Friday, October 18, 2013

Katy Perry - PRISM - Review

Following the August release of the #1 single "Roar", pop princess Katy Perry has released Prism, the follow-up to her record-breaking 2010 album Teenage Dream, which became one of the most successful albums in recent memory; scoring a mind-blowing six top 2 singles (eight counting "Part of Me" and "Wide Awake" from the album's 2012 re-release). Recorded over the last year, Prism sees a return to Perry's pop formula - which has clearly been working for her - however also includes some refreshing and interesting takes of genres such as deep house, R&B, CCM, and trap.

"Roar", the album's lead single - sounds like a song that was likely recorded during the album's earlier recording sessions late last year. The song; which sees Perry again working with long-time collaborators Dr. Luke, Max Martin, Cirkut, and Bonnie McKee; serves as the album's lead single and opening track. A power pop song that draws influences from glam and arena rock, "Roar" sounds similar to songs on Teenage Dream, however offers a refreshingly mature tone. Looking at tracks in Perry's back catalogue such as "Firework" and "Part of Me", it was evident that Prism would contain a few self-empowering tracks. Perry's pop perfection vocals and the song's powerful message and intriguing production makes the song an obvious hit - however "Roar" doesn't exactly offer anything surprising. Despite this, "Roar" works as a perfect choice as lead single and paints the picture for the rest of Prism. Rating: 4/5

"Legendary Lovers", the album's second song, sees Perry again collaborating with Dr. Luke and Max Martin, however this song is very different from Roar. An addicting track containing bhangra and tribal influences - "Legendary Lovers" is an interesting track that offers one of Prism's most idiosyncratic pre-choruses: "Take me down to the river/ Underneath the blood orange sun/ Say my name like a scripture/ Keep my heart beating like a drum". This is followed by a soaring spicy curry chorus: "Legendary lovers/ We could be legendary/ Legendary lovers/ We should be legendary". Following this, Perry dips into more of a trap-inspired round of verses where she discusses seeing through her "third eye" and compliments karma for bringing her legendary lover into her life. "Legendary Lovers" is an interesting and radio-friendly track that makes a great potential single release. But most importantly, the song reveals that Prism will see Perry refreshingly experiment with lots of new genres. Rating: 4/5

"Birthday", the album's third track, is another Luke-Martin collaboration, however despite using the same producers as the record's first two track - "Birthday" is entirely different. Perhaps the album's most R&B sound, the song draws influences from early 90's Mariah Carey tracks. "Birthday" is a sugar sweet and super fun song, and fans that were looking for a follow-up to Perry's candy-filled Teenage Dream album will sigh in relief and pleasure while listening to "Birthday". A clear potential single choice, "Birthday" sounds like a perfect song to impact radio in the Spring time to get listeners ready for warm weather. Its unique and sexy lyrics, such as "But when you're with me/ I'll give you a taste/ Make it like your birthday everyday/ I know you like it sweet/ So you can have your cake/ Give you something good to celebrate" and its hook "So let me get you in your birthday suit/ Its time to bring out the big balloons" will help make the track the birthday and party jam of 2014. Rating: 4.5/5

"Walking on Air", one of two Prism tracks recorded in Stockholm and Prism's second promotional single sees Perry experimenting with deep house, eurodance, and disco. The song, which sounds very 90's (similar to "Birthday") is an upbeat song that contains lyrical genius in its verses "You're giving me sweet, sweet ecstasy/ Yeah, you take me to Utopia/ You're reading me/ Like erotica/ Yeah you make me feel exotica", "This is pure paradise/ Even heaven is jealous of our love/ Yes, we make angels cry/ Raining down on us from above" but lacks lyrical depth and content in its almost cringe-worthy simplistic chorus, "Tonight, I'm walking on air/ I'm walking on walking on air". Despite this, "Walking on Air" is a soaring track that contains an incredible vocal performance from Perry during its bridge. The track is upbeat and fun and will be a hit in the clubs, however likely won't make its way onto radio as a single choice. Rating: 3.5/5

"Unconditionally", a Luke-Cirkut collab, as well as the album's second single and Perry's personal favorite from the album, is a soaring and uplifting power ballad which is predominantly power pop and electronic while drawing influences from rock and Perry's contemporary Christian roots. The song, similar to "Walking on Air", contains great lyrics in its verses and a great vocal performance; however contains a fairly simple chorus: "Unconditional/ Unconditionally/ I will love you unconditionally/ There is no fear now/ Let go and just be free/ I will love you unconditionally". The song is perhaps one of Prism's most uplifting tracks and one of its biggest power ballads and was a good choice for a second single. The song, like many other Perry tracks, will definitely inspire listeners to be themselves; a message that could never become unnecessary. Rating: 4/5

"Dark Horse", Prism's first promotional single and probable spiritual successor to Teenage Dream's "E.T." (with Kanye West) is one of the best tracks on Prism. A trap, grime, and hip hop song, "Dark Horse" is a witchy and dark song with a verse from rapper Juicy J that contains a soaring and unique chorus and some sexy lyrics: "So you wanna play with magic/ Boy, you should know what you're falling for/ Baby do you dare to do this?/ Cause I'm comin' at you like a dark horse/ Are you ready for, ready for/ A perfect storm, perfect storm/ Cause once you're mine/ There's no goin' back". The song contains allusions to ancient Greek personnel and is just generally a great song and if released as a single will become one of the most successful songs of 2014. An album highlight and one of the album's sexier tracks, "Dark Horse" will be a favorite for listeners looking for an experimental song. Rating: 5/5

"This Is How We Do" is the second Prism track recorded in Stockholm and sees the return of Klas Ahlund to the album, who also produced "Walking on Air". The song is obviously intended as a Summer party song, however unlike 2013 Summer hits such as Avril Lavigne's "Here's to Never Growing Up"; the song contains more of a dark electronic production paired with some party feel good lyrics; making the song not exactly match its production. Its pre-chorus, where Perry repeats and insists "It's no big deal!" contains a wobbly synth instrumentation and its chorus will make it a potential Summer 2014 hit with party lyrics that will obviously appeal to teenagers and people in their early 20's. Midway through the song, Perry does some shout-outs when she declares: "This one goes out to the the ladies at breakfast in last night's dress, uh huh, I see you", "This one goes out to all you kids buying bottle service with your rent money", and "This one's for all the people out there goin' to bed with a 10 and waking up with a 2". The song doesn't exactly offer any lyrical genius however is a fun Summer track that will do well on radio and on the charts if released as a single. Rating: 3.3/5

"International Smile" is ridiculously fun and incredibly catchy. At this point on the album, I have no idea what Perry will choose as her Summer 2014 single with all of these possible choices. "International Smile" is a song about Katy's friend Mia and will be a hit for anyone travelling to a warm destination, driving to a local beach, or simply tanning in the backyard. A great chorus paired with unique lyrics and addictingly brilliant lyrics, "International Smile" is - again - an obvious single choice. At the album's hook, Perry inserts a pilot voice reciting flight take-off instructions and the song subsequently enters a super fun Daft Punk-inspired distorted vocal and synth dance break. The song's Beach-ready lyrics and production will make this song a huge hit. Rating: 5/5

