March 19th, 2012

'The Voice' Recap: Erin Martin Wins One Strange Battle

‘The Voice’ Recap: Erin Martin Wins One Strange Battle

Posted on 19 Mar 2012 at 3:18pm

Six more contestants are sent home as battle rounds continue and the live shows draw nearer.
By John Mitchell

Erin Martin on “The Voice”

Photo: NBC

The theme on Monday night’s (March 19) episode of “The Voice” seemed to be strange pairings and even more oddly matched songs. Nearly every team to enter the ring was working one, the other or both for the third battle round, which saw judges Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton, Adam Levine and Cee Lo Green send six contestants home and add even more members to their respective teams to take to the upcoming shows.

Let’s get right to it!

Team Adam
The first pairing of the night was Team Adam’s Pip and Nathan Parrett. Pip’s popularity during the blind auditions (he got all four judges to turn their chairs) intimidated Nathan from the start and the pair was given a tall order when Adam assigned them Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good.”

It’s no wonder, then, that mentor Robin Thicke’s major recommendation to Perrett was to up his confidence and get ready to sell it once he hit the stage. But while Thicke was busy giving Perrett a pep talk, Alanis Morrisette was advising Pip to take it down a notch and not over-sing the song

Two clean-cut pop singers tackling Winehouse’s bluesy hit might seem strange, but it gave both an opportunity to show their range as vocalists and earned raves from all the judges. Ultimately, though, Pip’s stage presence and consistency won him a place on Team Adam for the finals.

One of the night’s few pairings that made sense came later in the night, during Levine’s team’s second meeting in the ring, which saw raspy Angel Taylor go up against “sultry vocalist” (host Carson Daly’s words, not mine) Katrina Parker, singing “Bleeding Love” by Leona Lewis.

Thicke had a lot of faith in Taylor, saying she had what it takes to win the whole thing if she remembered to bring emotion to her performance, but the judges didn’t feel the same. Parker brought it to the battle and won the support of Xtina, Blake, Cee Lo and ultimately Levine, who sided with the three judges and will take Parker with him to the live shows.

Team Cee Lo
Cee Lo created what had to be the night’s most awkward pairing: whispery Erin Martin and rock duo the Shields Brothers. Stylistically, the two couldn’t be more different — Martin kind of sounds like Macy Gray, while the Shields Brother tear into songs like your friendly neighborhood garage band.

The strangeness extended to the mentor stage too, when the Bros were joined for rehearsal by Babyface, who called their first run-through “a challenge.” “I thought ‘Wayne’s World,’ ” he added. He asked them to express a softer side, and when they did, he seemed pleased that he could finally “hear your voices.”

On her way into the ring, Martin was “100 percent confident” she would win and that “power isn’t talent, it’s just loud.” (Dis!)

This battle was strange right down to the song: “What’s Love Got to Do With It” by Tina Turner. Christina raved about the performance, but the other judges weren’t so sure.

The only thing Blake could really think to say was, “Erin, I am so glad you wore that.” Cee Lo called it “wonderfully strange” and chose Martin to move forward because he felt he would be better able to mold her unique voice while the Shield Brothers were too set in their garage-rock shtick.

Team Christina
Ashley De La Rosa became nervous the second Christina told her was going up against one of the show’s early front-runners, Jonathas, a father of two who lived in poverty as a child in Brazil. When they were given “No Air” by Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown, she started freaking out.

During the blind auditions, Jonathas’ vocal similarity to Usher caused quite a stir, so Ashley worried that being given a song so firmly in his wheelhouse (there was no denying from the beginning that he’d sing the heck out of Chris Brown’s part in “No Air”) would play to his advantage. But in the end, his comfort with the style and choice not to step outside it and show the judges he could do something else worked against him. While he was a natural singing Brown’s smooth R&B, the song gave Ashley a chance to show off her range. She did a great job with Sparks’ part, and her effort was rewarded with a continued spot on Team Xtina.

