Juliet Simms and Jermaine Paul also pull out all the stops for their mentors and America.
By John Mitchell
With a trip to the finals on the line, Monday night’s (April 30) “Voice” semifinals saw the remaining two artists from each team take the stage to sing their hearts out for America’s votes and high scores from the coaches, which, combined, determine who moves on to next week’s finals.
First up was Mouseketeer-turned-rocker Tony Lucca, who ditched his guitar for the first time in the competition to show off a different side of himself, singing “How You Like Me Now.” Lucca upped his game last week with his rocking rendition of Britney Spears’ ” … Baby One More Time” and knew he had a lot to prove.
Without his guitar to hide behind, Lucca delivered plenty of pop-star swagger. Blake summed it up most succinctly, saying Lucca’s swinging performance was reminiscent of similarly suited-up Robert Palmer in his prime. Even Christina, who has often been Lucca’s harshest critic, went on and on with praise for so long that host Carson Daly cut her off. (Didn’t he notice her tiara? Who cuts off a pop diva in fishnets and a bejeweled crown?)
Erin Willett entered the ring with a “special song choice”: a rearranged take on David Guetta and Usher’s dance thumper “Without You.” It was a risk, but that’s what Erin, who said during rehearsals she felt like she’s “never had a moment” on the show, was after. She was expectedly powerful, earned a thumbs-up from the judges and got very emotional onstage when she finished singing, but we’re not sure everything came together just right to make the performance memorable for the right reasons.
Throughout the competition, Christina has pushed classically trained Chris Mann into pop and rock territory to prove — both to himself and the voting public — that he could do more than sing opera (as he did during the blind auditions). However, as the contest winds down, Aguilera was keen to show off what attracted her to Mann in the first place (his perfect voice) and gave the singer one of the most well-known classical songs ever, “Ave Maria.” He nailed it, so much so that Aguilera caught Cee Lo tearing up. Aguilera was so moved by Mann’s performance that she jumped from her chair and joined him onstage to give him a hug.
Fan favorite Jamar Rogers from Team Cee Lo was next to the stage with the classic “If You Don’t Know Me by Now.” A born entertainer with a penchant for high-energy performances, Rogers reeled it in this time, hoping to showcase his voice, and the judges took notice.
“Forget the competition for a minute,” Adam said. “I’m just a fan of what you do.”
Though they are ostensibly competitors, there’s always a good bit of camaraderie among the contestants on “The Voice,” and that showed through when the teams joined forces for group performances of the Killers “All These Things That I’ve Done” (Teams Cee Lo and Adam) and Lady Gaga’s “The Edge of Glory” (Teams Christina and Blake). Similarly, though they may bicker in their judges’ chairs, Christina was bobbing her head (a task given how much that jeweled tiara must weigh) along to Blake’s performance of his new single “Over.”
Hoping to show that Mann isn’t the only true powerhouse male vocalist in the competition, Blake paired former Alicia Keys backup singer Jermaine Paul with Journey’s massive ballad “Open Arms.” Jermaine rose to the challenge, digging deep into the song’s emotion and tackling the song’s runs with aplomb.
The judges were not shy about praising Paul’s performance. “You came in and you murdered that song,” Christina said. “Jermaine, I would like to congratulate you, because you are no longer a background singer, my friend,” Adam added. But his own coach made the most crucial point, given how close Paul is to the finals, saying, “You’re peaking at the right time.”
Katrina Parker also opted to change things up, singing “Killing Me Softly” in the style of the Fugees’ remake. Outside her usual Adele-like belting, she showed off a new vocal personality — more sultry and raspy than ever. Noting that later in the night the judges would be forced to award percentages to the contestants and that Tony Lucca and Adam are maybe a more natural mentoring fit, Christina championed Parker, telling Levine to “take a look at Katrina Parker because she’s a star.”
Having saved her from elimination twice in the competition, we think he gets it, Christina.
While many singers opted to show off a different side of themselves, being in the bottom two last week chased Lindsay Pavao right back into her hipster-indie wheelhouse, where she found Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love” waiting for her. The performance was very Florence and the Machine-lite, with Pavao looking ethereal while strumming a guitar and sounding as unique as ever. Even Blake complimented Christina’s strategy of returning her contestants to their roots (Mann with opera and Pavao with light indie rock).
