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L.A. Reid Leaving ‘The X Factor’

Just as The X Factor’s second season is coming to a close, Chairman and CEO of Epic Records, L.A. Reid has chosen to step down from his spot in the judge’s chair.

Although his presence resulted in multiple contestant signings to Epic Records, Reid says of his departure, ”I have a company to run that I’ve kind of neglected.” Reid continued, “I have a huge responsibility to a roster of artists, and it’s kind of time for me to stop doing ‘the me’ show and get back to doing ‘the them’ show.”

Among Reid’s upcoming Epic Records projects will be Ciara’s next album and Avril Lavigne’s latest album.

If you like Ciara, check out OurStage artist Jasmyn Howard.

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X Factor Confirms Khloé Kardashian Odom, Mario Lopez As Co-Hosts

It’s official! After months of rumors surrounding The X Factor, Khloé Kardashian Odom and Mario Lopez have been confirmed as the shows new co-hosts. Beginning Nov. 1, you’ll be able to watch the two during a live show debut.

By all accounts, the two co-hosts are ecstatic at joining the X Factor team, which also includes judges Simon Cowell, L.A. Reid, Britney Spears and Demi Lovato. Check out what they had to say after the jump. Continue reading ‘X Factor Confirms Khloé Kardashian Odom, Mario Lopez As Co-Hosts’

X Factor Boot Camp Kicks Off; Nearly Half Of Contestants Axed

The X Factor is as much a ratings seeking show as anything these days, priding itself no longer on just the talent it showcases, but catfights, crying and breakdowns. With judge Britney Spears commenting, “We’re gonna push them to their limits,” it’s only reasonable to expect a bit of on air tension when the family sits down to watch on Wednesday and Thursday nights.

After settling down inside a swanky Miami hotel, the contestants were bused out to their performance site, and one by one, all 120 of them went in front of the judges, knees shaking and voices set to impress. After all, each performance is only the biggest of their life. Check out the scoop after the jump.

Continue reading ‘X Factor Boot Camp Kicks Off; Nearly Half Of Contestants Axed’

The Re-Launching of Fiona Apple

Here we go again again! Another online article where the subject is Fiona Apple. For the last few weeks, it seems, it’s been virtually impossible to turn on the computer without stumbling across a new headline about the 34-year-old singer-songwriter. I can’t think of any other musical celebrity this side of Kanye West who, in recent memory, has gotten quite so much mileage out of being both ridiculously talented and endlessly quotable.

And Apple doesn’t even tweet (yet)—or date a reality TV star!

Her musical gift and her gift of gab pretty much ensured that the June 19 release of her fourth album, The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do, would arrive with more fanfare than the expected critical gushing. In fact, after one week of release, the new set sold 72,000 copies, good enough for a No. 3 debut on Billboard’s Top 200 album chart, immediately making The Idler Wheel… the highest-charting album of Apple’s career.

That would be chump change in the coffers of Adele or Lady Gaga, but considering that Apple released her last album, Extraordinary Machine, way back in 2005, before the world had heard of Adele, Gaga, or Katy Perry, and the year in which Rihanna released her debut album, it’s as extraordinary as one-half of her last album title.

Continue reading ‘The Re-Launching of Fiona Apple’

Sound And Vision: Can Simon Cowell Rise Again With The U.S. ‘X Factor’?

If there was any lesson to be learned last season on American Idol, it’s this: There’s life after Simon Cowell. And Scotty McCreery, America’s 10th Idol, wasn’t the only beneficiary of the show’s still-beating heart. So was replacement judge Jennifer Lopez‘s stalled singing career.

Yes, folks, life went on. Despite the departure of Simon Cowell last year after season nine, American Idol continued, popularity more than in tact. The Wednesday performance night edition was still the No. 1 show on prime-time TV during the 2010-2011 season, with an increase in overall average weekly viewership since last year to 25.86 million, up from 22.97 million, which had been a considerable drop from season eight’s 25.53 million. (Should we blame Ellen DeGeneres, who joined as a judge for the ninth season only and left along with Cowell and Kara DioGuardi, or a continuation of the season-to-season erosion in viewers that had plagued the show for several years before the tenth-season upswing?) Meanwhile, the May 25 season finale attracted 29.29 million viewers, five million more than season nine’s denouement.