"Ghost" is where the album starts to slow down a bit and become more emotional, raw, and mature. The first song on Prism that clearly focuses on Perry's divorce to her husband Russell Brand - "Ghost" is a mid tempo soaring, goose bump-inducing synthpop song with heartbreaking lyrics such as "You sent a text/ Its like the wind changed your mind/ We were best friends/ Yeah we were burning our lives" and "But you hit send/And disappeared in front of my eyes". "Ghost" will be a song looking for anyone trying to overcome a failed relationship and Perry's pop perfection vocals and the song's thumping instrumentation make the song yet another potential single choice. "Ghost" sounds like, when Perry wrote the song, she had reluctantly accepted the divorce however was not quite emotionally prepared to move on, with the hook stating: "So rest in peace, I'll see you on the other side". The song is powerful, but there's still something blatantly vulnerable about it: making it a highly relatable song. Rating: 4.5/5

"Love Me", which is still fairly emotional, sees the album pick up a little more following the heavy "Ghost". The song is a soaring power pop that sees Perry accepting and embracing her flaws and insecurities. "Love Me" is another one of Perry's signature uplifting power tracks, and showcases some of Perry's lyrical strength: "No concealing feelings/ or changing seasonally" and "Sometimes I wish my skin was a costume I could unzip and strip". Similar to "International Smile", the song experiments with a Daft Punk-like sound during the first half of its hook. During the second half of the hook, Katy repeats the chorus over a slower more raw instrumentation. The song may not be the album's biggest standout track but is a great song and it will be interesting to see if Katy selects the song as a single; because it truly could go either way. Rating: 4/5

"This Moment" is a 1980's power ballad-influenced track with parts that contain a wobbly electronic instrumentation. The song's lyrics are more contemplative than the rest of the album; with Perry asking her lover lots of questions throughout the song such as "Can you tell me who called the race?", "So why don't you be here with me?", "Do you ever think we're just chasing our tails?". The song sounds like it may have been written either before or during the early stages of Perry's relationship with John Mayer where he was perhaps resisting his feelings for Perry. "This Moment" doesn't stand out on the album and likely won't be a single, but it's still a good song. Rating: 3/5

"Double Rainbow", despite its title, is not about an over-exposed internet meme. It is a love song that sees Perry comparing a relationship to a double rainbow because her and her lover "see eye to eye" and because her lover was "hard to find". The song is very unique; I've never heard anything much like it - but that's not exactly a good think. The song isn't bad in any way, but many of the lyrics are slightly generic. If I was to compare the song to a previous song by Perry; it would likely be "Not Like the Movies" from Teenage Dream, however "Double Rainbow" doesn't exactly showcase Perry's lyrical strength like the former. Its still a decent song though. Rating: 2.8/5

"By the Grace of God" is the album's closing track and sees Perry at her most vulnerable on the album. The song, a powerful ballad about her failed relationship with Brand, primarily focuses on Perry "picking [herself] up" from the "bathroom floor" after deciding not to "let love take [her] out that way". By "that way", Perry is presumably referring to suicide; which she briefly contemplated after the failed divorce. The song ends Prism on a strong note and lets listeners ponder on the meaning of the song's metaphors and what is next for the superstar. The song sees Perry return to her CCM roots; which allows "By the Grace of God" to be one of Prism's most lyrically and vocally striking tracks. Rating: 4/5

Overall Rating: 79/100

Perry's third album, Prism, will finally help Perry receive the critical praise through the musical potential I have always seen in her. The song's upbeat and fun songs are much more unique than much of her previous work and songs like "Ghost", "International Smile", "Dark Horse", and "Birthday" make Prism perhaps the best pop record of the year. Although Perry's lyrical content may be slightly underwhelming in tracks like "Walking on Air" and "This Is How We Do", Prism will prove to be a hit that will continue to produce radio hits throughout the next umpteen months and Prism provides a musical look into Perry's failed relationship with Russell Brand. But most importantly, Prism reminds the public why she has been so successful: because of her record-breaking catchy tunes with pop perfect vocals and near flawless productions. Prism proves to be truly prismatic.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Britney Spears "Work Bitch" REVIEW

After releasing The Smurfs sountrack-taken "Ooh La La" earlier this Summer and appearing on's hit "Scream & Shout" last Fall, the 31-year-old Britney Spears has just dropped "Work Bitch", the lead single from her as-of-yet untitled eighth studio album, which is set to hit stores December 3.


"Work Bitch", a dance track with EDM influences is a banging club-ready track lasting 4 minutes and 7 seconds. The song echoes the message of recent self-empowering tracks, although takes a much more blatant approach. After teasing the joys of a luxurious lifestyle ("You want a hot body?/You want a bugatti?/You want a maserati?"), Spears abruptly gives her listeners some incredibly straight-forward advice: "You better work, bitch". Spears then utters lyrics about "sippin' martinis" and partying in France over a thumping beat before flagarantly declaring: "Now get to work bitch!". This is followed by an EDM dance break, which then turns into Spears telling listeners to be a "champion" and "pick up what [she's] puttin' down".

Then, in auto-tuned vocals over a thumping beat, Britney warns haters that they'll "hear her sound" and that she's "coming". She then briefly adopts her signature fake British accent, telling people to "go call the police, go call the governor", and declaring that she "brings the trouble" and that she is "the bad bitch" that "you're lovin' up". Then, over a soaring beat, Britney advises listeners to keep their "head up high" and tells them that "they're gone try to try ya"; ultimately telling them to "keep on floating higher and higher". She then says "work it out" a couple dozen times, before the track returns to its "you better work bitch" thug beat.


With her latest single, Britney has unfortunately adopted the EDM-sound that has become ever so popular within the careers of her peers in the music business. Although Spears attempts to provide listeners with some life advice, her bragging of her own lifestyle mostly over shadows the hook of the track, which is intended to be inspiring but seems like more of a nuisance compared to the fun thumping beat that takes up a large portion of the track.

Although the song may not offer any new ideas, and the song's two different lyrical styles contradict each other, the song is a fun track that will be popular in the club and will most likely be gobbled up by Spears' loyal fans. Additionally, it seems as if America has found a new work-out song, and many people will without a doubt blast the tune through their earbuds when they're on a treadmill. Despite being moderately catchy, the song likely won't have a huge radio or chart impact. But that's okay, because Britney has shown throughout her career on albums such as Britney, In the Zone, and Blackout; her lead singles are usually not the best songs on her albums and they usually under perform commercially; so there's no need to worry if "Work Bitch" flops.

Overall rating: 2.5 out of 5

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Katy Perry announces new album via giant gold truck

Katy Perry has a golden record on her hands.

The 28-year-old Santa Barbara native revealed long-awaited new details about her upcoming fourth album by sending a gigantic golden semi-truck onto the streets.

The semi-truck, which first appeared in Los Angeles on Monday, was painted gold and had the words KATY PERRY - PRISM - 10/22/13 plastered in a daring black font on its sides and back. Perry then took to her Twitter account to invite L.A. fans to track down the truck and post pictures of it.

Although Los Angeles citizens were the first to get a glimpse of the gold transport truck, Perry promised that other cities would be able to get a look, saying, "Don't you worry, Los Angeles is just the first stop on the map". On Tuesday, the truck appeared in San Francisco. The album's known collaborators are Bonnie Mckee, Max Martin, Dr. Luke, and Sia Furler. In May, it was reported she was recording a duet with Maroon 5's frontman Adam Levine.

