Video Vault – Wings and The Kinks

Let’s wrap up February with a couple groovy videos, shall we? First up it’s Wings and their excellent “Junior’s Farm.” And then The Kinks are up with the classic “Dead End Street.”

Madonna: “Do as I say, not as I do”

In a recent interview, the Material Girl expressed concern about her daughter Lourdes’s tendency to wear jeans that are “so tight she can’t bend her knees,” and that are a bit too revealing in the rear whenever little Lola bends over.
That’s right: Madonna is worried about her daughter dressing a bit too much “Boy Toy” and not enough “Like a Virgin.”

Of course, whenever Madonna brings up issues of appropriate attire with her daughter, Lourdes simply laughs, hands her mother a copy of Madonna’s “Sex” photo book, and asks if she can borrow Mom’s cone-shaped bra.

American Idol: Them Dudes Are Scared

Last night on “American Idol” the 10 remaining guys performed, and you could tell that most of them were terrified of the fact that the ladies pretty much blew them away last week. They would have to step up their game or face elimination, if not in the next two weeks, then surely when it’s just six and six left.

It’s always refreshing when the contestants take the judges’ advice and try to improve. Last night several of these guys came out of the gate and tried to wow America the same way that Lakisha, Stephanie and Sabrina did last Wednesday. Did they succeed? Some did, some were way off the mark, but most were somewhere in the middle.

Here is how it went down…..

THE GOOD

Phil Stacy kicked things off with John Waite’s “Missing You” and showed everyone that he has one of the best voices out of the remaining guys. It wasn’t flashy, but in a singing competition it was a good vocal performance. Randy said it was hot, Paula said Phil had great tone, and Simon said it was unoriginal but that Phil would sail through because he’s popular. My take? I think Simon secretly wishes he could sport the chrome dome the same way Phil and Chris Daughtry do.

Chris Sligh sang Ray LaMontagne’s “Trouble” and for my money this kid is THE best male singer of the group. His awesome performance wasn’t a surprise, but the fact that dude has a cute wife probably threw America for a loop. Randy said Chris has a “big voice,” Paula said she liked it, and Simon said that Chris is a “very good singer.” This dude is going nowhere anytime soon.

Chris Richardson also came in prepared. He sang Jason Mraz’ “Geek in the Pink,” and quite honestly, he was better than Jason Mraz. Randy put it best, saying Chris was “in it to win it.” Simon even said it was the best performance of the night “by a mile.” Yeah, dude was entertaining, and did just enough vocally. Label this kid another dark horse.

THE IN-BETWEEN

AJ was off-key a bit and had this kind of feminine quality that I think just didn’t work. But again, this is a singing competition and dude did way better than last week. Randy admitted as much, and Simon said it was “nearly very good.” That’s about right.

Nick Pedro did a version of “Fever,” and it was more his style than what he sang last week. It was a little pitchy in spots, and Randy even said so, but it wasn’t too bad. Paula said she loves Nick’s tone, and Simon said it was a good vocal performance but that Nick lacked charisma.

Blake Lewis added his beat box/scat thing back into his performance this week, taking on Jamiroquai.
Randy said it was cool that Blake returned to his form, Paula said it was a good song choice, but Simon said it was off key in spots and not really original. He wasn’t bad, but Blake can do much better and everyone knows it.

Sundance Head brought down the house last night with his rendition of “Mustang Sally.” Dude showed why he made it this far, because he really does have a big voice. Randy and Paula said something to the effect of “Sundance is back,” but Simon admitted that he thinks Sundance can do even better. I don’t know what it is, but I can’t get on this guy’s bandwagon. Plus, that song is one of the most played out in wedding band/hotel lounge history.

THE BAD

Jared Cotter wasn’t the worst of the bunch, but two of these guys have to go home on Thursday. He sang Marvin Gaye and was slightly boring and really just okay. Paula said Jared is a good looking kid, and that might keep him around, but Simon summed it up by saying it was like a “Love Boat” performance.

Sunjaya dressed like Michael Jackson and sang “All Dressed Up.” I think it may have been one of the worst performances ever on this show, period. Randy said Sunjaya is a nice kid, but that this was like a bad high school talent show. Simon said it was “ghastly” and used the words “weak” and “weird.” If this kid doesn’t go home this week, then our great nation has a serious problem evaluating talent.

Brandon Rogers, I thought you would go far in this competition. But I can’t give you props for that very mediocre version of “Time After Time.” I mean, that song is almost as played out as “Mustang Sally” and it sure as hell didn’t show your vocal range. The judges said as much, and Simon said he needs to come out and “wow” everyone if he wants to stick around. I have a feeling he may not.

