ABC/Eric McCandlessThe first installment of the two-night American Idol finale airs this Sunday on ABC, but the three remaining contestants have already released the songs that will be their "coronation singles," should they be crowned the winner on Monday night.
Maddie Poppe's song "Gone Gone Gone," is an upbeat, folk-influenced modern pop song that suits her voice well. It's somewhat reminiscent of Season 11 winner Phillip Phillips' song "Home."
Caleb Lee Hutchinson's single "Johnny Cash Heart" is country through and through, and its lyrics refer to the deep love between late country icon Johnny Cash and his beloved wife, June Carter Cash. "You are my June/June in my Johnny Cash heart," he sings.
Gabby Barrett's song "Rivers Deep" is soulful pop with a some gospel thrown in, and shows off her powerful voice.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the other songs the finalists will sing on Sunday night include Caleb doing Johnny Cash's classic "Folsom Prison Blues," Gabby singing Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" and Maddie performing "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac.
The American Idol finale begins at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday and continues Monday night at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.
The new album was partially inspired by the birth of Ben's first child, Jane, last July. He says, "That was literal magic." But the album is also nostalgic, with songs about childhood friends and old loves. Another nostalgic touch: "I Will Always Be Yours" features a guitar solo from Steve Stevens, who famously played with '80s icon Billy Idol.
Speaking to Billboardabout "Old Friends," Ben says, "I wrote [it] after a conversation with my mom about keeping up with my best friend from high school. Towards the end of the call she said, 'You know what they say: You can't make old friends.' I sat down to write and was immediately flooded with memories from growing up."
He adds, "It struck me how powerful that feeling was, that I missed both the people I grew up with and the naivety of that time more than I realized. Magic has a thread of nostalgia, both lyrically and sonically, running through it, and this felt like a good introduction -- and I hope it makes people want to call their old friends.”
Ben's 2015 album Brand New was his sixth, but his first to hit the top 10. The song "Brand New" was a top five radio hit.
Here's the track list:
1. "Extraordinary Magic" 2. "I Will Always Be Yours" 3. "Drive" 4. "Old Friends" 5. "Duo" 6. "Kids" 7. "Green" 8. "Sometimes" 9. "Wherever You Are" 10. "Over and Over" 11. "Boxes" 12. "Peace" 13. "Love Like This"
Elias TahanIt's not even officially summer yet, but 98 Degrees has already announced a holiday tour.
The trek will kick off November 1 in Winnipeg, Canada, and wrap up December 21 in Appleton, WI. Visit the band's website for full details. The group did a similar tour last year and plan to make it an annual event.
Speaking to People magazine, the group's Nick Lachey says he's looking forward to singing holiday songs from the group's 1999 album, This Christmas, and their 2017 album, Let It Snow.
“The songs just put you in a great spirit and I think the audience feels the same way,” Nick says. "It’s why we love to do stuff like this around the holidays. It just puts us in a great spirit and gets you ready for a very special time of year.”
Nick says his favorite Christmas songs are "Let It Snow," "O Holy Night" and "Mary Did You Know," but he's not tired of any of the seasonal favorites on their albums.
"What was fun about doing a tour like that [last year] is I thought I’d be kind of sick of Christmas before I got to Christmas, but I never found myself feeling that way," he explains.
That's a good thing, because as Nick tells People, his wife Vanessa "will literally put on holiday music starting early October.”
He adds, “We’ve listened to literally everything that’s possibly released during a holiday season by the time it’s all said and done, but she gives a slight edge to Nick Lachey and 98 Degrees’ music.”
Greg WilliamsEd Sheeran, currently on tour in Ireland, is upset that one of his songs has been co-opted against his wishes by supporters on one side of a hot-button political issue.
On his Instagram Story, Ed posted a statement reading, "I've been informed that my song 'Small Bump' is being used to promote the Pro-Life campaign, and I feel it's important to let you know I have not given approval for this use, and it does not reflect what the song is about."
