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Beyonce, Reba or X-Factor Rachel Crow?

Reba McEntire & Beyonce.

Simon Cowell’s newest singing competition the X-Factor recently made its debut in North America. Last night’s episode featured the final cuts of the boot camp, with contestants performing in front of an arena crowd and the judges to figure out who was moving on and who was going home. Much like The Voice, they revealed at the end of the episode which judge was mentoring which group of competitors.

My favorite performance of the night was young Rachel Crow, who covered Beyonce’s “If I Were A Boy.” Reba McEntire released her version as a single last year, which I liked more than the original version. So it’s time to decide… which “Boy” do you like better? Reba, Beyonce or Rachel? Watch Rachel’s below then let us know what you think.

Eric Church Secures Billboard’s Top Spot with The Outsiders


According to Nielsen SoundScan, Eric Church earned his second #1 album on the Billboard Charts with The Outsiders for the week ending February 16th. With sales of 288,000, Church marked the biggest sales week of the year and the biggest since Beyonce released her self-titled album back in December.

This is not the first time that Eric Church has debuted in the top slot. His last studio album, Chief, also debuted in Billboard’s top spot back in 2011. The Outsiders marks the biggest sales for a country album since Luke Bryan released Crash My Party back in August 2013.

Way to go, Eric!

Photocredit: John Peets

REVIEW: Brooke Eden at the South Florida Fair

Brooke Eden

Brooke Eden is a little bit country, a little bit rock ‘n’ roll, and a whole lot of talent jam-packed into a pint-sized package of girl power. A South Florida native, Brooke was welcomed home from her current residency in Nashville, Tennessee, as she took over the main stage at the South Florida Fair and performed a lengthy set, never once losing an ounce of her energy. Brooke’s setlist was cleverly crafted with original songs laced between a selection of cover songs that could have been written for Brooke herself. The interplay between covers and originals ensured that the audience’s excitement never waned and that the crowd was glued to every song, anticipating what would come next.

Brooke opened the show with Gretchen Wilson‘s “Here For the Party” and immediately shared her energy with the audience, proving that the choice to stop in on a cold South Florida night was a wise one, indeed. Brooke showed her versatility throughout her entire show, covering soloists, duos, and groups without fail. From The Band Perry to Florida Georgia Line to Adele to Big and Rich, Brooke captivated her audience, bringing the heat to a winter night as she danced around the stage with a presence comparable to the incredible Miranda Lambert.

REVIEW: CMT Hitlist Tour


Last night (03/20), the CMT Hitlist Tour rolled through Ottawa, Canada. The Algonquin Commons Theatre was one of fourteen stops the tour will see by the end of its run. This one-of-a-kind concert experience showcases and celebrates the talented country artists within the nation. With such a great lineup, it would have been hard to disappoint. And that they did not.

Kelly Clarkson to Perform at President Obama’s Inauguration


As if getting engaged in December and being nominated for four Grammy’s wasn’t enough, Kelly Clarkson‘s big moments keep on coming. It was announced today that the pop/country superstar will be joining Beyonce and James Taylor at the 57th Presidential Inauguration on Jan. 21.

The talented trio will each give their take on a patriotic classic with Beyonce tackling the National Anthem. Taylor will perform “America The Beautiful” and Clarkson will perform “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.”

The Nashville resident spoke to The Tennessean today. “I really have spent a lot of time coming up with a cool arrangement,” she said. “I wanted to make it special. I’m really proud to be singing in his inauguration. I vote for him. It’s a proud moment when you support something, and then you get to be a part of it.”

Recap: The Voice: Episode 2 – Meet Harry Potter & The Music Man

The Voice Logo
I’ll blame it on technical difficulties, but I may or may not have missed most of the first episode of “The Voice.” I just assumed (and you know what happens when you assume…) that my DVR would record the show, but alas, that wasn’t the case. I’ll be attempting to catch a repeat sometime soon, but, on to episode two!
Luckily for slackers like me, we get a brief recap of the first episode and I learn that each judge – Christina Aguilera, CeeLo Green, Adam Levine & Blake Shelton – will get teams of 16! Holy cow, what is this, pee-wee soccer?! They each grabbed two contestants in the season premiere, including a guy who sings “Listen” better than Beyonce and a bunch of other random people who sing, cry and have REALLY sad histories. 

Our first contestant tonight is 22-year-old Brooklynite, Adriana Louise. I can tell immediately by her tight dress and judges’-chair-matching lipstick that she’s going to garner a creepy CeeLo smile. She wails through Jessie J‘s “Domino,” and all of the judges turn around. CeeLo makes some weird comments about a wedding, but it’s Christina’s finger-wiggling and debut CD (the first Adriana ever bought) that convince her to join “Team XTina.” 

