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Sound and Vision: Jennifer Lopez–The Most Powerful Woman in Pop?

Every superstar worth his or her weight in durability (See: Cher, all-time queen of the comeback) has been up, has been down, has seen fire, has seen rain, has had one of those full-circle careers that’s come around and around again and again. Professional fluctuations is a part of Hollywood life, and those who can weather those particular storms, come out in a better place, because as Kelly Clarkson sang on her recent No. 1 hit, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, stronger.

And just how stronger is current comeback queen Jennifer Lopez these days? She may not be quite the tabloid draw she was a decade ago, but if you’ve watched American Idol during the past two seasons, or heard her 2011 hit “On the Floor” on the radio, on TV, on YouTube or, well, on the floor, you know that she’s flexing again.

Forbes magazine just ranked her atop its 2012 Celebrity 100 (up from No. 50 in 2011), which lists the most powerful people in entertainment. With an estimated income of $52 million in the last year, Lopez came in ahead of last year’s champ Lady Gaga (No. 5), Oprah Winfrey (No. 2) and Adele (No. 24).

Forbes‘s criteria for its 2012 appointment: being hotter than the rest (23,000 press mentions, 46 major magazine covers) and most sought after by fans (530 million YouTube views for “On the Floor,” 12 million Facebook “likes” and more than 6 million “followers” on Twitter). Not bad for someone who was so over—or so everybody thought—just a few years ago.

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Sound and Vision: Is Gotye This Year’s Foster the People?

Here today, gone today, one-hit wonders make the world of pop go round—but never for long.

The late ‘70s gave us a plethora of short-term disco stars who lived—and quickly died—by the groove, while the Tacos, the Kajagoogoos and the After the Fires of the early ‘80s, arrived wielding synthesizers and tressed for fifteen minutes and less of success. More recently, in 2005 and 2006, sensitive singer-songwriter guys Daniel Powter (“Bad Day”) and James Blunt (“You’re Beautiful”) helped usher out the pre-Rihanna/Katy Perry/Lady Gaga phase of pop.

In 2009, as a higher number of headlining newcomers than usual ascended to the summit (Lady Gaga, Jay Sean and Jason DeRülo, among them), at least one, Owl City—the act behind “Fireflies”—was bound to never fly anywhere near those heights again. And last year, with dance music dominating the airwaves more dramatically than it had since the aforementioned disco age, we got indie-pop with a beat for exactly one massive hit single, courtesy of Foster the People, who went all the way to No. 3 with “Pumped Up Kicks.”

Which of 2012′s first-timers so far are most likely to not still be succeeding by their next single? fun., the rock trio that recently spent six weeks at No. 1 with “We Are Young”? Or Gotye, who rode a quirky song and an even more oddball video all the way to the top?

At a quick glance, Gotye seems to have all of the trappings of a one-hit wonder. Interesting name that one might need a pronunciation key to get right? Check. Song that sounds unlike anything else on the radio? Check. A colorful video that jumps off the screen for reasons that have as much to do with the high concept as the song itself? Check.

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Exclusive Q and A: Juliet Simms Takes Us Behind The Scenes of ‘The Voice’

OurStage Exclusive InterviewsUp until Superbowl Sunday, Juliet Simms was known solely in the underground modern rock scene as the vocal powerhouse of  pop punk band Automatic Loveletter. On stage, she was a charismatic performer, earning her stripes on the Warped Tour circuit and on club tours with bands like Secondhand Serenade and Cute Is What We Aim For. But behind the scenes, Simms struggled to find a label to call home and was constantly battling those who believed a woman simply couldn’t hang in the male-centric world of rock music. Simms’ tight-knit fan community were by her side, but she couldn’t seem to break into the mainstream the way she wanted to.
In 2011, she took to The Voice‘s stage in hopes of impressing one of the four judges: Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton, Maroon 5′s Adam Levine and Cee-Lo Green. Her rendition of The Beatles’ “Oh! Darling” in the blind auditions was good enough to make all but Shelton fight for her to join their team. After joining Team Cee-Lo, Simms continued to blow the competition out of the water with her covers of “Roxanne,” “Cryin’,” “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” and more. She finished in second place on The Voice, but is undoubtedly the contestant that the world is waiting on. We caught up with Juliet to find out more about her experience on the show and what we can expect from her career in the future.

