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Lion Paws Up: Lady GaGa to Play PSU March 2

Lady GaGa is heading back to school. The pop phenomenon brings the “Born This Way Ball” to Penn State University’s Bryce Jordan Center on March 2.

Bernie Punt, a representative for the Jordan Center, said the venue reached out to promoter Live Nation’s Philadelphia office about bringing GaGa to campus.

“We tossed around about four or five different A-listers,” Punt revealed. “GaGa opened up, and we jumped at it.”

The “Poker Face” singer will make 25 stops on the North American leg of her tour, and the Penn State date is her only show on a campus. Even Punt admitted that PSU does stick out a little on the itinerary; GaGa performs at State College, PA between shows in Philadelphia, New York, Washington D.C., and Brooklyn. But, that isn’t to say the BJC isn’t up to hosting a big name.

“Jay-Z rehearsed here before kicking off his North American tour here,” Punt noted, while also mentioning performers at the venue have included Bruce Springsteen and Carrie Underwood.

While Lady GaGa is known because of her music, she is becoming as known for her stances on political and social issues. Punt said that her camp has already reached out to the University.

“(GaGa’s people) want to be linked up with the LGBT organization on campus,” he said. “That will happen after fall break.”

The concert announcement was made to the student body last weekend during the Nittany Lions game against Indiana. Punt said “people went nuts,” and that he’s received great feedback on Facebook as well.

GaGa’s “BTW Ball” will take place during Penn State’s spring break. Punt estimates that about 75 percent of the crowd will be made up of people driving in from out of town. Tickets go on sale November 30 at 10 AM; no ticket prices have been announced.

INTERVIEW: fun. Avoids ‘Sandy,’ Performs ‘SNL,’ Celebrates Election in Crazy 8 Day Span

They did not face the destruction, or the heartbreak, that many in the tri-state area dealt with. But, it has still been an eventful week and a half by almost anyone’s standards for the band fun. The group spent a day in the UK, and was supposed to land back in New York the night Sandy wrecked the Northeast. That flight was shelved, and as airlines began to cancel thousands of flights, fun. began to wonder how it would return back to the States in time to rehearse and perform on “Saturday Night Live.”

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“We flew to Atlanta, where our bus happened to be driving through to pick us up for tour anyways,” recalled lead singer Nate Ruess on “The Ralphie Show.” The band sat down for an interview on Wednesday night, as it prepared to perform an event in New York for Google Wallet while yet another storm hit the Empire State. “We spent 19 hours on the road, and by the time we got in to New York, ‘Sandy’ had happened that night, so we kind of saw the devastation thereafter.”

The trio lives in the tri-state area, and while Ruess and keyboardist Andrew Dost escaped any harm, guitarist and New Jersey resident Jack Antonoff hasn’t been able to return to his place yet – although he said there was no damage due to the hurricane.

“I just can’t get my crap, which I think in the scheme of things is probably the least people were affected,” Antonoff said. “All of us know people who have had really crazy stuff happen in the storm.”

Antonoff admitted that he didn’t think “Sandy” would wreak as much havoc as it did, due in part to the lack of potency surrounding last year’s “Irene” storm.

“’Irene’ last year was like, a tree kind of dinged my house, and that was the worst thing that happened in our neighborhood,” said Antonoff. “I think (underestimating ‘Sandy’ due to ‘Irene’) is exactly what happened.”

Dost noted that the entire “SNL” crew was super-accommodating as the unorthodox week unfolded. Then Saturday, fun. performed the title track from Some Nights and “Carry On” during the show. You couldn’t have picked a more appropriate song off the band’s latest album – and certainly the fact that it’s LP’s next single and the music video was filmed in Manhattan doesn’t hurt the notion.

“It was something I didn’t think about too much until someone brought it up,” Ruess acknowledged of the song’s relevancy to the events of the week. “I don’t want to say that it’s fortuitous that we have a single coming out that’s called, ‘Carry On.’ Yunno, I think it made the song more special for us… it was the right time and it was a very emotional moment for us on ‘Saturday Night Live’ performing that song.”