Prism, which hits stores October 22, will be Perry's first album since 2010'sTeenage Dream. Her 2010 record allowed her to spend an unprecedented 69 consecutive weeks in the Billboard Hot 100's Top 10. In total, Teenage Dream's singles spent 225 consecutive weeks in the Billboard Hot 100, smashing Michael Jackson's record of 130 weeks which he attained with 1982's Thriller. Her 2011-2012 tour, the California Dreams Tour was awarded the MTV Europe Music Award for Best Live Act, the Teen Choice Award for Choice Music Tour, and People's Choice Award for Favorite Tour Headliner. The tour also secured spots on Billboard and Pollstar's list of the top tours of 2011.

With Prism's release less than 3 months away, the release of a single is reportedly imminent - Perez Hilton and Idolator are reporting the album's lead single will be titled "Roar" - however this has not yet been confirmed. The record will be released through Perry's longtime label Capitol Records; a subsidiary of Universal Music Group in October.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Selena Gomez 'STARS DANCE' Album Review!


"Birthday" is a questionable album opener, with some obvious mature themes that aren't really consistent with the rest of the album. The electronic garage house track definitely sees Gomez at her most experimental, and while we can definitely see Gomez dipping her toe in a lot of different genres with this song -- which is extremely refreshing -- the song's lyrics are ultimately fairly repetitive and predictable, however we still appreciate Gomez's unexpected take on this genre.

"Slow Down" sets up the electro-dubstep-pop sound for the rest of the album. Reminscent of tracks by Zedd and Swedish House Mafia, the song sees Gomez uttering some pretty sexy sentences such as "You know I'm good with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, Breathe me in, Breathe me out, so amazing" and "No stopping 'til the morning, You know I'm ready for it". Gomez's first take of the dubstep genre offers a generally subpar vocal performance and a fairly generic electronic sound, however will nonetheless communicate with her fans as well as fans of the genre.

"Like A Champion" is one of the album's highlights; a banging Summer track with reggae undertones that create definite Carribean vibes. Including a great sample and an infectious chorus and beat, the song is a perfect summer dance album that will shine on stage at her upcoming world tour. During the hook, Gomez ultilizes an Antilles accent that can easily be compared to work from Rihanna. While the song's care-free attitude and lyrics may not communicate with all listeners, the song will definitely be a staple for most listeners in their teens and 20's.

"Come & Get It" was a wise choice for the album's lead single, as it is one of few songs on the album that is suited for mainstream radio. The song, which draws influences from worldbeat and tribal music and contains a middle-eastern sample, is an infectious radio Summer hit. It's lyrics may be repetitive to some listeners, and its writers definitely weren't aiming for a song with a unique lyrical message, however the song will nonetheless continue to rise on the charts and has already proved to be one of the most popular songs of the year.

"Forget Forever" will likely be a favorite of fans of Gomez's previous work, however is also a solid track for new listeners who are favor her more experimental work on Stars Dance. The song, like many others on the album, is a soaring Summer track with a Summer-y electronic light-hearted dance break. The song is an upbeat hit sure to be a staple for any listeners who are recently single and ready to mingle, and is the most pop track on Stars Dance. The song also benefits from Gomez's pop-perfection vocals.

"Save The Day" sees a return to the garage house sound heard in the album's opening track. The song contains a dubstep-inspired dance break and uses a production that draws influences from acid-y dubstep songs by other artists that heavily utilizes synthesizers. While the lyrics start off as generally inventive, by the end of the song it seems as if the writers are relying on idiosyncratic metaphors, making the song's lyrics not match the production.

"B.E.A.T." begins with a hip house, heavily computerized verse that will immediately remind listeners of Dev's contribution to Far East Movement's hit "Like a G6". The song proceeds to some bass-y beats that are again heavy on synthesizers. The song then takes an unexpected hip hop acid house turn, again showing that Gomez is not afraid to experiment with her latest record. While the song's lyrics may not be the greatest, the song is a definite club hit that will communicate with Gomez's mature listeners - particularly ones in their 20's or maybe even early 30's.

"Write Your Name" opens with some auto-tuned up-pitched soaring vocals over a simple synthesizer beat, before the beat drops and is replaced by a slightly more intense, semi-dubstep beat. As the song continues, it may give listeners vibes reminiscent of K-Pop artists (without being as annoying). The song's lyrics are at times unique, however are mostly somewhat annoying and strange. The song isn't one of the album's stand-outs, however is a tune that will be a pick for listeners looking for a more beach-friendly song during the Summer months.

"Undercover" may draw an influence from Ke$ha's hit "Die Young" -- which is shown through the album's use of heavy synthesizers and a standout dancey dance break, as well as infectious lyrics. As the song continues, it is shown that the track is one of the album's most electropop songs, while not failing to dabble in more experimental genres, such as dubstep -- which, by this point on the record, is becoming more of an obvious entity than a subtle presence on the album.

"Love Will Remember" starts off with a voice mail recording of a male voice -- allegedly Gomez's on-an-off, maybe, probably-ex Justin Bieber -- who professes his love for Gomez. The voice recording is projected over a simple melodious piano backdrop. The song than transitions to some pretty emotional words, with nothing but a piano in the background. But don't be mistaken -- the song isn't a ballad. Well, not quite. A synthesizer is added to the piano, and Gomez insists that "love will remember you, love will remember me". We're not really sure that means, and similar to other portions of the album, the song relies on a personified metaphor that doesn't make much sense. Although the song is not exactly a ballad, it sees Gomez at her most poignant on the album, and while the song was largely anticipated due to the media attention surrounding the break-up of "Jelena", the song's minimal production means it is far from the album's most memorable track.

Overall, Stars Dance is an inventive album that sees Gomez transition perfectly to a unique and mature sound that will gain her new fans while still maintaining fans of her previous albums. While her vocals may be considered by some to be subpar, Gomez has proven that she has enough talent to be alongside other mainstream artists, and Stars Dance provides enough hits and potential single choices to keep Gomez musically relevant during her upcoming musical hiatus.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

"Survivor: Caramoan - Fans vs. Favorites" Finale Predictions & Live Updates


  • Fourth Place: Eddie Fox
  • Third Place: Dawn Meehan
  • Second Place: Sherri Biethman
  • First Place: John Cochran
Actual Outcomes:
  • Third Place: Eddie Fox
  • Second Place (tie): Dawn Meehan, Sherri Biethman 
  • First Place: John Cochran

