Music Of The Presidential Inauguration: Beyonce, fun., Kelly Clarkson And More

Last night marked President Obama‘s second inauguration ceremony. Among the many celebrities and speeches of the day, we saw spectacular performances by Beyonce, fun.Kelly Clarkson, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson and James Taylor.

Five-time Grammy winner James Taylor was the first to take the stage, with an acoustic rendition of “America The Beautiful.” Kelly Clarkson followed the inaugural address and performed “My Country Tis Of Thee,” while Beyonce closed the performances with “The Star Spangled Banner.”

As the ceremony ended and the Inaugural Ball commenced, Alicia Keys sang her hit “Girl On Fire,” with the simultaneously sweet and awkward title change, “Obama’s On Fire.” Jennifer Hudson provided the soundtrack for the President and First Lady’s dance, as they swayed to a cover of Al Green‘s “Let’s Stay Together” (which the president himself ad-libbed at an event last year). The band fun. then closed the evening with their hit, “We Are Young.” You can view fun.’s performance right here and the rest of the performances after the jump. (more…)

Sound And Vision: Will Nicki Minaj Vs. Mariah Carey Hurt the Rapper While Helping "American Idol"?

I’m gonna knock you out…. I told you I’m not f**kin’ putting up with her f**kin’ highness over there!

It’s not exactly prose worthy of Bob Dylan, or even Eminem, her sometime partner in rhyme, but with those fighting words, rapper Nicki Minaj recently helped make American Idol hot for the first time in years. She hurled them directly at Mariah Carey on October 2 in Charlotte, N.C., during the audition rounds for season 12 of Idol, which kicks off in January of 2013. (more…)

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Rihanna to Play Whitney Houston in Upcoming Film?

Following the tragic death of pop icon Whitney Houston earlier this month, many sources are reporting that producer Clive Davis is now pushing for a movie about the singer’s life. Who is set to play the role if Whitney herself? Why, none other than Rihanna, who has been the subject of many a scandal these past few weeks. Other stars on the short list for the role are Jennifer Hudson, Jordin Sparks, and Brandy. Ironically, Rihanna previously rejected an offer to play Houston in the remake of the film The Bodyguard, and has also said she would rather challenge herself with an unfamiliar movie role instead of playing another performer.

Sound and Vision: Is Chris Brown's Comeback and GRAMMY Honors Another Slap in the Face to Women?

With Whitney Houston’s tragic, untimely death and Adele’s big sweep grabbing our near-undivided attention, the 2012 GRAMMY Awards were, in some ways, a two-woman show.

But if any guy came close to upstaging them, it was Chris Brown. And not necessarily in a good way. Brown, who performed two songs on the telecast, did not emerge unscathed from what was foolishly touted as his GRAMMY “comeback””as if he is a supernova among stars, and three years is such an eternity. Some viewers were outraged that he was invited to perform at the ceremony at all, after what he did to his ex, Rihanna, during GRAMMY season three years ago.

The unfortunate irony of Houston’s passing on GRAMMY weekend is that, like Rihanna, she had been the victim of domestic abuse by another Brown, her ex-husband Bobby. And the honor of paying tribute to her went to Jennifer Hudson, whose mother, brother and nephew were murdered, allegedly by the estranged husband of Hudson’s sister, just a few years ago. If anyone knows that people often hurt the ones they claim to love, she does.

But that one display of good taste doesn’t let the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences off the hook. Brown’s inclusion in the ceremony almost felt like an unintentional f**k you to Houston, to Rihanna, to any woman who has suffered because of domestic abuse.

The big question, though, is this: Has Brown suffered enough? It has, after all, been three years since he pummeled Rihanna in a car. Is it time for us to move on as Brown and NARAS, apparently, both have.

For Brown’s many GRAMMY-night detractors (which included singers Miranda Lambert and Michelle Branch as well as actors Wil Wheaton and Eric Stonestreet), it might be hard to move on when Brown has never acknowledged the gravity of the situation in any meaningful way that didn’t seem like a public-relations pose. Whether he’s onstage, in videos, plugging his music on the morning talk-show circuit, or ranting on Twitter, he never seems sorry enough.

