If ever last fiber of your being has been exhausted by Ke$ha’s “TiK ToK” and finally rejected the party jam at this point, allow YouTube trio The Midnight Beast to at least tempt you with their parody of the tune.
It’s more fun than listening to Ke$ha talking about “flying out of” her pregnant mom during a party, we promise! Although, warning: the video by these naughty Brits is the very definition of NSFW, lyric-wise. (Just a sampling: “Pucker up, kiss my butt, ’cause I’m bloody f***in’ nuts!”)
Hop below to watch Stefan, Dru and Ashley—aka The Midnight Beast—in the video that prompted Ke$ha herself to tweet, “Holy. sh*t. this is better than my version.”
We know Avril’s in; so are Pete and Mark. Now the remainder of the artists have been announced for the Alice in Wonderland soundtrack (named Almost Alice) and turns out, it’s surprisingly a lot more mainstream than the indie-based New Moon soundtrack (but just as likely to be sold in every single Hot Topic in America). Full tracklisting after the jump.
1. “Alice (Underground)” performed by Avril Lavigne
2. “The Poison” performed by The All-American Rejects
3. “The Technicolor Phase” performed by Owl City
4. “Her Name Is Alice” performed by Shinedown
5. “Painting Flowers” performed by All Time Low
6. “Where’s My Angel” performed by Metro Station
7. “Strange” performed by Tokio Hotel and Kerli
8. “Follow Me Down” performed by 3OH!3 featuring Neon Hitch
9. “Very Good Advice” performed by Robert Smith
10. “In Transit” performed by Mark Hoppus with Pete Wentz
11. “Welcome to Mystery” performed by Plain White T’s
12. “Tea Party” performed by Kerli
13. “The Lobster Quadrille” performed by Franz Ferdinand
14. “Running Out of Time” performed by Motion City Soundtrack
15. “Fell Down a Hole” performed by Wolfmother
16. “White Rabbit” performed by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
According to the MySpace Music blog, most of these tracks are “re-imagining songs from the Disney classic.” Futhermore, Almost Alice isn’t so much a soundtrack of songs actually in the movie, but an inspired-by compilation album, which reminds us of 2006’s Snakes on a Plane soundtrack (filled to the brim with Pete Wentz and his Decaydance pals), as well as The Nightmare Before Christmas‘ 2008 cover album Nightmare Revisited (which, again, featured Wentz…. dude’s sure got a lockdown on the inspired-by soundtrack franchise, or what?).
Almost Alice hits stores March 2, and the video for the first single, Avril’s “Alice (Underground),” will be released in early February. We kind of wish DJ Pogo’s Alice remix was featured on the soundtrack, since a little bit of Wonderland-esque trippyness is missing from this mostly rock-lite group of artists.
It’s happening, whether you want it to or not: Simon’s leaving American Idol. But don’t worry—we’ve given this almost 24 hours of thought, and we think we’ve got the whole situation sorted out: Why Simon really left; how to cope with his exit; and, while we’re at it, whether Idol should continue at all, and if so, how. We break it down for you after the jump.
Why God, Why?
We were weeping into our over-size beer Coke cups when we began thinking over Mark Lisanti’s Movieline piece, which is full of armchair therapy tips for those of us suffering from Cowell-abandonment issues. Lisanti advises, basically, that we savor Cowell while we have him, and try to remember that he’ll still be on TV on pretty much every continent in the world.
But we’re still hurting here, dammit—why leave us now, Simon? Ryan Seacrest interviewed Cowell on his KIIS-FM radio show this morning, and although he would barely say a word about the details of the U.S. version of his British hit The X Factor, he did offer a glimpse into why he’s bolting AI after Season 9. Reports E! Online:
“I think you gotta know when it’s time to go,” Simon told Ryan. “I’ve always wanted to bring this other show over here. At one point I was going to both shows but you know about overexposure, Ryan, you can’t be on TV too much. That was really the decision. I genuinely thought people would be sick and tired of me.”
Not everyone buys the idea that it came down to a simple sense of timing. Idol whiz Richard Rushfield blogs at The Daily Beast that Cowell ultimately left because he aspired to do more than serve as on-air “talent” for America’s biggest show—he wanted to control and produce his own TV enterprise instead. And his longtime rivalry with British talent whiz Simon Fuller, the boss at 19 Entertainment (which co-produces Idol, as well as So You Think You Can Dance?) had reached a breaking point.