Miranda & Blake Nominated for VH1 “Do Something” Awards


Congrats are in order for Blake Shelton & Miranda Lambert, who have been nominated in the couple category for the 2012 VH1 “Do Something” Awards. The awards, which are hosted by VH1, honor everyday people who “are changing the world through their community service and those who are using their celebrity for the power to do good.”

Blake & Miranda were nominated due to their hosting of a benefit concert that raised more than $70,000 for a veterans program and an animal shelter in Tishomingo where they reside. They face stiff competition, and will compete against: Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez, Ellen DeGeneres and Portia di Rossi, Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan- Tatum, Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon and Jay-Z and Beyonce.

The taped awards show will be televised at 8 p.m. August 21 on cable 54. You can cast your vote here:

Review: Duets – Episode 6: And We’re Live!


It’s a big week Duets fans (yes, all 3 of you), we’re going live! The contestants’ careers, or 15 minutes of fame, are no longer in the hands of the superstars, but have been entrusted to the American people! Yes, the same American people who voted for Taylor Hicks and Lee Dewyze…

Moving right along, the show begins with something I will nerdily admit that I’ve missed the last few week’s: a performance from the judges. The fab 4 hit the stage to riff their way through George Michael’s “Freedom,” which clearly fits perfectly with the night’s theme, Song of the Millennium. Erm, what? Also, Robin Thicke may have tried to dress like 80′s-style George Michael, but instead, he looks much more like “90210″-style Dylan McKay, ready to break some hearts at West Beverly High. Speaking of West Bev, Kelly Clarkson has transformed from Brenda Walsh into Kelly Taylor between tapings. Well played, KC.

Our always SO EXCITED host, Quetzalcoatl (Google it.) points out how much the superstars have changed, even more than I just did. Since last week’s episode, big things have happened, like Robin Thicke growing a beard. My BFF, Jennifer Nettles announced that she’s having a baby and I took up knitting in the hopes of being able to make some booties in time. Kelly Clarkson somehow found a time machine that transported her back about 7 years to exactly what she looked like in 2005, and John Legend, is still dull. And muppet-like.

Quddus reminds us that Jennifer Nettles is now the only superstar with 2 contestants left. Now that we know she’s pregnant, it’s obvious she’s been singing for two all along. Interestingly enough, her unborn fetus still has more charisma and talent than Robin Thicke.

First up tonight is Jennifer Nettles and John Glosson, who we learn has A WIFE and a wedding design store. And that’s all I’m going to say about that. He’ll be taking on “When You Say You Love Me” by Josh Groban, and once again, he and Jennifer sound great together. However, it’s more of the same, and I think I’d love to hear this song if I was in an elevator or a dentist chair wearing one of those iron vests that protect your organs from radiation damage. Anyway, Johnny G is way more mega-church than Madison Square Garden, and there’s nothing wrong with that. As the song comes to a close, there’s some theatrics and for a split second, I think they might make out. Now I’m just super uncomfortable and find myself trying to decide if John looks more like Slimer or the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man. I’m thinking the latter.

Next up is Robin Thicke and Olivia “Why the heck are you still on this show?” Chishholm. Seriously, why is Jordan gone and this Beyonce by-product still on my television? If Beyonce was an organic, farm-raised chicken, Olivia would be all the leftover pieces that they grind up into pink slime to make into a school lunch chicken nugget. Robin has chosen one of the best songs of the last few years, and considering that this is a country music blog, I should be excited by his choice of Lady Antebellum‘s “Need You Now.” However, they kill it, and not in a good way. Olivia mentions that this song will show off her strong voice, but instead, it sounds like she’s singing into a tin can. Robin Thicke is certainly no Charles Kelley, except for the fact that they both wear exceptionally tight pants. On certain parts of the song, namely the extended “nows,” Olivia’s sounds like her vocal chords are in a losing battle with a small goat. Now-ow-ow-OW, my ears. The judges try to be nice, but it’s obvious they hated it. I did too.

As we cut to commercial break, I’m wondering if ABC borrowed the superstars’ chairs from that terrible dating show, “The Choice.” Is THAT how Jennifer Nettles got pregnant? Quddus, where do babies come from?

Hitting the stage next are Kelly Clarkson and my TV boyfriend, Jason Farol, taking on Duffy’s “Mercy.” Since the last show, Jason has found some serious swagger, while Kelly found a bottle of peroxide. If she was Miley last week, this week, she is most definitely Hannah Montana. Their performance starts with Jason front and center, hips a-swiveling, while KC takes on backup duties before joining him up front for a full out duet. Together, these two slay the song. I’m not sure where THIS Jason has been hiding the last few weeks, but I’m glad he finally showed up. He picked the right moment to shine and if there were any girls watching tonight between the ages of say 12 and 40, I bet he scored some votes. A tweet from Reba appears on the screen supporting Team Kelly, and I file that under “things not shocking.”