8:10 p.m.: Erik Reichenbach has been removed from the game due to dehydration and exhaustion. The remaining contestants are upsetted by this.
8:30 p.m.: Dawn Meehan, Eddie Fox, Sherri Biethman, and John Cochran participated in a reward challenge involving towers made of wooden cards. Cochran won the challenge as well as an advantage in the final immunity challenge. The advantage has not yet been revealed.
8:50 p.m.: Dawn, Eddie, Sherri, and Cochran just went on the annual nostalgic walk reminiscing about the contestants of the season.
9:03 p.m.: Dawn, Eddie, Sherri, and Cohcran participated in a semi-physical semi-puzzle challenge. Cochran's advantage is that he didn't not need to untie bags from a post, which the other contestants need to do. Sherri fell significantly behind in the challenge after struggling to untie her third and final bag. Cochran's advantage evaporated after he was unable to assemble the pieces of his puzzle, however he eventually caught up. Eddie spent a large amount of time with only one piece of his puzzle, unable to find other pieces. Cochran won the challenge after successfully completing the puzzle, with Sherri and Dawn close behind. The other contestants appeared proud of Cochran,who is now secured a spot in the final three provided he does not give his immunity to another contestant.
9:20 p.m.: Cochran has decided he should take Sherri with him to the Final 3 however is divided on his opinions for Dawn and Eddie; viewing them as potential threats. Tribal Council starts with the contestants discussing Erik's departure. Eddie and Cochran both think that Erik's departure allowed them a spot on the Final 3. Cochran says he is more confident than he was during the previous season. Dawn thinks Eddie will be on the Final 3, and Eddie argues that he has only betrayed one person on the jury. Sherri and Erik ask Cochran to vote for Dawn, however Dawn says she is not worried. Eddie votes for Dawn, and Dawn, Cochran, and Sherri vote for Eddie, effectively removing Eddie from the game. The Final 3 are Dawn Meehan, Sherri Biethman, and John Cochran. After his elimination, Eddie says that Sherri has "a 0% chance of winning" and that this is why she was brought to the Final 3. Eddie appears disappointed but not upset.
9:30 p.m.: Dawn, Sherri, and Cochran celebrate Final 3 with cocktails and vegetables. They are all very proud, and Dawn says she is confident that she will win and that she has enjoyed playing with Cochran for two seasons. Cochran says he feels unprepared to address the jury despite his education and knowledge in the game. The trio share an emotional moment before proceeding to Tribal Council to address the jury.
9:33 p.m.: Eddie has shaved! Dawn says in her opening statement that she feels that she played the game very humble and emotionally. She says she views Cochran as an important ally. She feels she has left her comfort zone this season but that she feels very proud. Sherri says in her opening statement says she is a successful business woman and that she entered the game looking at the contestants as employees, but that she feels she successfully integrated with the contestants. Cochran says in his opening statement says he is socially awkward and anxious but that he feels that he was like a therapist during the season and that timing was his greatest attribute during the game. The jury and contestants appear excited.
9:54 p.m.: Malcolm does not have a question for Sherri or Dawn, but he gives advice to Dawn telling her to be brave. Malcolm asks Cochran what attribute Cochran has that Malcolm doesn't. Malcolm appears happy with his answer. Eddie asks Sherri if she is willing to admit that she got carried to the Final 3 or if she thinks she is there for strategic reasons. Sherri says she was not "carried" to the Final 3 and the jury laughs at this. Eddie says that Dawn appeared emotional during the game. Eddie asks Cochran how the game has changed him, and Cochran says he has gained confidence and that he would feel comfortable hanging out with the "three amigos" (Eddie, Malcolm, and Reynold). Phillip tells Sherri that he is removing her from Stealth 'R Us and that he does not have a question for her. Phillip tells Dawn that she was too emotional during the game and therefore won't vote for her. Phillip says that he enjoyed playing the game with Cochran who he called a "Real-class act". Erik says that Dawn broke his trust when she voted for Brenda, and Dawn says that was only a strategic move. Erik tells Sherri that she was a "seashell on the beach" and that she did not make any significant moves. They end up in an argument. Dawn tells Michael that Cochran did not really make any strategic moves and that he often just "showed up and asked other people who he should vote for her". Cochran says Dawn's paranoia was crippling to their alliance and that Dawn says she was paranoid because of the pressure of the alliance. Cochran says if he hadn't become her "therapist", than Dawn would not still be in a game. Reynold tells Dawn that he has disliked her since the beginning of the game because she was not genuine and phony. Dawn says she was not aware of this, and that she thinks Reynold has a great sense of humor but that he is vulgar. Andrea says she is not bitter and that she is proud of the trio. She asks Cochran to compare himself to an animal, and he says he was a chameleon because he was adaptable to the timing of the game which allowed him a spot in the Final 3. Andrea says that Dawn played a strategic came. She does not have a question for Sherri. Brenda tells Cochran that they did not have an emotional bond. Cochran says he separated the game from his emotions, and Cochran says Brenda should vote for her because he was just playing the game. Brenda tells Dawn that she feels extremely betrayed by Dawn. Brenda says that she had Dawn's fate in her hands during the retainer incident. Brenda asks Dawn if she actually would have left the game if she didn't get her retainer back, and Dawn says that she wouldn't have actually pulled herself from the game, however Brenda doesn't believe her and asks her to take out her retainer to prove it, which Dawn does (and it is hilarious and slightly disturbing). Brenda does not ask Sherri a question.
Sherri says she doesn't think she will win. Cochran says he feels confident but that he is prepared for any outcome. Dawn says she doesn't think she will win but that she will be able to buy some new teeth. At 10:05pm, John Cochran is declared the $1,000,000 winner of Survivor: Caramoan in a unanimous decision; the first unanimous decision since Survivor: Tocantis in 2009. Cochran says he likely won't become a lawyer despite attending Harvard but aspires to be an author. Dawn says she went against her character and that she lost stability after voting out Corrine. Dawn says she shut down her Twitter account due to negativity. Brenda appears via satellite from Miami and says that she still feels hurt. Dawn tells Brenda that she didn't realize the move would hurt Brenda so much and that she wouldn't have betrayed her if she had known. Dawn apologizes however says that she doesn't entirely regret the decision. Brenda says she thinks Dawn is a good person, and Brenda reveals that she is pregnant and is due any day which is why she is appearing via satellite. Phillip inducts Jeff Probst into Stealth 'R Us. Boston Rob shows up and calls Phillip very entertaining. Jeff announces that the twenty-seventh season will begin filming on May 13, 2013. He doesn't announce where the season will take place, however shows a short clip of blood pouring as a "teaser" for the season and encourages visitors to guess details about the season on Twitter. Most are guessing the season will have something to do with families, while other possibilities include a cast full of people who have been back-stabbed, and a cast full of people who have been removed for medical reasons. It is announced Malcolm has shot a guest-spot on The Bold and the Beautiful. Andrea blames her loss on "attractive men" who distracted her. 71% of votes cast for Sprint Fan Favorite were for 2 contestants - Malcolm and Brenda, however the $100,000 prize ultimately went to Malcolm. The new season will be titled Survivor: Blood vs. Water. No word yet on where it will take place.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Demi Lovato 'DEMI' Album Review!

Track by Track Review:

Key Tracks: "Heart Attack", "Without the Love"
Skip-overs: "Neon Lights", "In Case"

With her fourth album, Lovato continues to offer her signature Pop with R&B and Rock undertones sound, with this album going in a slightly more dance vibe than her previous efforts. Lovato's vocals shine through feel-good tracks such as "Heart Attack" and "Made in the USA", and through the inspirational "Warrior". The album makes throwbacks to 90's and early 2000's hits while also providing an electronic modern spin. However, while providing a handful of potential Summer hits, with Demi, Lovato ultimately fails to create any memorable tracks and doesn't seem to even be making an attempt to do anything non-generic. The wannabe-club banger "Neon Lights" is too over-produced, predictable, and unnecessarily auto tuned that it is not even remotely enjoyable, and the track "In Case" fails to be a memorable song due to its confusing themes. At its best moments, Demi has enough fun tracks to make it a Summer staple, and Lovato continues to offer her strong vocals on a majority of the album's tracks, however Demi ultimately doesn't offer anything outside of the box and Lovato continues to waste her potential by issuing mostly processed, typical Pop tracks that don't allow Lovato to escape her pop rock Disney persona.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

CBS's 'Criminal Minds' faces potential departure of two lead actresses

According to most insiders and bloggers, CBS's long-running police procedural Criminal Minds faces a certain renewal due to strong ratings, however recent reports state that the show could potentially lose two of its lead actors (and only main female actors) due to a contract dispute.