"Small Bump," which appears on Ed's debut album, Plus, was written about a close friend of his whose baby was stillborn. It features the lyrics, "'Cause you were just a small bump unborn for four months then torn from life/Maybe you were needed up there but we're still unaware as why."
Ireland is currently preparing for a nationwide vote that will decide the legality of abortion in the country.
PRNewsfoto/Live Nation EntertainmentBritish and European fans of Justin Timberlake will be disappointed to learn that the singer has made some major changes to his overseas tour schedule.
As Metro reports, JT's Man of the Woods tour was supposed to begin June 22 in Paris, but that's now been pushed back to July 3. According to Metro, Justin's concert promoter issued a statement saying that they and the singer "apologize for any inconvenience to fans."
Meanwhile, Justin has also canceled three U.K. dates: Birmingham on June 28, Manchester on July 2 and Glasgow, Scotland on July 6. A scheduled July 5 show in Glasgow has been moved to July 7, and a July 1 concert in Manchester has been moved to August 29. A Birmingham show on June 27 has been moved to August 27.
Fans can get full refunds for the canceled dates and use the same tickets for the rescheduled dates.
There's no reason given as to why Justin's schedule changed. The North American leg of the Man of the Woods tour will wrap up in Memphis, TN on May 30.
Believe it or not, next year marks the 10th anniversary of Michael Jackson's death, and the tragic event is being examined in a two-hour ABC special airing Thursday, May 24.
The Last Days of Michael Jackson explores the late King of Pop's life and legacy, via interviews with those who knew him, and never-before-seen footage of interviews MJ did with Barbara Walters and Diane Sawyer.
The show also will feature new interviews with Derek "Cooley" Jaxson, who taught Michael how to moonwalk; the MJ impersonator Navi, who served as the star's decoy at public appearances; and Lisa Staub, a tour operator who was in front of MJ's house the day he died.
The Last Days of Michael Jackson airs May 24 at 8 p.m. ET.
Meanwhile, MJ is getting his own street in the Motor City. According to the Detroit Free Press, the city will rename a stretch of Randolph Street in the theater district "Michael Jackson Avenue." A ceremony will be held June 15, as part of the Detroit Music Weekend festival. The surviving members of The Jackson 5 will also receive a key to the city by Mayor Mike Duggan, and will play a headlining concert during the festival.
The honor comes nearly 50 years after The Jackson 5's July 23, 1968, audition for Motown Records. They were initially turned down by label head Berry Gordy, but he reconsidered and signed them in early 1969. The group remained on the label through 1975, scoring hits like "I Want You Back," "ABC" and "I'll Be There."
This year's Billboard Music Award Icon, Janet Jackson, today celebrates the 25th anniversary of her seminal 1993 album, janet. The entertainer talks to Billboard about the personal transformation expressed in the album's songs, noting that the project "had a deeply sensual edge, because that's what I was going through in my life."
"I was discovering freedom in physical pleasure and loved writing about sexuality," she continues. "I tried to do it subtly and tastefully, but I also wanted to push the boundaries a bit."
And she did just that. Janet promoted the album by appearing topless on the cover of Rolling Stone with the hands of her then-husband Rene Elizondo, Jr. covering her breasts. janet. went on to produce six top ten hits.
Now, the icon is working on a new chapter in her life as a mom. She's also working on a new album, but won't give Billboard very much information about it.
"I wish I could," Janet says. "I'm not trying to avoid the question and be secretive, but the truth is that I don't try to analyze the creative process while it's still ongoing."
What Janet does say about her creative process, though, is that she's "very intuitive about writing. Anything can inspire me."
"I woke up this morning and heard a bird chirping in a rhythm that captivated my heart," Janet says. "Maybe that will turn into a new groove. Like everyone else, my feelings are fluid. My ideas are fleeting. I like to keep it that way."
ABC/Eric McCandlessThe American Idol two-night finale begins Sunday night, as Gabby Barrett, Caleb Lee Hutchinson and Maddie Poppe face off against each other for the crown. Host Ryan Seacrest says right now, it's hard to predict who'll win because the voting is extremely close.