Team Blake
The strange pairings continued as Team Blake’s Jermaine Paul, a former backup singer for Alicia Keys, and pop-singing Texas teenager AlyX hit the ring together to sing the mega-’80s classic “Get Out of My Dreams, Get Into My Car” by Billy Ocean.

The song required a carefree attitude that mentor Miranda Lambert just wasn’t confident young AlyX had. “I’m not sure she’s ever had fun and cut loose,” Lambert said, prescribing “sassiness” if she wanted to pose much of a challenge against Jermaine.

It was a futile effort. Paul owned the song and the judges let him know it. “I mean, come on, Jermaine, you made that song your own,” Xtina fawned. Adam and Cee Lo agreed. And while Blake offered AlyX an “A” for effort, he unsurprisingly went with Paul, sending AlyX packing.

The night’s most dramatic performance was its last, between Team Blake’s Gwen Sebastian and Erin Willet. In addition to their respective backstories (more on that later), the pair are total opposites when it comes to their singing styles. “Gwen is a country singer; Erin couldn’t be anything farther from that,” Blake explained as his rationale for teaming the two.

And like every other country singer in the competition, Sebastian was enamored with her mentor Lambert, saying of the country star, “Her voice evokes every emotion I want to as a singer.”

Things took a turn just before the battle, however, when Erin revealed that her father, who is suffering from stage 4 pancreatic cancer, is not doing that well. In fact, he’d only been given days to live, but he wanted her to stay in the competition, “I’m trying to be as present as I can be,” Willett told Shelton, who praised her devotion to both her father’s wishes and the competition.

“I’m going to push from a place of wanting my father to be proud of me,” Willett said before she went on.

Each judge commented on how radically different the two singers’ vocal styles were when they hit the stage, and it divided them. Christina and Adam went with Erin while Cee Lo picked Gwen. In the end, Blake sided with Xtina and Adam and picked Willett, who dedicated her win to her father.

Moving On

Paramore, Evanescence Survive To Second Round Of Musical March Madness

Paramore, Evanescence Survive To Second Round Of Musical March Madness

Posted on 19 Mar 2012 at 1:26pm

Foo Fighters, Mumford & Sons, Black Keys get bounced. Second-round voting is now under way in all Musical March Madness matchups!
By James Montgomery

Paramore’s Hayley Williams

Photo: Getty Images

After one week of MTV’s Musical March Madness, about the only sure thing is that there really is no sure thing. Because with one round in the books, we’re bidding adieu to three of our top-seeded bands — the Foo Fighters (bested by James Durbin), Mumford & Sons (shocked by F—ed Up) and the Black Keys (nipped by AWOLNATION) — upsets that prove no one is safe and assure us that, much like the actual NCAA tournament, everyone’s bracket is irrevocably broken (shout out to Mizzou and Duke … thanks, guys!).

Vote for your favorite band, discuss and share on Facebook and Twitter in the MTV Musical March Madness interactive bracket!

And though they survived, several other top-tier bands were taken down to the wire. In the West, third-seeded Blink-182 got by #14 Korn by a razor-thin margin, while #5 Linkin Park narrowly avoided an upset at the hands of #12 At the Drive-In. Over in the East, #2 Coldplay outlasted #15 Arctic Monkeys in a tightly contested thriller, and #3 Florence and the Machine needed a late rally to put away #14 Refused. But forget about style points: When it’s tournament time, all that matters is winning, and there are still 32 bands remaining in the quest for the MMM championship. And it’ll be up to you to guide them there: second-round voting is now under way in our interactive bracket and will run until Sunday, March 25, at midnight ET.

Vote for your favorite band, discuss and share on Facebook and Twitter in the MTV Musical March Madness interactive bracket!

So, whose dreams remain intact, and who was left to pick up the pieces? Let’s take a look back at all the first-round matchups!