So that’s it, the ladies sing tonight and, surprisingly, Antonella is still in this competition even though all kinds of naughty photos of her are circulating around the Internet. She must have a good attorney.
But she won’t last long with that vocal ability or lack thereof anyway.

As for the guys, I’m going with Sunjaya and Brandon to exit on Thursday…I don’t think Brandon should go but he may have done just poorly enough last night. Other possibilities are Jared, AJ and Nick.

See you all tomorrow….

And in other news…

Madonna’s just looking really old.

Road Warriors 3

A really cool lineup is shaping up for England’s Isle of Wight Festival from June 8-19. Among the partial confirmations are Snow Patrol, Keane, Paolo Nutini, James Morrison, and The Feeling.

And speaking of cool overseas festival lineups, the Oxegen music festival will take place July 7 and 8 at Punchestown Racecourse in Ireland and confirmed acts include Muse, Snow Patrol, My Chemical Romance, Arcade Fire, Scissor Sisters and Razorlight.

Aerosmith is working on yet another album, and between their days in the studio in June they will take a month-long “break” and head to Europe for a month of shows. This marks the first time Steven Tyler and the boys will have toured in Europe since 1999.

Is anyone surprised that The Police shows that have been announced are selling out in mere minutes? Sold out shows are Boston, New York, and some of the Canadian dates. Additional tickets will be going on sale this Monday for Giants Stadium in New Jersey, as sell as Seattle, Denver and Phoenix. As if this whole idea of a revival tour isn’t enough, the band is planning to write and record again soon. Hey fellas, let’s see how you all play together in the sandbox first.

The Fray continues to tour in support of their 2005 major label debut, How To Save a Life, and the band’s summer tour with Ok Go is already taking shape, kicking off June 11 in Minneapolis and running through August 5. Aside from Ok Go, other acts supporting the tour include Mae, Gomez, Eisley and Meese.

Pop mega-stars Maroon 5 are releasing the extremely anticipated follow up to their quadruple-platinum selling Songs About Jane this May. The new album will be called It Won’t Be Soon Before Long, and the band will then launch a full-scale tour in September.

Cobra Music recording artists and Chicago rock band Suffrajett has been described as raw, low-fi Afro-punk, garage glam, art punk, mental rock, garage rock and grunge hair metal. Man, that’s a mouthful. Anyway, the band and its label have announced two showcases at South By Southwest in Austin next month.

The Van Halen tour with David Lee Roth as the reinstated lead vocalist has been postponed indefinitely. Come on Mister Roth and Misters Van Halen, can’t you take a cue from the Police and put those gargantuan egos aside for one stinking tour?

Canadian electronic duo Junior Boys will be touring the US and Canada in support of their new Dead Horse EP.

This Sunday’s 79th Academy Awards show will feature performances from Oscar nominated artists including Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson, Melissa Etheridge, Randy Newman, Keith Robinson, Anika Noni Rose and James Taylor. The show airs at 8pm ET.

Remember when Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera ruled the pop airwaves and tabloids together? Now they are both generating publicity for different reasons. While Britney is having her head shaved and enters drug rehab facilities weekly, Christina keeps on looking hot and making music. After her GRAMMY performance a few weeks ago, Christina landed on the cover of Maxim and kicked off her North American tour this past week in Dallas, supporting her new album, Back to Basics. Support acts on the tour include Danity Kane and Pussycat Dolls.

Ultra Music Festival 9 in Miami is set for March 23 and 24 as the official closing event to the Winter Music Conference. 60,000 fans are expected to see headliners The Cure and Paul Van Dyk, along with 150 of the world’s top electronic bands and DJs.

Singer/songwriter and media wiseass John Mayer has just announced his summer tour in support of the Continuum album. The tour kicks off June 1 and Ridgefield, Washington and runs through August 8 in West Palm Beach, Florida. No word on whether Mayer will be swapping spit with Jessica Simpson on this tour or at any time in the near future.

Boston based four-piece melodic punk/hardcore band Smoke or Fire is hitting the road in support of their new album, This Sinking Ship.

For version with all associated tour dates, please click here.


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American Idol: Four Are Gone, Along With a Few of My Brain Cells

Last night’s results show for “American Idol” sent four contestants packing, and there were a few surprises and a few not-so-surprises. The night started off with host Ryan Seacrest announcing some of the stars that will take part in the show during the season, including Diana Ross, Jon Bon Jovi, Jennifer Lopez, Gwen Stefani, Tony Bennett, Martina McBride and Barry Gibb. Can you say “Big Budget?”