"I looked at the votes, it's very tight," Seacrest tells ABC Radio. "We haven't really talked much about that. But during that last episode on Sunday, it was going back and forth between the finalists that had made it."
But does Ryan think America picked the right final three? He admits, "I was sad to see some of them leave, especially Michael J. Woodard. I loved him, a lot of people loved him...but they've picked three great contestants who have their own style, who deserve to be there...each of 'em wants to be the one that wins."
O.K., so how can Gabby, Caleb and Maddie go about being the winner? Judge Katy Perry tells ABC Radio, "In the top three, there are some people that are better at performance, some people are better at their artistic delivery, some people that are original tones. And so they just gotta know what their strong suits are and play those cards right."
Luke Bryan agrees, saying that what the contestants need to do to win is "stick with what got 'em here." But while he believes America "might know what they're already gonna do," he still thinks the contestants have to "keep turning it up."
As previously reported, all three judges will perform on the finale, as will Bebe Rexha, Patti LaBelle, Hootie & the Blowfish frontman Darius Rucker, Yolanda Adams, guitarist Gary Clark Jr., and Kermit the Frog.
The American Idol finale begins Sunday night at 8 p.m. and concludes Monday night at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.
Miller MobleyJanet Jackson, who will celebrate the 25th anniversary of her seminal album janet. on Friday, is enjoying a new chapter in her life: motherhood.
Speaking about her relationship with her first child Eissa, the icon tells Billboard, "Let me...say that my son, even in his short 17 months on the planet, has showed me that love, no matter how deeply you believe you have experienced that emotion, can always go deeper."
"Love is limitless," she adds.
"And for someone like me, raised in show business where self-concern is always a priority, how fortunate I am now to be concerned, first and foremost, with the welfare of someone else. Day after day and night after night, holding my baby in my arms, I am at peace."
She continues, "I am blessed. I feel bliss. In those moments, all is right with the world."
Janet also reveals the one artist who's special to both her and Eissa.
"I...have a special place in my heart for Bruno Mars," she begins.
"Bruno was really the first music my son responded to. During and after his birth, I comforted myself with Brazilian jazz, music that always relaxes me."
"Then when the baby began crawling, Bruno was breaking out big and on the radio all the time."
"That delighted both of us," she adds.
"Bruno is a throwback to the days when the greatest artists could do it all: write, sing, dance, produce."
Janet will receive this year's Billboard Music Awards ICON award and she'll do her first TV performance in nine years on the awards show telecast, airing Sunday, May 20 at 8:00 PM ET on NBC, live from Las Vegas.
The trek, which follows a summer European outing, kicks off September 15 in Miami Beach, Florida, and is mapped out through an October 15 show in Los Angeles.
The concerts will feature the two artists hitting the stage together to perform selections from 44/876, as well as various songs from each other's back catalogs, such as The Police's Every Breath You Take" and "Message in a Bottle," Sting's solo hit "Englishman in New York," and Shaggy's smash hits "It Wasn't Me," "Mr. Boombastic," and "Angel." Musicians from both singer's backing bands will take part in the trek.
Tickets for the shows will go on sale to the general public starting Thursday, May 24, at 10 a.m. local time. Members of Sting's fan club will have the chance to buy advance tickets starting this Monday, May 21; visit Sting.com for more details. Each ticket purchased online will include either a CD or digital copy of 44/876.
In other news, a companion album called 44/876: The Remixes will be released Friday, May 25. The 12-track collection features eight alternate mixes of 44/876's lead single, "Don't Make Me Wait," as well as remixes of "Dreaming in the U.S.A.," "Morning Is Coming," "Just One Lifetime" and "Gotta Get Back My Baby."
That same day, Sting and Shaggy will perform a free show together in New York City's Central Park as part of the ABC's Good Morning America Summer Concert Series. Visit 1iota.com for more details.