The singer confessed that his nerves ratcheted up a bit for the performance – to the point where he threw back a cocktail to calm down – but was careful not to drink too much.

“The crazy thing about this year is that we started out – the first thing that we did was the day Some Nights came out we had done Conan O’Brien,” Ruess said. “That was the first big TV we had done, and I just remember being a mess.”

Just eight months later, fun. has performed on pretty much every TV show that welcomes a band on to play a song.

“It’s crazy how much more you get desensitized to it,” Ruess said. “With ‘SNL,’ even for a second it was like, ‘Oh my God this is live, I could like trip and fall.’”

Interestingly enough, the entire band not-so-secretly carries this insecurity – as if to be careful not to become an Internet meme or punch line with a single misstep. Listening to Antonoff confirm Ruess’ fear, and Dost recall a time in high school where he was picked on, you would never think these three men have toured the globe, conquered late-night TV, and delivered one of the biggest anthems of 2012 to the masses.

Then you realize fun. did all of that, and then some, in only eight months. It’s pretty crazy, by almost anyone’s standards.

INTERVIEW: The Script Scraps Day Off to Play Long Island Benefit Concert

If you have ever listened to The Script, you know the Irish rockers know a thing or two about heartbreak. Perhaps this serves as an explanation as to why the band moved up a December date on Long Island to this Thursday. The concert at Huntington’s Paramount Theater will now serve as a benefit for Hurricane Sandy victims.

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“I believe that a lot of these songs are going to take on a very, very special and a very unique meaning when we get to sing them in front of the audience there,” said Script lead singer Danny O’Donoghue on “The Ralphie Show.” The show’s flagship station, 95.5 PLJ, is one of the radio sponsors of the benefit show. “One song that comes to mind is ‘For the First Time.’”

O’Donoghue is well-aware that for many on Long Island and down the shore, life is imitating the lyrics of his art.

“People are having dinner by candlelight, yunno they might have an old, cheap bottle of wine there and they’re really back to basics,” the singer said. “That song, I mean on that night is gonna… I’m getting hairs on the back of my neck standing up now imaging the crowd singing it.”

There will be tears of joy as well – The Script’s latest hit single came about because O’Donoghue and his fellow coach on UK’s “The Voice” Will.I.Am both enjoy finding “positivity through music.”

“I guess we’re both individually strange and unique as the next one,” the Irishman said of his friendship with the Black Eyed Peas emcee. “God, I forgot about that song. I’m going to play that song too… that’s going to be amazing.”

The concert begins at 8 PM on Thursday. All proceeds benefit Long Island Cares and the Long Island chapter of the American Red Cross.

INTERVIEW: Psy Tries to Break Past Maroon 5 on Billboard Chart; Explains Scenes from ‘Gangnam Style’

He’s done TV, he’s done radio, and heck he’s certainly done the Internet. But after finding his single, “Gangnam Style” stuck at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 for the past six weeks, South Korean sensation Psy is doing it all over again.

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“How come they play Maroon 5 so much in United States?” the K-Pop star jokingly asked in an interview on “The Ralphie Show,” slightly mispronouncing “maroon” in the process. “One More Night” has held on to the top spot. “At some point I’m thinking like, ‘Wow, how can I stay that long at number two… is this some kind of ‘Truman Show’ or something like that?’”

You can’t blame the artist, born Park Jae-sang, for thinking that TV cameras might be secretly following him around. Prior to “Gangnam Style,” the 34 year-old topped the Korean charts about a half dozen times, but never came close to the success he is currently having. As of Tuesday, the video had over 650 million views and near 5 million “likes.” This is unprecedented for anyone, let alone a relatively unknown artist from a country that has cultivated so many “K-Pop” stars, with none of them breaking in to the U.S.

