Five contestants received standing ovations on a night Steven Tyler called ‘a magical mystery tour of over-the-top talent and emotion.’
By Adam Graham
The Idols took on songs by their own personal idols on Wednesday (March 28), and time and again they brought the judges to their feet.
Five singers — more than half the field — earned standing ovations from the judges, and if that isn’t technically a record, it certainly felt like one. And while several contestants surged forward — most notably Colton Dixon, whom Randy Jackson dubbed “a contender for the title” for the first time — it was Heejun Han who seized the opportunity to wipe the slate clean after last week’s flub and realign himself in the “Idol” ranks.
The night kicked off in an odd fashion, with host Ryan Seacrest telling the contestants, “Hunger Games”-style, “may the odds be ever in your favor.” And from there it was a veritable bloodbath, with each contestant giving their all and making the “Idol” landscape as difficult to survey as ever.
Han, who was criticized last week for not taking the show seriously following his goofball performance of Billy Joel’s “My Life,” dialed himself way down Wednesday and gave a straightforward reading of Donny Hathaway’s “A Song For You.” The result: a standing O, along with praise from the judges who felt he was finally done mocking the proceedings.
“You did it man, you turned it around,” Steven Tyler told him, while Jennifer Lopez backed his performance and dispelled any notion he was a fluke contestant by telling him, “You don’t make it this far by mistake.” Jackson agreed the performance represented a major turnaround for Han. “Finally the Heejun that we selected came back to us tonight,” the Dawg said. “Welcome back.”
Also bringing the judges to their feet were Joshua Ledet (singing Mariah Carey’s version of “Without You”), Phillip Phillips (taking on Johnny Lang’s “Still Raining”), DeAndre Brackensick (doing Eric Benet’s “Sometimes I Cry”) and Elise Testone (who closed the show with Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love”). The praise was flying around so fast and furious it was almost hard to keep track of; at show’s close, Tyler called the evening “a magical mystery tour of over-the-top talent and emotion.” (We’re not 100 percent sure what that means, but we’re pretty sure it’s good.)
Ledet’s performance was perhaps the evening’s most emotional; afterward, Lopez told the Louisiana native, “you’re a phenom, you are an absolute angel from Heaven!” Phillips, meanwhile, was told he “owned” his performance of “Still Raining.” “You’ve got big things in front of you,” Jackson told him.
Testone wasn’t the first “Idol” to take on “Whole Lotta Love”; Adam Lambert memorably upped the song’s sexual mojo back in Season 8. Her version didn’t have Lambert’s same oomph, but Tyler told her, “you made Robert Plant proud tonight” while Lopez said, “that was some real rock star stuff.”
Brackensick, meanwhile, earned comparisons to Prince for the high falsetto he delivered while singing “Sometimes I Cry.” “You gave Prince a run for his money, man,” Tyler told him, while Jackson gave him one of his customary “DeAndre’s back in the house!” declarations. Lopez pleaded with America to vote for the curly-haired singer. “People, pick up your phones and vote for DeAndre!” she said. “Please, I need to hear this voice some more!”
Though he didn’t get a standing O, Dixon opened the show with Lifehouse’s “Everything” and was called “a dream come true” by Tyler. “You sing a song like it should be sung. You make it bleed, you have perfect pitch, and you’ve got star quality.” And with Jackson officially welcoming him into the potential winner’s circle, the playing field was again shifted.
Jessica Sanchez, another of the field’s leaders, slowed down Beyonc
The lead single off Believe could sell 400,000 downloads in its first week.
By Jocelyn Vena
According to Billboard, the song, which dropped Monday, could sell upwards of 400,000 downloads in its first week, giving it a big push on next week’s Billboard Hot 100 chart. This would give the singer his best sales week for a song to date in his career.
His biggest thus far belongs to “Never Say Never,” which moved 199,000 downloads in its first week, eventually peaking at #5 on the Digital Songs chart.
Based on the estimates for his Hot 100 debut (which takes into account radio airplay, sales and streaming data), Bieber could land in the top five going into next week. So far, his most ubiquitous track, “Baby,”
is also his highest debut on the Hot 100, having landed at #5 in 2010.
It seems that radio is also embracing the lead Believe single. While Bieber has always had a large fanbase and solid record sales, radio airplay has eluded him a bit. But Billboard further reports that this song could land him in a solid place on the Pop Songs top 10 based on early airplay.
So far, he’s only managed to land at #14 in 2009 with “One Time” and
#16 with “Baby.”
“Boyfriend” was co-produced and co-written by Mike Posner, who explained to MTV News that they always intended to make a song that would shift Bieber’s career from tween heartthrob to legitimate pop star.
“I think our goal was to make something that me and my friends could listen to in the car,” Posner explained. “I think we’ve all known Justin since he was 13, and that’s not the kid I was in the studio with anymore. He’s an 18-year-old. He skateboards with Lil Wayne and hangs out with Lil Twist. Those are his homies. And he listens to hip-hop and he’s a really cool kid. He’s not like a corny guy.”