The final contestant to hit the stage was rocker Juliet Simms, singing James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.” She earned a standing ovation from her coach Cee Lo and fawning praise from the rest of the judges (Adam said she was “the one to beat” tonight), but Aguilera’s words of support — saying that Simms sings for herself and that often leads to the most gut wrenching performances — were perhaps the most important, as she tore the roof off the 2007 Grammys with her take on this song.
At the very end of the show, the coaches were given 100 points to divide between their two contestants, the results of which will be tabulated alongside America’s vote and revealed Tuesday to determine who moves on to the finals.
Who are your picks for the finals? Let us know in the comments below!
The actor tells MTV News he expects to play the superhero ‘for a long while.’
By Kevin P. Sullivan
With the Avengers finally assembling next week, Marvel Studios and the stars behind the heroes have already begun to look ahead to the next films set in the comic-book universe. At the closing night celebration of the Tribeca Film Festival on Saturday night (April 28), Robert Downey, Jr. spoke with MTV News about the future of his character, Iron Man, and addressed recent talk about other actors playing the role in the future.
At CinemaCon last week, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige mentioned to Badass Digest that when it came time for Downey to leave the role of Tony Stark behind, a new actor could pick up right where he left off, like in the James Bond films.
But Downey told MTV News on the red carpet that he wasn’t so thrilled about the idea of someone else playing Tony Stark. “I would really hate for someone else to think they could step into my shoes,” he said. An infamous jokester, he couldn’t help but ask, “I wonder who’s playing Tony Stark next. Is it you? Is that what you’re here to tell me?”
But Downey can’t be Iron Man forever, and while the 42-year-old actor couldn’t say for sure how many movies he has left in him, he made clear he’ll be interested as long as they remain good films.
“I know things are looking like that they could go on for a long while,” Downey said. “As usual in my book, it’s all about quality control and delivering a product that you can have this kind of reaction to. If they keep doing that, maybe I’ll keep showing up.”
In Downey’s immediate Marvel future, there’s next year’s “Iron Man 3.” The past few weeks have seen actors like Sir Ben Kingsley, Guy Pearce and Jessica Chastain potentially joining the cast, and Downey said that he could not wait to work with “any or all of them.”
“It’s funny. Sometimes you have to call for a good old-fashioned British invasion,” Downey said. “‘Iron Man 3′ is really shaping up to be something special. We start in a couple weeks. I’m sure I’ll be leaking secrets to you as we move ahead.”
What secrets, you ask? Well, it was recently announced that “Iron Man 3″ would be co-produced in China. As for whether any filming would take place in the East, Downey was less forthcoming. “I’d like to tell you all my secrets,” he said,” but I forget them.”
Check out everything we’ve got on “The Avengers.”
Watch the full clip on Monday at 7:56 p.m. ET on MTV and an interview with the cast shortly after on MTV.com!
By Kevin P. Sullivan, with reporting by Josh Horowitz
By now you’ve probably heard that on Monday, April 30, the cast of “Battleship” will present a never-before-seen clip from the upcoming movie on MTV at 7:56 p.m. ET.
You probably know all about the 30-minute interview with the stars that will follow on MTV.com and how you can get your question answered by submitting a video or text to MTV.com or Twitter via @MTVNews, using the hashtags #MTVFirst and #askBATTLESHIP.
But that’s probably not enough for you, since you simply cannot wait until the clip’s premiere on Monday night. Luckily, we have a sneak peek at the exclusive scene, and it looks like things are going to get a little explosive.
‘Our Mindless movement is all about being confident, just being yourself,’ Battle of the Boy Bands hopefuls tell MTV News.
By Kelly Marino
The first round of MTV News’ Battle of the Boy Bands has officially ended, but there is still time for fans to cast their votes for their favorite heartthrob group in hopes to title them the ultimate boy band of all time.
Another group urging their biggest followers to vote for them are the guys from Mindless Behavior. But before you get mindless with your votes, here are some facts about the foursome that might help steer your mind in the right direction:
Highest Chart Achievement
Their single “Mrs. Right” featuring rapper Diggy Simmons reached #8 on the U.S. Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop charts after its 2011 release.
