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American Idol is at the centre of a racism row after nine black former contestants claimed that they were all forced off the show as part of a racist plan to boost ratings.

The singers, from various seasons, are preparing to take legal action against the hit talent show which they say “permanently and severely impaired” their personal and professional lives.

Corey Clark, Jaered Andrews, Donnie Williams, brothers Terrell Brittenum and Derrell Brittenum,Thomas Daniels, Akron Watson, Ju’Not Joyner and Chris Golightly insisted that they were targeted by producers of the Fox show who set out to humiliate them by making them audition and then disqualifying them due to their criminal records.

Freeman claims that after Jermaine Jones was axed in 2012 in relation to outstanding warrants for his arrest, he investigated the show and discovered that producers had only ever publicly disqualified nine people, and they were all black.

In the document, which has been obtained by editors at Tmz.com, Freeman states American Idol violated California employment laws which ban bosses from asking potential employees about their arrest history, as the men were essentially seeking employment.

American Idol boss Nigel Lythgoe has branded the allegations as ridiculous. He insisted that the show treats “everybody the same… no matter the race, religion or sex. “I think we’ve always had a fantastic share of talent from contestants both black and white… I don’t think I’ve ever seen racism at the show.” Read more

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Tina Turner

Tina Turner will soon become Swiss and give up her US passport. British singer James Blunt has said he also wants to become a Swiss citizen last month.

US pop legend Tina Turner, who has been living in Switzerland since 1995, will soon receive Swiss citizenship and will give up her US passport, Swiss media reported Friday.

“I’m very happy in Switzerland and I feel at home here. … I cannot imagine a better place to live,” Turner told German language daily Blick.

Turner, 73, who was born Anna Mae Bullock, lives in picturesque town of Kuesnacht, on the shores of Lake Zurich in northern Switzerland, and has passed a local civics test and interview, according to an official announcement published in the Zuerichsee-Zeitung daily.

The woman behind such hits as “Private Dancer”, “Simply the Best” and “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” will still need a green light from the canton of Zurich as well was federal authorities before she can receive red passport, the two papers reported.

Turner spokeswoman Karin Rhomberg told the Zuerichsee-Zeitung that the singer wanted to “clarify her situation”.

“Tina Turner will therefore also give back her US citizenship,” she said.

Turner, who has learned German, reportedly moved to Switzerland in 1995 when her longtime partner, German record executive Erwin Bach, was transferred here. Read more

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“The pop superstar Beyoncé’s appearance at President Obama’s second inauguration was immediately declared a rip-roaring success, an outstanding, nuanced, soulful and contemporary delivery of America’s hard-to-sing, two-octave-spanning national anthem. Such a bravura performance from a modern R&B icon certainly reflected well on the hippest president in history, as well as helping to return Beyoncé to the public eye on her post-maternity comeback. Only one little detail may come to haunt them both: the accusation from members of her Marine Corps backing band that she was miming.

Frankly, it is hard to tell from the footage. Beyoncé performs with a great big furry microphone obscuring her mouth, but her body language is that of a singer in full flow, down to the flamboyant discarding of her in-ear monitor as she goes for the big notes. The silence from Beyoncé’s camp regarding the accusations is, at the time of writing, deafening.

Maybe she doesn’t feel she needs to justify her use of pre-recorded vocals in a live setting. After all, everybody else does it. Or at least that is sometimes how it seems. It is an increasingly common experience at so-called live gigs to find almost every element has been recorded in advance, from the backing track to the lead vocal. Indeed, in the dance pop arena, little is done any more to disguise this. Stars such as Madonna and Rihanna routinely lip-sync to pre-recorded vocals, the excuse being that otherwise they would be too out of breath to perform the extravagantly choreographed routines at the heart of their shows. The notoriously vocally challenged Britney Spears doesn’t even bother taking musicians on tour, preferring to blow her budget on dancers. The reason she prefers miming becomes obvious during the one spot where she sits down, takes a deep breath and attempts to sing, warbling weakly through a ballad, voice veering from flat to sharp with little control.

Britney is a star of the Auto-Tune generation, whose career has been hugely dependent on technology that enables any vocal to be tweaked until it is perfectly in tune. Such is Auto-Tune’s prevalence in modern pop, audiences are being trained to expect perfection, and the only way many singers can confidently deliver that is to shift the technology from studio to stage. Britney’s next album release, ironically, is Live in Miami, which may be the first live album where the only actual live bit is the audience’s applause.

We live in an age when technology is undermining the profitability of recorded music. Yet the one area of the business that’s flourishing is live events. People go to gigs to experience something you can never get on record: contact with a musician. It is the last analogue space in a digital age. Audiences would be shocked to learn how much of the live shows they are paying money to see are not really live at all.” Read more

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gaga

Washington D.C. reverberated to the sounds of partying for a second consecutive evening last night as Lady Gaga headlined a spectacular private event for thousands of Obama staffers.
The singer, who wore a jaw-dropping white Versace dress, sang ‘The Lady Is A Tramp’ with renowned crooner Tony Bennett at the Washington Convention Center to the delight of those who had campaigned for the President’s re-election.
Although no media were allowed into the event, many in attendance took to social media and Instagram to share pictures. Guests revealed they also burst into song by serenading President Obama with an impromptu performance of campaign favourite ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered’ as he took the stage.
Before Gaga’s breathtaking performance, the President and the First Lady Michelle Obama thanked supporters for their hard work, saying that the thousands of guests at the staff ball represented his ‘deepest hopes for America.’ Read more

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Kim Dotcom smiles during an interview with Reuters in Auckland

Kim Dotcom, the larger-than-life personality accused by the U.S. of operating a website used to pirate half a billion dollars in entertainment, introduced a new version of his controversial file-storage service on Sunday. Mega, as his new service is known, features a technology that won’t necessarily shield the company or its users from liability in copyright infringements but may make it harder for copyright holders to identify illegal content.

Mr. Dotcom’s Megaupload site was shut down a year ago by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation during its largest-ever criminal copyright enforcement. The FBI alleged Megaupload was used to pirate entertainment content.

The launch of a similar site may antagonize the U.S., since the Justice Department has labored in court for a year to have the 39-year-old, originally from Germany, extradited to the U.S. to stand trial. Read more

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