OS: What was your audition process for The Voice? What made you decide to sing “Oh! Darling” for your audition?

JS: I’ve never really been one for covering songs. I’ve always just done originals. However I grew up singing The Beatles and just felt if I was going to do this show, I was going to do it my way and represent the music I so much believe in.

OS: Before you auditioned, did you have a first choice for which coach you’d want to work with? How did it feel when three out of four coaches turned their chairs around for you?

JS: I walked onto the blind audition stage just hoping one would turn around for me. When I saw that three had turned for me I was dumbfounded. Cee- Lo spoke from his heart and I could hear the loyalty in his words. I knew he was the right coach to go with!

OS:  What has life been like for you since the show ended? Do you have any immediate plans of things you’d like to start working on?

JS: Life has been drunk…[laughs] no, just kidding. Being out in the wilderness again is taking some getting used to. I’m pretty much just resting…I was and still am pretty sick so I’m trying to get better. My plans are to take immediate action in making an album.

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Sound and Vision: Why Is the World So Obsessed with Lionel Richie Right Now?

Life is full of surprises, and sometimes, so is pop music. In recent weeks, it’s recovered its long-dormant ability to shock, or at least catch us off guard with the unlikely hit, or the unexpected comeback.

Several months ago, I never dreamed I would ever ask the question that is the title of this article. It had been more than twenty-five years since Lionel Richie’s commercial heyday, and on the charts, he had been succeeded by younger romantic leads in pop and R&B many times over (Babyface, Usher, Ne-Yo, among others).

Then came one of those surprise developments seldom seen in pop anymore: On Billboard magazine’s Top 200 album chart for the week following the March 26 release of Tuskegee, Richie’s first studio album since 2009’s Just Go (which didn’t make the US Top 20 and failed to go gold), he debuted at No. 2 with first-week sales of 199,000 copies, right behind Madonna’s latest, MDNA.

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“The Voice” Goes Live

After weeks of blind auditions and battle rounds, The Voice finally reached the part of the season where things really start heating up: the live shows. Monday night’s show pitted Team Christina and Team Blake against their own, each contestant hoping to move on to be their coach’s final five.

Unlike other singing competition shows, the live rounds of The Voice pull out all the stops, making each performance an awards show-caliber number. That means dancers, mimes, lasers and fog machines are all fair game. All of that included, though, Monday night’s performances still left something to be desired. Was it nerves, or just lackluster vocals? It’s hard to tell. Some people were straight-up awful (we can’t wait to see RaeLynn get the boot), and others just seemed terrified to be on live TV (Lindsay Paveo looked ready to puke).

In the end, we thought only three artists out of the twelve truly stood out. We were particularly impressed with the energy of Jermaine Paul on “Livin’ on a Prayer,” the emotional performance of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Chris Mann and the smooth sounds of Jesse Campbell on “What A Wonderful World.” Watch Jermaine’s performance in the player below and tune in to NBC tonight at 9PM to see which two artists will be eliminated.


“The Voice”: Battling Boredom

It’s no secret that this season of The Voice is full of amazing talent. We’ve been blown away time and time again by the likes of Jesse Campbell, Juliet Simms, Katrina Parker and Jamar Rodgers, just to name a few. However, Monday night’s episode was a Voice rarity: a show so dull, it barely got us to look up from our computers.

From pitchiness to bad song choices to generally lackluster performances, Monday’s episode may go down as the worst in The Voice‘s short history. It seemed as even the coaches were stunned with how their teams performed, with words like “generic,” “let down,” “missed notes” and “pitch things” being thrown around right and left.

There was one battle that stood out from the rest, though, because of the odd match-up and energetic performances. Country duo The LiNE and Moses Stone, the show’s first-ever MC, were both out of their element on the Rolling Stones classic “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” Though The LiNE may have out-sung Moses—who admitted that he isn’t the strongest vocalist—the rapper put on an entertaining and versatile performance that led coach Christina Aguilera to crown him the winner. By the way, we loved her little speech on what it means to be “the voice.” Check it out after the battle in the player below, and tune in next Monday for the first round of live shows!


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