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INTERVIEW: Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas Can’t Wrap Her Head Around Impact of ‘The Fierce Five’

Tiger Woods did it for golf. Michael Phelps did it for swimming. And you could now argue that in that same vein, the U.S. National Gymnastics team has transcended its own sport with its accomplishments. The result is similar to that of Woods or Phelps stardom, as a whole new crop of fans flock to the table while a new generation is inspired to hop on the uneven bars.


“It still feels so surreal,” said Gabby Douglas in an interview on “The Ralphie Radio Show.” The “Fierce Five” teammate called in on behalf of Nintendo 3DS, her first major sponsorship since the Summer Olympic Games. “I do know the impact that we made but I just can’t wrap my head around it quite yet.”

The gymnast, who is the first American to win gold in both the individual all-around and team competitions at the same games, understands that because of her and her teammates’ success, there are girls in gyms across America hoping to be, “the next Gabby Douglas.”

“Have fun in what you do, and love what you do,” Douglas advised those who are looking to follow her footsteps. “Go after your dreams.”

Douglas did just that – leaving her home in Virginia at age 14 to train with renowned gymnastics coach Liang Chow. This past summer, she became the first African-American gymnast in Olympic history to win the individual all-around gold medal. Now, she finds herself in places she only could have dreamt of a few years ago, like the MTV Video Music Awards.

“We were all so happy to be there and so honored,” Douglas gushed. Her and her fellow “Fierce Five” teammates walked the red carpet, introduced Alicia Keys, and mingled with celebrities. “I didn’t get to meet Lil Wayne but I met Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, and Miley Cyrus.”

INTERVIEW: Steve Aoki Thinks Mitt Romney Doesn’t Support Dance Music

Steve Aoki is using his platform as one of the world’s biggest DJs for a greater cause: to help get out the vote. But while Aoki did travel to the Republican National Convention to spread this message, he pulls no punches as to who he’d like people to vote for in this year’s presidential election.


“I want to make sure that Obama gets re-elected,” Aoki said. “I have a strong feeling that a lot of people that are in college or younger voters feel the same way.”

The record producer cited President Obama’s views on pro-choice and stem cell research as two reasons behind his thought process – then trailed off the hot topic trail.

“You can’t even really imagine Mitt Romney supporting dance music,” he told me.

Did someone say, “New campaign slogan?”

INTERVIEW: DMX Returns With First Studio LP in 6 Years; Donates First Week Sales to 9/11 Victims

It has been six years since rapper DMX released a studio album prior to dropping Undisputed last Tuesday. While the “Ruff Ryder” has not lost his bark, it definitely seems as if he is more deliberate with his bite.


“Music always evolves and morphs into different things,” X said in explaining his stance on the current state of hip-hop. The rapper called in to “The Ralphie Radio Show” last week. “At the same time, man you got young minorities who are successful. Not only that person, but I’m sure he has a crew with him… that’s at least 10 people with a job, doing something positive. Whether I approve it or not, I’m glad that they’re successful in what they’re doing.”

The emcee, born Earl Simmons, is not just talking a big game. His new disposition has kept him out of trouble with the law for over a year, and afforded him the time to write and record his latest LP.

“I’m just focused on my music again,” he said. “To have it taken from me, I learned to appreciate it as much as I do now. When I went in for this album, I felt like I did when I recorded my first album. I was hungry for it. I wanted it. I needed it.”

Certainly fans that discovered DMX with 1998’s It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot are happy to hear him rapping instead of reading about him on TMZ. But now in 2012, there are a whole new generation of hip-hop fans that may know X more for those headlines. The rapper notes that he was not influenced by a potential new audience when recording this album.

“The beauty in the truth is that it’s timeless,” X said. “It will reach every generation, as long as you keep it the truth.”

DMX believes his new music can do just that. The rapper released the album on September 11, and will donate his proceeds from first week sales to 9/11 victims and families. X also briefly commented on his still-in-progress gospel music album. The New Yorker said the LP is “definitely coming” and is “pretty much done.”

INTERVIEW: Gym Class Heroes’ Disashi Calls Band’s Success ‘Surreal’

You could call Gym Class Heroes an underdog before “The Papercut Chronicles II.” Prior to its release, the band only had one bona fide hit record to its name with the Patrick Stump-assisted “Cupid’s Chokehold.” GCH added three to that list with “Stereo Hearts,” “Ass Back Home,” and “The Fighter.” What makes the feat more impressive is the era in which it was accomplished: Gym Class Heroes have found a way to cut through all of the dance music on pop radio. Guitarist Disashi Lumumba–Kasongo cited two reasons for the success.

“One, us being true to ourselves as a band and as people,” Disashi said. “And two, the fact that the kids growing up today and people who are grown up already, want to hear more than just one kind of music.”


Check out my full VMA video here.

INTERVIEW: ‘Idol’ Joshua Ledet Claims Jimmy Iovine Was ‘Fake’ on TV

Of the four judges/mentors on “American Idol,” Interscope Records chairman Jimmy Iovine usually played the role of “bad cop,” offering up at times brutally harsh critiques of performances. Season eleven top three finalist Joshua Ledet didn’t bother to listen.


“I didn’t pay attention to Jimmy,” Ledet admitted on “The Ralphie Radio Show.” “It was fake. I just listened to the judges.”

After mentioning that Iovine often complimented the R&B singer, Ledet elaborated on why he didn’t care for the record executive’s TV persona.