Basically, Simon is betting his chips on The X Factor, where as a producer he’d own a bigger piece of the action and hold even more sway, even as he also appears on the show as a mentor and judge. Of course, now rumors are swirling that with the departure of Cowell, Fuller is looking to move upstairs too, into an even bigger (although less creative) job, as CEO at parent company CKX.
Is anything stable at Idol now? Well, Seacrest isn’t going anywhere—he’s contractually stuck there for three more seasons. But once Ryan’s contract is up, (and he’s already richer than God), how much you want to bet he’ll be looking to move onto a new, more challenging project after hosting the same show for twelve years? It’s truly looking like Idol will most definitely not “outlive us all,” as current CKX CEO Robert F.X. Sillerman recently put it. (Although he may have just said it to persuade Fuller from leaving Idol and nabbing his job.)
Will We Watch? And Can Cowell Be Replaced?
There are several competing schools of thought on how Fox should proceed, with one of the most dramatic views coming from MTV’s Jim Cantiello, who argues that the network should cancel the show altogether, putting it down “like a sick dog.”
But with Paula now gone, we no longer have a (once) legitimate pop star at the judge’s table, somebody who knows what it’s like to really perform in front of a crowd of millions. (Sorry, Ellen, stand-up isn’t the same thing in this case.) And with the one brutally honest judge soon to be gone, too, why not find somebody who can fill both roles?
Let’s get Billy Joel in there! Elton John! Cher! Dare we say, Madonna? We dare you to find somebody with a better combination of music credentials and a serious aversion to B.S. than Ms. Ciccone. (Maybe if Pink didn’t have at least a few more decades of performing yet to go, we’d suggest her, too, but we’d rather her keep focus on recording and touring at this point).
And you know what? Even Jennifer Lopez might make for an interesting pick. Think about it — she’d maybe fill the ex-pop-star seat vacated by Paula AND the caustic critic seat left behind by Simon. “Louboutins” aside, J-Lo has scored a string of hits and possesses more than a decade of experience performing in the public eye, and still maintains A-list recognition. Plus, we think she’s got enough sass to play the bitchy role instead of the encouraging one.
Basically, if Fox can snag a giant name—with music an undeniable music background—the network just might have The X Factor beat. (Hey, why not just replace all four judges with the ubiquitous Black Eyed Peas? Pay them enough, and they’ll do it.)
Of course, any assumptions about the potential fall of Idol rest partly on the idea that The X Factor will be warmly embraced in America, as it has been in the U.K. And the idea that Simon Cowell has never made a wrong decision in his life… right?Right?
:: As we mentioned in our Morning Mix post, auditions kick off tonight in Boston with Victoria Beckham as the guest judge. We fully expect Simon and Posh to share British colloquialisms at the judge’s table that don’t make any sense to us Yanks. [People]
:: Best Week Ever got tipsy with Adam Lambert last November during their “Martini Minute” interview; this time they share a drink with Fantasia, in their nonstop pursuit to get drunk with every last Idol finalist. Only about 78 more to go! [Best Week Ever]
:: Fantasia For Real premieres tonight on VH1 at 10pm. A note to all the Idol contestants: if you win, this could happen to you. Not everybody is Carrie Underwood. [VH1]
:: On her morning show, Ellen DeGeneres shares her thoughts on Simon leaving Idol, because no one has talked about this yet, anywhere, especially not on the internet. [MJsbigblog]
:: And here’s a sneak peak of Ellen backstage of Idol during the Hollywood round. Excited yet? Sorry, you still have to wait a few more weeks to see her debut on the show. [Ellen]
:: TV Guide’s “Where Are They Now” Idol gallery is missing the biggest “Where The Hell Is He Now”, Brian Dunkleman. [TV Guide]
Miss the epic, sweeping pop melodies of great British pop duos like Tears For Fears and McAlmont & Butler? Machester two-piece Hurts, who the BBC singled out last week as one of its Sounds Of 2010, could just be the ones to fill that void.