Here are Sting and Shaggy's joint North American tour dates:
9/15 -- Miami Beach, FL, Fillmore Miami Beach at The Jackie Gleason Theater 9/17 -- Atlanta, GA, Tabernacle 9/19 -- Oxon Hill, MD, The Theater at MGM National Harbor 9/20 -- Philadelphia, PA, The Fillmore 9/21 -- Atlantic City, NJ, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa 9/25 -- Boston, MA, House of Blues 9/26 -- New York, NY, The Rooftop at Pier 17 9/28 -- Toronto, ON, Canada, The Phoenix Concert Theatre 9/30 -- Minneapolis, MN, The Armory 10/1 -- St. Louis, MO, The Pageant 10/2 -- Chicago, IL, The Aragon Ballroom 10/4 -- Kansas City, MO, Arvest Bank Theatre at The Midland 10/5 -- Denver, CO, Fillmore Auditorium 10/8 -- San Francisco, CA, The Masonic 10/9 -- Santa Barbara, CA, Santa Barbara Bowl 10/10 -- Phoenix, AZ, The Van Buren 10/12 -- Rancho Mirage, CA, Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa 10/13 -- Las Vegas, NV, Park Theater 10/15 -- Los Angeles, CA, The Wiltern
ABC/Image Group LAShawn Mendes may not be attending the Royal Wedding this weekend, but he’s already had an encounter with British royalty.
On The Ellen DeGeneres ShowThursday, Shawn talked about his awkward run-ins with Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle when he performed at the Queen’s 92nd birthday concert last month.
Shawn, whose mom is British, said he was standing backstage waiting to perform when the Queen appeared and stood beside him.
“I’m, like, looking at her and you can’t say anything, you’re not allowed to speak to her unless she speaks to you first,” he said. “So it was like 10 minutes of just awkward silence between me and the Queen.”
Not only did she not speak to him, but, Shawn said, she didn’t even look his way.
The singer also revealed that he had a brush with greatness when he spotted Prince Harry and his soon-to-be-bride Meghan at the event. As he told Ellen, he thought Meghan was Canadian, just like him, so he figured he had an "in" and could go up and say hi. Instead, he got so starstruck that he chickened out.
“This is gonna be my biggest regret forever,” he told Ellen.
Shawn also revealed Thursday that he’ll be releasing another new song Friday from his upcoming self-titled album, called “In the Morning.”
“I got to see the whole trailer for [American Woman] and the vibe of it, which I love, and I kind of got together with Jason Halbert, the producer of this song, and we wanted to create this moody kind of vibe and kind of pay homage to that ’70s classic sound of it, too,” Kelly says in the clip.
"American Woman" was originally recorded by Canadian rock band The Guess Who as an anti-war protest in 1969 and covered by Lenny Kravitz in 1998.
“There are all these things that we love and we felt we wanted to represent American Woman and the whole lyric of it,” Kelly adds. “The strength and the boldness and the powerfulness I feel like American women exude.”
American Woman, the series, stars Silverstone, Mena Suvari and Jennifer Bartels and centers on the women’s liberation movement of the 1970s. It premieres June 7 at 10 p.m. ET on Paramount Network.
Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images via ABCMadonna fans have been waiting for three years for the Queen of Pop to release new music, and now it appears it's going to happen soon.
The superstar tweeted and posted on Instagram what seems to be artwork for a song called "Beautiful Game." She captioned the image, "That I never Learned.............Coming Soon!" She added the hashtags "#music #magic #mirwais." Mirwais is the producer with whom she collaborated on her albums Music and American Life.
It's worth nothing that the "beautiful game" is a common nickname for soccer, and Madonna's son David is reportedly attending a soccer academy in Portugal, which is why Madonna moved to that country. So perhaps by writing "That I never learned," Madonna is saying she never learned to play soccer? Who knows.
Speaking of the title "Beautiful Game," Madonna previously had a hit single called "Beautiful Stranger," from the soundtrack of the 1999 movie Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.
Madonna's most recent album, Rebel Heart, came out in 2015.
Miramax/Roadside AttractionsWhile Whitney Houston fans won't be able to watch the new documentary about the singer, titled Whitney, until July 6, the film makes a shocking allegation regarding the late singer's past.