“I just find it quite odd that there were people on the show that gave great performances and the judges thought they were great and the audience and the whole world thought they were great and he was the only one that thought it was horrible,” Ledet said. “It’s obvious that stuff was done for TV.”

Ledet said that off camera, Iovine was as nice as could be. And yet despite not enjoying his critiques, the singer would not rule out signing with Interscope.

“I just sing, I just sing,” he said of his future plans. “It doesn’t matter if I sell or not. As long as I can make real music and good music and people can listen to it. If people don’t like it at the end of the day, I think that’s their problem and they should just switch and listen to something else but I just like to make real music.”

INTERVIEW: ‘Idol’ Erika Van Pelt to Return to Rhode Island Post-Tour

“American Idol” season eleven finalist Erika Van Pelt did not forget her roots, and she’ll be returning to them soon.


“I’m letting my lease run out in Massachusetts and I’m actually moving back to Warwick (RI),” Van Pelt revealed on “The Ralphie Radio Show.” “I can’t really say exactly what it is yet, but I’m going to be doing some work with Alex and Ani.”

The Ocean State-based jewelry company will be enlisting the help of the “Idol” singer for new jingles and other commercial-related services. Other than that, Van Pelt will be working on a new album, independently.

“I don’t have a label or a management contract as of right now,” she said. “But I do want to make a record, and I know if I have to fund it independently, I totally will. I’ll do more DJ gigs; whatever I have to do to make that happen.”

INTERVIEW: ‘Idol’ Elise Testone on Swallowing Her Pride

Backstage at “American Idol Live!” Elise Testone admitted there were times during season eleven of “Idol” where she didn’t agree with the judges, but didn’t want to be portrayed the wrong way on camera.

INTERVIEW: ‘Idol’ DeAndre Talks Tour Pranks

Backstage at “American Idol Live!” DeAndre Brackensick talks about some of the pranks the finalists pull on each other during performances.

VIDEO: Red Carpet of the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards

Instead of a black or white carpet, MTV opted for the more tradition red rollout at last Thursday’s “Video Music Awards.” But in typical non-traditional fashion, the network spread media outlets over two stories and both sides of Chick Hearn Court, the road directly in front of LA’s Staples Center. I stood across from the double-decker entrance and watched celebrities such as Miley Cyrus, One Direction, and Katy Perry entered the carpet to near-deafening screams.

– Scooter Braun has made a name for himself in the music industry with his non-traditional moves, such as signing a 15 year-old Canadian named Justin Bieber after watching the teenager perform on YouTube. The manager works with a handful of other acts – from Usher to Carly Rae Jepsen – and just added Psy to his roster. Psy is the man behind, “Gangham Style,” a Korean pop song in the vein of LMFAO that has amassed over 110 million YouTube views since July. I asked Braun why he took a chance in signing the K-Pop star.

“Because he’s an underdog, and I love underdogs,” Braun responded. I inquired about other acts he’s signed, and he simply said, “They’re all underdogs.”

Certainly Psy would be the first Korean pop star to make it big in the U.S., but I’m not sure 110 million YouTube views screams “underdog.”

– You could call Gym Class Heroes an underdog before The Papercut Chronicles II. Prior to its release, the band only had one bona fide hit record to its name with the Patrick Stump-assisted “Cupid’s Chokehold.” GCH added three to that list with “Stereo Hearts,” “Ass Back Home,” and “The Fighter.” What makes the feat more impressive is the era in which it was accomplished: Gym Class Heroes have found a way to cut through all of the dance music on pop radio. Guitarist Disashi Lumumba–Kasongo cited two reasons for the success.

“One, us being true to ourselves as a band and as people,” Disashi said. “And two, the fact that the kids growing up today and people who are grown up already, want to hear more than just one kind of music.”

– For those clamoring to hear new music from Hot Chelle Rae, you won’t have to wait much longer. Guitarist Nash Overstreet told me the band started writing new material in January, and could have a new single out as soon as October.

– The sixth and final season of “Jersey Shore” will also kick off this October – and DJ Pauly D has no regrets about the run.

“It’s been an unbelievable ride for me,” Pauly said before he ducked in to the Staples Center for the VMAs. “Six seasons deep, six seasons strong, and this past one, I can’t wait for it to air. We went out with a bang.”

You would expect nothing less from the Seaside Heights crew. Yeah buddy.

INTERVIEW: ‘Idol’ Colton Dixon Teases Big Announcement Next Week

As the “American Idols Live!” tour enters its final stretch, the top ten contestants from season eleven will turn the page on a chapter of their careers and begin to write a new one. In an interview on “The Ralphie Radio Show,” singer Colton Dixon revealed that his post-show career could officially kick off as soon as next week.


“I’ll be announcing label stuff, and album stuff, and tour stuff pretty soon,” Dixon told me before hoping aboard the “Idol” tour bus. Dixon would not reveal anything more – even dodging a question about whether said album would be released with Jimmy Iovine and Interscope Records. The music mogul and label chairman seemed to like Dixon and commented throughout the season that he thought the singer was as ready as anyone on the show to be played on the radio.

“I think there’s going to be an official announcement about all this, in about a week,” was all the “Idol” finalist would divulge. As far as the first single from his LP, Dixon would not rule out “Never Gone” as a possibility. The song is Dixon’s only original that he performs with his fellow contestants on tour.

“I wrote that, probably a little over a week before we started the tour,” he said of the track. “It was very spur of the moment; very last minute.”

Dixon’s album has been in the works since seventh place finish on “Idol.” The Tennessee-born artist says that his camp has about thirty songs to choose from for his forthcoming album.

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