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Celebrities mourn Etta James via Twitter, internet

The legendary Etta James succumbed to leukemia this morning, and people all over are remembering the singer’s 73 years of life in different ways.

Beyonce, who famously played the star in 2008′s Cadillac Records — and ran into some static with the older star later — took to her website with the following statement:

“This is a huge loss. Etta James was one of the greatest vocalists of our time. I am so fortunate to have met such a queen. Her musical contributions will last a lifetime. Playing Etta James taught me so much about myself, and singing her music inspired me to be a stronger artist. When she effortlessly opened her mouth, you could hear her pain and triumph. Her deeply emotional way of delivering a song told her story with no filter. She was fearless, and had guts. She will be missed.”

For many, Twitter provides a natural outlet to mourn and pay tribute. Celebrities as varied as Questlove, Kings of Leon’s Nathan Followill, and Nancy Grace have already tweeted about James; we’ve included many of them below: READ FULL STORY

Matthew McConaughey returns to his 'Dazed and Confused' character in Butch Walker's new 'Synthesizers' video: Watch it here

matthew-mcconaughey

You know what we love about Dazed and Confused? Matthew McConaughey gets older, but David Wooderson stays the same age.

After a nearly twenty-year hiatus, McConaughey has reprised the stoner comedy’s lingering high school graduate in Butch Walker’s new video for “Synthesizers,” off his album The Spade.

The collaboration came out of mutual admiration, and probably a dash of nostalgia. “When it comes to classic characters, Matthew McConaughey’s ‘Wooderson’ took the cake…and the high school girls with him,” Walker says.

Added McConaughey, “If you love Dazed and you loved Wooderson, you’ll see this and you’ll probably get the tickle box pretty quick.”

So how’s the iconic burnout holding up these days? Find out in the video below:

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Beyonce's parents think their daughter and Jay-Z need to chill out on the Blue Ivy Carter thing

Think young Blue Ivy Carter has been in the press too much?

Well, Beyoncé’s parents apparently agree.

The singer’s divorced parents, Tina and Mathew Knowles, have expressed concerns over how their daughter and son-in-law Jay-Z are thrusting Blue Ivy into the spotlight, according to reports.

The new grandparents, who had a heavy hand in orchestrating their daughters’ careers, think Jay and Bey need to “back off a bit and pull back on the publicity they are helping generate for that child,” a Knowles insider said yesterday.

But it looks like Blue Ivy’s parents already have things under control. At the reopening his 40/40 Club in New York last night, Jay attended without Beyoncé (or Blue Ivy, thankfully) and had his handler tell reporters, “If you ask about the baby, he’s going to walk away.”

Perhaps Grandpa and Grandma Knowles are the ones who need to “pull back” on the publicity. What about you guys — how do you come down on Jayoncé’s parenting skills so far?

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Bruno Mars cleared of cocaine-possession case

Pop star Bruno Mars was cleared of a felony cocaine-possession case in Las Vegas on Wednesday, after his attorneys told a state court judge the Grammy-winning pop star stayed out of trouble, performed community service, and met other conditions of a plea deal reached almost a year ago.

Mars, whose real name is Peter Gene Hernandez, didn’t appear in person for the brief hearing at which Clark County District Court Judge Jessie Walsh dismissed the case. The 26-year-old singer-songwriter of hits including “Just the Way You Are,” ”It Will Rain,” and “Grenade” pleaded guilty on Feb. 16 to cocaine possession, but the judge postponed accepting the plea.

Mars didn’t get formal probation, but the judge fined him $2,000 and ordered him to perform 200 hours of community service and 8 hours of drug counseling.

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Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton postpone concerts after family loss

Country couple Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton have both pulled out of several tour dates to mourn the death of Blake’s father, Dick Shelton, who passed away in Oklahoma yesterday.

Shelton, who had been slated to play four shows in Montana and the Dakotas this week, plans to return to the road Jan. 26. “I appreciate your understanding during this difficult time and thank you for all your prayers. Your support means the world to me. I love you guys,” he told fans on his site.

His wife, Lambert, is also canceling her weekend concert dates in Kentucky and North Carolina.

“Thank you to the fans for all the support and prayers,” she said in a statement. “This is a really difficult time for our family and the most important thing is being together.”