What is even crazier: Americans have latched on to the song simply for the video and dance, along with the infectious beat. Most of the lyrics are in Korean.

“If I perform this song in different countries, I feel happy and sorry at the same time because yunno, (the audience) looks so happy so I’m happy with that,” explained Psy. “They don’t have any idea what I’m talking about right? What I thought was, they might have their own version of lyrics when I’m singing this.”

U.S. fans of the song and video have other questions as well: one was floated my way on Facebook about why Psy appears to be screaming at one of his backup dancer’s butts in the music video.

“The butt was so mad at me,” he replied with clearly something lost in translation. “They were doing some erotic stuff and it teased me, the butt teased me. So I was like, ‘Hey, stop doing that!’ I yelled at the butt.”

So this is the stuff that 650 million view videos on YouTube are made of.

INTERVIEW: Usher Talks About Bieber’s Miscues; Looks Forward to ‘The Voice’

Justin Bieber’s mentor, superstar singer Usher, thought some good came from the teenage heartthrob’s recent on-stage mishaps.

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“We all have those things that happen, whether it’s falling on stage or having those moments,” said the artist, born Usher Raymond, in a phone interview on “The Ralphie Show.” “But you know what’s cool? That makes you human.”

Usher said there were times during his career where he ate something bad before taking the stage. Of course, the big difference now is that there are 20,000 people in the crowd who are all armed with Internet-ready cameras.

“That’s the craziest thing, ever,” he noted. “It’s weird, really. It’s like, ‘Did you come to the show to film it?’”

The performer is no stranger to cameras either – and he’ll be willingly in front of them next season as a coach on NBC’s “The Voice.” Despite reports to the contrary, Usher says his involvement thus far has been, “a really great fit.”

“We’ve actually been able to meet, greet, have a good time out in Los Angeles and the show’s gonna be incredible man,” he said of his vibe with fellow coaches Adam Levine and Blake Shelton. “It’s a respectful place, a respectful vibe. I came in and had a good time. It’s been pleasant man.”

Usher is especially looking forward to coaching, mentoring, and showing America a different side to his personality.

“I think what they’ve done with the talent that they’ve coached… they go through the process of finding people who are at least at a place where they can either take constructive criticism or they be a part of the show and we really help make them the artist that they can be.”

Meanwhile for the Atlanta-based singer, he is continuing to diversify and build off a recording career that has spanned over 20 years and 65 million records sold worldwide. But while he is getting in to television and wouldn’t rule out a possible return to Broadway or off-Broadway, Usher is also trying to enjoy himself a little. He recently celebrated his 34th birthday in London.

“I had to get out a little bit, and had some friends and family at a club or something like that, and then on to the after spot,” he recalled. “We just had a good time.”

Usher would eventually elaborate a little more – noting that after a big birthday dinner, he linked up with Tom Cruise and a few other people for the night cap. But to put it in his context – the “major joint” would be the celebration for birthday number 35.

INTERVIEW: Airport Encounter Leads to Carly Rae Jepsen/LMFAO Collaboration

You’ve heard many stories about artists linking up at award shows, after parties, and festivals only to eventually collaborate on a song together. But for Carly Rae Jepsen, she became friendly with LMFAO’s RedFoo at a much different location: Los Angeles International Airport.

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“I kinda got a little swarmed with paparazzi and some fans,” recalled Jepsen when she called in to “The Ralphie Show.” “I didn’t really know how to handle it at the time, but ‘Foo’ was there with his security guard, and he came over and saved me.”

The artists, who share a home through Interscope Records, were heading in separate directions, but exchanged numbers. After countless text messages and e-mails between the two and Jepsen’s boyfriend Matthew Koma, “This Kiss” was written and produced. The track serves as the third single from Kiss.

Jepsen told me that she looks back on how her U.S. debut album came together, and she knows that there is no way she could duplicate the exact process a second time. Certainly she won’t be traveling to LAX without security anytime soon.

