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Tag: American Idol (11-20 of 182)

'American Idol' alum Jessica Sanchez releases debut single 'Tonight' featuring Ne-Yo

Ten months after finishing in second place on Season 11 of American Idol, 17-year-old diva-in-training Jessica Sanchez has released her first single, “Tonight,” a club thumper featuring Ne-Yo, who penned the track.

The song is far better than Jessica’s non-starter pop singles “Change Nothing,” which she performed at last year’s finale, and “Fairytale,” which she debuted at a showcase last year. And it’s light years ahead of the generic dance tracks released by The Voice‘s Jermaine Paul and The X-Factor‘s Melanie Amaro. “Tonight” actually sounds like it could fit right in on pop radio or blaring out of the speakers in a club.

Here’s the thing, though. I’m just not buying it — and that’s because I still remember the Jessica Sanchez I got to know on Idol. (How could I not? It hasn’t even been a year.) That girl was timid, chaste and typically performed vanilla Star Search-approved anthems like “The Prayer” and “I Will Always Love You” without an evident connection to the lyrics.

She had a bellowing instrument and could hold her own with the likes of Jennifer Holliday, but when she’d sing sassier tunes like “Proud Mary,” she’d stomp her feet and snarl and seem as if she was play-acting like all the diva greats she grew up watching on YouTube. To be clear, Jessica was (and is) an incredible vocalist, but what I’m saying is that she lacked her own artistic perspective. She was immature.

Granted, maybe she’s changed a lot in a year. Maybe sparkly bare midriffs, high tops, and techno productions like “Tonight” have always been her prerogative, but I can’t shake the feeling that she’s still playing a part — especially when it stands in such stark contrast to her previously TV-established identity. “We ain’t even on earth tonight,” she sings. “We on a planet where the dudes got money and they not afraid to spend it.”

Does that really sound like something that Jessica Sanchez, the quietly polite up-and-comer we saw on Idol, would ever say? To be fair, Rihanna plays a part when she performs. So do Katy Perry and Ke$ha. But they all arrived on the pop culture landscape as fully realized personae — we didn’t watch them transition into their sexified selves. When you do watch that transition, though, it’s hard to read the resulting work as authentic.

Check out the video for “Tonight” below: READ FULL STORY

Kelly Clarkson responds to Clive Davis: 'His stories ... are mixed up'

Once again, Kelly Clarkson would like to say something to Clive Davis: “Growing up is awesome because you learn you don’t have to cower to anyone — even Clive Davis.”

Some context: in a longish post published this afternoon, Clarkson responds to comments Davis made in his memoir The Soundtrack of My Life, which was released today.

In it, the record executive discusses his tumultuous working relationship with the Idol winner, which began immediately after her victory. He says things like, “Kelly obviously is very talented and has a big, powerful voice,” and that he helped delay the release of From Justin to Kelly in order to help her debut release, Thankful.

But he also claims that Clarkson hated “Since U Been Gone” and “Behind These Hazel Eyes” and “really” wanted both songs off her album.
(The “very tough conversation” was further delayed “when Kelly burst into hysterical sobbing,” Davis writes. “We all just sat there as she cried for several minutes.”) READ FULL STORY

Kris Allen banged up in car accident; announces big personal news

Kris-AllenKris Allen was in a car accident on New Year’s Day, but though he’s bruised a bit, 2013 is already shaping up to be a wonderful year for the former American Idol champion. “Thank you @ford for equipping me with a car that kept my whole family @katyallen @ZorroPup and the little one we have on the way safe,” he tweeted last night, letting slip the news that he and his wife are expecting a child. Just in case fans missed the clue, he followed up with, “Yes I got in a really bad wreck tonight and yes I’m having a lil baby. #gonnabeadaddy.”

Allen’s mother, Kimberly, had previously tweeted the car wreck news (and this mock-shocking photo), saying, “From Kris: he’s in a lot of pain, arm broke, may not play guitar for a while. Prayers welcome please! #headoncollision,” and “Kristopher and Katy are both pretty beat up but ALIVE! Thank you Jesus! They are setting his arm now and will have surgery tomorrow.”