Think Pet Shop Boys minus the dance club leanings. Spandau Ballet minus, uh, a few members (but with the complete New Romantic attire and hair). Oh, hell—just jump below and watch their video for “Blood, Tears & Gold”!
If something as rad as “Blood, Tears & Gold” were to cross over on this side of the pond without the aid of a spin on Grey’s Anatomy or Gossip Girl, it would truly be a miracle. But, hey—it’s 2010, and apparently anything is possible.
Hurts singer Theo Hutchcraft and his bandmate Adam Anderson were previously in a band called Daggers. Now they’ve branched off to craft their own brand of dreamy, slightly-anguished tunes.
“Pop music is part escapism, but it’s also part rejoicing in reality,” Theo told the BBC. “People aren’t generally as happy as pop music makes them out to be. They always hope to be that happy—that’s why they listen to it.”
Sounds about right. Here’s Hurts’ “Wonderful Life,” as remixed by onetime Afrika Baambaata and New Order producer Arthur Baker:
According to this press release that landed in our in-box during the early a.m. hours, Bon Jovi’s performance at the the 2010 Grammy telecast on January 31 will mark the Jersey band’s first-ever time rocking out on the awards show. Crikey! How is that even possible?
And talk about trial by fire—Jon, Richie and, uh, those other two guys don’t even get to choose which song they want to perform by themselves. No, no, Grammy producers are leaving that up to the public. How very People’s Choice Awards!
Actually, like the PCAs, Grammy has taken the liberty of whittling down the list of BJ options to six songs (which you can see and vote on at the official Grammy site). So it’s not like we can throw a curveball and campaign to get the band to perform one of Jon Bon Jovi’s cheesy 1990 Young Guns solo tunes, like “Miracle” or “Blaze Of Glory.”
Meanwhile, “We Weren’t Born To Follow”—which the guys are nominated for in the Best Performance By A Pop Duo Or Group category—isn’t even one of the choices.
“It’s definitely time to take a break, to recharge my batteries,” Beyonce told USA Today. “I’d like to take about six months and not go into the studio. I need to just live life, to be inspired by things again.”
Gosh, was it those Destiny’s Child song leaks from last week that finally pushed the 28-year-old to take a vacation?
Beyonce continued on, telling the paper, “I’ve always worked hard, but I feel like I worked harder this past year than I have since I was just starting out. I just had all these great opportunities… I visited the pyramids in Egypt. I saw the Great Wall of China and went out in the middle of the ocean in Australia to see the whales. I actually got sprayed in the face. I made some great memories this year and really learned to enjoy life.”
By now we’ve already heard the 22-year-old singer claim left and right that she was never paid for warbling the chorus on the Flo Rida jam, which spent six weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100 in early 2009. But, geez—you’d think by now Flo would just send her a check so she’ll put a sock in it, already!
“One day I was like, I couldn’t buy a taco and I was really bummed out,” Ke$ha lamented to host George Lopez. “I was digging for quarters in my couch and I was like, this is whack! I hear my song playing when I walk by Walgreens, coming out of people’s cars—and I can’t buy a taco?”
But, wait—it gets far classier. Just before actually brushing her teeth with a bottle of Jack Daniels (just like in her hit single “TiK ToK,” y’all!), Ke$ha explains that her mom gave birth to the singer when she was throwing a party: “She invited all of her friends over and they were just kicking it, and then all of a sudden I, like, flew out.”
Wow. The Ke$ha mythology just keeps getting sexier with each interview. And it doesn’t look like there will be any end to us hearing all the details of it anytime soon—in addition to maintaining the top position on the iTunes album chart, the quotable blonde has the #1, #2 and #10 positions on the digital download store’s singles tally locked up, as well.
Marvel below at Ke$ha’s interview on Lopez Tonight:
Simon Cowell may have just rendered the biggest judgment call of his career with his decision to bid farewell to American Idol. But what is his real legacy as a talent spotter? Before he calls in his manservants to ship his tight black shirts over to The X Factor, we decided to take a look back at Simon’s best — and worst — judgments on Idol. No question, he possesses keen insight. But maybe there’s also a reason the final voting is left up to America.