‘My side of the story is on the record,’ MC tells ‘RapFix Live’ of his multimillion-dollar tax woes.
By Rob Markman, with reporting by Sway Calloway
If you want to know Nas‘ take on his multimillion-dollar tax woes, then you’ll have to buy his new album. In February, TMZ reported that Queensbridge MC owes more than $6 million in back taxes, and now the Internal Revenue Service plans to garnish wages earned from his music publishing until things are even Steven.
Ever the wordsmith, Nas got creative with his “no comment” comment when he appeared on “RapFix Live” on Wednesday. “My side of the story is on the record and I speak about it on the record,” he said of how he plans to address his tax troubles on his upcoming Life Is Good LP.
Speaking of his 10th solo album, God’s Son told Sway that the LP’s title is evolving. “The record is starting to take on a whole different new thing and it’s just bigger than Life Is Good now,” he explained. “Yeah, life is good, but there’s so much information I think that’s important that I get out there that I think the title is becoming bigger.”
And if the album’s first two singles are any indication, Life is Good is anything but happy-go-lucky. “Nasty,” the LP’s first single, which the rapper released in 2011, is a sonic throwback to the gritty, New York-style rap of the 1990s. Nas’ latest single, “The Don,” is also reminiscent of a different era of rap. The Heavy D and Salaam Remi-produced track samples reggae star Super Cat and finds Nas rapping about his days hustling in the street and his hip-hop beginnings.
Nas hasn’t announced a release date for Life is Good yet, but it’s hard to imagine that he’d have anything nice to say toward Uncle Sam.
What are you hoping to hear from Nas on Life Is Good? Leave your comment below!
‘His legacy can become something that helps change things,’ Nas tells MTV News of late Florida teen.
By Rob Markman, with additional MTV News staff reporting
The tragic shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin has led to a public outcry for justice, which many feel has not yet begun to be served.
The triggerman, 28-year old George Zimmerman, who claims he shot Martin in self-defense, has yet to be arrested or charged with a crime. Demonstrators have taken to the streets, lawmakers have protested on Capitol Hill and even President Obama has spoken out in support of Martin and his family.
The hip-hop community has also been vocal about the delicate matter, which has overwhelming racial implications. “It’s something very near and dear to me, because my son is around his age,” Young Jeezy told MTV News last week. “He looks like an innocent kid. I understand the situation as far as dude wanting to be neighborhood watch, but everybody that’s black and young ain’t up to no good.”
On February 26, Martin was shot dead by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman as he walked through a gated Sanford, Florida, community. Zimmerman believed Martin — who was wearing a hooded sweatshirt — looked suspicious, so he called 911. The police dispatcher advised Zimmerman not to pursue the teen, but he reportedly ignored those instructions. By the time police arrived on the scene, Martin was dead. Although Zimmerman admitted to the shooting, police declined to arrest him citing the state’s Stand Your Ground law, which allows a person to kill in cases of self-defense.
Mobb Deep’s Prodigy doesn’t understand why local authorities didn’t take Zimmerman into custody. “To me, it’s up to the police department out there in Sanford to handle that the right way,” he said. “They were supposed to arrest him.”
“It’s unfortunate any time things like that happen, and I don’t know exactly what the motivation of the man who actually killed him was, but it doesn’t feel positive,” 50 Cent said. For any circumstances when someone’s killed and there’s a person there that we know did it, regardless of their intentions at that point, there’s right and wrong. And I think that it’s obvious who’s wrong in this actual situation.”
Over the past week, there have been rallies calling for the arrest of Zimmerman in New York City, Chicago and Trayvon’s native Sanford, Florida. During a March 23 press conference, President Obama said if he had a son “he’d look like Trayvon,” and on Wednesday (March 28), Illinois Congressman Bobby Rush was removed from the House floor after he gave a speech in support of Martin while wearing sunglasses and a hooded sweatshirt in a symbolic show of solidarity.
Game believes Trayvon’s death is another example of racial injustice in America. “For some reason, people don’t think that they need any excuse to kill us, beat us, hit us, run us over, disrespect us or anything like that,” he said. “This is just another reminder that stupidity still exists.”
Killer Mike took a militant stance, expressing his frustration with the so-called Stand Your Ground law. “If we’re not gonna change the laws, then we have to change our mentality,” he said, urging young black men to arm themselves as long as they operate within the confines of their state’s gun laws.
Trying to make sense of a senseless act, Nas hopes that young Trayvon didn’t die in vain. “Maybe he thought in football he’d have a legacy,” Nas reasoned, “but now his legacy can become something that helps change things, hopefully.”
Share your condolences for Trayvon Martin’s friends and family in the comments below.
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