The documentary's director, Kevin Macdonald, tells Vanity Fair that the legendary singer was allegedly abused by her cousin Dee Dee Warwick when she was a child.
Macdonald explains that after watching hundreds of hours of footage of Whitney, he began to suspect that Whitney may have been a victim of abuse "because she was never comfortable in her own skin."
He explains, "She seemed kind of asexual in a strange way...I've...done some filming with people who have suffered childhood sexual abuse, and there was just something about her manner that was reminiscent to me of that sort of shrinking -- a lack of comfort in her own physicality."
Macdonald wasn't sure that he was correct, but he tells Vanity Fair, "Shortly after...someone did tell me off the record about being told by Whitney about being abused, and it being one of the central reasons behind her self-torture. It took awhile for anyone to go on record about it, and eventually the family did.”
The movie claims that both Houston and her half-brother, Gary, were molested as kids by their cousin Dee Dee Warwick, Dionne Warwick's sister, who was the niece of Whitney's mother, Cissy Houston. In the film, Gary says the abuse occurred when Cissy, a professional singer, would leave Whitney, Gary and their brother Michael with relatives while she toured.
Macdonald says two weeks after the film was finished, he got an on-the-record confirmation from Mary Jones, Whitney's longtime assistant, that Dee Dee Warwick had abused Whitney.
Mary Jones says in the movie that Whitney never told her mother about the alleged abuse, noting, "I think she was ashamed...she used to say, ‘I wonder if I did something to make [Dee Dee] think I wanted her.’"
Macdonald says Cissy Houston has been told about the allegations and is "very upset." However, he notes, "She had nothing to do with it. She knew nothing about it. We definitely don’t want any repercussions for her.”
Rob ShanahanTonight, Elton John will bid farewell to The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, as he concludes his 450th show at the Las Vegas venue.
The Thursday night performance will be the last one of his Million Dollar Piano residency, and the final one overall of his two Las Vegas residencies. The first one, The Red Piano, ran from 2004 to 2009, and was the first major superstar residency following Celine Dion's groundbreaking show A New Day... in 2003. The Million Dollar Piano started in September of 2011.
EltonJohn.com has provided some fun facts about the Rocket Man's adventures in Las Vegas:
--The Red Piano was performed 243 times at The Colosseum. The Million Dollar Piano was performed 207 times.
--Combining attendance for both The Red Piano and The Million Dollar Piano, approximately 1.8 million people have seen Elton perform at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace.
--The Red Piano set list featured 15 songs from four different decades. The Million Dollar Piano featured 19 songs from four different decades, including deep cuts like "Better Off Dead" and "Indian Sunset." In 2012, one song -- "Blue Eyes" -- was dropped from the set list in favor of "Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)," Elton's tribute to his friend John Lennon.
--The million dollar piano that Elton plays as part of the show took nearly four years to build and features 68 LED screens embedded in it. It took 175 people four months to create the 19 films and videos that are played during Elton's performance.
--In his career, following Thursday night's show, Elton will have performed in Las Vegas a total of 485 times.
Elton will kick off his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour on September 8 in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He's reportedly performing at the Royal Wedding this weekend.
Terence Patrick/CBS BroadcastingChristina Aguilera on Wednesday dropped "Fall in Line," her fiery feminist duet with Demi Lovato. Now we get to watch her sing it with another duet partner.
In a bonus clip from her “Carpool Karaoke” episode, Christina belts the tune with The Late Late Show host James Corden. Though he can’t quite hit the high notes like Christina and Demi, he sings the female empowerment lyrics with feeling.
We’ll get to hear Christina and Demi sing the song live at Sunday’s Billboard Music Awards.
Christina’s new album, Liberation, comes out June 15.
The Backstreet Boys released their new single "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" on Thursday along with an accompanying music video as they celebrate their 25th anniversary.