The guys confess they would travel the world just to find the right kind of girl in the beat-popping hit “Mrs. Right,” causing female hearts in every country to flutter.
During their pledge to search high and low for “Mrs. Right,” the boys get a lesson or two in geography from their teacher, Professor LL Cool J. Directed by Brett Ratner, the video also features Mike Epps as the school janitor, who joins in on the fun during a pep rally to cheer on Diggy Simmons and the group’s signature dance moves.
Their debut album, #1 Girl, hit the U.S. in September 2011, debuting at #7 on the Billboard 200 with 36,000 copies sold in its first week.
Despite all of their success, the boys weren’t afraid to admit who they thought might be their biggest competition amid the new wave of boy bands that has exploded on the scene. “As far as other boy bands who I feel our biggest competition is One Direction and the Wanted,” Roc Royal told us. “That’s a huge competition for us, because we all have different movements, and they come from the U.K., and they also have fans out here, which, they have a lot of fans out here, so it’s crazy.”
So why do the guys think they should win our Battle of the Boys Band? Well, it’s simple, really: “There’s a lot of boy bands in the poll, but we’re definitely unique,” Princeton stated. “So please vote for us.”
Ray Ray chimed in: “I think we should win the title for Best Boy Band of All Time because we have a great movement. Our Mindless movement is all about being confident, just being yourself, not caring what other people think, stopping all the bullying and, one, we’re really great artists. We have songs that anyone can listen to. That’s why I think we should win.”
“And we love all of the fans,” Princeton added.
When it comes to learning the key to becoming a great boy band, the group even filled us in on a little secret the Backstreet Boys once told them while on tour together: “When we were on tour with the Backstreet Boys, the advice that they gave us was ‘Stick together no matter what,’ ” Ray Ray shared. “They said: You might have arguments here and there, but just stick together. You have to become family although you’re in a group. You have to literally become family, and you got to stick together.”
Voting in round two of MTV’s Battle of the Boy Bands runs until noon ET on Monday, April 30. Winners are determined by fan votes, so if your favorite band made the cut, make sure you keep voting. Tune in to AMTV and MTV Hits for their boy-band video takeovers each day and make sure to spread the word on Twitter using the hashtag #BBB and like us on Facebook for updates!
Pop star tweets standard and deluxe album covers for June 19 release, cryptically telling fans, ‘expect the unexpected.’
By Katie Byrne
Judging by the cover art for Justin Bieber‘s Believe album, the 18-year-old pop star is well aware of one of his best assets: his boyish good looks. The cover, which Bieber tweeted on Friday evening (April 27), is simply a black-and-white close-up of his face with the word “BELIEVE” stamped in a yellow caution-tape font underneath.
“Here is the #BELIEVEalbumCover standard version,” he tweeted, followed by a second tweet that included a sepia-toned version of the same image: “and this is the DELUXE #BELIEVEalbumCover – #52DAYS – excited? expect the unexpected.”
After posting the Believe album cover on Friday, Bieber retweeted one fan’s over-the-top reaction to the artwork: “That awkward moment when I almost ran over a lady and hit the car in front of me cuz I saw the #BELIEVEAlbumCover lololol,” @julieannxoxo wrote.
Bieber just revealed the June 19 Believe release date last week on “The Voice,” also bringing along a teaser from his yet-unreleased “Boyfriend” video. Even after revealing that sneak peek, Bieber was spotted shooting new scenes for the highly anticipated video, kissing a mystery brunette (hey, that’s not Selena!) on set.
“The concept of this video, I mean, it’s not like a steady concept,” Bieber told MTV News while shooting the video back in March. “It’s not like ‘Justin follows this girl to this spot.’ No, it’s a bunch of amazing scenes: like a fire scene, we have an ice scene.
“It’s kind of like bouncing back and forth,” he said. “And then there’s scenes of me and just a bunch of girl dancers, and just some great shots, great artistic shots, great shots of me smiling. It’s fun.”
What do you think of the album cover? Let us know in the comments below!
Departed artists like Whitney Houston, Queen’s Freddie Mercury and John Lennon also get mentions from fans in Times Square.