“I’m very well prepared now,” the “Call Me Maybe” singer said. “It was definitely a crazy transition from, yunno knowing that I could go traveling by myself to realizing that that was no longer a totally safe thing to do.”

Speaking of safe things, Jepsen is currently traveling as Justin Bieber’s supporting act on the “Believe Tour.” The Biebs found out the hard way that milk and spaghetti is not a safe bet before performing. Jepsen said that contrary to the singer’s claim, she never knew the two as a “Canadian thing.”

“I’m a little bit more of a… I favor red wine,” the singer said. “I do love my spaghetti.”

And before you question it, yes, Jepsen is well above the legal drinking age in both countries. She turns 27 in November.

INTERVIEW: Coming off ‘SNL,’ Bruno Mars Plans on Sticking With Music… For Now

Bruno Mars may be receiving rave reviews following his hosting gig last weekend on “Saturday Night Live,” but the singer still isn’t taking himself too seriously.

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“Yeah, this is my launching pad,” a somewhat serious Mars said on 95.5 PLJ’s “The Ralphie Show,” before veering off. “I’m out of the music business. Me and Tom Hanks are doing a movie.”

Hanks, who happened to be in New York on a promotional tour of his own, ended up lending a cameo to Mars’ “SNL” episode – to which the “Grenade” singer admitted he was nervous about. All kidding aside, Bruno revealed he would only consider pursuing a film career if it happened organically.

“Music is my thing man,” he said. “I’ll leave the acting to the pros.”

Mars doesn’t know what spurred Lorne Michaels and company to ask him to host the legendary show, but thinks it worked out well. It also serves as a perfect kick off of touring to promote his new album, Unorthodox Jukebox, due out December 11. Now that the album is finished, Mars can concentrate on press for the LP, such as the aforementioned “SNL” gig and his forthcoming performance on the “Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.”

“Yeah, we got asked to do that,” Mars said. “That’s gonna be fun!”

When asked if he was looking forward to meeting any of the models, Mars froze, before eventually answering the question in a round-about way.

“I’ve seen the show before and I’m excited for the way they put the show’s together and how good the stage looks; more important than the beautiful women,” Mars said, with a straight face no less.

“I’m lying!” Mars exclaimed only seconds later to a room full of laughter. If there was ever a time Mars was going to get serious, that clearly was not going to be it.

INTERVIEW: Adam Levine Insists He Has ‘Nothing But Love’ for Christina Aguilera

Adam Levine seems pleased with Maroon 5’s journey – from breaking out with 2002’s Songs About Jane to gaining more momentum in 2007’s It Won’t Be Soon Before Long and then almost losing it all on the 2010 release of Hands All Over. Certainly thanks to the success of “Moves Like Jagger” and this year’s Overexposed, it is easier for Levine to look back fondly on the ride.

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“Listen man, it’s a long, weird road being in a band,” Levine explained on “The Ralphie Show.” “We kept treading a line between were we a pop group or were we trying to be a regular alt-rock band? Yunno, we just didn’t know what we wanted for a minute.”

To Maroon 5’s credit – the band figured it out. Not to mention, Levine’s overall involvement with NBC’s “The Voice” hasn’t hurt the cause. The aforementioned “Moves” collaboration with his fellow coach Christina Aguilera proved to revive the group’s popularity. Aguilera will depart after this third season to focus more on her music career. If anything, Levine won’t miss the media-manifested drama between the two.

“I never liked that sh-t,” Levine stated rather bluntly. “I’ll be the first person to say that we had our share of issues in the beginning but I love that girl. Yunno, we’ve been through a lot. We came out the other end as friends and I’ve always got nothing but love for Christina.”

Levine went on to describe what was reported about the two as, “petty, despicable bullsh-t” in publications he called, “god awful.”

The lead singer was just as candid about which candidate he is backing in this year’s presidential election. The last time Levine called in to “The Ralphie Show” was in 2008 on behalf of President Barack Obama.