Then we had to witness one of the most disturbing Idol moments ever–a group performance of Tears for Fears’ “Sowing the Seeds of Love.” Not only can I never listen to this song the same way again, I’m pretty sure that performance of it has scarred my inner being, causing a few of my brain cells to drop to the floor like sawdust from a workbench.

Then they took the first row of guys, most of which were awful on Tuesday night, and one by one Ryan let them know they were safe….Brandon, Sundance (are you kidding me?), Chris R, Nick, and Blake. Then when he got to the barefoot wonder, Paul Kim, Ryan was quick to say adios…none of that “after the break” crap, just “Paul, you are going home.” Then we had to endure Kim singing that Wham song again, and it was even worse last night. Maybe it’s because he was wearing shoes.

Then the girls went, and with six of them lined up and Antonella on the end, you had to know what was coming, right? Well, these producers are sneaky. All safe–Jordin, Stephanie, Sabrina, Leslie, Melinda and Antonella. Then Ryan went to the first girl in the front row, Amy Krebs, and sent her packing. Amy isn’t the worst singer this competition has ever seen, but you can’t say she was one of the better performers on Wednesday when she sang Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me.”

Then we were treated to a performance by Season 3 champ Fantasia. Damn, I forgot how that girl could wail. She put on a clinic for some of those other girls last night and even got a standing O from all three judges.

Back to reality…..five girls left, and Haley, Lakisha and Gina were all sent back to the pack. So it was between Nicole Tranquillo and Alaina Alexander. I was sure it would be Alaina but was wrong. Nicole and that Erykah Badu song in which you could barely make out the lyrics earned her a ticket back to Philly.

Finally, one more dude had to get a pink slip. All safe–Chris Sligh, Bald Phil, Jared, and AJ. Then it was between Sunjaya and Rudy. Ryan said that one of them had the lowest number of votes while the other was in the top 4. What??? Surely there were some forces of nature at work here that we weren’t aware of, or it’s those idiots who vote for the worst every week. Yeah, Sunjaya was safe….I mean, come on…that dude in the top 4? The other theory is he’s got that likeability factor that Kevin Covais had….just a good, humble kid. So Rudy got the heave-ho, and when he did that horrible Latin-inspired version of “Free Ride” to close out the show, I kind of felt like it was deserved.

We’re now down to 20. My favorites are Stephanie, Melinda, Sabrina, Jordin, Lakisha, Brandon, Chris S, Chris R, and Blake. And actually I’m going to say this right now….watch for Chris Sligh, he is my darkest of dark horses for winning the whole thing. Are you all on the phone to Vegas right now?

See you next week, when they will likely torture us with a group version of Squeeze’s “Pulling Mussels from a Shell.” I cringe in advance.

Adios!

American Idol: It’s Ladies Night

Last night it was the ladies’ turn to show off their vocal wares. Most of the guys on Tuesday night looked like they were walking on egg shells the whole time, being careful not to mess up too much and just coast into next week. Lucky for them two guys and two girls will get voted off this week, and not four guys, because most of the ladies brought it Wednesday night.

Of course, what is “American Idol” without Ryan Seacrest taking shots at Simon Cowell? I mean, dude just doesn’t let up. He was ribbing Cowell about the night before when Simon and Chris Sligh were trading jabs. Who cares? Simon did call Ryan “obnoxious” and that’s all that needs to be said.

So here is the good, bad, and in-between recap of last night…..

THE GOOD

Stephanie Edwards, who is 19 and has the poise of someone who is 29, started off and was awesome. She put on a show and displayed a voice that is capable of taking her far. Randy said she set the bar, and Simon said it was the first performance so far of someone basically saying “I want to win this thing.” Exactly.

Sabrina Sloan, who I’ll admit to not remembering in the audition rounds, took on Aretha Franklin. That’s always a tough nut to crack, but she cracked it. Randy said “Now we have a competition,” Paula gave Sabrina a drunken standing O, and Simon said she was the best so far.

Melinda Doolittle also took on Aretha and was unbelievable. Like, winning it all unbelievable. This career backup singer has been thrust into the spotlight, and she isn’t going to let go of it any time soon.
Paula said as much, and Simon called Melinda an “incredible singer.” That’s strong praise from Mr. Cowell.

Lakisha Jones brought down the house at the end of the night performing a Jennifer Hudson tune from “Dreamgirls.” I kind of thought she was shouting, but my wife informed me that Lakisha performed the song to a tee. The judges all agreed, in particular Simon who boldly stated that the other 23 contestants should be booking a plane ticket home.

