'American Idol' Is Nothing Like Coca-Cola

american idolBillboard today has a piece regarding the highs and (more recently) lows of American Idol and the show’s upcoming season. It rather sadly exposes the whole production as a microcosm of the floundering, old-school end of the music industry. The players are scrambling behind the scenes to figure out why ratings plummeted in later seasons, changes are being made, and the faces of the show are desperately trying to make us remember Idol‘s former glory as a ratings bonanza and a legitimate factor in the music industry. Harry Connick Jr., a former mentor and now judge on the show (along with Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban), says:

Remember when they came out with new Coke and everybody was upset by it? It couldn’t have teed up the return of Coke Classic any better. When Coke Classic came out, it exploded even bigger than it was before because it created this void and people missed it. And I think that’s what this year can potentially do for this brand. People sort of missed their classic ‘American Idol.’ And it’s back.

Yeesh. New executive producer Per Blankens, who had great success running the Swedish version of the show, similarly stresses a “back to basics” formula. We think that this is the best show there is — the original that’s inspired others,” he says, “so it’s not that viewers necessarily want that big gimmicky change in order to come back to the TV couches. They want to see the show they’ve grown to love.

Wale Releases "Clappers" Music Video

Miley Cyrus may be busy distracting the world with the notion that twerking is the next big thing, but in other areas of hip-hop, the true genre trendsetters are continuing to deliver club-ready dance tracks that are heavy on the bass and light on gimmicks.

“Clappers” is the latest single to surface from DC native Wale. The song and video are focused on celebrating the beauty of girls who aren’t afraid to go wild on the dance floor. Nicki Minaj and Taylor Gang member Juicy J add verses to support this theme, and the results are one of the most exciting ‘club tracks’ to hit the urban scene in weeks.

Performance videos tend to vary very little in the grand scheme of things, and unfortunately “Clappers” is no different. While the song is fun and perhaps there is no visual concept that could improve upon the song’s basic subject matter, it is still an idea that’s been done before. Many, many times before.

Wale’s new album, The Gifted, is available now. (more…)

Ciara Crafts New Female Anthem With "I'm Out"

Ever since Beyonce released “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It), ” the world has been starving for another female anthem to kickstart nights that end in blurred memories and unending smiles. Some could argue Taylor Swift has delivered such a song, maybe even more than once, but anyone claiming that need only hear the latest from Ciara to know T. Swift cannot hold a candle to what we need.

“I’m Out” brings together Ciara and YMCMB diva Nicki Minaj against a beat that all but demands you get off your butt and start dancing. Ciara intros the song asking all the ladies who hear it to get the party started, and Minaj follows suit quickly thereafter with a flurry of bars about just how she is as bad as she wants to be. The lyrical content may not be much deeper than a puddle on a hot May day, but it’s as infectious as the common cold and no amount of silly lines about luxurious lifestyles can take that away. You can stream “I’m Out” at the end of this post. (more…)

Birdman, Future, Mack Maine and Nicki Minaj Release "Tapout" Video

What happens when Birdman, Future, Mack Maine and Nicki Minaj come together their hip hop powers combine to create a group the world will now know as the Rich Gang. That right, the Rich Gang.

Last night, the members of Rich Gang released a music video for their breakout single “Tapout.” It’s hard to claim a supergroup’s single is their debut hit, but in this case that is technically correct. The Hannah Lux Davis directed video features celebrity cameos, reverse use of the date rape drug, and (of course) an out of this world mansion party to help set the scene. Watch “Tapout” at the end of this post.

No word yet on when Rich Gang will release an album or mixtape, but we’ll keep an eye out for update. Until then, comment below and let us know your thoughts on “Tapout.” (more…)

Nicki Minaj Premieres "Up In Flames"

Just a week after taking fans to “High School” with Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj is again treating her followers to new visuals with the release of her official video for “Up In Flames.”

A decidedly more serious song than “High School,” “Up In Flames” offers Nicki a stage to showcase her insanely gifted mic skills. People can talk all they want about her ludicrous wardrobe and often confusing decision to use crazy voices in her songs, but after listening to this track I doubt any will be able to claim that Nicki can’t rap. The visuals are strong as well, of course, but when step back it’s the lyrics that linger long after the clip comes to an end.

Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded The Re-Up is available now. (more…)

Nicki Minaj Recruits Lil Wayne For Her "High School" Music Video

In the years since she first graced the charts, Nicki Minaj has transformed from a streetwise lyricist into an all-out pop diva (who only sings part of the time). Her latest single and video, “High School,” looks to help maintain her reign on the charts, and something tells us it will probably work.

You never really know what to expect when a new Nicki Minaj arrives. Her singles catalog ranges from heartfelt ballads to bombastic rap anthems flooded with her multiple rapping personalities and glitchy studio effects, “High School” falls somewhere in the middle. It’s a soft track, intended to convey feelings of forlorn love, but the verses keep prove Nicki and guest vocalist Lil Wayne have kept their rhyme game tight since the last we heard from them. This middle of the road approach should help Nicki appeal to all side of her fan base, which in turn could propel “High School” toward the top of Billboard. Listen and decide for yourself, after the jump. (more…)