By Kate Callahan
NEW YORK — After the Tupac hologram performance at Coachella made such a huge splash, the team behind the projection system floated the possibility this week of an Elvis hologram to perform with Justin Bieber. Even ’90s girl group TLC is rumored to be considering a virtual version of the late Left Eye on their upcoming tour.
With all that talk, MTV News hit Times Square to ask fans which departed artists they would most like to see perform in hologram form. While some of those interviewed wanted to see other rappers like the Notorious B.I.G. or Nate Dogg, one fan thought Whitney Houston should get the honors.
“I love her, I grew up singing her , just walking around the house when I was seven or eight,” Shayana of Houston said.
Brits Amy Winehouse and John Lennon of the Beatles were also popular picks, and a few rock fans mentioned Queen’s flamboyant frontman. “It would have to be Freddie Mercury because Queen were one of the all-time greatest bands and he was a showman,” said a fan named Rob.
Blane Mader would like to see a hologram of another great showman, Michael Jackson.
“It’s a really clich
Mr. Worldwide walks MTV News through his ‘Back in Time’ music video set.
By Rob Markman, with reporting by Vanessa White Wolf
Not only does the “Men in Black” movie franchise boast great acting and stunning visual effects, each of the three films features a pretty kicking soundtrack as well. For “Men in Black 3,” which hits theaters May 25, Pitbull contributes the lead single, “Back in Time.”
MTV News caught up with Mr. Worldwide on the Los Angeles set of the “Back in Time” video and he gave us a pretty cool walk-through.
“What we’re doing here, to sum it up in layman’s terms, is making history,” Pit said. “The concept is basically all about the movie. The slogan for the movie is ‘Back in Time.’ In the record I say, ‘In order to understand the future we have to go back in time.’ ”
The clip not only features “MIB3″ movie scenes, it was actually filmed on the movie set, blending the Miami rapper’s performance shots seamlessly into Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones’ action shots. “As far as the sets that you see right now, it’s just integrating and running parallel with everything that you see in the movie,” Pitbull explained.
It was the Fresh Prince himself who recorded the theme songs — 1997′s “Men in Black” and 2002′s “Black Suits Comin’ ” — for the first two installments of the “MIB” trilogy. For the upcoming flick, Pit took over and used a sample of Mickey and Sylvia’s 1950s classic “Love Is Strange” for inspiration.
Now that he’s clocked his first collaboration with Big Willie, Pitbull hopes that they can work together some more. “I would love to follow in Will Smith’s footsteps,” he said. “We’re working on the music for the movie, and hopefully, one day, we’ll work in a movie together.”
What do you think of Pitbull’s “Back in Time” video? Tell us in the comments!
It’s more than a month until first Kristen Stewart film is released, but David Koepp is reportedly in talks to pen a sequel script.
By Kara Warner
Despite the fact that we’re still a little more than a month away from the release of “Snow White and the Huntsman,” there are already rumblings of a sequel.
According to Deadline, Universal has apparently already begun talking to screenwriter David Koepp about writing a sequel to the film, which is one of this summer’s most highly anticipated movies. Koepp certainly has enough credibility in drafting scripts for big blockbusters: He has screenplay credits on “Jurassic Park,” “Mission: Impossible,” “Spider-Man,” “War of the Worlds” and “Men in Black III.”
“To be totally candid and honest with you, when I first signed on to this thing, the idea of doing another franchise was like, ‘Wow, cross that bridge when it comes.’ It was something so far outside my realm of thinking,” she told MTV News when asked if she’d be game for more action and adventure as the fairest one of all. “I was so focused on the first one, and I thought, ‘Maybe, maybe,’ but I’ve got stars in my eyes. I’m literally over the moon about what I’m doing right now,” she said of her work on “Huntsman.” “Yes, I would love to .”
“Huntsman” director Rupert Sanders is reportedly Universal’s choice to helm the sequel if it happens, and judging from his positive comments about working with Stewart, it seems likely the pair could team up again.
“Kristen is a very driven, visceral, intuitive actress. From a director’s point of view, it’s great to get into her headspace,” Sanders said. “We did a lot of work together on the script and character, and she really helped inform me how that character was feeling, which really helped my process getting the character onscreen. Kristen was doing a lot of her stunt work, she was riding horses, she was jumping from high precipices into freezing cold water, she was fighting dwarves — she’s gung-ho.”