Group members Nick Carter, Brian Littrell, Kevin Richardson, A.J. McLean and Howie Dorough have been counting down to the release on social media all week, and now fans can finally have a listen to the tune, which is an original track and NOT a cover of the classic Elton John-Kiki Dee duet of the same name.
Carter starts the song slowly with, "I got mixed emotions / Did I finally find a river that can lead me out to the oceans?"
But the song quickly picks up to match the catchy tunes Backstreet Boys fans come to love.
"Don't go breaking my heart, breaking my heart / because it's the only one that I got," the band sings in the chorus.
The single is accompanied by a music video where the guys return to their boy band roots, dancing perfectly in sync accompanied by a lit-up set.
The group recorded the song after the first leg of their successful Las Vegas residency, which picks back up July 25.
“We’ve been working our a** off for 25 years,” McLean said in a statement, “and with the support of RCA and our contemporaries, we know we’ll be performing for fans, both old and new, for a really long time. It feels like we’re just getting started.”
The group will not stop with this single. They also announced Thursday that they have signed with RCA Records.
The Backstreet Boys' last big chart success came last year with "God, Your Mama and Me," their hit collaboration with country duo Florida Georgia Line.
The Boys will perform July 13 on ABC's Good Morning America Summer Concert Series.
Joseph LlanesA Great Big World gave their new single "Younger" its TV debut Wednesday on Live with Kelly and Ryan. The duo says the nostalgic track is about the childhood moment when you still have "a sense of wonder" -- before "the bullying starts."
"There's this sense of 'anything is possible,'" the duo's Ian Axel tells ABC Radio. "There's this freedom and this fearlessness that we lose as we get older...so when we wrote this song, we were just trying to hang on to that spark."
His musical partner Chad King adds that "Younger" is about "getting back to the positive kid, the one that was having the most fun of his life."
"Younger" is the lead single from the duo's self-titled third album, due later this year. Ian says this time around, they "formed our own little bubble and surrounded ourselves with people that we trust...and didn't really let the outside world['s] opinions into our process."
As a result, he says, "We think we are the most authentic selves we've been on a record."
Along with that new process, Ian's sporting a new look: After ten years of having a "'fro," he shaved his head.
"I think I definitely horrified some people," Ian says of his new "Mr. Clean" 'do. "But I looked at myself in a mirror and I didn't feel like what I saw. It feels like a new chapter and I just did it."
Coincidentally, Christina Aguilera, A Great Big World's duet partner on their Grammy-winning hit "Say Something," also released new music this week.
"We're in touch with her every once in a while and she's so sweet," Ian says. "That was really awesome that we got to [put out music] at the same time, unplanned. We'd love to work with her again."
Sara Cwynar for W MagazineThe quintessential strong female pop star, it's hard to imagine anyone bossing around Christina Aguilera. But in a new interview with W magazine, she recalls a time early in her career when she was at the mercy of executives who controlled her image.
In a video for W, Christina looks back at some of her iconic video looks. While commenting on the clip for her first hit, "Genie in a Bottle," she recalled that in those days, her record company decided how she would present herself visually.
"I remember just being in these fittings where I would be watched by certain members of the label and it was very, like, 'Well, that's approved, that's not approved...,'" she says. "So it was super-confining and super-restricting and it made me feel like, y'know, a weird Barbie of sorts. But...at least it was successful enough to get my foot in the door."
It's no wonder that on her second album, Stripped, Christina transformed herself into the rebellious "Xtina," sporting chaps, long dyed hair extensions and piercings. That rebellious spirit continues today, with her empowering new duet with Demi Lovato, "Fall In Line."
The song -- a message to girls to follow their dreams and not let men keep them down -- is intro'd on the album by Christina's three-year-old daughter, Summer, and her friends, who say, "When I grow up, I want to be a screenwriter.… I want to be a superhero.… I want to be a boss.… I want to be the boss.… I wanna be president."
"You hear 'Fall in Line' and maybe think it was inspired by this time," Christina tells W, referring to the #MeToo movement and Donald Trump's presidency. "And it's not. It was created years ago. It's something I've always felt very strongly."