So what does this mean for Simon Cowell? When his US version of The X Factor, the show he created in the UK in 2004 and judged until last year, debuts September 21 on Fox (the network that airs Idol), he’ll have the playing field all to himself. The Voice, featuring the judging panel of Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Blake Shelton and Maroon 5′s Adam Levine, just finished its well-received run on NBC (at No. 20 for the season, with a weekly average of 11.97 million viewers), and it will return for a second round next year. But will the US X Factor be too much too soon. Has America discovered enough new pop (and country) idols for one year?

Cowell will no doubt be a draw, but perhaps less of one than we might have expected before Idol carried on so nicely without him. And the bad press over the hiring and firing of Cheryl Cole, the Girls Aloud member who was plucked from the judges table of the UK X Factor for the US one, has raised the show’s profile without really helping it.

Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, who had previously been tapped to cohost but will now take Cole’s place as a judge, is a much smarter choice, but why the eleventh-hour switch? (Cole had already participated in auditions and still will appear in some episodes when The X Factor premieres.) Some reports have indicated that Cole was let go because of the fear that her thick British accent would be unintelligible to viewers in the US, but I’m not buying that weak excuse. She had the same accent when she was hired that she had when she was fired, and surely her speaking voice was considered before anyone signed on the dotted line.

I’d bet Steven Tyler‘s hair extensions Cole’s dismissal had everything to do with the other reported reason: that Cole didn’t quite click with Paula Abdul, Cowell’s former Idol co-worker whom he hired to reunite with him on the US X Factor as a judge. (Music mogul L.A. Reid will be the fourth wheel.) And there you have it! As a draw in the States, Abdul is so much more valuable than Cole, a big star in the UK but one who is pretty much unheard of in the US.

If people are going to tune into The X Factor in droves, it won’t necessarily be for the great music or even to hear what Simon Cowell is going to say next. (He did, after all, become a broken record of sorts about five seasons in on Idol.) It will be to once again tune into The Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul Love/Hate Show. I know that’s why I won’t miss it. I want to see the ex-sparring colleagues hiss and make up all over again and again and again.

And that will be the most important ex factor of all.

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

OK Go get dogged in new video

If you’ve ever watched an OK Go video, you know choreography is key. Exhibits A, B, and C right here. This latest installment is no different, but adds man’s best friend to the mix with heart-warming results. If one of these furry little rapscallions doesn’t get a gig on “Dancing With The Stars” then there is no justice in this world. Oh, and 10 points if you can spot the goat.

And then, these guys jumped on the bandwagon …

Ever heard of a band called OK Go? Quirky, ambitious videos? Winsome electro-pop? Subject of blurb Number 1 in this column? Here’s video that lampoons their whimsical, electro-pop methodology … using a giant pie!

The Bad

Aretha Franklin’s son beaten at Detroit gas station

Eddie Franklin, 52, son of soul singer Aretha Franklin, ended up in the hospital on Monday night after three men jumped him and beat him severely in a Detroit gas station parking lot. Franklin underwent emergency oral surgery and was released on Wednesday. Charges have not yet been filed.

The-Dream and L.A. Reid fired from Def Jam

L.A. Reid and The-Dream

Word on the street is that producer L.A. Reid (responsible for cultivating the careers of Mariah Carey, Pink, Usher, Ciara and countless other stars) and R&B singer/producer The-Dream were just fired from Def Jam Records due to “disappointing sales figures and exuberant spending.” If true, this would be The-Dream’s second break-up of 2010. If he gets strapped for cash, maybe he can sell the pointless hyphen in his name.

The Ugly

50 Cent threatens his dog with a knife

50 Cent and Oprah

In an attempt to be funny, 50 cent posted pics to his Twitter page of him threatening his yorkie, Oprah Winfrey, with a knife. Totally lame, and kind of disturbing. Seriously, someone call animal rescue on this tool. In happier news, here’s a video of kittens massaging each other.



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