Jordin Sparks is only 17, but is another young competitor who doesn’t fear the big stage. She wasn’t the best of this bunch, but was good enough to land in this category. Simon said Jordin has been getting better and better as the rounds go by and that she may wind up surprising some people.

THE IN-BETWEEN

Leslie Hunt, a.k.a. the “dog walker,” was just pretty good. She was the first of three to take on Aretha Franklin, and the only one who didn’t do her song justice. She wasn’t awful, but as Randy said, the song was “too big” for Leslie. Simon said she looked like a “dog walker” who was out of her comfort zone, and that’s pretty much it.

Nicole Tranquillo sang an Erykah Badu song and kind of made it seem like she was singing in another language. It was more style than substance. Paula said Nicole hit the notes, but that’s about it. Simon called the performance “self indulgent and aggressive.” Agreed.

Gina Glockson is so full of herself that I really hope she gets voted off soon. She took on Celine Dion’s version of Eric Carmen’s “All By Myself,” and was pretty much shouting the whole time. Paula said it was the right song, but Simon said Gina didn’t hit the big note at the end, and he was right. Gina, however, told Ryan Seacrest that she gave her own performance a 12 out of 10. Hey Gina, SHUT UP.
You are just not that good.

THE BAD

Amy Krebs sang Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” and was not bad vocally, but really had no flair at all. Randy and Paula said that Amy played it safe, just like the guys on Tuesday. Simon said that Amy was not memorable at all, and that she had the “personality of a candle.”

Antonella Barba showed why she really doesn’t belong in this competition anymore. This girl has gotten by on her looks for long enough, and last night she sang Aerosmith’s “Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” like really bad karaoke. Randy said it was “not good” and pitchy, and Simon said that while Antonella is attactive, that song just didn’t work. The good news is that she will likely be reunited with her best friend soon.

Haley Scarnato also took on a Celine Dion song and while she wasn’t the worst of the evening, her performance was way less than memorable. Randy said it was just “okay,” Paula thought it was a bad song choice, and Simon declared that Haley looked like a 40-year-old singing in a hotel lounge (she’s 24). This girl is cute, though, and I think her looks will allow her to stick around for another week.

Alaina Alexander played it super-safe by singing The Pretenders’ “Brass in Pocket.” Randy said it was “not great” and pitchy, Paula said Alaina didn’t “go for it,” and Simon called it “a mess.” I’m going to say that Alaina may be heading home really soon.

Randy Jackson admitted at the end of the night that four guys should be going home instead of two guys and two girls, and while that is a fair statement to make, there were definitely at least two chicks who were bad enough to book a plane ticket home.

Me? I”m going with Antonella and Alaina. This is a singing competition and both of them had awful performances. For the guys, I slipped up by predicting one going home (Sundance Head) but I forgot that two guys will go home in each of the first three weeks of this round. So Sunjaya, you will soon be reunited with your sister.

Tonight is the painful hour-long results show. And if Ryan Seacrest starts jabbing at Simon again, I may just jump on a plane to LA and beat the crap out of him. See you all tomorrow with the recap….

Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha…!!!!!

That Van Halen reunion tour…? According to RollingStone.com, it’s already over before it even began.

Why…? Well, no one seems to know for sure yet – or if they do, they ain’t talking – but here are our best guesses:

1) David Lee Roth and Eddie Valen Halen got into one of their inevitable arguments, it led to hair-pulling, and when Eddie pulled off DLR’s toupee, Diamond Dave started crying and left.

2) David Lee Roth’s vocals are nowhere near what they were in the band’s heyday, and Eddie couldn’t kid himself anymore that they were gonna suddenly get better.

3) Gary Cherone’s schedule, originally packed, suddenly opened up, allowing the classic Van Halen III line-up to return to achieve the greatness that was so cruelly denied to them in the past.

Come on, #3…!!!

If you’re keeping score…

Britney’s out of rehab again.

Okay, fine, I admit it: I’m feeling sorry for her. She’s clearly got some problems. In all honesty, I hope she successfully vanishes into seclusion for awhile to get her head straight; I’d hate to see her go the Anna Nicole Smith route.

American Idol: Let’s All Play It Safe

So last night began the first round of Season 6 of “American Idol” in which fans get to vote contestants off the Hollywood island. The 12 guys went first, with the theme of the night being safety. That’s right, almost every dude who sang last night did some sappy ballad that didn’t require dance moves, vocal acrobatics or much flair. And it wasn’t a very good strategy, because the judges called them out on it.
In particular, Simon Cowell was his usual sneering self, but even Randy Jackson told at least one contestant, “Dude, it was bad.” And he didn’t mean the kind of bad that is short for “badass.” He meant “really bad.”