Fan-beloved characters Penelope Garcia (played by Kirsten Vangsness) and Jennifer "JJ" Jureau (A.J. Cook) may be departing from the show due to reported pay dispute. While their male counterparts Thomas Gibson, Joe Mantegna, and Shemar Moore are finalizing their contracts with the show and Matthew Gray Gubler has already signed on, Vangsness and Jureau have declined "final offers" from CBS to renew their contracts. According to Deadline, the two actresses are reportedly refusing to accept the offers because they would only receive half the amount of money that the male leads receive. As a result, CBS and the producers of the show have been slammed by the media and fans for being "sexist".

This won't mark the first time that the show has apparently neglected its actresses. During season six, Cook was fired from the show, before being re-hired later in the season due to fan complaints and declining ratings. Rachel Nichols, who played Ashley Seaver, was hired as Cook's replacement, however was fired after the sixth season when Cook was asked to return. Also during season six, character Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster) was "killed off", however returned for season seven, but did not return for season eight.

As of yet, Gubler, who plays Spencer Reid, is the only confirmed actor to return for the ninth season. Gibson and Mantegna are both close to signing on, while Moore is still in negotiations as he wasn't happy with the first offer.

No word yet on if Vangness and Jureau have been offered re-worked deals, however reports that the deadline for the renewal of the actors' contracts was May 6. Filming for the eighth and current season wrapped on April 27, 2013, with the season finale set to air on May 22, 2013. CBS will hold their Upfront conference in New York next week, where the show's and actors' fate will be confirmed.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

TV Cancellation Index (2013-14)

Following the tradition that we introduced last year, and with renewal season about a month away, we're predicting the fate our beloved shows on the four major networks; CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox, as well as The CW.

We will be marking the show in one of five categories:

  • Renewed (We're predicting a renewal)
  • Cancelled (We're predicting a cancellation)
  • Already Renewed (Already officially renewed)
  • Already Cancelled (Already officially cancelled)
  • Completed (On previously-announced final season)
We will add up these scores and give each network an individual percentage. Whichever network has the highest percentage will be declared "The First Stop NETWORK OF THE YEAR", while the network with the lowest percentage will receive the title of "The First Stop MOST HORRIBLE NETWORK OF THE YEAR". However, if the show is listed as "Completed", the show will not be factored in to the network's overall score. Just a reminder: for the 2011-12 TV season, we declared CBS as the NETWORK OF THE YEAR and NBC as the MOST HORRIBLE NETWORK OF THE YEAR.

  • 2 Broke Girls - Already Renewed
  • Blue Bloods - Already Renewed
  • CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - Already Renewed
  • CSI: New York - Cancelled
  • Criminal Minds - Renewed
  • Elementary - Already Renewed
  • Golden Boy - Cancelled
  • Hawaii Five 0 - Already Renewed
  • How I Met Your Mother - Already Renewed
  • Mike & Molly - Already Renewed
  • NCIS - Already Renewed
  • NCIS: Los Angeles - Already Renewed
  • Partners - Already Cancelled
  • Person of Interest - Already Renewed
  • Rules of Engagement - Cancelled
  • The Good Wife - Already Renewed
  • The Mentalist - Already Renewed
  • Two and a Half Men - Renewed
  • The Big Bang Theory - Already Renewed
  • Vegas - Cancelled
Overall rating: 75% (Down 1% from 2012) 
Overall mark: B

  • 30 Rock - Completed
  • 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue - Cancelled
  • Animal Practice - Already Cancelled
  • Community - Renewed
  • Chicago Fire - Renewed
  • Do No Harm - Already Cancelled
  • Deception - Cancelled
  • Guys with Kids - Cancelled
  • Go On - Renewed
  • Grimm - Renewed
  • Hannibal - Renewed
  • Law and Order: SVU - Renewed
  • Parenthood - Renewed
  • Parks and Recreation - Renewed
  • Revolution - Renewed
  • Smash - Cancelled
  • The Office - Completed
  • The New Normal - Cancelled
  • Up All Night - Cancelled
  • Whitney - Cancelled
Overall rating: 45% (Down 7% from 2012)
Overall mark: F+

  • Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23 - Already Cancelled
  • Happy Endings - Cancelled
  • Last Resort - Already Cancelled
  • Zero Hour - Already Cancelled
  • Red Widow - Cancelled
  • Private Practice - Already Cancelled
  • Malibu Country - Cancelled
  • 666 Park Avenue - Already Cancelled
  • Body of Proof - Cancelled
  • Last Man Standing - Renewed
  • The Neighbors - Cancelled
  • Nashville - Renewed
  • Revenge - Renewed
  • Suburgatory - Renewed
  • Castle - Renewed
  • The Middle - Renewed
  • Once Upon a Time - Renewed
  • Scandal - Renewed
  • How to Live With Your Parents - Renewed
  • Grey's Anatomy - Renewed
  • Modern Family - Renewed
Overall score: 52% (Down 14% from 2012)
Overall mark: D-

  • The Mob Doctor - Already Cancelled
  • Touch - Cancelled
  • Fringe - Completed
  • Ben and Kate - Already Cancelled
  • The Cleveland Show - Cancelled
  • Raising Hope - Already Renewed
  • The Mindy Project - Already Renewed
  • Bob's Burgers - Already Renewed
  • American Dad - Already Renewed
  • Glee - Renewed
  • New Girl - Already Renewed
  • Bones - Already Renewed
  • The Simpsons - Already Renewed
  • The Following - Already Renewed
  • Family Guy - Already Renewed
Overall score: 73% (Up 7% from 2012)
Overall mark: B

The CW:
  • Cult - Already Cancelled
  • 90210 - Already Cancelled
  • Emily Owens, M.D. - Already Cancelled
  • Nikita - Renewed
  • Gossip - Completed
  • The Carrie Diaries - Cancelled
  • Hart of Dixie - Renewed
  • Beauty and the Beast - Renewed
  • Supernatural - Already Renewed
  • Arrow - Already Renewed
  • The Vampire Diaries - Already Renewed
Overall score: 63% (Up 1% from 2012)
Overall mark: C-

  • Network Average Percentage: 61.6% or a "C-" (Down 3.8% from 2012)
  • The First Stop Network of the Year: CBS (Second Year in a Row)
  • The First Stop Most Horrible Network of the Year: NBC (Second Year in a Row)
  1. CBS (Same Ranking as 2012)
  2. Fox (Same Ranking from 2012)
  3. The CW (Up 1 Ranking from 2012)
  4. ABC (Down 1 Ranking from 2012)
  5. NBC (Same Ranking as 2012)
See you next Spring for our 2013-14 index! Hopefully by then NBC can figure out what the hell they're doing!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Avril Lavigne debuts new song, refuses to grow up

Avril Lavigne has recently decided that she's going to reject the human-aging process.