Check out everything we’ve got on “Snow White and the Huntsman.”
For young Hollywood news, fashion and “Twilight” updates around the clock, visit HollywoodCrush.MTV.com.
Seoul, South Korea, set list heavy on new material, but Gaga’s biggest hits come out to play.
By John Mitchell
Lady Gaga kicked off her hotly awaited Born This Way Ball at Seoul, South Korea’s Olympic Stadium on Friday (April 27) in front of 45,000 fans, and despite protests from Christian groups saying Mother Monster was “obscene” and could “taint” young people with her performance, the concert appears to have gone on without incident.
Intrepid Twitter fans are already showing off pictures and video of the BTW Ball’s enormous Gothic castle backdrop and myriad costume changes, making it clear that Gaga has outdone even her own Monster Ball in terms of spectacle.
While we wait for reviews to trickle in from halfway around the world, one thing is certain: No minors were corrupted at the show. Earlier this month, the Korea Media Rating Board decided to elevate the age rating for the concert from 12 to 18, prohibiting minors from seeing the concert. When the board notified Gaga’s tour promotion company and a sponsor of the change in age restrictions, it did not offer a reason why the show — which at the time was still in rehearsals and had not been reviewed publicly — was considered unsuitable for children under 18.
The likely catalyst for the board’s decision came more into focus as the concert neared and protests from a group of conservative Christians calling itself the Alliance for Sound Culture in Sexuality ramped up. The group covered Seoul with posters accusing Gaga of “spreading unhealthy sexual culture” through “lewd lyrics and performances.”
The superstar and her fans, however, were undeterred. Though she tweeted her hopes that the Korea Media Rating Board would reverse its decision (it didn’t), she continued on as planned. Many fans reportedly arrived at the show wearing versions of Gaga’s most well-known flamboyant costumes, and there have been no reports of disturbances at the concert.
Before the show, Gaga tweeted, “I can you hear you Korea. I’m shaking.”
Gaga’s performance was heavy on material from her Born this Way album, though her biggest hits, including “Bad Romance,” Poker Face” and “Just Dance,” were represented.
Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Ball set list:
Drizzy says that while a lot of Take Care was down, he will switch up the tempo for his next album.
By Rob Markman
Since he dropped his breakout tape So Far Gone in 2009, Drake has been consistently going through changes. With each music project, he documents his ever-evolving life, so fans shouldn’t expect that to change when he finally releases his third LP. Drizzy didn’t want to give too much away, but from the sound of things, it’ll be much different from his sophomore effort Take Care.
“I think that my mood will be reflected in the tempos that I choose for the music,” Drake said of his next LP during a press conference call Tuesday. “A lot of Take Care, it’s down, a lot of it’s down and I think a lot of that had to do with being back home in Toronto and getting reacquainted with the life I had before and the difficulties of that, but at the same time trying to express excitement and trying to express joy.”
Though he still keeps a place in his native Toronto, Drake has recently moved to L.A. The relocation has already sparked musical ideas for the Young Money star. “There’s just so much going on for me in the U.S. that I recently made the move to L.A.,” he said. “It’s a new atmosphere, getting to know new people. It’s going to be a very interesting album.”
Drake told MTV News that with Take Care, he was telling a story inspired by his 2009 track “Houstatlantavegas.” On the song, Drake created a fictional world, describing a love affair with an ambitious stripper who can’t quite get out of the life. “It was a world that was very much real to me, but I created it in my mind. It was a world that, being a kid from Toronto, I used to look at from the outside and I used to be like, ‘Man that looks crazy,’ ” he told us. “All those strip clubs and all those nightclubs and the drinks and the girls and the fame.”
Things have evolved in the months since he released Take Care. “Now I’m kind of in a very, very, very, very different place than I’ve ever been,” Drake said. “I think it will be conceptually one of the best projects that I’ve ever worked on because there’s so many new things going on in my life. Everybody knows when it’s new, that’s when I thrive.”
What is your favorite Drake mixtape or album? Tell us in the comments!
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