John Legend and Bridget Carrington are up next to take on “Already Go…” I mean, “Halo” by Beyonce. Somewhere, Ryan Tedder is cackling in a stack of money. The way Fozzie sings is totally distracting and someone needs to let him know that he doesn’t need to open his mouth so wide when he sings to prove he’s articulating. Instead, I’m just waiting for him to throw a pie at us or something. Bridget shines here and all of the judges praise her, and for the first time, I’m a Bridget fan.

Last but not least is front-runner J. Rome. He and J. Net will be tackling “Without You” by Usher and David Guetta, or Gwedda if you ask Jennifer. I think that’s a kind of cheese. This video package only reaffirms my desire to be BFFs with Jennifer. This song definitely plays to J. Rome’s strengths and style as an artist, but the performance itself feels like it just lept off the CMT Crossroads stage. J. Rome is smooth and a decent dancer, but Jennifer looks like a marionette who just got her strings cut and found out she can move her arms and legs freely. It’s awkward yet oddly entertaining. The judges love J. Rome once again, and in what must be the utter display of love or an attempt to knock him in the vocal chords, Kelly hurls her sparkly heel at him.

There we have it…the first live episode is a wrap! Although it’s pretty clear who SHOULD go home, it will be interesting to see who actually does. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t be shocked to see John Glosson get the boot. He sang first, was rather forgettable and may fall prey to Jennifer’s fans being forced to split their votes between two contestants. However, I’ll keep my fingers crossed for the chicken nugget, Olivia, to get kicked out of this Happy Meal.

Who did you vote for, and more importantly, whose flame should be extinguished on “Duets” island?


Review: Duets: Third Time’s the Charm


It’s time to du-et again! As you enter the theater, we ask that you move all the way across your row, filling in all available seats. Welcome, ladies and gentleman, to the “American Idol Experience” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Seriously, if you’ve ever seen the attraction, you’ve seen this show…except the Disney version has a better voting system. To further prove my point, Jennifer Nettles & John Legend open the show with a rousing performance of “Music in Me.” I honestly couldn’t make this up. If you’ve been to the Idol Experience in Disney, you’ve participated in a dance break to this very song, led by Idol-winner Jordin Sparks. I hope the Duets studio has taken a cue from the theme park attraction and installed armchair audience voting devices so we can shatter the judging tablets of doom.

After a brief recap from our host, Kudos (Do they still make Kudos bars? I loved them in elementary school…), we’re off running with Team Robin. Sir Fluffy Hair sits his team down for some “girl talk.” What’s the deal with this guy? One second he’s grinding against their legs, and the next, he’s trying to braid their hair and play Dream Phone. Robin also declares that he was “born an underdog.” Dude, you’re dad was on “Growing Pains” and your mom was a singer who starred on “Days of Our Lives”…Underdog my butt. His first partner of the night is Alexis Foster, who once again forgot to wear pants. She’s tackling “Killing Me Softly” and the only thing I can think about as this performance begins is how their silhouettes look like those creepy commercials for that new reality show, “The Glass House.” Robin’s falsetto adds nothing to this song, but his creepy grunts and moans add even less. They’re killing me softly with this song.

Jennifer Nettles and Graham Elliot from Master Chef are up next. I’m confused as to how he escaped Gordon Ramsay’s clutches, but that’s the only joke I’ll make about John Glosson who takes us to church with “How Great Thou Art.” Jennifer tells us “you can’t rush Jesus” and I want her to be my best friend – except, I’d be embarrassed to be seen out in public with her because she has a penchant for wearing weird clothing. Tonight is no exception as she appears to be wearing some variation on angel wings. The outfit is fitting since John is performing in honor of his deceased brother. They sound all kinds of incredible together. Kelly remarks that she’s secretly plotting on how to get him off the show, and once again, therein lies the problem with a voting system where you judge your competition. Despite that, he jumps to first place and it’s clear that those threats were in jest.

Jordan Meredith is up next, tackling Miranda Lambert‘s “Mama’s Broken Heart” alongside of her idol/mentor/life coach, Kelly Clarkson. It’s clear that Jordan took Kelly’s advice to heart this week because this isn’t the same girl who has been on the show the past few weeks. She braves all kinds of foot fungus by performing barefoot, but they bring the sass hardcore. At times, they both appear to be possessed by some sort of man-hating, foot-stomping demon, but seizure-inducing stage lights aside, this performance is actually pretty fantastic. My only problem is that I feel like Jordan’s tattoo needs a microphone of its own and that the show should be renamed “Trios” to accommodate its performance. Jordan jumps into second place.