Upsets aplenty in the Midwest, as top seed the Black Keys were bounced on a last-second buzzer-beater by #16 AWOLNATION (total margin of victory: 41 votes), #2 Bon Iver and #3 Pearl Jam were upset by #15 Sum 41 and #14 Five Finger Death Punch, respectively, and #4 U2 were shown the door by #13 Modest Mouse (again … no one is safe). MMM powerhouses My Chemical Romance bucked the trend by blowing out #12 Death Cab for Cutie, though #6 Kid Rock got knocked off by #11 Chevelle in a close contest. Seventh-seeded Metallica outlasted a game Guns N’ Roses, but #8 Nickelback were edged out by #9 Rise Against! in a total barn-burner. And after all of that, there’s still plenty left to be decided. Here’s a look at our second-round matchups:

#9 Rise Against! vs. #16 AWOLNATION
#5 My Chemical Romance vs. #13 Modest Mouse
#11 Chevelle vs. #14 Five Finger Death Punch
#7 Metallica vs. #15 Sum 41

More carnage in the West, as the top-seeded Foos got whooped by #16 James Durbin, #2 the Red Hot Chili Peppers went up in smoke against #15 Panic! at the Disco and #4 Maroon 5 got bounced by the late-surging Lana Del Rey. But in an epic battle, #1 Blink-182 was overpowered by #14 Korn (after more than 200,000 votes, they won by less than 800) and defending MMM champs Green Day showed true mettle by mauling #12 the Decemberists. Sixth-seeded Foster the People got bumped by #11 Adam Lambert, and #7 Van Halen were shown the door by #10 No Doubt. And look out for #8 Best Coast, who showed a surprising amount of power by blasting #9 Skrillex. Here’s who’s still left standing heading into round number two:

#8 Best Coast vs. #16 James Durbin
#5 Green Day vs. #12 Lana Del Rey
#3 Blink-182 vs. #11 Adam Lambert
#13 No Doubt vs. #15 Panic! at the Disco

Not nearly as brutal here, as #1 Mumford & Sons got waxed by #16 F—ed Up, while #2 Coldplay used a late rally to edge out #15 Arctic Monkeys, third-seeded Florence and the Machine survived #14 Refused and #4 Muse managed to move on after pasting #13 Gym Class Heroes. In a hotly debated (and borderline illegal) showdown, #5 Arcade Fire were bested by #12 Tokio Hotel (there were 2.1 million votes cast in this one alone) and #6 Fun. fell to the mighty fanbase of #11 Semi Precious Weapons. Not surprisingly, #7 the Shins got smoked by #10 Coheed and Cambria, and #8 Radiohead withstood a late charge from #9 Bruce Springsteen to move on. So after all that carnage, here’s a look at our second-round matchups:

#8 Radiohead vs. #16 F—ed Up
#4 Muse vs. #12 Tokio Hotel
#3 Florence and the Machine vs. #11 Semi Precious Weapons
#2 Coldplay vs. #10 Coheed and Cambria

Vote for your favorite band, discuss and share on Facebook and Twitter in the MTV Musical March Madness interactive bracket!

Say hello to the only #1 seed still standing: Evanescence, who dispatched of #16 the Alabama Shakes with shocking ease. Second-seeded Paramore throttled a (fundamentally sound) #15 Gotye, while #3 Kings of Leon continued their trend of MMM sucktitude by getting blasted by #14 Phoenix. Fourth seed Jack White did his part by beating back #13 Shinedown, and #5 Linkin Park survived #13 At the Drive-In. The always-dangerous 30 Seconds to Mars thumped #11 Sleigh Bells, but #7 Cage the Elephant fell victim to #10 Ke$ha and her epically toned pelvic muscles . And in a battle true to their late-rising fanbases,#9 Dave Matthews Band rode one final surge of voting to overcome #9 My Morning Jacket. Don’t get too excited just yet, DMB fans, because Evanescence is next. Here’s a look at our round-two tilts in the South:

#1 Evanescence vs. #9 Dave Matthews Band
#4 Jack White vs. #13 At the Drive-In
#6 30 Seconds to Mars vs. #14 Phoenix
#2 Paramore vs. #10 Ke$ha

So, with one week in the books, 32 teams remain alive. But just who will reign supreme? Well, that’s all up to you: Voting is now live in all second-round matchups … so get cracking.