Without a doubt, Simon’s exit will mean that Fox has some enormous (platform-enhanced) shoes to fill. But Cowell has always been more than a frowny, cross-armed insult generator. A veteran music executive/talent scout, Simon has long cultivated a reputation as the shrewdest Idol judge, able to accurately forecast pop career success with an insider’s savvy. For all his eye rolls and snide remarks, however, he hasn’t always made the right calls. It’s time to rewind through his handling of past contestants and consider what he got right—and wrong.
Season 1 – Kelly Clarkson (winner)
Simon’s Call: Yay. Simon said Kelly’s “great.” He even hugs her after she scores a ticket to Hollywood (and this is after he had nine other female contestants exiting in tears before she performed). But Kelly claims he didn’t remember her at the Pasadena audition, and that maybe she was just too “plain jane” for Simon.
Actual Outcome: She was a winner all right, but fans saw her as considerably more than a plain jane. Her first post-Idol album, Thankful, went platinum, and she’s since turned into a superstar, earning two Grammys along the way.
Season 1 – Justin Guarini (runner up)
Simon Call: Simon tells Justin, “This is the point that I’m going to admit that American talent is probably better than English talent. Occasionally privileged to hear someone who’s undiscovered with a voice like yours, and this is one of those moments. Amazing.”
Actual Outcome: We’ll table the debate on the U.S. vs. the U.K. for the moment, but Justin would go on to finish #2 on the show’s first season—not too shabby. But then (after he co-stars the contractually obligated film abomination that is From Justin to Kelly) he all but disappears. Blame an ill-timed album release, lack of a pop single, a stinker of a movie—whatever it was, Justin unfortunately peaked on Idol.
Season 2 – Ruben Studdard (winner)
Simon Call: “Very good voice. Yes.”
Actual Outcome: Pretty unenthusiastic first impression of the man who went on to win Season 2 of American Idol. Ruben scored a hit single off his first album, Soulful, as well as a Grammy nomination, but his recording career petered out after that, with two less successful followup leading to his exit from his record label. (He has found some recent success as an actor in musical theater, including in a production of Ain’t Misbehavin’.)
Season 2 – Clay Aiken (runner up)
Simon Call: “Okay. Very good. You don’t look like a pop star, but you’ve got a great voice. So now what? Clay Aiken, we’ll see you in Hollywood.”
Actual Outcome: Oh, ye of little faith. Thankfully for Clay, the mass market can sometimes see greatness beneath the surface. While he may have come in second (by a mere 130,000 votes), Clay went on to debut at #1 on the Billboard chart with the highest-selling first album by an Idol alum to date. He has scored a number of subsequent hits (though he left the RCA label in 2008), generated some $28 million at the concert box office in his first five tours, and starred on Broadway in Spamalot.
Season 3 – Fantasia Barrino (winner)
Simon Call: “The girl’s got a great voice, it’s just, I always try and imagine people at this stage where you go throughout the competition. Because you have such a distinct voice, and at one point what is deemed an advantage will then possibly become a disadvantage. Because you are what you are.” Fantasia then followed up with her rendition of “Proud Mary” to which Simon said, “I actually think you’re one of the best we’ve ever had. That’s what I think.”
Actual Outcome: America was less on the fence about Fantasia. She not only went on to win Season 3 of American Idol, but was successful enough to drop her last name. She’s the first recording artist in history to debut at the number one spot with a debut single. Her debut album went platinum and earned a slew of Grammy nominations. She’s starred on Broadway in The Color Purple — but in recent years her personal struggles have overshadowed her career, with her attempted redemption the subject of a new VH1 reality show Fantasia for Real. What did he mean by “you are what you are” we wonder?
Season 3 – Diana DeGarmo (runner up)
Simon Call: “What’s the problem? Cause I know what the problem is… It’s the horrible routine. The cutesy routine you do with your songs.” He found Diana’s smile “quite irritating”, but he still gave her his vote for a ticket to Hollywood.
Actual Outcome: America was clearly less irritated by her super-sweetness and voted her runner up of Season 3. The stage proved to be the perfect home for DeGarmo’s “cutesy routine,” in fact: she’s found success in the touring productions of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and on Broadway as Penny Pingleton in Hairspray, and she can currently be seen in the off-Broadway production of The Toxic Avenger.