Lastly, Allen reassured fans that his injuries would not interfere with his upcoming tour: “Don’t worry everyone I may have broken my wrist but the #OutAliveTour is still on.”

Phillip Phillips announces next single 'Gone Gone Gone': Hear it here!

It’s easy to understand why Phillip Phillips has ridden on the success of his Mumford-y smash “Home” for seven straight months. After becoming the unofficial anthem of the summer Olympics, the strummy coronation single earned a second life on the chart, and over the course the fall, became a commercial powerhouse.

Now, as the year comes to a close, sales for “Home” stand at nearly 3 million, it’s still in the Top 10 of Billboard‘s Hot 100, and it has helped to launch the American Idol winner’s debut album The World from the Side of the Moon successfully. (The disc has sold 377,000 copies in its first four weeks.) And yet, the time has come for Phillips to look beyond “Home.”

“The second single will be ‘Gone, Gone, Gone’” Phillips recently told Yahoo! Canada Music. “It’s a good little love song. Todd Clark and Derek Fuhrmann, they wrote [it] and brought it to me and I thought it was a beautiful song. The more I’ve played it live, the more I’ve made it more my own and people seem to really connect with it and really enjoy it so I’m excited to see how that song’s going to do.”

While I’d guess that Phillips may be a bit disappointed that his second single, due in early 2013, is a song he had no hand in writing (he wrote or co-wrote 9 of the 12 songs on his album), this is absolutely the correct decision by Interscope.

“Gone Gone Gone” is the other true standout track on Phillips’ album. Like “Home,” it’s a kick-drum-pounding, acoustic track that builds into a by-the-numbers Americana anthem, complete with hopeful, universal lyrics, a scratchy-voiced vocal, and a whole chorus of “ooooh”s. It’s melodic and memorable and could easily cement Phillips’ status as a relevant 2013 artist — not just an American Idol one-off. (Plus it paves the way for his third single to be a curveball. I think “Get Up Get Down” would be a great choice, in that case.)

Listen to the song below: READ FULL STORY

Someone already wrote Taylor Swift and Harry Styles' breakup song, and it's perfect -- VIDEO

Taylor Swift and One Direction’s Harry Styles are dating now, but let’s be real: they’re going to break up. I’m sure of it. You’re sure of it. Anyone who has thought about Taylor Swift for even one minute over the past five years is sure of it. This is just what she does. Swift kisses and kisses and kisses, and then she tells (with varying degrees of coyness) on her multi-platinum albums.

But thanks to American Idol Season 9 alum Tim Urban (straight outta left field, I know!), we no longer have to wait for Swift’s inevitable confessional about Harry Styles on her inevitable fall 2014 album. Urban’s written one for her, and it’s hilariously, almost unbelievably on-point. Seriously, is he her secret ghost writer?

The opening couplet had me on board right away. “He was the wrong direction with a beautiful face,” Urban sings. “He made me smile on those December days.”

I mean, that’s just classic Swift, right? But it was the sassy kiss-off at the end of the chorus that sealed the deal for me: “There won’t be a next time for him/ And he can keep his accent.” Ahhhh, how is this not already a real Taylor Swift song?!

Check out the full tune below (it kicks off at 0:44): READ FULL STORY

Steven Tyler apologizes to Nicki Minaj for 'cornfield' comment, which almost certainly wasn't racist

Not only is Nicki Minaj starting trouble with the American Idol judges sitting next to her, but she has also started beef with people who are no longer with the show.

Last week, Aerosmith frontman, former Idol judge, and scarf industry propper-upper Tyler gave Minaj—and the rest of her Idol cohorts—what for during a conversation with MTV News. “I know that they’ve got something going on on the judges’ panel, [and] it shouldn’t be that, it should be just the opposite: They should have something going on, which is called camaraderie,” he said.

“They should have something going on so thick and beautiful that they can lay it over the new talent that’s trying to birth itself. It needs to be birthed, not judged by ‘entertainment’ factors, it needs to be judged by people that [are] honest, true, that have the ‘it’ factor. Not the ‘it’ factor because they can fight. The f— is that all about?”