MTV’s 2012 Musical March Madness Tournament heads to the second round beginning Monday (March 19). Voting runs until midnight ET on Sunday, March 25, and winners are determined by fan votes, so if your favorite act is still alive, it’ll be up to you to guide them to glory. You can rally the troops on Twitter using the hashtag #MMM or by downloading one of our custom badges — but get ready, it only gets more difficult from here on out.

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'American Idol' Castoff Shannon Magrane Doesn't Regret Tackling Mariah Carey

‘American Idol’ Castoff Shannon Magrane Doesn’t Regret Tackling Mariah Carey

Posted on 19 Mar 2012 at 11:56am

Eliminated 16-year-old tells MTV News that Carey’s power ballad ‘One Sweet Day’ has sentimental value.
By Christina Garibaldi

Shannon Magrane

Photo: MTV News

Although Shannon Magrane was sent packing on last week’s episode of “American Idol,” the 16-year-old Tampa, Florida, native has no hard feelings about her early elimination.

On Monday (March 19), Magrane stopped by the MTV Newsroom and reflected on her fun, if brief time on the “Idol” stage.

“It’s hard, you never know what America is thinking,” Magrane admitted. “It’s crazy, but I loved it. It was a great learning experience for me. I loved every minute of it.”

During her final performance, Magrane took on Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men’s “One Sweet Day,” which received relatively positive remarks from the judges. But in the end, that wasn’t enough to save her from elimination. And while “Idol” judges usually advise contestants to stay away from Carey’s power ballads, Magrane has no regrets about her song choice.

“I was happy I sang that song,” Magrane said. “What not a lot of people know about that was that I chose that song because it was a song that me and my Papa sang together,” she added of the tribute to her grandfather. “And sang it because before he passed away, that was our favorite song that he would always sing to me. I just felt emotionally connected to that song.”

Magrane wasn’t the only contestant eliminated on “American Idol” last week. Jermaine Jones made a surprising exit after producers claimed he misled them about his history of arrests. The news was a shock to viewers but also to the contestants.

“That was definitely one of the biggest shockers on ‘Idol’ that I’ve ever seen so far, and I’ve been watching it since I was a little girl. That was a big shocker,” Magrane said. “We all found out when America found out, we were all so shocked … we were so sad because he was one of the people that were the funniest people in our group. He was always making people feel happy and laugh all the time.”

Magrane’s 11th-place elimination means she’ll miss out on the singing show’s summer tour but she told us she plans to attend. For now, the teen just has her sights set on making her mark in the music industry — and finishing high school.

“I still have to go to school; I still have school work to do. But on top of that, I’m still going to be working on my dream,” Magrane said. “I really want to be a triple threat. I want to be like Beyonc

Katy Perry Videos: Our Five Favorites

Katy Perry Videos: Our Five Favorites

Posted on 19 Mar 2012 at 7:58am

As we count down to the premiere of her ‘Part of Me’ video, MTV News picks our favorite Katy Perry clips to date.
By Vaughn Trudeau Schoonmaker

Katy Perry

Photo: EMI

We’re just a couple days away from “MTV First: Katy Perry,” when the pop star will premiere the music video for her #1 hit, “Part of Me” on MTV. As her seventh #1 single, “Part of Me” has a long line of awesome videos to live up to. And as we count down the hours to the video premiere at 7:23 p.m. on Wednesday, it seems like an opportune time to look back at our five favorite Katy Perry videos so far.

#5: “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F)”
This Marc Klesfeld-directed, 8-minute mini-movie opened with Kathy Beth Terry waking up the morning after throwing quite the rager, wearing absurd head gear and dreadful overalls. While this was not Katy’s first foray into the comedic music video genre by any means, this was the first time that she pulled all hands on deck to maximize the laughs with meaningful cameos from a glassy-eyed Darren Criss, Kevin McHale as a love interest, the mentoring of Friday expert Rebecca Black, Corey Feldman, Hanson, Debbie Gibson and, of course, Kenny G.