Astro becomes second 'X Factor' contestant to sign with L.A. Reid's Epic Records

Is The X Factor going all American Idol on us?

The 15-year-old rapper Astro, who was eliminated from the competition on Dec. 1, has just announced that he’s inking a deal with Epic Records — just like his fellow runner-up Chris Rene did yesterday.

Astro, whose full fake name is Astronomical Kid and full real name is Brian Bradley, was an early favorite among fans thrilled by the bespectacled emcee’s preternatural talents. But the Brooklyn-based teenager eventually lost the crowd due to rampant cockiness and a televised tantrum, during which he pouted, “I really don’t want to perform, I feel it’s unnecessary.”

After Astro’s run ended, many wondered whether he’d get picked up by one of his own idols, namely Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label. But L.A. Reid — who mentored Astro on the show and also runs Epic — took the bait instead. Maybe the real way for X Factor contestants to win a record contract is to impress Reid?

How about you, reader — are you impressed by the one-two punch of Chris Rene and Astro getting major-label deals? Do you think Astro will live up to his hype? And are there any other contestants you’d like to see get signed? We know you’re out there, Rachel Crow Nation!

Read more:
‘X Factor’ runner-up Chris Rene signs record deal with Epic — EXCLUSIVENicole Scherzinger performs new song ‘Pretty’ on ‘The X Factor’; will she finally catch her break?Kris Allen working on his second album: What does he need to prove?

'X Factor' runner-up Chris Rene signs record deal with Epic -- EXCLUSIVE

American Idol semi-finalists aren’t the only ones getting record deals these days.

Chris Rene, X Factor’s third-place finisher last season, has just told EW exclusively that he’ll be officially signing to Epic Records.

“I’ve dreamt about this moment my whole life,” says Rene. “And now its here. Working with L.A. Reid — ‘Big Homie’ –  is a dream come true; he’s a great man,” Rene continued, referring to his X Factor mentor, who also helms the label.

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Daniel Radcliffe swoops in to Lana Del Rey's 'SNL' defense

Call it Harry Potter and the Cold-Blooded Critics.

After hosting last weekend’s Saturday Night Live, Daniel Radcliffe is publicly coming to the defense of the episode’s musical guest Lana Del Rey, whose performance has inspired the first Great Music Debate of 2012.

“It was unfortunate that people seemed to turn on her so quickly,” Radcliffe said to the British press of Del Rey, who sang “Video Games” and “Blue Jeans” on that fateful night.

“I also think people are making it about things other than the performance,” the actor continued. “If you read what people are saying about her online, it’s all about her past and her family and stuff that’s nobody else’s business.”

Added Radcliffe, “I don’t think it warranted anywhere near that reaction.”

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Sleigh Bells unleash new single 'Comeback Kid': Hear it here

Need a pick-me-up after spending the morning watching (and rewatching) Lana Del Rey’s wooden SNL outing?

Sleigh Bells has the cure. The Brooklyn noise-pop duo hit the web today with “Comeback Kid,” the first proper single from their upcoming sophomore effort Reign of Terror, due February 21.

The track — whose optimistic title offers an alternative to the underachiever anthem “Born to Lose,” a previously released RoT cut – pleasingly fuses pummeling beats and grungy guitar heroics with Alexis Krauss’ sugar-sweet vocals.

You can buy the track on iTunes (it also comes free if you preorder the album), but first check it out below:

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Watch vintage footage of teenage Kanye rapping -- VIDEO

Teen Kanye RapsHe wasn’t born on the throne.

But according to a newly unearthed video of a 19-year-old Kanye West performing in his native Chicago, he was already on his way in 1996.

“I never been tookin’ out / I got emcees lookin’ out,” raps the nascent Louis Vuitton Don, sporting the kind of tucked-in polo ensemble that became the sartorial signature of his earlier days.

The NYC-flavored jam definitely fits the era, and West had seemingly yet to nail down a musical identity. Yet, as we recently learned in another vintage video, it would be eight years (if not sooner) before ‘Ye started infusing into his verses the Chicago-style consciousness that colored his 2004 debut The College Dropout.

But enough with the talking — watch the video for yourself below, and let us know what you think of Junior Yeezy:

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