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.