“I’m gonna do whatever the hell I can (to help President Obama) because if he doesn’t get elected I’m f-cking moving,” Levine claimed. “I’d rather you be president that f-cking Mitt Romney, and I barely know you.”

Levine might be better suited for the position – if you believe those “god awful” publications, he certainly has “binders full of women.”

INTERVIEW: Aerosmith ‘Toxic Twins’ Seem Closer Than Ever

It seems the Toxic Twins are back and as strong as ever. The coincidence is that the latest issue to drive them apart – Steven Tyler’s involvement on “American Idol” – may have been what brought them back together.

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“I didn’t have anything to give Steven as a present because I’ve already given him everything that I could think of that I know he likes,” Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry told me regarding his cameo on last season of “Idol.” He played guitar on “Happy Birthday” for the 64 year-old Tyler. “That’s the kind of thing you give your brother.”

Tyler confirmed to Perry that he had no idea his fellow “bad boy from Boston” would be showing up on stage that night.

“What do you give a guy that’s got everything?” asked Tyler. “It was quite the moment, man. It was beautiful. It kind of took all the bad vibes and the whole business that was going on at the time and made it be okay.”

Perhaps it also sheds a little more light on how the tumultuous duo was able to link up with their other band mates to release Aerosmith’s first studio LP in eight years on November 6 and extend its current “Global Warming Tour” through the fall.

“This is the first record that I can think of in a long, long time where everybody is really excited about it in the band,” Perry noted. He has no problem referring to Music from Another Dimension as Aerosmith’s best yet. “I’d say we’re our own biggest fans so we’re also our own biggest critics.”

Seems not too much has changed from those crazy days of touring in the 70’s and 80’s… but some things are different.

“There are some substances that aren’t back there that used to be,” said Tyler – in a more matter-of-fact than joking manner – about the scene at the show these days. “It’s just so crazy. Everybody wants the backstage ticket. It’s pretty cool.”

And for the first time, Steven Tyler actually came across understated.

INTERVIEW: Wayne Brady Not in Favor of Romney’s Plan to Cut PBS Funding

Wayne Brady didn’t get a chance to watch the first presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney. When I told him about Romney’s plan to cut subsidies for programs like PBS, I wasn’t sure if Wayne Brady was gonna have to choke a… you get the idea.

“As a child of PBS, I really say that a lot of what I learned in life as a kid, I learned from watching PBS,” explained Brady, who called in to “The Ralphie Radio Show” to promote his improv-comedy tour. “You would just think that someone who wants to run this country would want America to have the best and brightest.”

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While Brady was clearly not pleased with the Governor’s stance on the issue, the comedians alluded to an even greater problem he has with the Romney campaign.

“If you take music out of schools, and then you’re going to try and snatch away PBS, he wants a nation full of drones,” Brady concluded. “I guess coming from Romney, that might be apropos.”

It didn’t surprise me that a conversation with Wayne Brady would be wide-ranging given the variety of work he has accomplished in his career. While maybe best known for “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” and that infamous sketch on “Chappelle Show,” Brady is also an actor, singer, and current TV host of the game show, “Let’s Make A Deal.”

“Even after all these years I’ll get stopped on the streets, ‘Hey man I love ‘Whose Line’ and c’mon, you really didn’t make all that stuff up? Tell me man, I’m your buddy,” Brady explained. “First off, I just met you 6.8 seconds ago, so I probably won’t confide in you. And secondly, yes, it’s all improvised.”

And yes, people still want Brady to say, “the line,” – the rhetorical question he asks while playing himself as a pimp in a skit on “Chappelle Show” when he wonders aloud if he will have to choke a prostitute.

“It was a funny sketch; it’s in the Museum of TV History as one of the best sketches of all time so you can’t ask for anything more than that,” he said, while also stating that he will not repeat the line to a stranger who approaches him. “Now I’m doing something else. And leave me alone, while I’m in the bathroom. I’m not going to say that while you’re standing next to me, and I’m peeing.”

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