Also, it’s the first we’ve seen of the judges and Seacrest in a live atmosphere this season. Paula is still drunk and she’s still bickering with Simon, and Ryan is back to being a tool. I mean, dude wasn’t so annoying during the taped audition shows, but he can’t hide from his own ego for long. Last night (and he does this every season) he suggested that Simon should give the contestants some positive reinforcement instead of being so negative. Um, dude, he’s not going to change and neitheris your plastic self. He’s going to tell it like it is instead of sugar-coating things, and well he should.

So here are my choices for the good, the bad and the in-between from Round 1…..

THE GOOD

I’m partial to Brandon Rogers, because I know he’s got enormous potential on this show, but last night he was a bit off his game when he did Michael Jackson’s “Rock With You.” Still, I think he was good enough to be in the top four. Simon suggested that Brandon played it safe, though at the end of the night you’d have to think it wasn’t the safest performance by any means.

Chris Richardson, the dude who looks and dances like Justin Timberlake, was a bit pitchy but very entertaining. His version of Gavin DeGraw’s “I Don’t Wanna Be” was a bit thin vocally, but like Paula said, it was a cool arrangement of the song. His flair is definitely going to keep him around for a while.

Chubby kid Chris Sligh took more of a gamble than most, doing the very current “Typical” by MuteMath. He made a statement with this song, because the lyrics imply something to the effect of not being typical, and he made himself stand out from the field. Though Simon suggested it was like watching a student union performance, I think it was way better. This kid has game.

Phil Stacey, the dude who missed the birth of his daughter during the auditions, went last and did Edwin McCain’s “Could Not Ask For More.” It started off pretty weak, but when ol’ Phil launched into the chorus he established that he is one of the best male singers in this competition.

THE IN-BETWEEN

Rudy Cardenas kicked things off last night. Dude looked like a Mexican Clay Aiken and had a weird song choice in Edgar Winter’s “Free Ride.” He even threw in a few “Woohs” ala Taylor Hicks. Randy called it “corny” and I completely agree. Simon said it wasn’t distinctive and Paula said it was “fantastic” through her drunken haze. It was just okay.

Blake Lewis, aka Captain Beat Box, did a Keane song which was a cool choice, but it was still kind of safe and pitchy. Simon said it wasn’t his best vocal, but all of the judges commended him on doing a song in which his beat-boxing took a back seat to his vocals. Still, dude could have stepped things up just a bit.

Jared Cotter did Brian McKnight’s “One” and it wasn’t bad but was kind of boring and safe. Are you sensing a theme here? I wasn’t kidding. But Jared is good enough to hang around a few weeks.

A.J., who is in his fifth attempt at becoming the next Idol, is further along than he ever has been. Simon thought A.J. gave a “theme park performance” and Randy called it “nothing new.” That’s about it…the kid can sing but he didn’t blow anyone away last night.

THE BAD

America, meet Sundance Head. America, watch Sundance Head look twice his age trying to sing the Moody Blues’ “Nights in White Satin.” America, prepare to put Sundance Head in the bottom 3. And I laugh every time they show that clip of Simon saying that Sundance looked like he’d been “boiled” after one audition. I mean, his head looks like a giant tomato when emoting.

Paul Kim did Wham’s “Careless Whisper,” and he did it like every other performance he has put on so far–barefoot. It was like watching Fred Flintstone attempt a wussy version of an already wussy song.
Simon suggested it was “ordinary” and that Kim should really put some shoes on. Ryan tried to show his support by taking his shoes off, but said something about his own recent pedicure. Um, okay. Hey Ryan, it took exactly one night of seeing you in live action to declare you an idiot. Way to go.

Nick Pedro attempted Richard Marx’ “Now and Forever” and even Paula said it was a bad song choice. Randy thought it was boring and pitchy, but somehow Simon thought it was pretty good. I have to say I agree with Paula and Randy on this one, but I’m not sure Nick will wind up in the bottom 3.

Sunjaya did Stevie Wonder’s “Something About Your Love,” a song that contains the lyrics “I Don’t Want to Bore You.” That, my friend, was a risk right there. But it didn’t help that you had exactly zero charisma and did just okay on a song that was way out of your league. I mean, this is Stevie Freaking Wonder you attempted. Paula even said he had no personality last night, but everyone knows this kid can do better. Whether or not he gets another chance remains to be seen.

So there you go…my bottom three? Sundance, Sunjaya and Paul. And it’s really close between Sundance and Sunjaya, but I’m going with Sundance.

Tonight the ladies try to impress us.

Hey, a random observation…..there were zero country songs last night. Will that trend continue tonight? Tune in and find out…..

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