Tyler took particular umbrage with Minaj’s approach, saying, “These kids, they just got out of a car from the Midwest somewhere and they’re in New York City, they’re scared to death; you’re not going to get the best. If it was Bob Dylan, Nicki Minaj would have had him sent to the cornfield! Whereas, if it was Bob Dylan with us, we would have brought the best of him out, as we did with Phillip Phillips. Just saying.”

Obviously, Tyler was continuing his “Midwest” riff when bringing up the idea of a “cornfield.” But Minaj didn’t see it that way: READ FULL STORY

Haley Reinhart dropped by Interscope: What all reality competitions can learn from this tragedy*

Sad news, American Idol junkies!

Standout Idol alum Haley Reinhart, who finished in third place during season 10 of the veteran reality competition series, has quietly parted ways with Interscope, the label that signed her following her eilimination. The Hollywood Reporter broke the news over the Thanksgiving holiday.

The singer, 22, who growled out memorable renditions of “I Who Have Nothing” and “House of the Rising Sun” (the latter performance is not available on YouTube, but a live version is embedded below) during her Idol run, released a debut album, Listen Up!, in May, but the record never became a mainstream force on the charts. After moving 20,000 copies in week one, sales topped out around 60,000 total.

Reinhart certainly isn’t the first Idol contestant to lose a major label deal — Season 8 winner Kris Allen was dropped by RCA earlier this year — but news of her split with Interscope feels particularly sad given her formidable (and sadly mis-marketed) talent. READ FULL STORY

Nicki Minaj to Barbara Walters: 'Am I not good enough for you to get my side, because I'm a little black girl that raps?'

nicki-minaj

Nicki Minaj’s  E! special My Truth is certainly presenting one version of events. That’s the funny thing about truth, though: everyone’s is different.

In the second of her three-night special last night (which you can watch in full), Minaj gave her story about what is going on between herself, Mariah Carey and Barbara Walters. It all started a few months ago, when Carey told Walters that Minaj had threatened her. At the time, Carey, via Walters, said that she heard Minaj say, “If I had a gun, I would shoot the b***h,” referring to Carey. Walters then repeated on The View.

But in the new special, Minaj said that after Carey leveled the gun charge, Walters simply reported it and didn’t ask Minaj’s team for comment. “Am I not good enough for you [Walters] to get my side, because I’m a little black girl that raps?” she said, talking to her entourage. “Because if I was J. Lo, you would’ve called J. Lo’s camp. But are we not good enough for you Barbara?…I’m only good enough for you to tell people I’m ‘unpredictable,’ when you don’t f—–g know me?” READ FULL STORY

'American Idol' roundup: Phillip Phillips releases song previews, Jessica Sanchez goes 'Glee,' and 'Skyfall' gets a killer cover by... Syesha?

Over the past 11 years American Idol has played host to 133 different finalists vying for a shot at belting out a coronation anthem at the Nokia. As such, keeping track of all the goings-on of American Idol alumni can be a daunting task — but hey, that’s what we’re here for!

Here’s what’s going on with your favorite American Idol stars:

PHILLIP PHILLIPS: The reigning champ’s album, The World From the Side of the Moon, won’t be available until Nov. 19, but 90-second previews of all the album’s songs have surfaced on iTunes. Though many of them reflect Phillips’ personal style while on Idol, there are more than a few that resemble his double-platinum smash “Home.” Come back to EW for a review of the disc later this week, but in the meantime, check out these snippets below. (“Gone, Gone, Gone” is my personal fave.) READ FULL STORY

Phillip Phillips performs laid-back National Anthem at the World Series -- VIDEO

It’s been a busy day for American Idol winner Phillip Phillips.

Not only did the Georgia native earn a double platinum certification for his single “Home” and release his upcoming album‘s full tracklist, he took to the baseball diamond to perform the Star Spangled Banner at Game 1 of the World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Detroit Tigers.

Phillips delivered a solid, laid-back version of the Anthem, complete with the trademark gravelly vocal style he maintained on Idol. Though he threw a few brooding notes into the arrangement, Phillips kept things straightforward, pretty, and nicely tuneful.

Check it out below (via MJ’s Big Blog): READ FULL STORY

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