Tag Archive: up

Madonna and Jennifer Lopez were just some of the big starts who came out for the “Chime For Change” benefit concert this weekend. The concert was spreading the importance of female education all around the world. Madonna gave a speech and introduced two brave women who help educate women in places where it is dangerous to do so.

Jennifer Lopez performed her hits “Live It Up,” “On The Floor,” and The Beatles classic “Come Together” with Mary J. Blige. The latter song was a highlight of her 22-minute set. Lopez sounded great, however, it would’ve been nice to hear Blige sing the song the way it was meant to be sung, rather than trying to impress the audience with her vocal ability. Whenever I see Jennifer performing live lately, I’m always pleasantly surprised. I always expect her to lip-sync and have pretty lackluster choreography. It seems to be what inevitably happens to entertainers who have been in the business for a while. However, Lopez defies my expectations every time and blows me away. This woman deserves so much respect for not only dancing her ass off, but singing live at the same time and sounding good doing it! She is one hell of an entertainer.

Bruno Mars kicked off the 2013 Billboard Music Awards last night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. He performed his song, “Treasure,” and brought down the house! The always-sexy Mars was looking good in his red suit. His good looks is matched with a great voice, making him a nominee for the first-ever Milestone Award. However, he lost to fellow nominee Justin Beiber. I’ll admit, when I first heard them call his name, I was instinctively disgusted. So, when I heard the roar of “boos” that went through the crowd, I was quite amused. Even his speech, complete with an “I should be taken seriously” remark to the audience, made it that much sweeter. However, in retrospect, I feel the booing was uncalled for. I don’t know a whole lot about Beibs, so I’m probably not the best person to judge his win of a “milestone” award. There’s a way to handle yourself, and the audience are just as wrong for booing him as Beiber is for addressing it in his speech.

The moment of the night came when will.i.am presented Madonna with the Top Touring Artist Award for her “MDNA Tour.” The concert, which will air on Epix and EpixHD.com June 22nd, became the highest grossing tour of 2012, and the second highest grossing tour by a female artist, second only to Madonna’s own “Sticky & Sweet Tour.” Madonna came out in a provocative outfit, gave a great speech, and made will.i.am hold all her “props.” It was a fantastic moment! Madonna also won the awards for Dance Artist of the Year and Dance Album of the Year for “MDNA.”

Jennifer Lopez was also there to perform her current single “Live It Up” with Pitbull. Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez were living it up in the audience during the high-energy performance. Granted, they are very young, but it was still nice to see the audience actually enjoying a fellow artist’s performance, rather than the phony, stiff, competition-fueled energy you usually get at those award shows.

J.Lo’s new video for her summer anthem, “Live It Up,” premiered tonight on “Entertainment Tonight.” It was later uploaded to VEVO in full. The clip is a light-hearted dance-fest that takes place on the beach and at a fashion show in Paris. In the video, Pitbull encourages Lopez to come down to the beach and “live it up.” She eventually joins him and it makes for one fun video! My favorite part are the queens backstage during the first chorus, unable to handle J.Lo’s fabulousness on the runway.

On tonight’s all-star “American Idol” finale, Candice Glover won the competition. One can only hope that she doesn’t fall victim to the syndrome of winners who haven’t achieved stellar careers. It seems as though, with the exception of Kelly Clarkson, America becomes more taken with those who haven’t won the talent competition. Glover is a true vocal talent deserving of the win. However, her performance with Jennifer Hudson didn’t impress me at all. It seemed to be more about the vocal acrobats than a genuine emotional connection to the song. It felt like they were trying to out-sing each other. By the end, it felt very ridiculous.

Mariah Carey was there not just as a judge, but as a performer. She took the stage to perform a medley of hits, including her new single, “#Beautiful.” The performance fell very flat for me. It was a mess. Mimi looked stiff as hell, barely moving a muscle… including her voice. Yes, if you paid close attention you would know that Carey was lip-syncing to pre-recorded vocals during the performance. At one point, she even talked to the audience while her pre-recorded vocal played in the background. Oops!  And when the high note at the end of “We Belong Together” ended so abruptly, it sounded painfully unnatural. It didn’t even feel like she was trying to convince us. As a lamb, it was a pretty disappointing performance.

Aretha Franklin was a breath of fresh air, though. Even via satellite, that woman showed them all how it’s done. Another outstanding number was Jennifer Lopez performing her new single, “Live It Up,” with Pitbull. The dancing was great. It’s clear that Lopez hasn’t forgotten or abandoned her “fly girl” days. And she sang the entire song live. No pre-recorded vocals here. Lopez sounded good, too. I love the song the more I hear it and it will surely be this year’s summer anthem!

So, tonight’s finale was packed with highs and lows. As a fan of J.Lo, I hope she keeps up the good work. I almost can’t contain my excitement for the video! And as a fan of Mariah, I hope she steps her game up. If she wants to continue to be taken seriously as a “singer,” then sing. And if Mariah insists on lip-syncing, she should at least get some tips from an experienced drag queen. They can show her how it’s done.

Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull are like a match made in dance/pop Heaven. The world first got a taste of “On The Floor” in 2011, and it became one of the biggest singles of Lopez’s career. Then, “Dance Again” served as the lead single off her greatest hits album in 2012. Well, now in 2013, Pitbull and J.Lo are back with “Live It Up.” The song is an irresistable summer anthem that will hopefully be all over the radio very soon. The lyrics, “Make love, don’t fight/Let’s fuck tonight,” will hopefully become a national catchphrase.

Lopez will perform the song on the “American Idol” finale and the “Good Morning America” Summer Concert Series on July 19th.

Madonna’s new video for her single “Turn Up The Radio” premiered this morning on the singer’s official VEVO page on YouTube. In the video, Madonna, desperate to escape the annoying paparazzi, goes for a car ride to remember. And she picks up some colorful characters along the way. There’s not much more to say about the video, other than that it’s perfect for the summer! The song’s fun, carefree vibe is reflected in the video. It’s this year’s summer anthem! Great job, Madonna!

I Wanna Get In the Zone

On Novermber 18, 2003, Britney Spears released her fourth studio album. “In the Zone” was the result of, as VH1’s “Behind The Music” put it, “a young woman coming of age.” In the years since her first single, “…Baby One More Time,” Spears had undergone several personal changes that reflected and influenced the direction in her music. Just a year before the album’s release, Spears had broken up with her “self-proclaimed first love,” Justin Timberlake. The two were the epitome of teen pop and a match made in Heaven. The ending of their relationship helped both grow as artists and entertainers. The breakup helped them move past the bubblegum world they started in. They were growing into adults and it was time for a change.

On Spears’ third album, “Britney,” the pop star spoke of yearning for independence. She was clearly going through a progression as the album’s style was divided into the bubblegum (“Bombastic Love,” “Anticipating,”) and adult (“I’m a Slave 4 U,” “Boys”). “In the Zone” seemed to confirm this transformation from little girl to grown woman. If Spears was “not a girl, not yet a woman,” she was clearly a woman during the writing and recording of her next project. A certain sexuality that was hinted at on “Britney” was taken much further on “In the Zone.” Songs like “Showdown,” “Breathe on Me,” and “Touch Of My Hand” are fine examples of Spears’ sexual expression. Everything from heavy breathing to masturbation was covered. Even bonus tracks like “Don’t Hang Up” touched on phone sex. Despite all the criticism Spears got for her sexy image, the sexual desire expressed on “In the Zone” was done in a tasteful, almost romantic way. On “Touch Of My Hand,” for example, Spears found a way to take a subject matter so many people sweep under the rug and make it sound poetically beautiful.

The album also saw more progression as Britney Spears, the songwriter. With each album leading up to “In the Zone,” Spears had shown more and more growth as a contributer to the music she was performing. On “In the Zone,” she has shown her greatest creative contribution to date, co-writing 8 of the 12 tracks. Spears also co-wrote the bonus tracks, “Don’t Hang Up” and “I’ve Just Begun (Having My Fun).” In a recent interview, Spears called “Everytime” her most personal song. She’s also cited it as the first song she’s ever written. The song talks about the loss of a love who still haunts your memory. The sadness and heartbreak are apparent in the song and conveys a real life message listeners can relate to.

The various musical genres “In the Zone” covers are also significant to note. From trance (“Early Mornin'”) to reggae (“The Hook Up”) to techno (“Brave New Girl”), the album saw a rare accomplishment of putting together an album that had a diverse set of musical influences, while still remaining a cohesive whole. The album also had an “all-star cast of contributers” with everyone ranging from Madonna to R. Kelly to Moby. Fans surely remember the infamous kiss shared between Madonna and Britney at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards. What better way to follow up that kiss than a collaboration between the two pop icons in the form of a song and music video? Another single from the album, “Toxic,” won Spears her first Grammy Award for “Best Dance Recording” in 2005.

For fans of Britney Spears, the promotion machine for the “In the Zone” album was kicked into high gear. Memorable moments from the “In the Zone” era include the 2003 VMA performance, Britney’s “Behind the Music” special on VH1, the “All Eyes on Britney” interview on MTV, the “Primetime” interview with Diane Sawyer, the ABC special, the 2003 Rolling Stone cover, the performance at the 2003 American Music Awards, and the “Live from Miami” special of the “Onyx Hotel Tour” on Showtime. Spears also performed “Me Against the Music” and “(I Got That) Boom Boom (featuring Ying Yang Twins)” for MTV’s TRL in NYC’s Times Square. And who could forget the “In the Zone & Out All Night” special for MTV, where Spears gave surprise performances at 3 different clubs in Manhattan?

The “In the Zone” album surely gave fans of Britney Spears plenty of wonderful memories and they are still as special today as they were 9 years ago… if not more so. The album also reflected a growth, creativity, and sexuality that plenty of fans could probably relate to. With an honest exploration of feelings and a need for pure fun, escapism, “In the Zone” remains one of pop music’s most significant albums of the past decade. A successful move away from the bubblegum pop Spears sang of when she was 16. It’s an album that sounds just as timeless and fresh today as it did when it came out nearly a decade ago. THANK YOU BRITNEY!