Season 4 – Carrie Underwood (winner)
Simon’s Call: “Very good. Stay good at what you’re doing.” Carrie’s performance also prompted Simon to say that he was surprised that Idol hadn’t yielded a strong country act yet. By coincidence(?), he declared in the top 11 finalists’ round that Carrie would not only win the season, but outsell any previous Idol winner.
Actual Outcome: Simon was right on both of those counts (though depending on the album cycle, the sales title belongs to either Carrie or Kelly). You probably also know who she’s engaged to, and all her diet and fitness tips too.
Season 4 – Bo Bice (runner up)
Simon’s Call: “Great great great great great. Definitely.”
Actual Outcome: While Bo was voted #2 by America, his version of the single “Inside Your Heaven” actually outsold Carrie Underwood’s. That’s where it seems Bo ran out of steam. His debut album, The Real Thing, struggled to even reach gold-level sales, and the RCA label dropped him before he could record a second. Maybe instead of “Great great great great. Definitely,” Simon should have said, “Good good good good good. Maybe.”
Season 5 – Taylor Hicks (winner)
Simon’s Call: “My problem is, and I’ve always said this, it is not just about the voice. And you prove that.” He disagreed completely with Paula and Randy. He did not think Taylor could be commercially successful. Simon explained that Taylor should be singing backgrounds, “not in the spotlight.” He warned Taylor that although Paula and Randy were giving him a ticket to Hollywood, “they will not put you in the final group to be judged by public.” Ouch!
Actual Outcome: Not just about the voice? Tell that to the “Soul Patrol,” Simon. Taylor went on to win Season 5, and Simon offered a rare admission—he had been wrong. And so much for not having the “look” Simon thought Hicks needed. People magazine named the gray-haired wonder the Hottest Bachelor of 2006. Hicks did struggle to sell albums, but he went on to play the role of Teen Angel in the Broadway production of a little musical called Grease. (Some spotlight, huh Simon?) Last year, he came in at #10 on Forbes’ “Top Ten earning American Idol stars” list.
Season 5 – Katharine McPhee (runner up)
Simon’s Call: “Parts of that was [sic] absolutely fantastic… I’ll tell you what I love about you, you’re very current. You’re very, very current… You’re on the money, you know? It’s not stage school, it’s not wannabe-ish. It’s just very very very what is happening today. Amazing.”
Actual Outcome: Katharine wasn’t exactly right on the money, but she was pretty close. She had the second-best-selling single of 2006 after Taylor Hicks’ “Do I Make You Proud,” though her initial album didn’t take off. (Her sophomore outing, Unbroken, just hit the street). And while Simon said she wasn’t “stage school,” Katharine has gone on to have an acting career with a role in The House Bunny, a guest spot on CSI: NY, and will have a role on NBC’s Community as Chevy Chase’s stepdaughter.
Season 6 – Jordin Sparks (winner)
Simon’s Call: Simon presented Jordin with this analogy: “Sometimes I like to put one sugar in my coffee, that was the equivalent of 11 sugars… A bit over the top… weird smile through out. All I’m saying is it was a little bit too sugary for my taste. You’re gonna do well, but it wasn’t perfect.”
Actual Outcome: Jordin wins American Idol. Simon may have found her sweet, but has delivered some impassioned performances (and hits) in songs like “No Air,” with all-around-sweetheart Chris Brown, and “Battlefield,” which had the best pre-chorus of the year. And while Simon thought her smile was weird, Jordin went on to become the face of Avon makeup’s teen line, Mark.
Season Six – Blake Lewis (runner up)
Simon’s Call: “You’re good. You’re just very over the top. I don’t know if you’re as good as you think you are… I think you’re good enough to go through to the next round, I’m just not as easily impressed as Paula is.” He also called Blake “obnoxious.” Way harsh, Simon.
Actual Outcome: Blake wasn’t just good enough to get to the next round, he was good enough to take home second place in Idol. His rendition of Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name” was the highest-selling download of the season. Obnoxious? Well, he was polite enough to score an invitation to perform at the 2009 Congressional Clubs’ First Lady’s Luncheon to Honor Michelle Obama (with a beatbox verison of “America the Beautiful”). That said, Lewis hasn’t had the chart success or touring career of some of his fellow Idol alumni. So perhaps Simon wasn’t totally wrong on this one.