Complete with dream sequences, beautiful fluorescent leggings a la 1985, a rooster and end credits that clearly save the best for last, “T.G.I.F.” is hands-down Katy’s most fun video to date.

#4: “I Kissed a Girl”
Rewatching the video for her first #1 hit, we see a personality far more timid and sex kitten-ish than the Katy Perry we know now. But we still recognize strong visual themes that are scattered throughout her more recent videos, live performances and magazine spreads.

Director Kinga Burza brought us bizarre yet compelling imagery that seems to have set the tone for all videos to follow. The pink-and-red color scheme creates a burlesque backdrop around Katy’s former 1940s-pin-up-girl look that she hit the big pop scene with in 2008. We get to see a cat (not Kitty Purry technically, but perhaps a nod?), a pretty cake (confection!), and a pillow fight with a group of scantily clad women (including a pre-famous Ke$ha). The video ends with her waking up to realize the whole video was a dream, and she happens to be sharing a bed with a man who looks suspiciously similar to her then-boyfriend, Travie McCoy.

#3: “California Gurls”
This now-iconic video set the Candyland theme Perry took on the road with her for the sold-out California Dreams World Tour. As Snoop Dogg plays a naughty game of “Candyfornia,” the game piece, Ms. Perry, is faced with obstacles in the Mathew Cullen-directed adventure, including an army of pissed-off Gummy Bears and sinister candy snake vines. The obstacles are no match for her whipped cream-shooting bikini top and her happy-go-lucky demeanor she maintains while lying nude on some of the prettiest cotton candy clouds ever spotted. Her lavender, blue and black wigs foreshadowed Perry’s constantly-changing hair styles we see today.

The visual effects in the video, surprisingly intricate for such a silly and sweet concept, transform Katy’s homeland California with all of its picturesque landscapes into a tantalizing Willy Wonka land where everything is edible, including the Hollywood sign. The video also marked Katy’s first noteworthy choreographed dancing, which was a new territory not explored from her One of the Boys era of videos.

#2: “Firework”
Katy Perry looks like a princess in this Budapest-set, Dave Meyers-directed tearjerker (happy tears!) that led the way for anti-bullying anthems even before Pink’s “F—in’ Perfect” and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way. Featuring a child cancer patient, a boy whose parents are fighting, a girl struggling with her weight and a teenage boy with a same-sex love interest, Katy Perry’s message of “igniting the light” is loud and clear as fireworks burst from everyone’s chest and purple streaks in one’s hair have never looked so good.

#1: “The One That Got Away”
Marking her second collaboration with director Floria Sigismondi following “E.T.,” “The One That Got Away” takes the top prize because of its clever jumps through time, a convincing old-lady makeover, Diego Luna’s spicy cameo, and Perry managing to look more beautiful than ever amid a fascinating emotional breakdown.

Set against the backdrop of California panoramas, this music video neatly ties together the imagery she introduced us to in her equally gorgeous video for “Teenage Dream,” while letting the story of love and loss run wild, giving Katy the chance to show us the extent of her talent, as she showed her high potential for dramatic acting.

Can Katy Perry top this list with “Part of Me”? Find out when during “MTV First: Katy Perry,” when the pop star will debut the video at 7:23 p.m. ET on MTV, followed by an 30-minute interview with MTV News’ James Montgomery on

Immediately following the premiere of “Part of Me” on MTV, the video for the deeply emotional single will air on Logo, debut on, and, and go into rotation on mtvU, MTV Hits and AMTV the following morning. Additionally, the video will debut on Saturday, March 24, at 9 a.m. ET/PT during VH1′s “Top 20 Countdown” and on TeenNick’s “Obsess This” music block at 7 a.m. ET and Sunday, March 25, at 8:30 a.m. ET.

Do you agree with our top five picks? Let us know in the comments section.

Catch “MTV First: Katy Perry” on Wednesday, March 21, when the pop star will debut her long-awaited video for “Part of Me” at 7:23 p.m. ET on MTV. Then head over to for an exclusive 30-minute interview with MTV News’ Perry!

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