Her new Epic Records-released single "Here's to Never Growing Up", written by herself alongside fiancee and Nickelback member Chad Kroeger, 38, as well as a couple other people, the song (just like every other mainstream single released in the 21st century) debuted on On Air with Ryan Seacrest this morning. The upbeat anthem is reminiscent to songs of hers like "Complicated" (2002), while the message is similar to that of P!nk's "Raise Your Glass" and Ke$ha's "We R Who We R". The background chanting during the chorus is likely inspired by Rihanna's "Cheers (Drink to That)". But notably, the song is very similar to Cher Lloyd's "Oath". The song features a few Radiohead references, with Lavigne insisting that a group/couple is listening to a "blaring boombox" while drinking out of "whatever" and getting into a truck. But before all this happens, they call up all their friends and meet at 10:30, because they refuse to "stop" or "change". Lavigne also declares that if they say "forever", they stay forever, and then they can be forever young. These lyrics are followed by some typical obnoxious teenage blabber about walking down the street and telling strangers to "kiss my ass", and raising their glasses as the evening approaches.

In conclusion, the song clearly doesn't offer any inventive lyrics, and continues to communicate a message that we're pretty sure was said enough times in 2010, but the song will nonetheless get stuck in your head IMMEDIATELY, but its care-free and warm weather sound is guaranteed to make the song a Spring and Summer radio and iPod staple for adolescents and people who still haven't realized that they will inevitably grow old and become wrinkly.

Check out the just released lyric video for "Here's to Never Growing Up", but proceed with caution because you're gonna be shaking your head for the rest of the week to get it unstuck from your brain.

Song rating:
  • Lyrics: 2.5/5
  • Message: 2/5
  • Vocals: 4/5
  • Catchy-ness: 4.5/5
  • Overall: 3.7/5

Sunday, April 7, 2013

'Arrested Development' to return May 26 via Netflix

Fans of the long-lost but long-loved TV series Arrested Development have a reason to be hugely excited.

It was announced last week that after six years off the air, fans of the hit Fox comedy program will finally be getting closure on May 26, when fifteen brand new episodes will debut at the same time on the internet TV show/movie streaming service, Netflix.

The show originally began airing on Fox in 2003, and while it received widespread critical acclaim (managing to pick up six Emmy awards as well as one Golden Globe), the show failed to attract proper ratings and was ultimately axed by Fox in 2006, after three seasons and fifty-three episodes.

Rumors and reports of a continuation persisted until 2011, when Netflix announced that they would license new episodes to air exclusively on their video streaming service. Production on the fourth season of the series began in August. Since then, fans have only been given a general release date for the season, such as "Spring 2013" and "May 2013", however after seven years, fans were given a concrete date last week. Fifteen new episodes will debut the day before Memorial Day.

While producers are mostly remaining mum on the details of the season, only releasing a few cast promotional photos in magazines last Fall, it has been reported that each new episode will focus on one character from the show, with the primary plot focusing on the fictional production of a film based on the Bluth family scandal and story.

Although fans now have official news regarding the revival season of the show, many viewers may still be confused regarding the film adaptation that has been rumored since 2008. Series executive producer and creator Ron Howard said last month that the film had not yet been green-lit, however that he was "confident that we will succeed [in making the film]" and that "there is a bigger story out there" for the movie. Although the film is only in discussions and is in - shall we say - arrested development - its been reported that the film would potentially be green-lit if the revival season is successful. If the new episodes are successful, the film would reportedly see a 2014 or 2015 release.

Regarding the new season possibly being the final season of the show, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and series creator Mitch Hurwitz have both stated that the new season will be the final season, however a Netflix spokesperson later said that Netflix is "hopeful there will be more seasons" and that Netflix wasn't done with the characters.

Conflicting reports regarding the film and potential future seasons may be persisting, however one thing's for sure - fans will get the new episodes that they've been craving for the last seven years when the show returns in May.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Beyoncé rocks Super Bowl stage, announces world tour

February 3, 2013 was a big day for Beyoncé.

First, she killed the stage at the Super Bowl XLVII (which by the way was won by the San Fran Ravens 34-31) stage performing the first four songs on her setlist; "Love on Top", "Crazy in Love", "End of Time", and "Baby Boy". Then, she invited former Destiny's Child members Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams up on to the stage, where they performed 2 notable songs from their girl group career; "Bootylicious" and "Single Women". Then, Rowland and Williams accompanied Bey with her performance of "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)"; the first performance from Destiny's Child since 2006. Then, Kelly and Michelle left the stage, and Mrs. Knowles-Carter ended her incredible performance with an exceptional performance of "Halo".

But it didn't stop there. Almost immediately after her performance, it was announced that Beyoncé would embark on a 40+ stop worldwide tour - the Mrs. Carter Show World Tour featuring Beyoncé. The tour, which kicks off in April, will see Bey touring Europe and North America. The tour will help promote her as-of-yet untitled fifth studio album; scheduled for release sometime this year. The tour dates are listed below. If you're in or near Serbia, Croatia, Slovakia, Netherlands, France, United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Poland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Canada, or U.S. - you're in luck.

April 15  Belgrade, Serbi       Kombank Arena                            On Sale Mon. Feb 11
April 17  Zagreb, Croatia       Arena Zagreb                             On Sale Mon. Feb 11
April 19  Bratislava, Slovakia  Slovnaft Arena                           On Sale Fri. Feb 8
April 22  Amsterdam, Holland    Ziggo Dome                               On Sale Fri. Feb 8
April 24  Paris, France         Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy         On Sale Mon. Feb 11
April 25  Paris, France         Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy         On Sale Mon. Feb 11
April 26  Birmingham, UK        LG Arena                                 On Sale Sat. Feb 23
April 29  London, UK            The O2                                   On Sale Sat. Feb 23
April 30  London, UK            The O2                                   On Sale Sat. Feb 23
May 01    London, UK            The O2                                   On Sale Sat. Feb 23
May 03    London, UK            The O2                                   On Sale Sat. Feb 23
May 07    Manchester, UK        Manchester Arena                         On Sale Sat. Feb 23
May 11    Dublin, Ireland       The O2                                   On Sale Mon. Feb 11
May 12    Dublin, Ireland       The O2                                   On Sale Mon. Feb 11
May 14    Antwerp, Belgium      Sportpaleis                              On Sale Fri. Feb 8
May 17    Zurich, Switzerland   Hallenstadion                            On Sale Mon. Feb 11
May 18    Milan, Italy          Mediolanum Forum                         On Sale Fri. Feb 8
May 20    Montpellier, France   Park & Suites Arena                      On Sale Mon. Feb 11
May 22    Munich, Germany       Olympiahalle                             On Sale Fri. Feb 15
May 24    Berlin, Germany       O2 World                                 On Sale Fri. Feb 15
May 25    Warsaw, Poland        National Stadium-Orange Warsaw Festival
May 27    Copenhagen, Denmark   Forum                                    On Sale Mon. Feb 11
May 28    Oslo, Norway          Telenor Arena                            On Sale Mon. Feb 11
May 29    Stockholm, Sweden     Ericsson Globe Arena                     On Sale Mon. Feb 11
June 28  Los Angeles         BET Experience/Staples Center  On Sale Mon. Feb. 11
Jun-29   Las Vegas, NV       MGM Grand Garden Arena         On Sale Mon. Feb. 11
Jul-2    San Jose, CA        HP Pavilion at San Jose        On Sale Mon. Feb. 11
Jul-5    Oklahoma City, OK   Chesapeake Energy Arena        On Sale Fri. Feb. 15
Jul-6    Dallas, TX          American Airlines Center       On Sale Mon. Feb. 11
Jul-9    Ft. Lauderdale, FL  BB&T Center                    On Sale Mon. Feb. 11
Jul-10   Miami, FL           American Airlines Arena        On Sale Mon. Feb. 11
Jul-12   Atlanta, GA         The Arena @ Gwinnett Center    On Sale Sat. Feb. 16
Jul-13   Nashville, TN       Bridgestone Arena              On Sale Fri. Feb. 15
Jul-15   Houston, TX         Toyota Center                  On Sale Mon. Feb. 11
Jul-17   Chicago, IL         United Center                  On Sale Mon. Feb. 11
Jul-18   St. Paul, MN        Xcel Energy Center             On Sale Fri. Feb. 15
Jul-20   Detroit, MI         The Palace of Auburn Hills     On Sale Mon. Feb. 11
Jul-21   Toronto, ON         Air Canada Centre              On Sale Mon. Feb. 11
Jul-22   Montreal, QC        Bell Centre                    On Sale Sat. Feb. 9
Jul-23   Boston, MA          TD Garden                      On Sale Mon. Feb. 11
Jul-25   Philadelphia, PA    Wells Fargo Center             On Sale Fri. Feb. 15
Jul-26   Atlantic City, NJ   Boardwalk Hall                 On Sale Fri. Feb. 15
Jul-27   Charlotte, NC       Time Warner Cable Arena        On Sale Fri. Feb. 15
Jul-29   Washington, DC      Verizon Center                 On Sale Mon. Feb. 11
Aug-2    Uncasville, CT      Mohegan Sun                    On Sale Fri. Feb. 15
Aug-3    Brooklyn, NY        Barclays Center                On Sale Mon. Feb. 11