Season Seven – David Cook (winner)
Simon’s Call: “Other than being a little worthy, it was good.” (We have no idea what that means either.)
Actual Outcome: Maybe Simon meant “worthy” as in being worthy of the title of “next American Idol,” because that’s exactly where Cook ended up. David then went on to break Billboard chart records by being the first artist to have 11 songs debut on the Hot 100 in a single week, and his debut album is platinum.
Season 7 – David Archuleta (runner up)
Simon’s Call: “Great choice of song by the way. I really enjoyed it.” That’s it?! That’s all you have for this little cherub-faced crooner?
Actual Outcome: While David was named one of Forbes’ “Breakout Stars of 2008″ he’s not exactly lighting the world on fire. While his debut album (self-titled) racked up sales of more than 750,000 copies, it’s not clear that the kid is loaded with pop hits. Maybe Simon was right to just focus on David’s song selection, rather than his performance.
Season 8 – Kris Allen (winner)
Simon’s Call: “I think part of the problem, Kris, is you. Because you don’t have a huge amount of personality and your modesty is actually putting me off a little bit.” Simon later went on to say, “I’m going to give you another shot. Yes.”
Actual Outcome: Kris has no reason to be modest now: he won Season 8. His version of “No Boundaries” outsold fellow Idol contestant Adam Lambert’s. Allen’s cover of Kanye West’s “Heartless” hit #13 on the chart and his self-titled album debuted at #11 on the Billboard album chart. Does he have the staying power? Is Simon right? Will his “lack of personality” get in the way of a long-term career as a singer? Only time will tell.
Season 8 – Adam Lambert (runner up)
Simon’s Call: Other judges thought that Idol was ready for someone like Lambert. Simon thought he was “theatrical… not current.”
Actual Outcome:Theatrical, maybe (they don’t call him Glambert for nothing). But “not current”? Hardly. Lambert’s style has helped turn him into a fashion icon, and his controversial American Music Awards performance became international news. His album For Your Entertainment debuted at #3 on the Billboard album chart, higher than Kris Allen’s. For now, it looks like Lambert is as current as it gets.
That’s all so far. Of course, Simon’s most recent decision is the one that may have the most serious consequences. Any bets on whether he made the right one?
G’morning folks! Tonight’s American Idol premiere sure is easily the most bittersweet start to a season ever. On one hand there’s no Paula, and soon enough, there won’t be any Simon, either. But on the other hand, we’ve got the audition rounds before us, typically the funniest part of the show. Ah, so conflicted!
Did You Hear?
:: American Idol Season 9 kicks off tonight with two hours of Boston auditions. Victoria Beckham will be serving as guest judge, so expect anyone daring to attempt a Spice Girls song to be featured prominently (and rejected summarily). [American Idol]
:: Chargers running back LaDanian Tomlinson hooked up with a greenscreen and editing effects from the early 80s to make a music video for a song called “LT Slide Electric Guide.” Do you really need more information? Just click on the link already. [Best Week Ever]
::Spin magazine interviews poppy electro duo MGMT about their upcoming album. Surprise! Their new songs involve drug use, just like their old songs. [Spin]
:: Nick Jonas covered his older brother’s ex-girlfriend’s song “You Belong With Me” at a concert in Philly. We kind of wish he had covered this Taylor Swift song instead. [Just Jared Jr.]
:: Blink-182 is back in the studio, and they brought along a camera crew to film a “Blinkumentary.” People who should be excited about this: Blink fans, potty humor enthusiasts, and people who love puns. [Rolling Stone]
Behind the jump: We wave hello to a new season of Idol and say an early goodbye to its meanie judge.
Music On TV Tonight:
:: Jimmy Kimmel Live (ABC) – Melanie Fiona :: Lopez Tonight (TBS) – Pitbull :: Last Call with Carson Daly (NBC) – The Raveonettes :: Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (NBC) – Ringo Starr
VIDEO REWIND OF THE DAY: To prepare ourselves for Simon’s adventures beyond Idol, let’s take a look back at his lucrative extra-curricular activities, which included developing pop-opera group Il Divo (on his own label, of course.) Check out the music video of the male Italian hotties singing “Regressa Mi” — a cover of Toni Braxton’s “Unbreak My Heart,” which is what we wish Simon would do for those of us mourning his upcoming departure.