“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
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
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
Fox’s American Idol returned Wednesday night to its lowest-rated and least-watched regular-season premiere telecast ever (the first season aired during the summer and generally isn’t counted). Idol delivered 17.9 million viewers and a 6.0 adults 18-49 demo rating. That’s down 19 percent from last year’s opener, which was the previous lowest-ever record-holder.
The numbers also mean last night’s Idol premiere will not be the most-watched entertainment show this week — Tuesday’s NCIS had 22.9 million viewers. This is the first time another series was seen by more viewers than Idol during its regular season premiere week.
Fox was braced for worse. Last year Idol was down an unprecedented 24 percent after the network launched The X Factor in the fall. This fall had both X Factor and NBC’s powerful The Voice, so competition show burnout by the time Idol opened seemed likely. Idol still managed to rank as the top-rated singing show premiere this season. Read more
Taylor Swift burst on the scene as a 15 year old singing country songs. Fast forward a couple of years, she finds herself singing contemporary pop that are sandwiched between Nicki Minaj and Ke$ha. Although her latest album landed on top of the charts, some critics and fans questioned her authenticity as an artist.
Now, Taylor Swift’s serial celebrity dating is turning off some fans.
She was the butt of a joke at Sunday’s Golden Globes when Tina Fey teased that the recently single star stay away from Michael J. Fox’s young son because she “needed some me time” after her split from One Direction’s Harry Styles.
Then when Swift lost the award for Best Original Theme Song to Adele, cameras caught the country cutie looking anything but pleased, and the Twitterverse took note with an explosion of negative comments about the 22-year-old superstar.
So have the tables turned on America’s sweetheart? Could her serial celebrity dating be turning off her fan base?
“Taylor Swift has totally taken a hit in terms of reputation because of her tumultuous love life. It’s out there. It plays out in the public and it’s very soap opera-esque,” pop culture watcher David Caplan told FOX411’s In the Zone. Read more here