Saturday, January 26, 2013

"X Factor USA" contestant Carly Rose Sonenclar discusses career

The X Factor U.S.A. runner-up Carly Rose Sonenclar discussed just moments ago on WABC Radio what she has been up to for the last few months, what she is currently doing, and what is to come.

The five-minute radio interview discussed the topics of Tate Stevens narrowly beating Sonenclar out of the winner's title, her record deal negotiations, her work as a philanthropist, and an exciting event that will be happening tomorrow.

First off, Sonenclar talked via phone with The Saturday Cafe host Laura Smith about Stevens' claim of the number one spot. Sonenclar stated that she was slightly disappointed with her position as the runner up of the show, stating that after working that hard for so long it was disheartening not to win, however Sonenclar wished Stevens all the best and stated that she thought he was very talented. Following this, Carly revealed that shortly after the X Factor competition, which ended last month just before Christmas, she mostly did "normal things" such as spending time with her friends as well as piano and vocal practice, however that she has started writing music. She also announced that she has been in the recording studio, recording some original material however mostly just covers. She said that she will be releasing a pre-recorded cover on February 1 on, which will also include a Q&A session.

Getting into her professional career, she revealed that she officially appointed a manager last night. She did not reveal the name of the manager, however stated that she was excited to have them represent her. Although she has made a deal with a manager, she stated that X Factor producer, judge, and Syco head Simon Cowell still has "some say" over her career.

Most notably, in the topic that all of the loyal "Carly's Angels" fans have been discussing, Carly revealed that - while she has yet to pen an official record deal - Syco Music (which is the record label founded by Simon Cowell that has already signed X Factor contestants Tate Stevens, Fifth Harmony, and Emblem3) has "dibs" on her, however that they have not yet decided "what to do" with her.

A very exciting event that will go down tomorrow is the parade that has been entirely dedicated to Carly. The parade will take place in Carly's hometown of Mamaroneck, New York; a town that consists of about 30,000 people. The parade will be about two hours long, beginning at 2:30. Carly stated that she wouldn't necessarily enjoy the attention that the parade would give her, however that she was looking forward to thanking people for their support; before, during, and after her X Factor stint. The parade will see the appearance of floats and celebrations and will see Sonenclar herself as the Grand Marshal. Carly will make a statement to the crowd during the parade.

Click here to watch Carly's incredible audition for X Factor where she sang "Feeling Good". The audition has racked up over 25 million views since September and shows Carly's highly-applauded performance. The 7-minute video is by far the most watched X Factor season 2 performance. Click here to watch Carly's performance "Hallelujah", which was her final competitive performance on the show.

Below is "My Heart Will Go On", our personal favorite performance of Carly's.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Did Beyonce sing live during Obama's inauguration ceremony?

The United States Marine Band has retracted an earlier statement that claimed that Beyonce Knowles "did not actually sing" the U.S. national anthem during President Barack Obama's second inauguration ceremony on Monday.

Immediately following Beyonce's performance, her rendition of "Star Spangled Banner" was widely praised and acclaimed by the media and viewers, who applauded Beyonce's R&B riffs and vocal performance on the song. However on Tuesday, Kristin DuBois, the Master Sgt. of the Marine Band told several American news outlets, including CNN and the New York Times that the 31-year-old former Destiny's Child member requested to use a pre-recorded track at the last minute before her performance.

DuBois told media outlets that she didn't know why the decision to use the pre-recorded track was made, saying that "it's not because Beyonce can't sing. We all know Beyonce can sing".

However today, Capt. Gregory Wolf said in a statement to the Associated Press that "regarding Ms. Knowles-Carter's vocal performance, no one in the Marine Band is in a position to assess whether it was live or pre-recorded". Wolf and DuBois both stated that the Marine Band did in fact perform live during Knowles' performance.

The statements from DuBois and Wolf have added more confusion into the rapidly moving controversy over whether Beyonce did in fact perform live or if the rendition was pre-recorded. Following the performance, a media backlash occurred, with critics and viewers claiming that Beyonce used a large microphone during her performance in order to hide her mouth, so that it couldn't be seen that she was lip-syncing. Despite these "large microphone" claims, Kelly Clarkson was seen performing using the same microphone, however a representative for the Marine Band told reporters that Clarkson definitely performed live.

Public animosity on Twitter towards Knowles' supposed fake performance was unleashed, with the general public criticizing Beyonce for faking such a momentous performance. The Marine Band has stated that all performances are always pre-recorded "just in case" of weather or technical difficulties, however that the pre-recorded tracks are normally not used.

Beyonce released a photograph of her in a recording studio-like environment with the Marine Band on Instagram on Sunday, which fueled more speculation that the performance was false. However, many have stated that the performance couldn't have been faked due to the echos and technical flares in Beyonce's performance, along with Beyonce having to remove her earpiece half-way through the song, while singing "The bombs bursting in air" after Beyonce experienced apparent audio issues while singing. During her performance, Beyonce did not give any obvious indication that she was lip-syncing.

Beyonce, who will be the half-time show during the Superbowl on February 3, was spotted looking "unhappy" on Tuesday after flying to New Orleans with her husband of nearly five years, Jay-Z to rehearse for the performance.

A representative for Beyonce did not comment. Beyonce is currently preparing to release Lovesongs, a compilation album by Destiny's Child that will be their first release since their 2005 breakup. Lovesongs will feature love-themed songs from the trio's former albums along with the newly recorded single "Nuclear". Beyonce is also preparing to release her fifth solo album, which is due out in April. Her fifth album will be a follow-up to the somewhat lackluster sales of her 2011 effort 4.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Diddy and Jerry Bruckheimer in real estate war

A Bad Boy founder and a "Bad Boy" producer are in a real estate war. This could get interesting.