John Legend and competition latecomer Meleana Brown are tackling Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You,” and our Lilo-lookalike looks like a different person this week in her sleek white pantsuit. The way John Legend moves his mouth distracts me during this performance and he looks like some sort of odd puppet. Stitch, is that you? They sound great together, but the performance falls a little flat for me. Not good, not bad…just meh. It’s meh-ness puts her into third place.

I think Olivia Chisholm might be the most boring contestant on this show, so she opts to take on one of the most charismatic performers and iconic songs, Beyonce and “Crazy in Love.” Dressed like the “Dancing with the Stars” mirror ball, she takes the stage alongside of Fonzie Thicke. Fonzie takes on Jay-Z’s portion of the song and it comes off like some cheesy hype man at a Bar Mitzvah somewhere in New Jersey. The performance is surprisingly entertaining, but I’m not sure whether it’s due to Olivia or the fact that she picked a great song and has a swarm of backup dancers.

J. Rome & Jennifer are singing “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You,” and he’s dedicating it to his deceased grandfather. This is going to be emotional for him. It’s also going to be emotional for me because this song always reminds me of Zack and Kelly’s breakup at the prom…Damn you, Jeff! While it’s hard to compete with Jessie and Slater, Jennifer and J. Rome slay this song. How am I supposed to write a snarky review with performances like this?! Jennifer, J. Rome and the rest of the superstahs are all a blubbery mess and if I had a a heart, I assume I would be as well. J. Rome takes first place for the third week in a row.

The Bieber-squeal-worthy Jason Farol is up next, and we learn that he auditioned from his car so his parents wouldn’t hear him singing. KC brings in Jason’s dad who gets all teary-eyed as the two tackle one of the most over-covered songs on the planet, “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen. They sound great, but Jason needs some of the confidence juice that Kelly gave Jordan to really shine. In the most baffling critique of the night, John the Muppet criticizes Jason’s pronunciation. Hello, Pot, meet Kettle

Closing the show is Miss Hoop Earrings herself, Bridget Carrington with Mr. Mumbler. For the first time, we see the “Duets” band on the stage and these two deliver another solid performance. Kelly says that this girl shines so bright, but I think that it’s just her tinfoil-striped dress. She falls squarely in the middle of the board, grabbing fourth place.

It’s now time for the ominous “show down” between the bottom two. Jason and Alexis must each sing acapella for a chance to stay in the competition. Jason is up first with a rather impressive version of “Me and Mrs. Jones” that stuns Jennifer Nettles. Methinks she wants to be his Mrs. Jones. Pantsless Alexis takes on “Natural Woman” and it’s all kinds of pitchy. In my untalented and untrained opinion, Jason should stay and the pantsless wonder should be sent home. First, the judges give a cheesy, cliche-filled “don’t give up” talk to the contestants before taking to their tablets of doom to send someone packing.

Our host Caboodle, wearing an unusually shiny suit, needs to take some lessons from Mr. Seacrest and work on creating the elimination tension in the studio. For a second, it looks like Kelly Clarkson thinks that SHE is the one possible being voted off the “duets” island. Nope, our first casualty is Team Robin member, Alexis Foster.

Duets, you’ve redeemed yourself tonight. In fact, I suspect that if this episode had been the first of the season, this show would be a much bigger hit. The judging is still flawed and John and Robin’s teams sorta blend together, but consistent contestants like John and J.Rome and underdogs like Jordan and Jason make it worth watching. They also make it clear that the best contestants are those whose names start with J.

Next week, we’re tackling party songs on Wednesday, so put on your party pants (even you, Alexis!) and join us for more tears, more cheese and more obscure Saved by the Bell references!


Miranda Lambert Named People’s Most Beautiful

Miranda Lambert.

Miranda Lambert finally has something in common with one of her musical heroes, Beyonce. They were both named to PEOPLE magazine‘s Most Beautiful Women of 2012 list. While Beyonce comes in at number one, you’ll have to check PEOPLE magazine to see where Miranda ranks.

“All these stars are so tiny, and they spend their lives trying to be skinny,” Miranda told Health in 2011. “I’m representing normal girls. It’s OK to have a little bit of curve. I’m happy with my body. So many girls come up to me and say, ‘Thank you for being normal,’ and I’m proud of that.”

She’s the only country star to make the online list of Most Beautiful Women of 2012. Do you agree? Who do you think is the most beautiful woman in country music?