May 24th, 2012

'So You Think You Can Dance' Gets Exorcised On Season Premiere

‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Gets Exorcised On Season Premiere

Posted on 24 May 2012 at 3:26pm

Season nine gets off to a unique start during the first round of auditions in New York and Texas.
By Natasha Chandel

Hampton Williams on “So You Think You Can Dance”

Photo: Fox

“So You Think You Can Dance” is back and kicking — literally. Limbs flew left, right, center and even behind the head, as season nine of the dance competition premiered Thursday night (May 24) with the first round of auditions in New York and Texas. Dancers from all over the world auditioned for a golden ticket to Sin City, showcasing a dynamic range of artists, styles and emotional stories.

Both cities delivered a plethora of highly skilled, highly entertaining and highly ridiculous talent. The highlight of the first auditions was not the usual crowd-pleasing contemporary and hip-hop styles, but rather, unique and inventive forms of dance, including animation, lyrical freestyle and … exorcism?

Chehon Wespi-Tschopp from Switzerland dazzled the judges with a stoic contemporary routine showing off his immense strength and a chiseled body that judge Mary Murphy made sure to squeeze extra hard as Wespi-Tschopp came over to graciously hug the panel for his Vegas pass. But the real standout of the night, by far, was Texan Hampton Williams, creator of his own style of dance titled “exorcist style.” The grimly angelic performance saw Williams pop and lock every single muscle in his body, like never before seen on the show. He brought not only Murphy to tears, but many members of the audience as well, and received a unanimous standing ovation through the theater. “I think you could be a genius,” judge Nigel Lythgoe told the young man before offering to pay for Williams’ Vegas ticket himself if the other judges did not put him through.

Gut Wrenchers
Being the soulful art form that dance is, “SYTYCD” is notorious for exposing its contestants’ gut-wrenching tales of adversity, and tonight’s premiere was full of such stories. Whether it was Jarell Rochelle’s need to succeed before his mother went blind to Sam Shefler’s battle with autism, the uniting factor was simple: a love for dance. Although Shefler did not move forward with his lyrical freestyle, he received a standing ovation for his courage and was advised never to stop dancing.

Feel-Good Moments
Mother of two Bree Hafen, from Texas, won the judges’ hearts and had her golden ticket delivered by her young son. The real kicker came when her daughter, also an aspiring dancer, chimed “my turn” after her mom performed a remarkably fluid contemporary routine. She immediately went into a relev

Linkin Park's 'BURN IT DOWN' Video: Watch It Here!

Linkin Park’s ‘BURN IT DOWN’ Video: Watch It Here!

Posted on 24 May 2012 at 9:55am

In the clip for their first LIVING THINGS single, which debuted Thursday on MTV, the band gets intimate … with fiery results.
By James Montgomery

Linkin Park’s “Burn It Down”

Photo: Warner Bros. Records

On the upcoming LIVING THINGS album, Linkin Park veer away from the political territory they explored on Minutes to Midnight and A Thousand Suns, and instead mine decidedly personal topics — relationships crumbling, trust eroding, faith failing. In a lot of ways, it is perhaps the most aptly titled record in recent history.

As proof, look no further than the first single, “BURN IT DOWN,” which is full of lines like “I played the soldier, you played the king/ Struck me down, when I kissed that ring,” none of which are about empire building or military service. Instead, the song is very much about the give/take dynamics of a relationship, and what happens when it all falls apart.

And the video for the song — which premiered Thursday (May 24) on MTV — follows in the same vein: There are no sweeping shots of battlefields or wretched politicians … instead, it is a decidedly human thing: just the band, in a room, sweating their collective asses off and pouring their hearts into the music. It is a performance video pushed to the limit, and sure, there are a lot of digital effects added for good measure, but they’re used only to highlight the personal flourishes of that performance — the intimately tight close-ups, the pained attention to details — shoot, even when they burst into flames at the end, you have to at least wonder whether they didn’t just spontaneously combust … it’s that intense (and intensely personal) of a thing.

So after spending the better part of five years exploring the outer boundaries of what a massively popular rock band can get away with, Linkin Park return home with “BURN IT DOWN” and LIVING THINGS (due June 26), shifting the focus eternally inward. Not only is that bound to make their diehard fans happy, but it makes for a truly interesting new chapter in this increasingly fascinating band’s career.

What do you think of the “BURN IT DOWN” video? Leave your comment below!

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Phillip Phillips Still 'Numb' From 'American Idol' Win

Phillip Phillips Still ‘Numb’ From ‘American Idol’ Win

Posted on 24 May 2012 at 5:05am

‘ I don’t really feel anything … It’s just so unreal,” 21-year-old Phillips says after the season 11 finale on Wednesday.
By Kelly Marino

Phillip Phillips wins “American Idol”

Photo: Fox/ Getty Images

After a “world record” of 132 million votes, America has crowned guitar-strumming sweetheart Phillip Phillips as season 11′s “American Idol.” And although most viewers and critics expected him to win it all, Phillips himself seemed shocked that America chose him.

When MTV News caught up with the 21-year-old Georgia native at a backstage press conference after the finale, he still seemed to be coming to terms with his recent win over 16-year-old Jessica Sanchez.

Q: How do you feel?

A: Uh, I’m feeling. I don’t know. I don’t really feel anything. It’s crazy. I’m still a little numb from the whole situation. It’s just so unreal.

Q: Did you think you were going to win?

A: Did I think I was going to win? No. Heck no. Did you see Jessica’s last performance? Golly. She sang the crap out of that song.

Q: Is this surreal? Is this like a dream come true?

A: Man, it’s so unreal. Like I said, it hasn’t sunk in yet and it’s just such a blessing to have and I’m kind of ready to try to comprehend it all.

Q: Can you talk about your health? Will you get any surgery?

A: Yeah, I’m gonna get some surgery done so I’m gonna get all better for the tour.

Q: How were you able to overcome the pain you must have been in to get through this season and get all the way to the end?

A: Yeah, it was very tough but I had great doctors and great people surrounding me so that really helped out. So, it’s just a blessing to be here now.

Q: Can you talk about what happened onstage when you were performing “Home” tonight?

A: Yeah, I wasn’t thinking about anything, not even the song. I wasn’t really wanting to sing or anything. And I just started thinking about the whole journey, how far all of us had come and how far we had made it and it was just so overwhelming.

Q: When you auditioned did you think you would be standing where you are right now?

A: Honestly man, I didn’t think I’d even make it to see the judges because, like I said, man, I have no shame in saying that I’m not a great singer. You know, I just love having fun up onstage jamming with the guys and just playing good music man. You know, I like getting the crowd into it. Music’s fun dude. It’s takes away a lot of things that’s going around.

Q: Are you all cried out or do you think you might cry a little more?

A: I might end up crying some more. I hate crying but I’ll probably cry some more. It feels good at times.

Get your “Idol” fix on MTV News’ “American Idol” page, where you’ll find all the latest news, interviews and opinions.

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