868 backers.  And there’s still 27 days to go in the campaign.  The backers include Katy Perry, who made a $5,000 donation.

In a statement posted on their Kickstarter page, T-Boz and Chili wrote, “Y'all are beyond amazing. We are happy and proud to say that this project is officially the MOST SUCCESSFUL POP PROJECT ON KICKSTARTER!!! You made this happen and we are so blessed!!”

The duo added, “Some of y'all are asking what we plan to do with the funds we are raising. Every dollar is going into making the album, together with you. The Kickstarter does not stop now that we hit our minimum goal $150,000!! The more funds that we raise means more access to the best producers, writers and talent in the business!!! We want this album to have our authentic TLC SOUND and work with the best of the best.”

The fundraising effort includes a number of fan rewards such as a TLC digital scrapbook, autographed lyrics, slumber party, photo shoot, and listening party.

T-Boz and Chili also released a statement to People magazine after reaching their goal, saying “Our hearts are overflowing with gratitude for our fans for all of their amazing support. We feel so blessed to know that not only do our fans love us, but they believe in us.”

"We have received support from longtime listeners that attended our first concerts, plus new fans who have only just started listening. We were also so humbled by the outpour of support from other artists like Katy Perry, New Kids on the Block, Dev Hynes, Russell Simmons, Soulja Boy, Bette Midler and more,” the statement concluded.

The project, which is due out later this year, will be TLC's first studio album since the death of founding member Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes in 2002.

TLC is going on tour this summer with New Kids on the Block and Nelly.

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