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Soundcheck: Grammy Rap-Up: Whitney, Nicki, and Adele

This year’s usual GRAMMY festivities were obviously overshadowed by the shocking passing of Whitney Houston. Unable to ignore the noticeably solemn sense in the room, LL Cool J opened the night with a heartfelt prayer for the fallen superstar, saying, We’ve had a death in our family.

Adele took home the first televised award of the night for Best Pop Performance for her smash hit,Someone Like You.  Later in the night, she gave a jaw-dropping performance of her hit, Rolling In The Deep just weeks after having surgery on her vocal chords.   She went on to win all six awards she was nominated for, including Album Of The Year. Other big winners were The Foo Fighters who nabbed four trophies.

Although the performances are usually the highlight of the evening, this year’s showings seemed to be miss their usual spark. Bruno Mars performed in his usual 50’s du-wop style, with a big bag of new dance moves and the same old-school costumes.  Alicia Keys and Bonnie Rait paid tribute to the legendary Etta James with a duet of her song, Sunday Kind Of Love, after also acknowledging their love of Whitney. Chris Brown graced the GRAMMY stage for the first time since the 2009 incident, after Clive’s Davis’ annual dinner, that left Rihanna bruised and bloodied.  Dressed in all white, he performed Beautiful People and showcased his signature dance skills by climbing up an elaborate stage set complete with lasers and back-flipping back-up dancers.

Rihanna performed a slowed down version of We Found Love in a sexy skin-tight outfit andbleached blonde hair and black lipstick. .  The laser-filled set featured dozens of dancers storming that stage and creating a club right inside the GRAMMYs. She quickly switched gears and joined Chris Martin for their hit, Coulda Been before Coldplay closed their set with their hit, Paradise.

In one of the night’s most touching moments, Jennifer Hudson gave a powerful tribute to her idol with a performance of Whitney Houston’s hit I Will Always Love You to a tearful crowd.  She ended by saying, Whitney, we’ll always love you.

Fergie and Marc Anthony presented and accepted the award for Best Rap Performance to Kanye West and Jay-Z for Otis.  Jay-Z and Beyoncé‘s four collective nominations weren’t enough to pull them away from baby ˜Blue’, as neither of the new parents were present.  Hova nabbed only one of his two nominations of the night and Beyoncé nabbed none.  Kanye West was also a no-show for the night, even though he finally got his GRAMMY glitz; winning four awards out of his seven nominations including Best Rap Song for All Of The Lights and Best Rap Album for My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.

Common and Taraji Henson saluted the late Gill Scot-Heron, calling him a great poet and saying, Thanks to him, the revolution is now being televised. They presented the award for Best R&B Album to Chris Brown for F.A.M.E., leading the ever-remorseful and famously-flustered crooner to deliver a kind of uncomfortable acceptance speech.   I don’t know what to say. I’m nervous, he admitted before quickly thanking his camp and fans and hurrying off the stage.

After spending half the night in her seat holding hands with friend, Nicki Minaj, Taylor Swift performed her single, Mean with a banjo in hand and an elaborate down-home stage set.

Drake was proud to introduce his friend and label mate, Nicki Minaj, calling her one of the most intelligent, beautiful, driven women I’ve ever met in my life. He said, She went from sleeping in the bunk under mine on the tour bus, and now she’s one of the biggest stars in the world.  After kicking off her extremely theatrical performance from a set in the crowd, she segued into a pre-recorded mini-movie called The Exorcism of Roman, an elaborate introduction to her most vicious alter ego. Then, she hit the stage for a spectacle of a show that featured her stellar rhyming skills as well as her certifiable singing and over the top acting abilities. While I have a feeling her set may have gone over some fans’ heads; no one can deny the guts and the gifts she displayed on the GRAMMY stage.