Diddy has reportedly got his eye on a house in an upscale area of L.A. that TV producer Jerry Bruckheimer has already put a $23 million offer on. The house, which previously belonged to Harry Cohn, is scheduled to close on January 17 and go to Bruckheimer, but sources say that Diddy could still sweep in and make a higher bid if he decided he really wanted it, but Diddy reportedly has a $15 million budget, so it looks like the house will probably go to Jerry.

In the meantime, Diddy is apparently looking at a $19 million house in the affluent famous neighborhood of Bel Air in L.A. The Bel Air house has 10 bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, staff quarters, a media room, a wine cellar, and a sauna; you know, just the typical rich people stuff.

Its currently unclear which house Diddy is looking to go for, but it doesn't really matter, considering he's like - super rich.

Demi Moore & Harry Morton: "We're Not Dating!"

50-year-old Demi Moore (who separated from Ashton Kutcher in November 2011 and filed for divorce from him last month) and Harry Morton (Lindsay Lohan's ex-boyfriend) have reportedly been involved romantically for the past few weeks, however sources linked to the two are confirming that they are not dating.

Moore and Morton have apparently been friends for a long time, and while they did go to dinner together earlier this week, it was completely non-romantic. Reports say that the two have several mutual friends, so they are "constantly running into each other", and that although they're just friends for now, neither of them have ruled out a future romantic partnership. But for now, it's all apparently very platonic.

"X Factor" update: Britney jumps Season 3 ship, calls of engagement, begins working on new projects, while Lovato's future is still up in the air

It's been a busy week.

31-year-old Britney Spears announced this week that she has quit "X Factor" and called off her engagement with former agent and long-time boyfriend Jason Trawick. Spears is now working on her eighth album while reportedly in talks to go on tour or possibly begin a Las Vegas residency, and is attempting to have the health of her beloved dog attended to.

Spears announced in a statement earlier this week that she was jumping ship on "X Factor" after serving as a judge on the show for just one season, where she mentored the Teens category, which included 13-year-old powerhouse Carly Rose Sonenclar. In October, Spears stated that she "definitely" wanted to return for the show's third season, however following reports last month and this month that Spears would likely not be asked by Fox to return, it seems as if Spears is just announcing her resignation before producers have the chance to fire her.

Spears' split with her boyfriend Jason Trawick was also confirmed, after Spears was photographed about a week ago in L.A., missing a ring. The couple confirmed their relationship in May 2010 and have been engaged since December 2011 however it was reported this week that they have decided to call it off. A source stated that they had been sleeping in separate bedrooms and that their relationship had turned into "more of a friendship". Spears said in a statement that she "will always adore him" and that the two "will remain great friends". Trawick added, "I love and cherish her and her boys and we will be close forever". Spears' Yorkshire Terrier, Hannah has reportedly fallen crucially ill and has had several visits to the vet since November. Spears is reportedly attending to the health of Hannah.

In the meantime, with both her romantic and professional lives clear of engagements and singing show commitments, Spears has reportedly begun work on her next album, which will be her first since 2011's Femme Fatalle. She is reportedly working with (who she collaborated with on "Scream and Shout", released last month) and producer Hit-Boy, who produced Kanye West and Jay-Z's "In Paris". Spears is reportedly considering going on tour following the completion of the album.

While reports are saying that a tour will be imminent following the album's completion, Spears is reportedly in negotiations to join the romp of acts (including Celine Dion, Elton John, Bette Midler, Cher, Rod Stewart, and most recently Shania Twain) who have performed headlining residencies at The Colosseum at Ceasar's Palace in Las Vegas. Reports are saying that Spears is in "serious" negotiations to headline a show at The Colosseum entertainment venue and perform a residency there. Traditionally, residencies at The Colosseum last anywhere between 2 and 5 years and bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars per night. Currently, Celine Dion (Celine), Elton John (The Million Dollar Piano), Rod Stewart (Rod Stewart: The Hits), and Shania Twain (Shania: Still the One) are performing residencies at The Colosseum, however Dion's, John's, and Twain's residencies are expected to end sometime next year, and Stewart's is expected to end this year, which will leave an empty stage by the end of 2014, allowing Spears to begin her residency there in late 2014, which will give her enough time to promote her new album and go on tour. Spears' managers are reportedly "very interested" in creating a residency for Spears, while Ceasar's Palace has reportedly been interested in having a Britney residency for awhile.

In the meantime, there's no word on whether 20-year-old judge Demi Lovato will return to the "X Factor" judging panel this year. Following L.A. Reid and Spears' exit from the show, some reports are saying that Lovato may be fired, with the producers wanting to hire all new judges (with exception of Simon Cowell), while other reports are saying that producers want to keep Lovato due to her cheap $1 million pay and her attraction of the teen age demographic to the show.

What do you think about Britney's departure from "X Factor" and her possible Vegas residency? Do you think Demi Lovato should return to "X Factor" next season? Let us know in the comments below. And be sure to follow our brand new Twitter account, @firststopnews.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Justin Bieber releases statement on Photographer's death

Justin Bieber has released a statement following the incident that occurred on Tuesday which involved a young photographer dying while attempting to capture an image of the 19-year-old singer.

The late photographer has been identified as Chris Guerra, a man in his late-20s who moved to Los Angeles to become a member of the paparazzi in March 2012. Bieber and his friend Lil Twist, 19, had been in a car on Tuesday in L.A. after the duo, along with Bieber's girlfriend, Selena Gomez, 20, returned from a New Year's Eve trip to Mexico. Lil Twist posted a photo of himself and Bieber drinking champagne during a December 31 celebration while in Mexico, where the minimum drinking age is 18.

Bieber and Lil Twist were staying at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills on Tuesday. Guerro stated in a phone call shortly before his death to the photography agency he worked for that he had seen both Bieber's and Gomez's cars at the hotel, however that he had also seen Bieber smoking what appeared to be marijuana while driving. Excited about possibly snapping a photo of the singer smoking the weed, Guerro told his agency, "You won't believe my luck, it's dead in L.A. Everybody thinks that Justin and Selena are [still] in Mexico, but they're not".

Guerra pursued Bieber's vehicle to a traffic stop at Sepulveda Blvd. With Bieber's infamous white Ferrari stopped, Guerra crossed Sepulveda to take pictures, without knowing that Bieber hadn't actually been in the car. California Highway Patrol (CHP) urged Guerra to move away from the car. In an attempt to cross back onto the sidewalk to return to safety, Guerra was struck by another car and killed.

Today, Bieber released the following statement on the incident:
"While I was not present nor directly involved with this tragic accident, my thoughts and prayers are with the family of the victim. Hopefully this tragedy will finally inspire meaningful legislation and whatever other necessary steps to protect the lives and safety of celebrities, police officers, innocent public bystanders, and the photographers themselves."
Investigations of the incident are reportedly ongoing.

Many celebrities have commented on the incident, including a friend of Gomez's, Miley Cyrus, 20, who said on Twitter, "Hope this paparazzi/JB accident brings on some changes in '13 [sic] Paparazzi are dangerous! Wasn't Princess Di enough of a wake up call?!"

Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who has been affected by this horrible accident.